By Douglas Anele
Glaring lopsidedness in the composition of his Supreme Military Council and citing of Petroleum Special Trust Fund projects in favour of the North, in addition to hisoverarching concern for the promotion of puritanical Islam strongly indicate that Gen.Buhari might be a sectional leader and polarising figure if he becomes President.
Personally, I detest obsessive tribalism and excessive devotion to organised religionmainly because such attitudes are the psychological foundation for the worst atrocities committed by human beings throughout history. Hence, in our globalising, knowledge-driven world, Nigerians should not vote for someone who relies mainly on religious and tribal affiliations to win votes.
During his tenure as military dictator, Gen. Buhari made a chilling error of judgement that should be of serious concern to those who naively believe he is a patriot. Whenelection for the post of Secretary-General of the defunct Organisation of African Unity came up in 1985, he rejected Peter Onu, a seasoned Nigerian diplomat who had been Acting Secretary-General since 1983, and voted for Ide Oumarou, a fellow Fulani Muslim from Niger Republic.
In all the public offices he had occupied, Gen. Buhari hardly appointed women into official positions. This is hardly surprising, given that he seems to be a conservative Muslim male. There is nothing to suggest that Buhari has changed in this regard, which implies that if he becomes President, the progress already achieved in women empowerment might be jeopardised.
Gen. Buhari was an active participant in the revenge coup of July 29, 1966. RochasOkorocha, Ogbonnaya Onu, Sam Nkire and other historically blind politicians of Igbo extraction should investigate his role in the unexplained disappearance of dozens of Igbo officers and men of the Nigerian army in Abeokuta immediately after the murder of Gen. J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi. They should also consider that Gen. Buhari has always treated Igboland as an inconsequential part of Nigeria, as minister of petroleum, military head of state, and PTF chairman. Hence, despite the shibboleths from agabtaekee APC politicians from the Southeast, voters in that geopolitical zone must think twice before voting for Buhari.
APC has been trumpeting the slogan of change. But the party is dominated by ageing conservatives many of whom stink with corruption. From all indications, Gen. Buhari has a Spartan orientation. Unfortunately, he is propped up and swamped by some of the most corrupt Nigerians to hold public office, and his jackboot approach to the problem is out of tune with the sophisticated mutations graft has undergone since 1985.
Buhari seems to ignore the implication of the fact that a significant percentage of prominent APC members are disgruntled PDP renegades who decamped for selfish reasons – such political chameleons cannot be genuine change agents. Besides, Gen. Buhari is an old wine in a new wine bottle, whereas the bulk of APC stalwarts are old wines in an old wine bottle. It is very unlikely that meaningful change can come from such an awkwardcombination.
The body language and pronouncements of APC kingpins indicate that they are desperate to capture power as an end in itself, not as a means for providing quality service to the people. As a party campaigning on the platform of change, it ought to demonstrate clear departure from the usual mode of doing politics, from business as usual to business unusual. Unfortunately, for Gen. Buhari and his supporters, the forthcoming presidential election is a war.
The retired general threatened, in a manner reminiscent of the hideous ISIS terrorists, that “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon will be soaked in blood.” Indeed, Buhari is not alone in exhibiting a do-or-die attitude to the forthcoming elections, especially when a Northerner is contesting against a Southerner.
Junaid Mohammed, Isa Kaita, and Ango Abdullahi also threatened violence unless a Northerner wins the election. But must a Northerner rule Nigeria for there to be peace and progress in the country? Why are some members of the ruling elite in the North too fixated about the presidency to the extent of making incendiary remarks at this time in blissful forgetfulness of the lessons of history?
Perhaps they still believe in thepernicious born-to-rule mythology invented by Ahmadu Bello and reiterated in 1992 by Maitama Sule. Whatever might be the cause of that fixation, however, I know that the warlike mentality of some Northern APC kingpins concerning the next presidential election is completely unnecessary; it vindicates those who argue that the North, using some elements in the Southwest as props, wants to reoccupy Aso Rock at all cost. APC is too desperate to rule, and it would be a fatal error if Nigerians allow the party to produce the next President.
Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, who was silent when warmongers from the North were threatening “fire and brimstone” if a Northerner fails to win and when President Jonathan’s campaign convoy was attacked in Taraba, Katsina and Bauchi states, has suddenly found his voice. Penultimate week, he demanded the arrest of Asari Dokubo for threatening war if President Jonathan loses.
Now, the 1999 constitution guarantees freedom of expression for every Nigerian, including Dokubo and Gen. Danjuma, the latter facetiously described as a statesman by journalists ignorant of Danjuma’s antecedents as a soldier who actively participated in the July 29, 1966 coup and the civil war. Anyway, is Gen. Danjuma really deserving of that description, considering his alleged complicity in the murder of Gen. J.T.U. Aguiyi-Ironsi, brutality against Biafrans during the civil war and obsessive pro-North stance on issues of national interest? I do not think so.
Gen. Danjuma is operating a double standard in his condemnation of Dokubo. For him, it is acceptable for Buhari, Abdullahi and Kaita to threaten bloodshed if the elections fail to produce a Northern President, whereas a non-Northerner who issues the same threat should be sanctioned.
Therefore, in Danjuma’s biased political calculus, there is nothing wrong for Buharimaniacs to insult, ridicule and attack the campaign team of the President of Nigeria, just because Jonathan is not the preferred candidate of a powerful section of the Northern oligarchy. Of course, Asari Dokubo’s vituperations about what would happen in the unlikely event that Buhari wins are hasty, unwarranted and silly. All the same, it is clear several hard-core members of the Northern ruling cabal still believe strongly that Nigeria exists just to minister to their bulimic interests and that the suffering masses in the North will perpetually remain yoked to their position as expendable cannon fodder in times of crisis. Thankfully, things are gradually changing; more than ever before Northern youths are getting better educated. In the near future, they would rise up in unison toreject the antiquated feudalistic-theocratic system that has kept them in existential bondage for decades.
To be continued