President Muhammadu Buhari: Beware the Ides of March /

In 44 BC the respected Roman seer and soothsayer Spurinna warned the great Consul and ruler of the Roman Empire Julius Caesar about the "ides of March". He counselled him not to go out on that day because he had perceived that something terrible would happen. According to the Roman calender the ides of March was the 15th of March.

Caesar treated the prophecy and the warning with riducule and contempt, as is often the case with most men of power, and he chose to ignore it.

According to the Greek historian and essayist Plutarch, on the morning of March 15th, whilst on his way to the Theater at Pompei, Julius Caesar saw Spurinna again and disdainfully whispered into his ear that the ides of March had come, thereby mocking the old man and his prophecy.

The soothsayer smiled and responded by calmly saying,

"Ay Caesar, the ides of March has indeed come but it has not yet ended".

Later on that same day on his return to Rome and as he entered the great hall and hallowed chambers of the Senate, the great Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by no less than 60 of his most trusted colleagues in the Senate, including Marcus Brutus, his young protegee who hailed from a noble and respected Roman family, who he had supported all his life and who he had virtually adopted as his own son.

History records that such was the courage, strength and fortitude of Caesar that even after dozens of vicious and deep fatal stabs were inflicted all over his ageing body and even as his blood flowed all over the floor of the Senate, he still stood up proud, refusing to bend his knee, refusing to plead for his life and refusing to fall. What a man he was!

It was only after the last of the conspirators, his very own Marcus Brutus, walked up to him slowly, looked him in the eye and plunged his long and sharp dagger deep into the old mans heart that Caesar gave up, yelled in pain and whispered the famous latin words, "Et tu Brute?" meaning "and you too Brutus?"? He ended it by saying "then Caesar falls" after which he fell down and gave up the ghost.

The truth is that he died more of a broken heart as a result of the betrayal of those that he trusted and loved, like Marcus Brutus, than he did from the physical stab wounds that were inflicted on him by the other Senators and his political enemies.

When he saw, felt and suffered Brutus' betrayal and treachery he gave up hope and lost his will to continue to live.

What a royal tragedy this was! What a waste of human life and greatness! What a gruesome and complicated mess!

What a way for the most powerful man on earth of his time to end his days.

What a way for a gallant and noble son of Rome, a man of valour and a great and irresistable warrior, clothed by the Living God in magnificence, splendour and glory to go down and leave the earthly plain.

This was a valiant and courageous man who had achieved greatness and who was bestowed with awesome power and unprecedented glory by the God of Heaven and the Lord of Hosts.

This was a man who went to the British Isles, who conquered and bound their ruling spirit Brittania and who proudly proclaimed those famous latin words, "veni, vedi, vici", meaning "I came, I saw, I conquered".

This was a man who turned Egypt into a vassal state, who overwhelmed the Greeks, who conquered Europe, who mastered the Middle East, who ruled the entire civilised world and who bedded and tamed the great African Queen Cleopatra.

Yet this was also a man who was also deeply flawed: an unforgiving man who could not reign in his immeasurrable and profound sense of narcissicism, who could not control his  obsession with power and desire to dominate others and who could not shed his sense of pride, self-importance and vanity.

This was an arrogant man who listened to no-one, who took pleasure in being worshipped, who loved to be reverred, who relentlessly persecuted his enemies, who showed cruelty  to his detractors, who scorned his three wives, who had contempt for his clerics, who mocked the sacred prophecies and who defied the Living God and the Ancient of Days.

Predictably and sadly it all eventually caught up with him and, in the end, he was taken despatched from this world in the most agonising and pitiful way, wallowing in a pool of his own blood, slaughtered, not by his traditional and known enemies, but rather by his own political assocites, loved ones and erstwhile friends.

If Caesar had listened to his youngest wife, the beautiful Calpurnia, that ill-fated morning and not stepped out he would not have been murdered and Roman, nay world, history would have been very different.

If he had listened to Spurinna, the great seer and soothsayer, who the God of Heaven had used to speak to him and if he had shown humility and heeded the seer's warning about the ides of March, Caesar would have lived to finish the work that he started and to fulfil his vision.

If he had not become the victim of his own vanity and obsessions and if he had not turned from being a great and much-loved war general and hero into a beastly and dictatorial bully he would  not have turned the hearts of the Senate against all that he stood for, he would not have provoked the wrath of God and he would not have kindled and stoked the bitterness, hatred and enmity of even his most trusted loved ones and men like Marcus Brutus.

If he had not sought to destroy all his enemies with a bitter vengeance and if he had not killed, incarcerated, jailed and tortured the innocent and those that had done no wrong he would have attracted the mercies of God and the Lord would have protected him from his relentless and implacable enemies.

If he had not abused power, brought sorrow, hardship and pain to the people, played God and sought to impose his wicked will over the nation he would have lived longer and he would have died peacefully in his bed many years later as a fulfilled and happy old man.

If he had not allowed himself to be transformed  from being a great warrior and war hero who feared and honored God, who believed in justice, equity, fairness and the rule of law, who upheld the sanctity and integrity of the republic and who defended the constitution and the sacredness of the Senate into a mean-spirited, power-hungry, obsessive and brutal tyrant he would have lived for much longer.

If he had not attempted to transform himself from being an accomodating Consul and the humble leader of the Republic of Rome into a life-long dictator and all-powerful emperor who could tolerate no criticism, who would brook no opposition and who would kill, brutalise and demonise his enemies, lock up and humiliate his critics and seek to destroy the destiny and very essence of his nation, he would have lived for much longer.

If he had not used his brutal army to murder young and defenceless activists, opposition figures and protestors or his secret police to torture innocent people and lock them up all over the country without any recourse to the law or respect for their civil liberties, human rights or the courts, he would have lived for much longer.

If he had not attacked and sought to blackmail,  humiliate and intimidate the Judiciary and if he had not attempted to politicise, manipulate and corrupt the administration of justice in his nation he would have lived for much longer.

If he had not treated the opposition with disdain and contempt and if he had not sought to decimate and destroy their ranks by foul means and the dishonorable despatch, planting and deployment of a bunch of merciless, crooked and treacherous blacklegs, traitors, moles, gangsters, sabotuers and murderers in their ranks he would have lived for much longer.

I could go on and on. When men play God all manner of tragedies stalk them and they never end well. That is the lesson of history and that is what we are seeing unfolding in Nigeria today.

Persecution and the abuse of power always attracts a heavy price for those who indulge in it: this is especially so when they hate God's children and His annointed and they persecute the Church and His clerics. 

Permit me to begin the second part of this essay with a word from Dr. Shuaib Musa Zaria, who is a leading member of the Shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and who is a close confidante and associate of Sheik El Zak Zaky, the wounded and detained  leader of the Shiite Muslim community in Nigeria.

I have his permission to share his thoughts and words. On 4th March 2017 he wrote,

"Since the brutal clampdown on innocent people of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in December 2015, things went out of Buhari's hands. The economy went haywire and everything deteriorated. In December 2016 the court declared that Sheikh Zak Zaky's detention was unconstitutional and he must be set free. Rather than order for his immediate release, the court gave 45 days within which he must be released. At the time many of us felt it was an unnecessary delay. The grace period nevertheless slowly passed and elapsed on the 16th of January 2017. Now Buhari didn't comply with the court order. We reached out through well-meaning people but the tyrant would not concede. He was quoted as saying "either him or me", reference to the fact that it would be only over his dead body that Sheikh Zakzaky would be free. Now note that from the very day the grace period given by the Court elapsed, Buhari never functioned as the President again. It ended on a Monday. Even the Federal Executive Council meeting of the18th never held. He was flown out the following day, where he remained incommunicado as well. The blood of over a thousand innocent Shiite Muslim citizens that he massacred and buried in mass graves is haunting him. He will never know peace. He will never be well. Vengeance is of the Lord indeed".

This is a frightful testimony and contribution and it is indeed food for thought. One wonders what lessons can we learn from Dr. Shuaib Musa Zaria's profound insight and moving account. Surely there are many.

Again one wonders what lessons we can learn  from the story of the great Julius Caesar's pitiful end as our President is struck down by a strange, undisclosed and unidentified illness and lies incapacitated, incommunicado and indefinately in a London hospital as we approach the ides of March?

In this case it appears that it is not Marcus Brutus and the sixty treacherous Roman Senators that have plunged their knives into an ageing body but rather the angels of the Living God.

It happened to others that ruled Nigeria in the past who had a similar dictatorial disposition as President Buhari, who came from the same region, who shared the same faith and who trod the same path.

Yet sadly few will remember because few read history in Nigeria and even fewer are ready to learn from its lessons.

It also happened to Herod, Sennacherub, Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, Jezebel and countless other kings and queens in Middle Eastern and Jewish history and the Holy Bible.

The principle is simple and clear: if you touch the annointed of the Lord or His people or if you seek to thwart His plan for our nation He will either kill you immediately or He will turn you into a zombie and a walking dead. That is the awesomeness of His power: no man can stand against Him.

Today in Nigeria the Angel of Death stalks our very own tyrant like a vulture stalks rotting meat, yet despite that the demons that control his underlings, lackeys and minions refuse to relent and are still baying for the blood of the weak, the defenceless, the innocent and all those that oppose him.

I am not Spurinna: I am neither a seer nor a soothsayer. Yet today I am constrained to publicly proclaim a divinely-inspired admonition to our President and that admonition is as follows: I urge and warn him to beware the ides of March AND THEREAFTER.

I am led by the Holy Spirit of the Living God to tell him that March is a month of make or break for him.

In order to make his peace with God before going into eternity he must desist from his wickedness, he must repent of his evil, he must forgo his tyrannical ways and he must make his peace with ALL the people of Nigeria and with the God of Heaven.

He must remove all bitterness and hate from his heart and He must forgive ALL those that he believes have offended him over the last 80 years of his long and eventful life so that he too may be forgiven of his many sins by God.

He must appease the souls of his many victims and reach out to the families of those whose breadwinners, wives and children were murdered and destroyed under his watch either as a war-time military commander, military Head of State or civilian President.

He must bring to a halt the hideous ethnic cleansing and evil religious agenda that has been set in motion and that has indeed flourished ever since he came to power in 2015.

He must order the arrest, disarming, distmantling, destruction and indeed total annihilation of the bloodthirsty vampires, the demons from hell and the barbaric beasts that have come to be known as the Fulani herdsmen and the Fulani militias.

He must free himself from and permanently eschew all forms of secret association and covert ties with radical Islamist terror groups.

He must free ALL dissenters, opposition figures, political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, including Colonel Sambo Dasuki, Sheik El Zak Zaky and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

He must stop persecuting his perceived enemies and he must desist from ALL politically-motivated and baseless criminal prosecutions.

He must respect the judiciary and the legislature, he must stop intimidating the press and he must allow the opposition to flourish and operate in a free and fair atmosphere and environment.

This is an admonition and warning borne out of a genuine concern and what we Pentecostal Christians call "agape" love for a fellow human being who is facing the biggest challenge of his life.

It comes from a humble compatriot who wants nothing from the President, who has no fear of his government, who reverres and fears only the Living God, who has faith in the power of that God, who is ready to speak the truth no matter what the consequences may be and yet who views him with compassion and who considers him to be a worthy adversary.

The bitter truth is that President Muhammadu Buhari is literally fighting for his life and sadly he is surrounded by many Marcus Brutus' and dozens of treacherous political sons and daughters today.

Many of those that he loves and that are close to him are already talking about his death in hushed and whispered tones behind his back. They are already contemplating their future and their prospects in a Nigeria that is without him.

Their hidden knives are not only laced with the most potent and powerful poison but they are also very long and very sharp.

That is the disposition and mindset of the numerous Marcus Brutus' that plague and surround Buhari today as he lies on his sickbed battling the demons of infirmity.

Some of them are even hoping and praying to be appointed as the new Vice President when and if he passes on.

Others are already publicly declaring their interest in running for the Presidency in 2019 and they are quietly preparing their arsenal and  building up their war-chest for the next elections.

Their behaviour reminds me of how Alexander the Greats' generals gathered like vultures around his deathbed, squabbling over his massive estate and the vast Greek empire as he lay there helplessly dying.

Buhari's men are already sharing his political empire, his power of patronage, his properties, his chattels and his clothes amongst themselves even though they constantly make public statements pledging their support for and loyalty to him and even though they keep wishing him well before the world.

The truth is that deep down only few of them really care. What most of them are interested in is holding on to their various positions if the President returns to his job or in doing a deal with his successor and heir apparant if he does not.

These court jesters are just pretending to love him. They are operating in deceit and they are merely counting his days because they believe that those days are numbered.

They have no loyalty to President Buhari and they have no honor, integrity or decency in them. They do not love him but instead they love what he can do for them or give to them.

That is the reality of the power game, politics and life generally and it is a truism that all men of power and those that are in the corridors of power have to accept and live with whether they like it or not.

Meanwhile we are approaching the ides of March and much will happen then or soon thereafter.

I hope that the President gets well and that he returns back to Nigeria because the truth is that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo is making the job of those of us in the opposition a little more difficult because he is getting a few things right.

I pray that God touches Buhari's heart and opens his eyes to the folly of persecution and tyranny. After all he is a human being and he deserves a measure of mercy.

I pray that he receives the same level of compassion and mercy from God as he gives to others, particularly his perceived enemies.

I pray that God's counsel will stand and that Nigeria will breath again with or without him. I pray that he will not end like Julius Caesar and that the Marcus Brutus' around him do not have their way.


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