Quite often, humans lie to themselves but even more often, they push their own lie to the point where they forget it’s a lie and start believing it’s the truth.
Such is exactly the situation with some Nigerians who voted the current President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 but are now regaling the world with tales of how the lanky ex-soldier disappointed them after securing their votes. The people peddling this narrative sound so believable to the point that one would be forgiven to think Buhari was such an excellent achiever with a good track record but suddenly changed after being voted in as President in 2015
Truth is, Buhari didn’t change. He has always been who he has always been: “A specialist in failure” (apologies to Jose Mourinho).
There is absolutely nothing the President is doing today in office that he didn’t do during his short stint as head of state between 1983-85 or show clear sign of doing in the run up to the 2011 and 2015 general elections. Talk about ethno-religious bigotry, nepotism, lack of respect for due process and democratic processes and procedures, lack of respect for human lives, love for terrorists who are of his religion and region, a culture of turning a blind eye to corruption when the perpetrators are his friends, cluelessness and general lack of capacity to perform etc. But in fairness to him, he has always been quite transparent about who he is. It is the people who supported him that invented so any lies, myths and legends just to sell him. So any adult Nigerian who claim not to know that Buhari would turn out this way is lying to him/herself because there was absolutely nothing about the President either in 1984-85 or before 2011-2015 Poll to suggest to any reasonable fellow that this man was qualified to head even a village umunna (kinsmen) meeting.
Let’s look at a few of Buhari’s 1984-85 and pre-2011 and 2015 records:
December 31st, 1983, he (Buhari) demonstrated his disdain for democracy and due process when he overthrew the first democratically elected government headed by the late Shehu Shagari and Alex Ekwueme. By that singular act of treason against the Nigerian people, Buhari set the country backward. During that same period, he ‘won’ a ‘World Championship’ in ethno-relogious bigotry when he locked the vice President late Ekwueme -an Igbo Christian – in Kirikiri prison while President Shagari, a Fulani Muslim like himself, he kept in a comfortable government apartment in the name of house arrest. TODAY, HAS HE DISAPPOINTED IN THE ETHNO-RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY DEPARTMENT?
As head of state, Buhari enacted the atrocious “Decree 4” which meant journalists could be jailed for running a story he (Buhari) considered embarrassing to his government EVEN IF THE STORY WAS TRUE. Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor were jailed under this decree.
The worst level of hardship, gross human right violations and recession were recorded under him back then. I believe there are people who lived through that period who are still alive today and can testify to this.
Even with that loaded gun and a suspended constitution (absolute power) plus the gift of young age, Buhari failed woefully. Anyone who can name just one VERIFIABLE ACHIEVEMENT to his name will get an instant cash transfer of 50,000 from me. Just one achievement, not two.
So those who are accusing him of disappointing them, on what grounds did they base their expectations that made them believe he has now disappointed them? What exactly did Buhari do that made reasonable people think he was capable of transforming a 2015 Nigeria?
Even while he was begging us for vote and at a time the Boko Haram Islamist terrorist group was bombing Nigerians, Buhari publicly defended the terrorist group and described any attack on them as an attack on the North. WHY SHOULD ANYONE NOW FEEL DISAPPOINTED THAT THE SAME BUHARI HAS TODAY EMPOWERED RATHER THAN DEGRADED THE SAME BOKO HARAM WITH OUR SOLDIERS BEING KILLED IN THEIR THOUSAND BY THE TERRORISTS AND BURIED IN MASS GRAVES BY THE ARMY according to Wall Street Journal?
Was it not the same Buhari who stormed govt house Ibadan October 13th 2010 with Arewa Consultative Forum members to ask the then governor of Oyo state, Lam Adesina of blessed memory “Why Are Your People Killing My People?” His people being the Fulani herdsmen locked in violent confrontation with indigenous Oyo people whom Buhari referred to as Adesina’s people? So why should anyone suddenly start expecting Buhari to see all Nigerians as one as against “my people versus the other people?” Why should anyone feel disappointed that the same Buhari is today providing “his people” (the herdsmen) with state-sponsored impunity to slaughter other Nigerians and disposses them of their ancestral land????
The same Buhari, long before becoming President, publicly declared that his Childhood friend and former boss, late Sani Abacha under whom he served, didn’t steal a dime of Nigerian money even when he’s today receiving billions of these looted monies. SURELY, YOU DON’T NEED A CERTAIN CHARLES OGBU TO TELL YOU THAT A MAN WHO NOT ONLY SERVED A CERTIFIED CROOK LIKE ABACHA BUT PUBLICLY DEFENDED HIM MUST BE HEAVILY CORRUPT HIMSELF AND NOT CAPABLE OF FIGHTING CORRUPTION?? So why the surprise that he is dining and wining with corrupt individuals and even defending and raising the hands of the Gandujes of this world??
In 2011, after contesting and losing the election, Buhari instigated his minions into killing thousands of innocent Nigerians including youth corps members. Even when the then government of Jonathan pleaded with him to just issue a public statement condemning the post election violence which would have been understood by his minions as a “cease fire” order, Buhari refused. And that was an election he contested under the platform of a little known now defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which had only one state governor then (ex-governor Tanko Al-makura of Nasarawa). How is it a disappointment that the same Buhari is busy today picking his teeth and showing us the photo while millions are being killed by terrorists, bandits and kidnappers some of whom are being clearly aided by the Army he commands as evidenced in Taraba incident of 6th August 2019 where soldiers murdered policemen just to help an arrested kidnap kingpin escape and the criminal act publicly defended by the Nigerian Army through its spokesman?? Was it not Buhari who put our name in the Guinness book of record as an international kidnapper when he tried abducting Umaru Dikko from the UK?
So I ask again, ex-Buharists who continue to accuse Buhari of disappointing them, how exactly did the President disappoint you kwanu?? How? I’m asking because my memory is getting quite rusty so it’s possible I forgot.
It’s not like he (Buhari) was such an Orator that one could plead being swept off feet by his powerful speech during the campaign. He didn’t even take part in the debate which means you can’t claim his response to National issues during the debate made you think he could perform. Even ordinary to improve himself all through the over 3 decades he was out of power, Buhari didn’t. So you can’t really say you were fooled by his academic qualification. He established no business aside his cows which is more like a tradition as a Fulani man. So you cannot say his business ingenuity made you think he would provide jobs for Nigerians. He wrote no book, delivered no lecture and made absolutely no contribution to the society. All he did was wait for four years, come out to contest, loss the election, instigate his minions to spill blood in post election violence, cry, go home and wait for another four years.
So again, I ask, what qualities did Buhari exhibit either in 1984-85 or during any of his presidential campaign that could have convinced anyone he was capable of leading a 21st century multi-ethnic and multi-religious and cultural State like ours and how exactly has he deviated from those qualities that justifies those who supported him in 2015 and even in 2019 to suddenly start accusing him of disappointing them?
Charles Ogbu (twitter @RealCharlesOgbu)