What Does Buhari Want?

What does Buhari want?

By Levi Obijiofor

IT is very difficult to understand Muhammadu Buhari, the former military head of state and former presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). It is even harder to determine whether Buhari's unpredictability should be classified as an element of human virtue or vice. You will understand why, shortly. In one moment, he would be saying the right things and in the next moment he would be saying things that would undermine the way the public views him.

In the political arena, Buhari is viewed as a dogged fighter. You only need to ask Olusegun Obasanjo and his hand-picked successor, Umaru Yar'Adua. Since his emergence as a soldier-turned-democrat, Buhari has refused to bow to his political opponents or to withdraw his election petition on the basis that his opponents asked him to sheathe his sword. Despite his doggedness in pushing his political dogma, fate has consistently served Buhari with humiliating defeats on a cold platter. Twice he contested presidential elections in 2003 and 2007 and twice he emerged first in the list of losers.

History has also not served Buhari well. When he ruled as head of state, with all the powers that military dictatorship could bestow on anyone, Buhari woke up one morning in late August 1985 with a bad headache. The government he led had been bundled out of office in a military coup led by Ibrahim Babangida. Buhari was ill prepared for the sad events that saw him lose power within two years of his overthrow of the democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari. When Buhari was toppled, many Nigerians celebrated in the streets in the same manner that everyone cried with joy when Shagari's bumbling government was toppled. On both occasions, Nigerians believed that any new government must be better than the government at the time.

In a sense, Buhari and his deputy - Tunde Idiagbon - contributed immensely to the demise of their regime. During their time, there were indiscriminate human rights abuses. Media houses were shut arbitrarily. Journalists were routinely harassed and threatened. Civil society was not spared. Buhari's "War Against Indiscipline" (WAI), the moral pillar on which he pegged the legality of his government, turned out unfortunately to be a war against the nation.

WAI was unpopular mostly because of the way it was executed. On paper, the idea was good. Indiscipline had taken a firm grip on the Nigerian society. However, the methods rolled out against indiscipline by Buhari's foot soldiers proved to be its downfall. Nigerians watched as the implementers of WAI became the law breakers while the implementation mechanism became too draconian. Every war must have a human face. Buhari's war against indiscipline lacked transparency, morality and sincerity.

Based on these antecedents, everyone was shocked when Buhari emerged from a long period of silence to announce that he was going into politics. It was difficult to understand how a man who had lived and worked in a system in which military decrees supplanted civil laws and the constitution could suddenly subject himself to democratic practices which included guarantees of freedom which were never tolerated in the previous military system.

For every question that was posed to him in regard to his political transformation, Buhari seemed to have a ready-made answer. First, he reminded his critics and hecklers that Olusegun Obasanjo, the man who led Nigeria from limited sunlight into total darkness, was once a military dictator who "successfully" shed his beliefs in military authoritarianism and transformed himself into an elected democrat. Second, Buhari also argued that, as a legitimate Nigerian without criminal record, he was entitled to participate in the political process and to seek election to any position that he wished.

These issues were evident in an interview he granted to the Hausa Service of the Voice of America radio program in early October 2008. In that interview, Buhari again reinforced his reasons for entering politics. He said: "I didn't join politics because I wanted to deal with dishonest people; rather I joined because of the downtrodden so that my voice will strengthen them in their agitation for their rights according to what the authorities ought to do for them... Therefore, whether they vote for me as President or not, whether they allow them to vote for me or not, they will not stop me from participating in active politics."

Sometimes Buhari undermined his cause by projecting himself as an artless politician. For instance, it was in the same Voice of America radio interview of last year that Buhari whinged endlessly about how he had been ignored by President Umaru Yar'Adua. His words: "He (Yar'Adua) has never called me; and he has never sent anybody to me to plead so that I withdraw the suit against him." He was referring to his suit which at that time was still pending in the Supreme Court.

Buhari's complaints bore the hallmarks of an angry man. Realistically, no president whose position is the subject of a legal challenge would, in his or her right mind, pick up the telephone and plead with his adversary to withdraw the legal objection. If a president did so, that president would have admitted openly that he was not the rightful winner of the election. Yar'Adua was smart enough not to call Buhari, even if it was public knowledge that Yar'Adua's election was riddled with many instances of electoral malpractices.

To many Nigerians, watching Buhari adapt to his new role as the defender of democracy is like watching a man spit out his phlegm and gently pick it up to swallow again (pardon this distasteful analogy). Just last month, at a forum in Abuja organised by the Coalition of Democrats for Election Reforms (CODER), I listened painfully to Buhari's rhetoric about his preparedness "not only to work but to die, pursuing what is right and is best for Nigeria". If you believe that Buhari or indeed any previous head of state would be prepared to lose his life in the campaign to change Nigeria, you will believe anything. After all, Obasanjo also talked about how he was prepared to lose his life in order to eliminate corruption from our doorsteps.

One of the reasons why many Nigerians continue to view Buhari with a great deal of suspicion and apprehension is his past record and his capricious nature. For instance, Buhari's views on national issues are often as impermanent and slippery as the colours of a chameleon. Just last year, Buhari, in concert with two former military dictators, defended Sani Abacha against allegations of corruption. In fact, Buhari said quite clearly that Nigeria should honour and commend Abacha rather than mock and desecrate the man's name.

In June 2008, Buhari joined Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar to exalt Sani Abacha, one of the most dreaded dictators in the history of military rule in Nigeria. In Kano at the 10th anniversary prayer session for Abacha, the three former military heads of state argued that Abacha did not loot the national treasury because no one had produced evidence to support the allegations. Buhari said: "All the allegations levelled against the personality of the late Gen. Sani Abacha will remain allegations. It is 10 years now, things should be over by now." Buhari's argument was that there should be a statute of limitation on the period when corrupt leaders should either be charged to court or be allowed to enjoy their fraudulent acquisitions.

In his defence of Abacha, Buhari also said: "When Gen. Sani Abacha came into power, he did four major things, which Nigerians will continue to remember him for... He came up with the idea of incorporating state governors into the National Council of State, he set up a tribunal to check unethical practices by banks and he also set up the Petroleum Trust Fund, which every Nigerian benefited from its activities."

What Buhari, the man who wants to be president, did not tell the nation was that he was the chairperson of the Petroleum Trust Fund during Abacha's era. When you tally these mystifyingly moral somersaults by Buhari with his unimpressive record as military dictator, you can understand why Buhari has consistently failed to crack the secret code of how to win presidential elections in Nigeria on two fronts: to win the hearts of voters or to join the political party most prepared to engage in audacious pre-election stuffing of ballot boxes or sheer manipulation of election results.



1
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
LoveNigeria posted on 08-07-2009, 10:07:31 AM
What does Buhari want?

By Levi Obijiofor

IT is very difficult to understand Muhammadu Buhari, the former military head of state and former presidential candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP). It is even harder to determine whether Buhari's unpredictability should be classified as an element of human virtue or vice. You will understand why, shortly. In one moment, he would be saying the right things and in the next moment he would be saying things that would undermine the way the public views him.

In the political arena, Buhari is viewed as a dogged fighter. You only need to ask Olusegun Obasanjo and his hand-picked successor, Umaru Yar'Adua. Since his emergence as a soldier-turned-democrat, Buhari has refused to bow to his political opponents or to withdraw his election petition on the basis that his opponents asked him to sheathe his sword. Despite his doggedness in pushing his political dogma, fate has consistently served Buhari with humiliating defeats on a cold platter. Twice he contested presidential elections in 2003 and 2007 and twice he emerged first in the list of losers.

History has also not served Buhari well. When he ruled as head of state, with all the powers that military dictatorship could bestow on anyone, Buhari woke up one morning in late August 1985 with a bad headache. The government he led had been bundled out of office in a military coup led by Ibrahim Babangida. Buhari was ill prepared for the sad events that saw him lose power within two years of his overthrow of the democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari. When Buhari was toppled, many Nigerians celebrated in the streets in the same manner that everyone cried with joy when Shagari's bumbling government was toppled. On both occasions, Nigerians believed that any new government must be better than the government at the time.

In a sense, Buhari and his deputy - Tunde Idiagbon - contributed immensely to the demise of their regime. During their time, there were indiscriminate human rights abuses. Media houses were shut arbitrarily. Journalists were routinely harassed and threatened. Civil society was not spared. Buhari's "War Against Indiscipline" (WAI), the moral pillar on which he pegged the legality of his government, turned out unfortunately to be a war against the nation.

WAI was unpopular mostly because of the way it was executed. On paper, the idea was good. Indiscipline had taken a firm grip on the Nigerian society. However, the methods rolled out against indiscipline by Buhari's foot soldiers proved to be its downfall. Nigerians watched as the implementers of WAI became the law breakers while the implementation mechanism became too draconian. Every war must have a human face. Buhari's war against indiscipline lacked transparency, morality and sincerity.

Based on these antecedents, everyone was shocked when Buhari emerged from a long period of silence to announce that he was going into politics. It was difficult to understand how a man who had lived and worked in a system in which military decrees supplanted civil laws and the constitution could suddenly subject himself to democratic practices which included guarantees of freedom which were never tolerated in the previous military system.

For every question that was posed to him in regard to his political transformation, Buhari seemed to have a ready-made answer. First, he reminded his critics and hecklers that Olusegun Obasanjo, the man who led Nigeria from limited sunlight into total darkness, was once a military dictator who "successfully" shed his beliefs in military authoritarianism and transformed himself into an elected democrat. Second, Buhari also argued that, as a legitimate Nigerian without criminal record, he was entitled to participate in the political process and to seek election to any position that he wished.

These issues were evident in an interview he granted to the Hausa Service of the Voice of America radio program in early October 2008. In that interview, Buhari again reinforced his reasons for entering politics. He said: "I didn't join politics because I wanted to deal with dishonest people; rather I joined because of the downtrodden so that my voice will strengthen them in their agitation for their rights according to what the authorities ought to do for them... Therefore, whether they vote for me as President or not, whether they allow them to vote for me or not, they will not stop me from participating in active politics."

Sometimes Buhari undermined his cause by projecting himself as an artless politician. For instance, it was in the same Voice of America radio interview of last year that Buhari whinged endlessly about how he had been ignored by President Umaru Yar'Adua. His words: "He (Yar'Adua) has never called me; and he has never sent anybody to me to plead so that I withdraw the suit against him." He was referring to his suit which at that time was still pending in the Supreme Court.

Buhari's complaints bore the hallmarks of an angry man. Realistically, no president whose position is the subject of a legal challenge would, in his or her right mind, pick up the telephone and plead with his adversary to withdraw the legal objection. If a president did so, that president would have admitted openly that he was not the rightful winner of the election. Yar'Adua was smart enough not to call Buhari, even if it was public knowledge that Yar'Adua's election was riddled with many instances of electoral malpractices.

To many Nigerians, watching Buhari adapt to his new role as the defender of democracy is like watching a man spit out his phlegm and gently pick it up to swallow again (pardon this distasteful analogy). Just last month, at a forum in Abuja organised by the Coalition of Democrats for Election Reforms (CODER), I listened painfully to Buhari's rhetoric about his preparedness "not only to work but to die, pursuing what is right and is best for Nigeria". If you believe that Buhari or indeed any previous head of state would be prepared to lose his life in the campaign to change Nigeria, you will believe anything. After all, Obasanjo also talked about how he was prepared to lose his life in order to eliminate corruption from our doorsteps.

One of the reasons why many Nigerians continue to view Buhari with a great deal of suspicion and apprehension is his past record and his capricious nature. For instance, Buhari's views on national issues are often as impermanent and slippery as the colours of a chameleon. Just last year, Buhari, in concert with two former military dictators, defended Sani Abacha against allegations of corruption. In fact, Buhari said quite clearly that Nigeria should honour and commend Abacha rather than mock and desecrate the man's name.

In June 2008, Buhari joined Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar to exalt Sani Abacha, one of the most dreaded dictators in the history of military rule in Nigeria. In Kano at the 10th anniversary prayer session for Abacha, the three former military heads of state argued that Abacha did not loot the national treasury because no one had produced evidence to support the allegations. Buhari said: "All the allegations levelled against the personality of the late Gen. Sani Abacha will remain allegations. It is 10 years now, things should be over by now." Buhari's argument was that there should be a statute of limitation on the period when corrupt leaders should either be charged to court or be allowed to enjoy their fraudulent acquisitions.

In his defence of Abacha, Buhari also said: "When Gen. Sani Abacha came into power, he did four major things, which Nigerians will continue to remember him for... He came up with the idea of incorporating state governors into the National Council of State, he set up a tribunal to check unethical practices by banks and he also set up the Petroleum Trust Fund, which every Nigerian benefited from its activities."

What Buhari, the man who wants to be president, did not tell the nation was that he was the chairperson of the Petroleum Trust Fund during Abacha's era. When you tally these mystifyingly moral somersaults by Buhari with his unimpressive record as military dictator, you can understand why Buhari has consistently failed to crack the secret code of how to win presidential elections in Nigeria on two fronts: to win the hearts of voters or to join the political party most prepared to engage in audacious pre-election stuffing of ballot boxes or sheer manipulation of election results.



..Read the full article
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
Idahota posted on 08-07-2009, 11:10:58 AM
I thought it is obvious. He wants a second shot at the Presidency.
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
Ariteni posted on 08-07-2009, 11:44:29 AM
The evil genius indeed has some awesome powers! He's succeeded in sneaking not only into this writer's mentality but into his otherwise excellent article. "Every war must have a human face. Buhari's war against indiscipline lacked transparency, morality and sincerity." Yeah, right! The writer should have (kuku) acknowledged Gen Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida - the renowned author of the above statement. Human face ko, human face ni! And when you (Nigerians) got the human face nko? Abeg stop spreading false rumour.

Buhari is an excellent candidate for the Presidency but he is barred for the following reasons:
1. He is a General of the "old" order. Nigerians are of the firm resolve that NO GENERAL (retired or active) shall rule Nigeria again for the next "60" years.
2. Katsina cannot have another shot after the incumbent.
3. He is in the "wrong Party"
4. Put yourself in Ibrahim Babangida's shoes: Will you allow the man you toppled to come back and give you a "return match"? Atiku a sworn enemy of his regime is also there (not to win) but to remain a candidate to fraustrate a possible Buhari emergence. (Buhari too is our guarantee that Babangida will not come back)

Conclusion: Buhari wants to exercise his fundamental right to aspire to Presidency and campaign for Democracy. He is too smart to assume that Obasanjo stopped him or that he needs anybody's vote to lead. He has never said he won any election but was compelled to join the "get Obasanjo" gang singing the chorus that "Obasanjo rigged in 2003 and 2007" just to be on the side of the "masses".

It is consistent with the practice of DEMOCRACY (a) to allege that elections are rigged e.g that Obasanjo lost in Ogun State and (b) to have ready alternative no matter how unfit lest the incumbent pocket (settle) everybody.

A man who speaks his mind even if wrong, is better for Nigeria than the herd of dodgers we call leaders especially in the civilian ranks. No matter what you, Levi "heard" about Buhari, he remains an epitome of honesty and integrity in governance. It is just his luck that only Baba Iyabo is destined for a second, third or even a fourth chance at the Presidency. Buhari should remain visible and loud in the interest of DEMOCRACY notwithstanding the above.
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
Norris posted on 08-08-2009, 05:17:16 AM
Levi you just did a yeoman's job leaving me wondering whose paid job you just executed. I won't spend time dissecting your piece as the perspective you adopted have already being compromised rather unfortunately.

Buhari remains an epitome of honesty, incorruptibility and fair play, he may have had negative points like everyone but we are buoyed by his courage to apologise and make amends. Your principals and clients have never accepted nor apologised for the roles the played in Nigeria's demise.

You must not write weekly or all the time, when you have nothing to write about, redirect your energy into something more productive.
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
Theman posted on 08-08-2009, 16:42:13 PM
Oh Levi, who sent you to write this kind of opata. So you saw no good in WAI, and you saw no effect of the clean up started by Buhari, to the extent that its still observed nationwide till today. Come on, I'd rather have Buhari in power forever that to have Obasanjo or Yar adua there for one day. Its folks like you that have contributed in making Nigeria what it is like today. You just wake up and write b......t, for whoever that pays you to do so.
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
Chibuzor posted on 08-08-2009, 21:41:21 PM
Buhari's attempt to stand up for his convictions ought to be celebrated if only to give hope to others like him. He is presently the only opposition there is against pdp and obasanjo.

If yours is another attempt to get him out of the way, forget it.

When there is something new to say about him apart from the stuff you regurgitated, share with us. Until then he (or Pat Utomi, Fashola, Sullivan Chime etc) can have my vote whether it counts or not.
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
Agidimolaja posted on 08-09-2009, 23:30:57 PM
In civilized democratic societies where one's background counts so much while anticipating to be elected into an office, Buhari can never be voted for. As a matter of fact, he will not attempt to disgrace himself by making such move in the first place.

No matter how people see his anti corruption policy and his oppressive and very insincere war against indiscipline{WAI}, the guy will forever remain in the bad book of democrats, for the simple reason that he overthrowned a constitutionally elected government.

He may have done so in "good faith" going by his various allegations against the then NPN led Federal Government of Nigeria, but what he did was criminality.

Buhari may never be brought to justice as Dimka or Orkar etc, but fact cannot be denied that he is guilty of treason and should have either been executed of be locked away in jailhouse for his crime against the people of Nigeria.

It is only in Nigeria that known criminals vied for elctive offices and on many instances, won.

It is only in Nigeria that a criminal like Buhari who overthrowned a constitutionally elected government would now wanted to be elected into the office of President from where he criminally ran out a constitutionally elected President - Shewu Shagari.

It is a great shamethat brutal criminalBuhari is willing to become our President andunfortunately, he has as his follower,great number of people including our so called intellectuals,who are who are cheerleading and promoting his cause.'Mugus'

Had Buhari won, I would have in protest changed my legal permanent residency in USA to self exile and would not visit Nigeria until the end of his term(s).
Re: What Does Buhari Want?
Pa Bj posted on 08-10-2009, 10:46:10 AM
Levi,

Buhari wants to ..................speak his mind, which is something the country desperately needs at the moment.

Carry your wahala go another person compound!!!!


Pa Bj
1
Please register before you can make new comment