I was a young man in the secondary School in the 80s when the likes of professor Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana, Gani Fawehinmi, Beko Kuti, Tunji Abayomi and hosts of others, were protesting against the then General Muhammadu Buhari’s government of high-handedness and human rights abuse.
They fought him on many reasons, although, they didn’t stop at Buhari’s regime then. Gen Ibrahim Babangida and Gen. Sanni Abacha also witnessed their strict resistance against their aberrations.
One of their major fights against Gen. Buhari included an act that amounted to nothing less than judicial murder, the execution of a citizen under a retroactive decree – Decree 20 in the case of three youths – Lawal Ojuolape (30), Bernard Ogedengbe (29) and Bartholomew Owoh (26). To put it quite plainly, one of those three, Ogedengbe – was executed for a crime that did not carry a capital forfeit at the time it was committed.
This was an unconscionable crime, carried out in defiance of the pleas and protests of nearly every sector of the Nigerian and international community religious, civil rights, political, trade unions etc. Buhari and his Vice, Tunde Idiagbon persisted in this inhuman act for one reason and one reason only: to place Nigerians on notice that they were now under an iron, inflexible rule, under governance by fear.
Since leaving office he has declared in the most categorical terms that he had no regrets over this murder and would do so again. Human life is inviolate.
Buhari specifically forbade all public
discussion of a return to civilian, democratic rule. For example, the septuagenarian, Chief Adekunle Ajasin, went through tortuous judicial processes. He was arraigned and tried before Buhari’s punitive tribunal but acquitted.
Dissatisfied, Buhari ordered his re-trial. Again, the Tribunal could not find this man guilty of a single crime, so once again he was returned for trial, only to be acquitted of all charges of corruption or abuse of office. Yet, Ajasin was ordered detained indefinitely, simply for the crime of winning an election and refusing to knuckle under Shagari’s reign of terror. The conduct of the Buhari regime after his coup was not merely one of double, triple, multiple standards but a cynical travesty of justice.
Earlier, in 1977, when Buhari was the Minister for petroleum, $2.8 billion was discovered missing in the NNPC under him.
The money was said to have been traced to the Midland bank (U.K) fixed account of Buhari who was Minister of petroleum and head of NNPC then. The Senate leader, Olusola Saraki’s committee presented the report to the House towards the end of Shagari’s regime but the House decided to act on it after general elections.
However, on December 31, 1983, Buhari was said to have hidden under the political commotion that followed the election results to overthrow the Shagari’s government.
EOlusola Saraki granted an interview to Vera Ifudu, an NTA reporter and told her how the missing money had been traced to Buhari’s bank account. Buhari had to sack Vera Ifudu immediately from NTA! She challenged her dismissal in court and won. Court also ordered that she should be compensated.
I am sure Prof Wole Soyinka and others still remember all these.
Many years after, this same Buhari was appointed as PTF chairman by Abacha – the maximum ruler and the most despotic in the history of Nigeria, and it was said that he brought his family members as consultants and contractors to the PTF. And in 1999, Obasanjo assumed Presidency and set up an interim management for the PTF to audit its activities. He was shocked by the outcome.
In November 2000, Obasanjo directed that the PTF should be scrapped and its headquarters handed over to anti-corruption agencies. OBJ discovered that Buhari’s PTF paid out over 9 billion naira to contractors WITH NO WORK DONE! The rest is history.
With all these anomalies, Prof Wole Soyinka and others whom we were looking up to for directions chose to work for Buhari for President in 2015. It was a shock to me and many Nigerians who knew what they stood for. when we heard that many of those we so respected and believed in, threw their weights behind Buhari and canvassed heavily for him to become elected president. Some of us who knew that Buhari’s leopard would not change its spot, canvassed heavily against him, we suggested that if we would want Jonathan to go, that there were more than a dozen candidates to vote for, that Buhari was not the needed alternative, but our leaders insisted on him.
It is painful even now that it is clear that Buhari has not only derailed completely, that he has committed many great offences unwarranted of a man of dignity and discipline that he professed. The likes of professor Wole Soyinka, Femi Falana and others have refused to say anything.
At least, they are aware that Fulani herdsmen are killing innocent Nigerians and that Buhari has not been able to do much about it.
Since ascending to the presidency, they know President Buhari has proved Nigerians wrong by running perhaps the most lethargic, chaotic, incompetent – and as it is now increasingly becoming obvious, a corrupt administration wrought with infighting, confusing, contest for power and authority and a shocking lack of grasps of the fundamentals of governance and administration. Indeed for the administration, it is now a case of one week one scandal and it is now becoming obvious even to Buhari’s staunchest supporters that this administration is clearly not up to the task of governing a diverse and complex society like Nigeria’s. Yet, the most respected Soyinka and others look the other side.
“Thankfully, evidences of these malfeasance have not come from criticisms of the opposition, who have been labelled corrupt by the administration, but from within the administration itself. It started with the shameful saga between the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) where the DSS caused the Senate, through a damning security report, to reject the nomination of Mr Magu as EFCC Chairman despite the DSS boss being a kinsman of the President who nominated Magu twice for the position.
“Then came the damning verdict from the wife of the president that the presidency has been captured by a rapacious cabal who “do not know our party manifesto, they don’t know what we campaigned for, they don’t have a mission, they don’t have a vision of our APC”. She conceded that “things are not going the way they should,” and that “nobody thought it’s going to be like this”. If Buhari’s family could know all these and raised their voice against them, I believe our respected leaders should have done more.
Painful enough, they know that Buhari is not addressing Baru’s $26Billion NNPC scam contract.
They heard that President Buhari is sweeping the N233million SGF Babachir Lawal grass cutting fraud, NIA boss $43Million Loot, Gen. Buratai’s houses in Dubai and Abba Kyari’s N500m MTN bribe, Under his carpet, they are not saying anything about it. It was a thoroughly embarrassed president that eventually ordered the suspension of the secretary to the government of the federation for the same allegations for which he was previously absolved by the president.
President Buhari always travels to UK for medical treatments while also budgeting N3.2b for Aso Rock Clinic which doesn’t even have common syringe. They didn’t say anything.
President Buhari claims to spend N1.2Tr on capital projects without evidence of details. They know all these.
They know that, Buhari failed to fulfill his promise to ensure the rescue of the acclaimed missing chibok girls which he now suspiciously release in batches, from God knows where.
He promised to be Minister of Petroleum for just 18 months but now It’s 22 months yet, no substantive Minister. And our Soyinka and others are keeping mute.
Even as Buhari refused to investigate N120Billion bribe and sex for promotion allegations levelled against IGP Idris by Senator Misau. Nothing has been heard from them.
We remember that, Amaechi was alleged to have looted Rivers State treasury to fund Buhari’s election and he is indicted by a judicial commission of inquiry, Buhari still appointed him a minister. We had thought that our own Soyinka would have raised his voice against it. But we were wrong.
President Buhari’s relations and close aids are being accused of scandalous forex deals with the CBN.
Soyinka is aware that Buhari sends pythons and crocodiles to destroy the South South and South East that produce the crude oil but he sends the World Bank to develop the North.
“To make matters worse, the President’s wife and her daughter recently alerted us yet again, to the mismanagement of the budgetary allocation (over N4 billion according to some sources) at the Aso Rock Clinic. Mrs Buhari’s daughter first raised the alarm that despite the huge allocation to the clinic, the clinic couldn’t even boast of common syringe or paracetamol.
“For Mrs Buhari, even though the clinic was supposed to cater for the immediate health needs of the first family, Ministers and Presidential aides, her aides advised her not to use the facility because it wasn’t functional and they advised her to seek medical treatment abroad.
Mrs Buhari was to later express her frustration to the wives of the 36 state governors and wondered that if this kind of graft is taking place right at the seat of power, then what could be happening at the state levels outside the radar of the EFCC could be worse.
“The entire picture being presented by the presidency in disarray and despite his famed integrity and body language that abhors corruption, his aides and close associates are not afraid to perpetrate fraud under his very nose. And we had errorneously believed that our activists would have raised their voices against it.
Sadly, Buhari has shown to be a provincial President incapable of calling his aides and close associates to order.
It is funny, very funny that we didn’t hear from those we entrusted our hopes in like Soyinka, Falana and others.
Interestingly, Maina isn’t the first person that was fired for corruption that Buhari has brought back to government. Here are a few I can remember;
1. AbdulRahman Danbazzau was fired as chief of army staff for corrupt practices in purchasing of arms and has been appointed Minister of Interior by Buhari.
2. Mohammed Barkindo was removed as NNPC MD by the late Yaradua for huge kickbacks from oil and and has been appointed as Nigeria’s Secretary General to OPEC by Buhari
3. ACP Zakari Bui, a man accused and dismissed for aiding Boko Haram kingpin Kabiru Sokoto to escape from detention was reinstated and promoted by Buhari.
4. Abdul Rasheed Maina, a man that ran away since 2014 and has been declared wanted by efcc for embezzlement of N2bn pension funds have been reinstated as deputy director ministry of interior.
5. Ahmed Gambo Saleh, Registrar of the Supreme Court,they said he stole N2.2bn belonging to the Supreme court and was caught red handed and fired, today Ahmed Gambo Saleh has now been appointed the secretary of the committee monitoring corruption trials.
I can go on and on listing names.
Buhari’s recall on Maina is a sign that any Govt no matter how reckless or irresponsible, can be called to order by Citizen Power. I have no doubt in my mind though that the man’s brazen recall was orchestrated at the highest levels of governance in our country.
I have no confidence also in the fight against Corruption based on many instances of “see no evil; hear no evil” displayed so far by Buhari. If the highest office in the land could have been infiltrated by rats, it’s possible that shady rats in human form also thrive there.
* Timi Sylva was standing trial for fraud, but he allegedly paid the nomination fee for Buhari.
Over 46 houses seized by FG has been returned to him. This is a man with no known business:
EFCC returned 48 houses to Sylvia under a regime fighting corruption.
* $5000 was being given to party members each to vote for Buhari at his party’s convention at Teslim Balogun Stadium when it was obvious Atiku might embarrass him.
In the last couple of weeks the integrity of the Federal Government under the leadership of PMB has been put to test with the revelations of the covert operational systems of the government.
All these happened and are still happening while these eminent Nigerians are looking elsewhere.
The question is, can it be said that the energy, the urge and the commitments with which these eminent Nigerians were using to combat misrule, corruption, high-handedness, nepotism and all the anti people vices, gone as a result of old age, or can it be said they are intentionally being indifferent?
Whichever way it is, the situation as we find ourselves is very painful as Nigerians appear hopelessly abandoned in the middle of the ocean by our human rights crusaders.