By Femi Arbisala
NOTHING better encapsulates the pathetic nature of the current re-branding of Muhammadu Buhari than his sudden appearance in a black western suit; something that has not happened before. This window-dressing just won’t cut it. Given his sectarian antecedents, Buhari will be hard-pressed to convince anyone that he is western in any way, shape or form. Indeed, in this era of rampant Islamic fundamentalism and insurgency, a Buhari presidency would close the doors of many Western interests to Nigeria in our hour of need.
Here are further precepts from the Buhari School of how to be a serial loser of presidential elections.
Renege on your promises: Make a solemn pledge to Nigerians, after losing the presidential election by over 10 million votes, saying: “This campaign is the third and last one for me. I will not offer myself again for election into the office of president.” Break this pledge without batting an eyelid.
Be a ‘Northern’champion
When some Fulani herdsmen who slaughtered Yoruba farmers were killed in return, lead a northern delegation all the way from Daura in Katsina State to Ibadan in Oyo State to complain. Confront the governor of Oyo State, Lam Adesina, as an advocate for the rights of murderous Fulani herdsmen whose cattle graze on Yoruba farmland and destroy their crops.
Show the people of Nigeria that, in spite of the fact that you were a former Head of State of the entire country, as far as you are concerned, your people are the Fulanis. Ask the governor: “Why are your people killing my people?” Also show that you firmly believe Fulanis have an inalienable right to encroach on the land of others, thousands of miles away from home. Be openly rebuked by Governor Adesina for pandering to narrow ethnic interests.
Be the darling of a small coterie of “born to rule” hawks who believe the presidency is the birthright of the North; such as Ango Abdullahi, Lawal Kaita and Junaid Mohammed. Refuse to dissociate yourself from those who believe the national patrimony is the personal booty of select Northern politicians bent on feeding fat on the nation. Allow them to make you “the candidate of the North” even though you are seeking to be elected president of Nigeria. Allow them to fool you into believing a Northerner can become president on a platform that sees the South as a colony of the North.
Be unacceptable to people outside your region. Run for election as president of Nigeria but hardly campaign in the South. Hold the foolish belief that victory in the North is all you need. As a result, out of 38 million votes cast in the 2011 presidential election, win a measly 391,922 votes (1.031%) from all the states in the entire South put together.
Believe you can make up for this in 2015 by making a political neophyte and Christian pastor, Yemi Osinbajo, as your vice-presidential running-mate; even though this gambit failed woefully in 2011 when you chose an even better-known pastor, Tunde Bakare, as your running-mate.
Attend the Lagos Thanksgiving Service in 2015 and say: “Religion must never be used to divide or oppress others or gain unfair advantage. All my life, I have always held the belief that all Nigerians must be free to worship God according to their beliefs.” Fool yourself into believing that Christians have forgotten that you are the same man who said in 2003: “Muslims should only vote those who will promote Islam. We are more than the Christians if you add our Muslim brothers in the West.”
Be against the national projects
Take brazenly sectional stances on policies clearly designed to advance national economic development. For example, call on Northern politicians to oppose the national identity card scheme on the grounds that it would be disadvantageous to the North. Attempt to blackmail them by warning that, if they don’t oppose the scheme, they would be guilty of betraying the confidence the people of the North reposed in them.
Declare unabashedly to Nigerians that you know the real population of the North off-head. Say: “I warned Northern politicians then, who were supposed to protect the interest and integrity of Northerners, not to accept the national identity card project because our tradition in the North showed that we know the death and the birth record of our people. In every ward, we know those who have reached the age of paying taxes.”
Reveal that you decided to sabotage the national identity card scheme when you were military head of state because you saw it as a means of marginalizing the North by showing it does not have a larger population than the South. Show that you are more concerned about perpetuating the myth of Northern population supremacy than in promoting national economic growth by determining the true population of Nigeria.
Discriminate in favour of the North
As military head of state, prosecute an anti-corruption campaign that allowed core North politicians to go scot-free, while jailing many innocent ones from the South.
Let Nigerians know that as president, you would discriminate unabashedly in favour of your homestead by allocating a disproportionate amount of the resources of the country, which largely emanate from the Southern part of the country, to the North. As chairman of the PTF under the corrupt Abacha government, spend over 70% of the funds in your native North, even though the overwhelming proportion of PTF funds came from the South, which consumes over 70% of the refined petroleum products in the country.
Prompt the Yoruba cultural organization, Afenifere, to make a submission to the Human Rights Violations Investigation Commission (HRVIC) led by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa that nothing else typifies the marginalisation of the Yoruba in particular and Southern Nigeria in general in the affairs of Nigeria than the lopsidedness of the projects carried out by the PTF under your chairmanship.
Ensure, for example, that 13,870 kilometres of the road building and rehabilitation projects of the PTF, representing 76%, are carried out in the North. On the other hand, carry out 4,440 kilometres of road projects, representing only 24%, in the entire South. Out of this figure, allocate 10.5% to the South-West and only 13.5% to the South-East and the South-South combined; in spite of the fact that the latter geopolitical zones are bedeviled by gully erosion and swamps.
Allocate 74.7% of all PTF educational rehabilitation projects to the North, with your native North-West obtaining the lion share of 34.8%. Allocate 80% of all health sector projects to the North, with your native North-West obtaining the lion share of 55.3%. Allocate 85.3% of all food supply projects to the North, with your native North-West receiving the lion share of 60.54%.
Impede southern economic development
Derail the Lagos Metroline project, designed to address the perennial problem of traffic jams and gridlock in Nigeria’s then capital city and financial centre out of lack of vision and foresight, as well as contempt for Southern economic growth and development. Refuse to guarantee a loan of $100 million that the Lagos State government needed for the project. Waste thereby close to $80 million of the money of Lagos taxpayers and investors already expended on the project.
Fail to apologise to Lagosians for this faux pas, even though those currently bankrolling your presidential campaign are relying largely on the resources of Lagos State. Still expect Lagosians to vote for you on the assumption that they have forgotten, or do not know, what you did.
Have the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Nasir El’Rufai, give this verdict about your chances: “General Buhari has remained perpetually unelectable because his record as military head of state, and afterwards, is a warning that many Nigerians have wisely heeded. His insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus are already well-known.”
Be perennially anti-democracy
Fail to see the contradiction of a coup-plotter becoming an elected president. Would you have a moral right to object to being overthrown by a military coup? Be unable to be part of a political party that does not implode and end up with a short shelf-life. See parties strictly as instruments for actualizing your personal political ambitions.
Sacrifice and humiliate five South-Eastern presidential aspirants on the altar of your presidential ambitions in 2003. Manipulate them out of the race for the ANPP presidential candidate. Fool yourself into believing that making an Igbo man, Chuba Okadigbo, as your running-mate would atone for this. In spite of this antecedence of blatant manipulation of the democratic process to suit your purposes, believe you can still climb a moral high horse to pontificate about the need for free and fair elections to Nigerians.
Get revisionist journalists to tell the lie that you were not part of the military coup that overthrew the democratic government in 1983, but were only invited afterwards. However, in 1982, you called ominously on Nigerian soldiers to start reading the Nigerian Constitution because of a future role they might be called upon to perform.
While you were the G.O.C. 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army in Jos, a soldier told the then Governor of Plateau State, Solomon Lar, that you were planning a military coup. Governor Lar, in turn, reported you to President Shehu Shagari, who invited you to Lagos for questioning. Although you denied the allegations, you did, indeed, soon participate in a coup and overthrew the government.
Later on, justify your act of treason by saying hypocritically: “Nigerian politicians have no one to blame but themselves when they find themselves out in the cold. They are their own worst enemies. They have little commitment to democracy beyond Election Day. As I said elsewhere, many Nigerian politicians are not true democrats; they are democrats of convenience- extolling the virtues of democracy when they campaign, that’s the rule of the jungle with the added burden of having to vote for it. Conversely, when they lose, politicians refuse to accept the verdicts and invite the military to return.” This statement has become a self-indictment because, since you became a turncoat democrat, you have refused to accept the verdicts of every election you have lost.
(TO BE CONCLUDED NEXT WEEK).