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The Muhammadu Buhari we know

AS the April 2011 elections draw near, it is apt and expedient for Nigerians to examine the various persons who are seeking to get our mandate for the next four years as President of the Federal Republic.

One of the gladiators is, of course, General Muhammadu Buhari the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) presidential candidate. Buhari has made strenuous efforts to sell himself as an anti-corruption crusader.

Aside from this, there is actually no other quotable quote on him with regards to all the multi-faceted problems plaguing the country, be it in the area of foreign policy, oil and gas, power, health, education, provision of employment and infrastructure for the country.

In fact, nobody knows where Buhari stands on the economic re-engineering of Nigeria in the 21st century. Let us even pause to consider his antecedents which should qualify him for the job he is applying to Nigerians to give him to do through their votes.

Buhari thrust himself into our consciousness when he truncated democracy by successfully staging a coup d’etat that sacked a democratically elected government of Nigeria in 1983.

His true character did not take long to manifest. Before our very eyes, the head of the government he sacked, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was declared a saint and kept under house arrest while his erstwhile Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, was declared a scoundrel and clamped into Kirikiri Maximum Security Prison without any judicial pronouncement as to his guilt.

His disdain and contempt for the judiciary did not know bounds. He took it abroad and crated Alhaji Umaru Dikko, the sacked Transport Minister, for repatriation back to the country. These are some of the attributes of someone who wants to be the President of Nigeria under a democratic setting in the 21st century.

Let us even leave his anti-corruption gaffes and pretences which led to the easy passage of 53 suitcases belonging to a sacred cow while other Nigerians’ goods were impounded and destroyed at the same airport. This was anti-corruption war indeed!

His hatred for law, order and due process even went to the extreme. Lives of young Nigerians who were caught and tried for drug offences were executed on the orders of Buhari even with decrees made to have retroactive effect. Is this the kind of leader we want in 2011 Nigeria?

How about the contempt for truth which to him is an anathema with his dreaded Decree 4 against journalists for publishing the truth? How would Buhari operate under the new Freedom of Information (FoI) Bill when passed into law? A leopard cannot change its spots so easily.

Even in the present dispensation, the crises in the CPC have laid Buhari bare and shown him for whom he truly is. Under his watch, the elective positions in his party have been up for sale to the highest bidders.

That is why we are witnessing crises and court cases in most of the states, especially up North in the CPC because the rightful winners at the primaries were denied their victories and their positions sold to the willing buyers. Democracy indeed!

Buhari has just instructed his supporters at a Kaduna rally to violate the Constitution with impunity, disobey the laws of the land and lynch anyone they consider to be rigging the forthcoming elections. Is this the kind of leader Nigerians would hand over the state powers as President and Commander-in-Chief under a democratic dispensation?

True, the Daura-born military man turned politician does not understand democracy and its tenets and therefore cannot practise it. Nigerians should be wary of the like of Col. Muammar Ghaddafi of Libya taking over the reins of governance in Nigeria. We have seen the horror taking place in Libya and would never wish it for our dear country

Mr. MARTIN NWABINELI, an architect, writes from Aba, Abia State.


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