For adverts Placement only email: [email protected]

Saturday, 23 September 2023 07:03

[OPINION] Buhari versus Dangiwa Umar - Akin Osuntokun

 “There has not been a single area that had not been touched by the Buhari government. We have seen massive positive changes in the last eight years..Bullies who attacked governments and ‘something dropped’ will continue to antagonize Buhari borne of anger from lost opportunities. A certain Buhari “critic” who served a military governor in one of the Northern states, even his underwear was bought from government coffers”.

“When they came in they freed thieves, robbers and receivers of stolen goods and even gave them a working capital! “Within a few weeks, crime returned to Kaduna, and yes, the other places and he has the effrontery to speak as he did…How many of these people do you think were happy when President Buhari said “no more free money. Buhari said money in National Security Agencies is for security. Lazy men and women who can’t work cannot just walk in and walk out of that place with bags stuffed with money in a free-for-all..These ones have nothing to teach anyone. President Tinubu, a wise politician will equally see through their masquerade”- Garba Shehu 

Hello, Mr. Shehu, here is a reality check. This is precisely what President Bola Ahmed Tinubu thinks of your principal “After Darkness Comes The Glorious Dawn: Full Text Of President Tinubu’s Address To Nigerians. I assure you my fellow country men and women that we are exiting the darkness to enter a new and glorious dawn”. Should the president expect the Abubakar Umar treatment from you?

It was a bad idea, to begin with. Unless it was intended as a deliberate lapse into vulgar, uncouth and gutter snipe sensationalism. It could also mean a demonstration of the trademark incompetence for which Buhari was notorious, even in joining issues with critics. It is difficult to understand why a supposedly well meaning subordinate will set up his principal as a strawman (fit for demolition), by crediting him with qualities he abundantly possesses in the breach. Knowing fully well that the former President is a parody of such citations like “We have seen massive positive changes in the last eight years…no more free money. Lazy men and women who can’t work cannot just walk in and walk out of that place with bags stuffed with money in a free-for-all”. 

Really? So what was the reign of Tunde Sabiu Maman Daura and co, all about? Reminiscent of Buhari’s disastrous governance 

is the penchant for doubling down on the fantasy of alternate reality.

Responding to the annual report of Transparency International,TI, on it’s Corruption Perception Index, CPI, (which had truthfully and objectively adjudged Nigeria as sinking deeper in the cesspit of corruption), Garba Shehu argued “I’ll tell you that this one by TI is not a judgement on Buhari or his administration or its war against corruption, I will tell you that this one is judgement on Nigerians.” In anticipation of such tendentious self denials, the agency had clarified that its CPI ‘ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be’. 

Let me speak of what I am personally privy to about their putative foe, Abubakar Dangiwa Umar. From 1999 to 2015, there has been no federal government that did not invite Umar to serve in one strategic capacity or another. I was at the dinner table where President Olusegun Obasanjo invited him to Ota to discuss the offer of a ministerial appointment. If memory serves me right, Umar demurred, and said something about not having the temperament for public appointment in Nigeria, that he was a nonconformist. Not one to easily give up, Obasanjo responded that this was precisely the kind of quality he wanted in his ministers. This encounter took place after the 2003 presidential election. Subsequently, Presidents Umaru Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan extended similar offers to him, all of which he declined. 

At the level of theory, if you were a public spirited Nigerian President, would you not want Umar to be associated with your government? It is on record that he had no qualms turning his back on a choice posting (as military governor of Kaduna state that others would give an arm and a leg for), to pursue further education and enlightenment at the University of Harvard. It was the same idealism that prompted him to initiate a ‘military coup’ in a suicidal mission to install the winner of the 1993 presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola as duly elected President of Nigeria. It beats the imagination hollow, how the same personality can be distorted as a typical incontinent low life and notorious time server.

I think the occasion has come for us to breach confidentiality and 

disclose a sinister experience Umar had under the Buhari dispensation. On a flight to London, he had entrusted the check-in of his luggage to an immigration officer. On arrival at Heathrow Airport, border security officials invaded the plane to apprehend and whisk him away. Getting to the interrogation room, he found his luggage had been impounded. His attention was drawn to the cover of his suitcase which was laden with a powdery stuff, that turned out to be cocaine. The mystery deepened when the search of the inside compartment of the box failed to yield any trace of the substance. After subjecting him to all manners of indignities reserved for drug traffickers he was let go. Someone in Abuja had set him up. The incident occurred about five years ago. He had kept the horrific experience to himself but in a typical protective attitude, he had taken me to confidence and warned me to avoid the need to check in my luggage whenever I’m travelling. 

No one has framed national governance as primarily an avenue of tribal nepotism and corruption as Buhari did. l have not come to the conclusion, one way or another (whether Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s presidency is following in his predecessor’s ultra parochial footsteps). Nonetheless, there appears to have developed a muted regional (Islamic North) angst against the president, in respect of how he has constituted his apex political and administrative appointments. Not one to pass over the chance for scurrilous notoriety, Ishaq Akintola and his muric confederates had whined “We remind President Bola Ahmed Tinubu that all regions, faiths and sections deserve political appointments…The Tinubu administration must not be the exclusive preserve of the Yorubas at the expense of other tribes, nor the monopoly of Rome at the expense of Madinah. No region must be sentenced to hunger, starvation and political isolation”. 

The appointments are said to be Yoruba heavy and other regions light. Some years ago, projecting from the unsurpassed nepotism of General Muhammadu Buhari, l had warned that efforts by his successors to restore and reinstate equity and fairness in federal appointments, will have the appearance of marginalising the North. Such was the magnitude of the political segregation that Buhari visited on Nigeria. In its penchant for divisive discrimination, the Buhari government exemplifies the logic of why Nigeria should not be a nation. Or that if it must remain a country, the prescription of federalism (devolution and decentralisation) is the irreducible minimum. He brought to vivid reality the dysfunction and damage that over centralisation of powers can wreak on Nigeria by a President of his specification.

Suggestive of detachment from reality, Buhari, no doubt, entertains a delusion of grandeur in grading his presidency. Afterall, no amount of veracity could dissuade him from peddling the egregious lie that the average price per barrel of crude oil from 1999 to 2015, was one hundred dollars. He would even swear on the authority of the central bank governor and the group managing director of the Nigeria national petroleum corporation, NNPC to bear him witness. 

In a left handed salute, one of the useful purposes the Buhari failure has served is the vindication of his successor as military head of state, President Ibrahim Babangida. The military president had been a victim of the Buhari myth, of the

interpretation of his ouster of Buhari as tantamount to depriving Nigeria of a potential messiah. A similar set of victims are those Nigerians who fell for this myth and accordingly voted him to power in 2015. Rarely in history has there been a president who employed the totality of his tenure to destroy the mistaken notion of him as a man of integrity and why he should never have been elected president in the first place. After eight horrid years of ruin and plunder, we now precisely understand why the late General Sani Abacha remains a role model for Buhari. 

In retrospect, it now appears that the difference between truth and falsehood, between honesty and dishonesty, between integrity and lack of character is the difference between the man Nigerians thought they elected in 2015 and the Buhari of the past eight years. Prior to 2015, he enjoyed national and international acclaim as an anti-corruption crusader. At the time, this seemed a fair albeit generous assessment. Eight years of his presidency to the bargain, the man had launched a grenade to explode the myth of his abstemious frugality. Never call a man great until the end of his life, cautions the bard. 

Former governor and former minister of aviation, Isa Yuguda, may not have had Buhari in mind when he went public with his committee report on the Nigerian national petroleum corporation, NNPC. Inter alia he said “I am sad to let Nigerians know what I saw; we came across situations where subsidy was claimed on pipelines that never existed.., they just fill papers, invoices and they claim subsidy on it” When asked again if it was indeed the NNPC that was making these claims, Yuguda replied in the affirmative. “Who else is doing it,”. Yet, Buhari was the minister of petroleum. 

Days to drawing the curtains on his presidency, and so we would have no difficulty remembering the kind of president he was, Buhari committed Nigeria to the payment of a dubious and spurious judgement debts “The president said the judgement debts were awarded in different currencies which he summed up to $556,712,584,01; £98,526,013 and N226,280,801,801,64.

In view of the forgoing, I request the Senate to kindly consider and approve through its resolution, the settlement of the total judgement debts and general judgements incurred by the following MDS in the sum of USD five hundred and sixty six million, seven hundred and twelve thousand , five hundred and eighty four dollars , thirty one cent”.

450 times

Join us on Whatsapp Channel Subscribe to Telegram Channel