For the attention of General Buhari

By Reuben Abati

Leadership is what will make Nigeria, it is also what will break it; leadership failure is precisely what is responsible for the crisis that the country is now witnessing after a Presidential election that was adjudged successful by local and international observers and which has received high praise from the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Cote D'Ivoire (!) and France. Since April 16, there has been an outbreak of violence in the Northern parts of the country, with 59 persons dead, thousands injured, many churches, homes and mosques destroyed. It is leadership that can save the country at this very moment, and prevent the fulfillment of the apocalyptic prediction that the present electoral process will result in an implosion of the country. And one man on whom history beckons to play the role of statesman and sportsman, is General Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), former Nigerian Head of State and three-time Presidential candidate since 1999.


Buhari's CPC came second in the Presidential election of April 16, with 25% of the votes in 16 states (all in the North), and a total of 12.2 million votes out of a total valid votes cast of 39. 5 million. But since the announcement of the results which recognized incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan as the winner of the election with 25% of the total valid votes cast in 31 states and 22. 4 million votes, Buhari's supporters in the Northern states have been on rampage. Mostly young, poor and unemployed, they are united by the anger that a Southern Christian, an unbeliever in their reckoning, and a product/promoter of Western education is now president-elect. A geographical picture of the voting pattern in the Presidential election has indicated how that election threw up primordial ethnic, religious and identity questions, the same questions that have been responsible for the inability to create a truly united nation out of Nigeria. Buhari got sectarian votes in 16 Northern states: they voted for him because he is Muslim and Fulani, Jonathan received high votes in the South South, the South East, and the South West and captured the Christian votes plus PDP votes in the North, an indication that his Southerner kinsmen were not willing to forsake him either. Nuhu Ribadu who got 25% of the votes in four Yoruba states did so because he was candidate of a largely Yoruba party. If anything, Jonathan's victory would seem to prove the point suggested in Section 134 of the Nigerian Constitution to the effect that whoever wants to be President of the country must receive the people's votes across the country. Buhari failed that test.

Still, General Muhammadu Buhari and his CPC have rejected the results of the April 16 Presidential election. The only other party which is protesting loudly is the FRESH Party led by Pastor Okotie. Okotie's party scored 34, 331 votes and did not win the required 25% in any state of the Federation. The pastor wants the results of the election to be rejected and an interim government instituted to review the "entire democratic process." The ACN also refused to sign the results sheets of the Presidential election, but that party's protest has been half-hearted. It is Buhari's CPC that has literally been on the offensive. There is no iota of doubt whatsoever that the angry youths who have made a section of the country ungovernable believe that they are acting on behalf of the CPC. They have been chanting: "mu ke so, ba muso hanni" (It is Buhari we want, we don't want an unbeliever"). General Buhari has been quoted in the media saying that he deplores the violence, he has also spoken on BBC Hausa service, and he has issued two statements in English language to that effect. General Buhari has to do much more than that. His responses to the electoral process and his party's have been at best contradictory and mischievous.

It will be recalled that in the first week of March 2011, General Buhari advised his supporters to "lynch" anybody who tries to rig the April polls. In his words: "you should never leave polling centres until votes are counted and the winner declared and you should lynch anybody that tries to tinker with the votes." Subsequently, with his supporters having been so incited, General Buhari disclosed that he did not intend to go to court as a person, but that his party could do so, in the event of his not winning the election. In the same month of March 2011, Buhari's running mate, Pastor Tunde Bakare also allegedly declared that there would be a "wild wild North" if the elections were rigged. Buhari and Bakare were strongly criticized for this, with pointed insinuations by a group called "Coalition for Transparency and Integrity" that the CPC duo did not have the right temperament for the job that they sought. On April 16, General Buhari after voting complained about unusual aircraft movement and the distribution of ballot papers that had already been thumb-printed: "Buhari said that it was the responsibility of young people as major stakeholders to ensure that the elections were free and fair. If they allow the ruling party to mess them up, it is they who will suffer for the next 40 years." (The Punch, April 17, at page 14). There has been a lot of lynching in the North since then! Today, we also have on our hands, a "wild wild North". So, what exactly does General Buhari want? And what should he do?

I think he should place national interest above personal ambition. If indeed he does not believe in the violence that has erupted in the North, he needs to go on radio, and on television and advise his supporters to stop fighting now and to allow the next elections on April 26 to hold peacefully. He must say so pointedly, and unequivocally. This is a message he cannot afford to bury in the midst of complaints about electoral malpractices. And he must convey that message in his own voice and repeatedly in Hausa and Fulfude, the languages that the rioters are more likely to understand and appreciate. He must in doing this, enlist the support of the same emirs that his supporters are denigrating, and the imams and ulamas. Today being Friday, the sermon in all mosques in the North should be a sermon of peace, the angry youths must be told that there is nothing gained by the CPC, the North or the "believers" through the slaughtering of youth corps members and other innocent Nigerians. General Buhari is obviously a folk hero among his supporters. But he must realize that the whole of Nigeria is his heritage having served once as the Head of State of this country. He must not allow himself to end up as the man who would be remembered as the catalyst for a third implosion of the country, a possibility that is signposted by the reference in the President's speech on the crisis to the Civil war of 1967-70, and June 12, 1993. Today is Good Friday, a day that symbolizes sacrifice. The meaning of Good Friday needs not be explained to either Buhari or Bakare, except that both men are at that same crossroads where they are required to make sacrifice for their country: a sacrifice for unity, peace and stability.

I have read the statement issued by General Buhari titled "Message of Peace and Hope." There is very little about hope in that message. A speech in which the General writes off the entire election as fraudulent and Jega as insincere, and shows no sign of reconciliation with the opposition says nothing about hope, rather it says everything about the likely dangers ahead. General Buhari should realise that it is precisely this kind of attitude that led to the current crisis in Cote D'Ivoire. In the US Presidential election in 2000, Al Gore could have put his feet down over Florida: the margin between him and George Bush Jnr was so close, but in the end, he conceded defeat so America could move on. In 1979, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who commanded like Buhari, a cult-like following chose to go to court to contest the results of the Presidential election in part, his disciples insist, in order to prevent violent protest in the South West, and the occurrence of another "wild wild West phenomenon." It is such statesman-like conduct that is required from Buhari at this moment.

The Congress for Progressive Change has declared its intention to go to court. While it is doing that, the party should also help to educate its angry and violent supporters in the North about the meaning and nature of democracy. In a democracy, the minority may be right and wise, but it may lose to the majority, and once it does so, the majority is allowed to have its way. On April 16, the majority of Nigerians spoke in unison across 31 states and gave victory in the Presidential election to Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP. It is only the tribunal or the courts that can upturn that result, not the mob, relying on self-help. Clearly, voter education remains a problem in our emerging democracy. The CPC did not help matters by arguing that it approached INEC and asked that Professor Jega should not go ahead with the announcement of the Presidential election results without addressing the party's complaints. Didn't the CPC big men know that no political party has such powers to order the abortion of an electoral process mid-way?

The CPC has every right to go to court. But they should stop telling us that it is the party going to court, not General Buhari. In my view, there is no difference. The CPC is General Buhari's special purpose vehicle. He set up the party in 2010, after disagreeing with his former colleagues in the ANPP. He deserves credit for building up a new political party into a formidable force in less than ten months. In terms of performance, the CPC in fact did well, capturing 12.2 million votes. It lost the big prize due to its special handicaps: it lacked a strong structure as well as financial resources; it also adopted on a strategy that relied on Northern demographics, and third, the party failed to take advantage of the proposed merger/alliance with the ACN which could have been a game-changer in the Presidential election.

Now weeping uncontrollably before and after the election, the CPC alleges that there were malpractices in the South South and the South East and a total of 23 states across the country. The party alleges that its polling agents were chased away from collation centres and that the Excel software used by INEC was deliberately configured to sabotage the CPC. Ironically, the same CPC had earlier praised the National Assembly elections of April 9 as "free and fair." The party is talking about malpractices, but it has not said that it won the election or that Jonathan did not win. Even if the elections in the South South and the South East were cancelled, and a re-run ordered, Jonathan will still win in those states. If CPC's ambition is to defend the credibility of the process, then why is it not protesting the large turn-out of under-age voters in all the states where it won its 25% in the North?


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Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Miko posted on 04-22-2011, 12:58:29 PM
Yes Remi seems to have the solution
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
MrOneNaija posted on 04-22-2011, 12:58:47 PM

At this critical juncture, one expects key voices in the media to play a responsible leadership role instead of the kneejerk, brazenly partisan and sectarian pro-regime posturing that Abati has elected to adopt as is evident in his essay.

That Buhari has shown remarkable and exemplary leadership at all trying moments of our nation's history is not in doubt. Buhari has done the right thing by condemning in no uncertain terms the post-election violence that the country has witnessed so far. Abati and his ilk cannot say the same thing about their behaviour as journalists who should be correctly informing the nation about what has been primarily responsible for the spontaneous outbreak of violence in some parts of the country, namely, the rigging spree that Jonathan and his PDP have once again inflicted on Nigeria, just as was the case in 2003 and 2007, respectively.

If Abati is impishly expecting that Buhari and his CPC would go on the air and congratulate Jonathan and his fellow riggers in the PDP for having brought shame on us by preventing citizens from freely choosing their own representatives, he must be told that he is gravely mistaken. Abati and his brotherhood of Nigeria's local press should be castigated for woefully failing in their responsibility to offer credible reportage and analysis of the unfolding electoral process that has sadly assumed fraudulent and farcical dimensions.

Part of elite and leadership responsibility in any society is to do the decent thing by putting the common good ahead of selfish and parochial considerations. In their desperation to hang on to power, by hook or by crook, Jonathan and his associates have not only been engaging in lawless conduct against the opposition but have also impudently ignored pleas by decent citizens that their undemocratic harassment of the opposition, not to mention their evil attempt to rig the April elections, are dangerous schemes that are bound to set the country on fire. In early March this year, I wrote what can now be said to be a prophetic essay specifically warning Jonathan, his PDP mafia and his subalterns in the police, the SSS and the INEC in particular of the foolishness of their unpatriotic ways. That essay bears the title "Enough Is Enough, President Jonathan" (By Aonduna Tondu). It is available on NVS and elsewhere on the Internet.

So, instead of flippantly invoking the dubious authority of foreign entities whose stake in the Nigerian project can at best be said to be suspect, Abati and other media practitioners should diligently and transparently do their job by offering trustworthy coverage and appreciation of political happenings in our dear Naija. For now, it seems that apart from the indomitable Sahara Reporters (SR), it is the opposition that is, for obvious reasons, courageously dissecting the gargantuan disaster that Jonathan and his PDP confederacy have instigated by way of a failed presidential election. Abati and other readers should take the time and go through this important report on the ACN's stand regarding the INEC/PDP fiasco:
Presidential poll most systematically rigged, ACN says
Friday, 22 April 2011 00:00 Abbas Jimoh & Muideen Olaniyi
Daily Trust
ACN National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohammed

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described last Saturday's presidential election as the most systematically rigged in Nigeria's history, and warned against any attempt to repeat such in Tuesday's governorship/state assembly polls. ACN National Publicity Secretary Lai Mohammed said this in a statement yesterday.

However, the ACN spokesman Lai Mohammed said the PDP is planning to massively rig the state elections, especially in areas where President Goodluck Jonathan scored victories, so as to give the world the impression that the result of the presidential election was not a fluke.

\"The PDP has been boasting that it will clinch the governorship election in Lagos and elsewhere on the strength of the result of the presidential election, but we must warn strongly that a repeat of the crooked strategy that spewed out those cooked figures will have consequences that no one has yet imagined,\" he said.

Mohammed said the PDP simply stole more than enough for the owner to see during last Saturday's presidential election, forgetting that if anyone thinks he/she knows how to hide things, others also know how to find them.

He said the PDP colluded with security agents and INEC officials to ┬Ĺcook' figures which have now turned out to be their undoing, because the ┬Ĺcooking' was not intelligently carried out.

\"An analysis of the results put out by INEC has shown a troubling pattern of clear manipulation and that everywhere the PDP perceived it was strong, it came out with incredibly high numbers of voter in his favour, while, anywhere the opposition was perceived to be strong, the opposition's margin of victory was low.

He said, \"A few examples will suffice: In the South-south and South-east, where President Jonathan is believed to have strong support, the average turnout was 67% each of registered voters, compared to 32% for the South-west where he is believed to have a strong opposition. In the North-west and North-east, which is considered a bastion of opposition in the north, the average turnout of registered voters was 54%.

\"And whereas high voter turnout was recorded in states perceived to be sympathetic to President Jonathan in the different geopolitical zones (Bayelsa in South-south 85%, Imo in South-east 84%, and Plateau in North-central (62%), the opposite was the case for areas where the opposition, was believed to be strong. Even in Katsina, Buhari's hometown, the turnout was a paltry 52%! Ditto for Kano (53%); Sokoto (40%) and Zamfara (51%).

\"It is also instructive that even though Edo State is in the South-south, the turnout was only 37%, apparently since the state was not believed ┬ľ by the figure cooks ┬ľ to be sympathetic to President Jonathan, being controlled by the ACN. The turnout figures for the South-west are also revealing: Lagos (31.8%); Ogun (28%); Osun (39%) and Oyo (33%). Also, while the margin of victory for the PDP in the South-south is 98% and for the South-east 98.9%, the highest margin of victory for the CPC in the North-west, where Buhari comes from, is 55.8%.\"

He said when the ballot papers are subjected to forensic analysis, as they definitely will, the world will realise that what appeared to be free and fair election at the polling units was a mere fa├žade.

He also condemned the election observers for rushing to tell the world that the whole election process was free, fair and credible, whereas they were busy playing to the gallery in urban centres while the PDP colluded with INEC and security officials in the locality to fabricate figures that are only real in their imagination.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Patcho posted on 04-22-2011, 13:56:35 PM
The election has come and gone. We have also seen the first phase of the celebrants in the north. We await the future which will look like this:

GMB will do one of this two:

1. "If you cannot eat it, scatter it."
2. Give GEJ the signal Clinton gave Obama in their epic in-house primary which was that she cannot commit political harakiri; that she want to be respected.

Whichever GMB selects out of the 2 above will see present day Nigeria emerge better under GEJ. The choice is his to make.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Kekere ekun posted on 04-22-2011, 14:02:01 PM
\"In 1979, (Shehu) Shagari won a controversial election, there were no riots. In 1983, Shagari again won a controversial election, there were no riots. In 1999, a northern puppet was installed as president and there was no riot. In 2003, this same man was installed, there was no riot.

\"In 2007, the most bizarre, the most fraudulent election in history was conducted in Nigeria, there was no riot. But because Goodluck Jonathan comes from a place considered not fit enough to rule this country, riots and killings are going on up north.

\"Remember that in 1993, (Chief M.K.O.) Abiola won the election and some people from the north annulled it, heavens did not fall. They are burning houses of moderates in the north, who voted for the right person.
- By Asari-Dokubo


You are one of those who seem to enjoy leaving the real issue and chasing the shadows. The above quote from Asari Dokubo should refresh your memory that when the Northerners have rigged the elections, there were no attacks of foreigners in the South. The point is that this is more than just election issue. It is also about a Southerner, who is an infidel. It is also about the fact that we are very different has Remi Oyeyemi has eloquently explained to the rest of us.

Until people like you are willing to accept that Nigeria is a failed project and stop being slave drivers by supporting the independence of the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria, Nigeria will not know any peace or progress.

These are interesting times. People are singing freedom songs. From the tops of plateau in the Middlebelt to the swamps of the Ogoniland on the brink of the sea, it is not about the PDP, but freedom from subjugation and enslavement by the Northern Hausa/ Fulani cow rearers.

Get this and accept reality. Any "holier than thou" pointifications about the so called "election rigging" would not amount to anything.

If you guys do not like GEJ, you are not likely to be "helpable."

So, let go.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Kenmani posted on 04-22-2011, 15:24:40 PM
First let me start by correcting deliberate and intentional mis-representations in this article. Jonathan received 25% of votes cast in 32 States plus FCT making 33 States. The NYSC members that died in Bauchi state alone are more that 50 and the NYSC members that were killed in the North as a whole are more than 180. The total number of persons who have so far lost their lives in the crises are estimated at over 1500. These facts are in the public domain and can be easily verified. I wonder what "come and eat" paid journalist Reuben Abati is upto by denying the truth. Please be informed that this time around, no matter how much you are paid, we are not going to allow matters to be swept under the carpet as in the past. Buhari is a common criminal and a mass murderer who has committed heinous crimes against humanity. Any one making appeals to Buhari must have his head examined. Buhari should be arrested and extradited to the international court to answer for murder and other crimes against humanity.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Kenmani posted on 04-22-2011, 15:30:13 PM
Jonathan must ensure that the names and background of all NYSC members who lost their lives to Muhammadu Buhari, Tunde Bakare, Tony Momoh , Yinka Odumakin, and Buba Galadima nurtured violence are made public with their pictures attached. Their bodies must be recovered and given national burial at appropriate cemeteries in Abuja. A national public holiday must be observed on the day of their burial in Abuja.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Kenmani posted on 04-22-2011, 15:31:38 PM
Recall how Ken Sarowiwa did nothing but was unjustly murdered by Buhari and his kinsmen despite the fact that no guilt was found on him. Now Buhari has done worse and indeed guilty of heinous crimes against humanity. The mass murderer Buhari must be placed under house arrest pending his extradition to the International Court for trial and public execution for his heinous crimes and genocide against humanity. Buhari must pay dearly for all the NYSC members he brutally murdered. He would also pay dearly for the Southerners and Christians he killed before and after losing 2011 Presidential elections. His party the CPC must be proscribed but not before they have paid full compensation for properties destroyed and inconveniences caused.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Kenmani posted on 04-22-2011, 15:32:59 PM
Methinks Buhari is insane and appears mentally sick. He needs urgent medical examination of his empty but confused head. Even before the elections commenced on Saturday, Buhari started hallucinating and saying that the elections are being rigged and that an aircraft was in the air distributing tons of ballot papers in favor of PDP. It was at this point that the man should have been taken to the psychiatric hospital. Earlier in the week he broke down emotionally and wept like an abandoned baby. These were all signs that the man had become emotionally unstable because of defeat that was starring him in the face. Yet nobody came to his rescue until he authorized the brutal murder of innocent NYSC members, Southerners and Christians in the North. Buhari is not normal. If Buhari is normal he would have primarily lamented the loss of lives instead of the burning of churches.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Kenmani posted on 04-22-2011, 15:37:14 PM
Posted by Concern citizen on Apr 22 2011 @Next Online
What happened in Funtua, Katsina State is ethnic cleansing. Ibo and Yoruba ethnic groups were slaughtered like rams and their houses and business premises savagely destroyed and burnt. This particular riots in the North must not be swept under the carpet and the International community esp the ICC must come in since the Nigerian govt has failed us. This act of impunity on the part of the North must stop and must be dealt with decisively. Am a life witness of the atrocity in Funtua which is worst than any other place where riots erupted aftermath of the presidential election. Enough is enough!! The Hausas should not be condoned killing other Nigerians like goats at the slightest pretext, we are fed up with this cannibalism.
Re: For the attention of General Buhari
Crownabbey posted on 04-22-2011, 15:41:45 PM

I don't usually agree with you, but I am on this one. Seems to me the southern people of which I am one, in the quest to see Jonathan wins think it is perfectly okay to rig him which they have systematically done. Hooray to them I say!

But should we agree this is okay if this sort of thing is done by the southerners just to rob the northern people's face? I do not agree with that at all. Even moreso, Jonathan has not done a thing to justify his continuing occupation in that throne. But all will live to regret this as Pius Adesanmi has elaborated. Nigerian people scare me a lot. We just don't seem to have this thing to make wise choice to help ourselves. I do not have any hope for GEJ to make necessary decisions to effect change in the country. It will about his friends and fellow criminals and how he will protect them. Ironically, for this country to prosper, you need strong man/woman to lead and make bold initiatives not a dunce that dances to his master's song. You all will live through it.
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