Prelude: The problem with dictatorship is that it usually lacks the capacity and patience to understand the meaning of the rule of law and due process. Both doctrines are often slow and therefore require patience. Dictators don’t have patience; they want it here, now and by any means necessary.
In 1984, Mohammadu Buhari overthrew the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari. It is true that every coup plotter is guilty of breaching the Nigerian constitution and shooting his way into power. But arguably, unlike Ibrahim Babangida that overthrew a military junta, Buhari’s offense was more egregious because he overthrew a democratically elected government – an expression of the collective will of Nigerians.
In his false feeling of importance, Buhari has always believed in his messianic mission. He thinks that he knows it all, and that, unlike any other Nigerian, he knows what is best for Nigeria. His twisted sense of superiority and inordinate craving for power found expression in his 1984 coup and his subsequent, repeated run for the presidency. Before he finally won in 2015, he had been defeated in three earlier presidential elections.
On his third defeat, he broke down and wept in public, an action that would have ended his political career if he were an American politician. Politicians hardly weep in America. To me, that unrestrained public effusion of tears signified his utter desperation for power. His frequent threats to Nigerians were also indicative of his excessive hunger for power. After he lost the 2011 presidential election, he made his threats; vowing to make Nigeria ungovernable. And true to his word, he attempted to make Nigeria ungovernable.
Through his Boko Haram connection, he unleashed terror on Nigeria. Some say that if Buhari had no relationship with Boko Haram, why did the terrorist group nominate him as one of its negotiators? And before the 2015 election, he threatened to spill blood and cause mayhem if he loses the election. Unfortunately, in 2015, Nigerians buckled under Buhari’s threats and shenanigans, and elected a dictator-president.
It is obvious that successive military regimes contributed immensely to our societal woes: the erosion of our moral standards and the perversion of our values. By overthrowing the Shagari government, Buhari truncated a nascent democracy, retarded our democratic evolution and contributed to the problems military rule visited on Nigeria. Ironically, the same problems the military dictators created for Nigerians are the very ones Buhari is promising to fix. Leadership is not, and can never be by force.
The Chinese economy is expanding and will soon overtake
the American economy as the world’s largest economy. The
government of Goodluck Jonathan was awarding billion dollar
contracts to Chinese companies. This piqued the Americans.
So, they embarked on what they do best: regime change.
Buhari, Nigerians say, remains uninformed. Before the elections Nigerians raised a lot of doubts that he even has a West African School Certificate (WASC). But even without this basic academic qualification, he didn’t seem to have the urge to improve himself over the years. So, that when elected president, he would be better prepared to serve the country. Sadly, dictatorship means force and that’s all you need to get things done.
His fixation was on grabbing the presidency at all cost. He sounds as though he does not have the finesse to relate smoothly with the other branches of government. He has never displayed any intellectual capacity in governance in the past thoughtless of delivering a lecture, as presidents sometimes do, to the academia, professional associations, etc. In his ignorance and obscurantism, he is blind to the heterogeneity of this country.
No wonder, he once advocated making Sharia the supreme law of Nigeria. During his first coming to power in 1984, he pretty much ruled by proxy via Idiagbon. This time around there is ample evidence that he is going to govern through El Rufai and co. Is it then not a bit surprising that Nigerians voted for a dictator in 2015? In my viewpoint this implicates a major drawback for Nigeria, politically and otherwise.
Were Nigerians browbeaten by his threat to unleash violence and wreak havoc if he is not elected? Having, with our votes, dignified a man that shoved aside a democratically elected government and seized power, what message are we sending to young, coup-thirsty military officers? Are we not telling them that it is alright to plot and execute coups? Evidently, we are a country of cowards. Have we, out of fear that Nigeria might break up if Buhari does not win, rewarded him for his coup and extra judicial killings?
Oh, the Americans supported him? Yes, Obama did. Secretly, he sent his former Chief of Staff, and renowned political strategist, David Axelrod, to Nigeria to work for the All Progressive Congress (APC). Obama’s support for Buhari was motivated simply by American economic interests. Africa is the new frontier and Nigeria is a major player in this emerging frontier. The former president, Goodluck Jonathan, was in bed with the Chinese.
The Chinese economy is expanding and will soon overtake the American economy as the world’s largest economy. The government of Goodluck Jonathan was awarding billion dollar contracts to Chinese companies. This piqued the Americans. So, they embarked on what they do best: regime change.
They approached their cousins, our former colonial masters, the British, to find out how to deal with Nigeria. Piece of cake! The Brits told them: the road to Nigeria must pass through the North; we did so when we colonized them. So, Obama went through the North. Buhari, thrice trounced in his quest to be president, was available, ready and willing.
So, Obama’s secret agent in Nigeria, David Axelrod, from his vast repertoire of political intrigues, came up with the CHANGE slogan for APC and projected Buhari, the dictator as a reformer. For their strategic interests, the Obama administration tried something similar in Israel but failed. It supported an opposition candidate against the incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. But with Israel being a more sophisticated democracy, and the Israelis, gutsy, they were not swayed by the Obama administration’s political stratagem.
The Americans are always prone to installing dictators that will later turn against them, and instead of serving American self-seeking interests, subvert them. There is evidence of these American installed Frankenstein monsters in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, etc. With time, Buhari may prove another Frankenstein monster.
Lloyd Ukwu, Esquire, writes from Washington, D.C., USA.