By Femi Aribisala
MUHAMMADU BUHARI can conduct a coup and declare himself Nigeria’s head of state. But under no circumstance should Nigerians elect him as president. Nigeria is fighting a Boko Haram insurgency whose mantra is that western education is a sin. These people have kidnapped innocent young girls who dared to go to school. How then can we give our votes to Buhari, a man who cannot even be straightforward about his secondary school leaving certificate?
In Nigeria, if a university graduate does not have an NYSC certificate, he is ineligible for public employment. That is the law. Similarly, if a presidential candidate does not have a school leaving certificate, he is ineligible to stand for election as president of Nigeria.
Buhari’s missing certificate
The evidence concerning Buhari’s certificate lacuna is overwhelming. Buhari says: “I left home at the age of 10 or 11 and went to school, like I said. And I was in the boarding school for nine years. In primary school and secondary school, I was in the boarding house and from there; I went straight into the Army.”
A man should know at what age he went to school, but Buhari does not seem to know. If Buhari started school at 11 and he joined the army at the age of 19 in January, 1962; that means it took him only eight years to finish primary and secondary school. That is not feasible. It would appear that, instead of completing school, Buhari opted to join the army.
Instead of providing his certificates to INEC, as required by law, Buhari deposed in an affidavit at a High Court in Abuja that: “All my academic qualifications documents as filled in my presidential form, President APC/001/2015, are currently with the Secretary, Military Board as of the time of presenting this affidavit.”
However, the military is not a bank for keeping the certificates of its officers. Organisations require the originals for verification only, after which they are promptly returned to their owners. In this regard, it should not be forgotten that Buhari was retired from the military in 1985. That is 30 years ago.
In short, Buhari’s INEC affidavit is deceptive. If his certificates are with the military board, he should go and retrieve them. If they are lost, their loss should have been the subject of his affidavit. Whatever the case, a man with no primary or secondary school leaving certificate has no business running for president of Nigeria.
This is my final instalment of Buhari’s prescription for being a serial loser of presidential elections.
Be a questionable manager
Be the chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund under a corrupt Abacha regime. Have the Interim Management Committee (IMC) set up by President Obasanjo to wind down PTF activities discover the organisation was riddled with corruption and financial irregularities. 500 million naira of PTF money deposited in a bank disappeared; withdrawn by unidentified persons. There were contractual anomalies in excess of 800 million naira in the PTF staff housing estate.
Leave PTF with a debt-burden of over 70 billion; owed to different contractors, consultants, manufacturers and suppliers. Have PTF import expired drugs, especially with regard to 28 billion naira worth of HIV/AIDS screening and confirmation kits.
Create an “unholy business relationship” between the PTF and the Afri-Project Consortium (APC) led by Salihijo Ahmad which operated as consultants to the PTF. Ensure that the PTF did not function as a real government agency. Instead, have APC consultants virtually manage it, becoming the real PTF even though APC was a private company.
Have about 620 consultancy firms affiliated to the PTF report to the APC instead of the PTF. Give the APC sole responsibility for the issuance of PTF certificates for payment. For example, when PTF lodged 1 billion naira in the Marina, Lagos branch of Credit Lyonnais in 1995, it was APC officials who made withdrawals for the various payments. Also give APC the authority to recommend the companies that were awarded PTF contracts.
Ensure in the process that a considerable amount of PTF finances (25 billion naira) was squandered. Look the other way while your PTF subordinates cart away lorry-loads of public funds. Watch, as a principal actor in the PTF consultancy scam commit suicide when the probe into the organization was instituted for fear of being exposed. So much for your anti-corruption crusade!
Threaten the country with violence if you are not declared the winner of presidential elections. Declare in 2003 that: “We would like to emphasize that any repeat of the fraud of April 12; a fraud we have rejected in totality, will result in mass action and its consequences, which no one can today foresee.” Make similar threats during the 2011 election campaign, leading violence and the displacement of over 65,000 by your supporters in the North after you lost the election.
Have the Nigerian human rights group, the Northern Coalition for Democracy and Justice (NCDJ), file criminal charges against you before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for your alleged role in the violence that followed the 2011 presidential election.
One innocent Youth corper in the North killed wrote the following ominously on his Facebook page on 17th April, 2011, the day after the election: ““Na wao! This CPC supporters would hv (have) killed me yesterday, no see threat oooo. Even after forcing underaged voters on me they wanted me to give them the remaining ballot paper to thumb print. Thank God for the police and am happy I could stand for God and my nation.” He was killed by your supporters the day after.
Have your party, the CPC, bail 622 people accused of killing and mayhem after the 2011 election. Show no remorse for instigating the post-election violence by declaring in a statement made in Hausa in a BBC interview of 14th May, 2012 that: “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.”
Have the Deputy National Secretary of your party, Nasir El-Rufai, declare on 23rd January, 2014 that: “The next election is likely to be violent and many people are likely going to die. And the only alternative left to get power is to take it by force; this is the reality on ground.”
During the on-going campaign for the 2015 election, his supporters sent threatening text-messages to those perceived to be pro-Jonathan governors and supporters in the North warning them that if they do not stop working for Jonathan’s victory, they will be seriously dealt with. Provoke a regional backlash by having your supporters disallow Jonathan posters to be put up in the North and disallow Jonathan supporters to campaign for him in the North.
In an interview with Kaduna’s Radio Liberty in November 2012, demand that the Federal Government should stop the clampdown of Boko Haram insurgents. Insist they should be given golden handshakes and special treatment like the Niger Delta militants. Say this: “They (the Niger Delta militants) were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the north were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues. What brought this? It is injustice.”
Make a statement saying you don’t believe there is a real movement called Boko Haram. Claim instead that the federal government of Nigeria is: “the biggest Boko Haram.” When the federal government declares a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, given the activities of the insurgents in those states, come out against it. Tell rebel PDP governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso at Kano Government House in 2013 that the Boko Haram is a “strategic plan” by the government of Goodluck Jonathan to “destroy the North.” Declare, therefore, that the war of the federal government against the Boko Haram is an excuse to wage war on the North.
Be so clearly identified as an advocate of the Boko Haram that, in November 2012, Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, the second-in-command to Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in announcing a readiness to negotiate a ceasefire with the Nigerian government, names you as one of the few “trusted” Nigerians it would be ready to negotiate with.
Be unscrupulous and inhumane
Impound the passport of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and thereby deny the old man visits to his doctors at Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minnesota, USA for the years when you ruled Nigeria. Arrest Tai Solarin for being against your government and deny him medication in jail for his athsmatic condition. Arrest Chief Bisi Onabanjo while he was still on admission at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH); just three days after undergoing surgery. Send him to prison in Bauchi without trial.
Refuse to allow Ayo Oyewunmi to get medical treatment, with the result that he became blind while you jailed him and died soon after you released him. Allow Busari Adelakun to suffer the same fate. He developed chronic ulcer complications after you arrested him and was not allowed to get treatment. The ailment eventually killed him.
This is El-Rufai’s appraisal of the anomaly of having 73 year-old Buhari run again for president: “It makes sense to ask those who have been recurring decimals in our country’s sorry history to leave the stage. It is time for a new generation of leaders with new thinking and wholesome democratic attitude to move our nation forward.”
Nigerian voters should not allow themselves to be conned. Muhammadu Buhari is not presidential material. We have said this resoundingly three times in the past. We need to say it without equivocation one more time.
The last word belongs to Wole Soyinka: “In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evident suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that this is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order.”