By Emeka Obasi
Professor Yemi Osinbajo will as usual continue in his strides as Vice President with loyalty as password. He is also a pastor who reads about miracles, from Canaan in Galilee to Samaria. I see in President Muhammadu Buhari a good Samaritan.
I am not a prophet but somehow, visions come into my head. I also do not dream dreams like Joseph. Something tells me that Buhari may yet reveal everything about him. The president really belongs to nobody and is for everyone as well.
It has been interesting trying to unearth Mr. President. His second coming has been tough on many of us. Many of those who hailed him as Messiah in 2015 are no more regular guests anywhere around Abuja. They speak from different parts of the country, some in tongues.
In my research, I found out that Buhari is the best team player among all Nigerian leaders with military background. He turned out to be first among equals and not as dictatorial as some of his colleagues. This Daura man loves to delegate responsibilities.
Buhari remains the only military leader who did not promote himself and even promoted others to his rank. He was a Major General all through, from December 31, 1983 to August 27, 1985. And there was no such thought of elevation.
Tunde Idiagbon was appointed Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters as a Brigadier. Augustus Aikhomu became Chief of Naval Staff wearing the rank of Commodore. They became Two – Star generals, same rank as the Head – of – State.
And you may not believe it, some state governors were like Buhari, wearing the rank of Major General. Muhammadu Jega was governor of Gongola State, Abubakar Waziri was sent to Borno. Even Sani Abacha, announcer of the coup, was rewarded with the rank of Major General.
Lt. Col Yakubu Gowon became Major General about a year after assuming office, promoting himself above his seniors like Adeyinka Adebayo and David Ejoor. All of his governors were at least, three ranks below him. One of them, Alfred Diette Spiff was a subaltern, in Army lingo.
Murtala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdusalam Abubakar moved up to General. Abacha was already a general before taking over in 1993 and was the only Four- Star general in his time.
Buhari had one deputy, Idiagbon and he was an Army officer. The others either had more than one or preferred far junior or naval officers. Murtala’s tenure was so short. Abacha chose Oladipo Diya, a soldier but by 1997, the office was vacant as the Number Two stayed in detention.
Gowon began with Emmanuel Ekpo but later settled for Joseph Wey, of the Navy. Obasanjo overlooked two Colonels from the North – West and chose Lt. Col Shehu Yar’adua. Babangida moved from Ebitu Ukiwe to Aikhomu. Abdusalam went for Mike Akhigbe.
Buhari allowed Idiagbon a free hand and Babangida also commanded much space as Chief of Army Staff. Dodan Barracks was not all about one overbearing black beret. In the Buhari years, the Beret Boys were in charge, black, green or red.
Loyalty was all Buhari demanded and he got it from Idiagbon. It was therefore little surprise that when the Ilorin made died, many years after service, PMB was all tears. Today, one of the powerful personalities at Aso Villa is Tunde Sabiu, named after Idiagbon.
When a delegation from Idiagbon’s Kwara State visited in 2018, Buhari was blunt.” You do not have to be in uniform to be loyal. What I said long ago in 1984, is still valid today,” the president told them.
There was one secret police officer, Israel Njemanze, from Owerri. Buhari neither forgot no forsook him. Many did not even know that Mr. President was spending time in Owere Nchise. Njemanze had warned him of the Babangida coup in 1985.
Dr. Chuba Okadigbo once ran as Buhari’s number two. The man died supporting Sai Baba. That means a lot to the man who chose him but lost and is today president. The Chairman of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) Board is Senator Majorie Okadigbo.
Lauretta Onochie is a die hard Buharist. Flog her, mob her, the woman can die for the president. She is Igbo, from Delta in the Southern part of the country. You cannot stop this woman, rejected by the voice of the people as an Independent National Electoral Commission stakeholder. Lauretta has become the Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
Osinbajo is on my radar right now. The Buhari you think you know, may just surprise everyone including the Vice President. It is possible, not out of this world. The president could just retire from government in February 2023, after overseeing a free, fair, credible presidential poll and crown the Ikenne professor.
Osinbajo’s reward for loyalty could be president of Nigeria, for three good months. Buhari loves to share responsibility. And he tries to be different from others. That thing you think is too difficult for 100 politicians, the president will just sort it out.
This same Buhari crowned Chief Moshood Abiola, even in death, when three presidents before him shied away from that landmark recognition. Buhari is not supposed to be understood until you study his ways. He may not score 100 percent as a leader but he sure knows how to reward loyalty. I am a dreamer. Osinbajo is calm.
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