August 23, 2023

Dismantling of Muhammadu Buhari, By Ochereome Nnanna

Dismantling of Muhammadu Buhari, By Ochereome Nnanna

Ex-President Muhammadu Buhari

I HAVE just published a book on Amazon titled: Buhari: Tinubu – How They Snatched and Shared Power. It has not yet been formally unveiled, but it will be, very soon. It is an analytical reportage and documentation of the politics and intrigues (which spanned over 30 years) that produced the dethronement of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and emergence of Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Ahmed Tinubu as presidents. 

When you read this book, you will not be surprised at what is happening to the relationship between President Tinubu and his predecessor and political ally, Buhari. Even before he launched his presidential campaign last year, Tinubu promised to continue Buhari’s legacies. Is he doing so now? On the contrary, Tinubu is dismantling Buhari’s heritage.

About three weeks ago, an event that escaped the eyes of the public, including the media, took place in Daura, Buhari’s adopted hometown. Respected US-based Nigerian columnist and academic, Prof. Farooq Kperogi, once wrote that Buhari’s father, Adamu Bafallaje, hailed from Niger Republic while his mother, Zulaihat, was from Borno. So, Daura is not Buhari’s ancestral hometown. But he has done it and its people extremely well with his occupation of the highest offices of Nigeria.

So, on August 4, 2023, the wife of President Tinubu, Elder/Senator Remi Tinubu, led a posse of women on a queer visit to the retired General in Daura. 

Her mission there? To see how Buhari was settling down after coming down from the presidency! The joke was not lost on the ex-president. When puzzled journalists asked him Remi Tinubu’s purpose of visit, Buhari said with a dry tone: “She said she came to see how I was settling down. I told her I am settling down very well, thank you”. You know Remi, now. She actually carried “beef” to Buhari’s door mouth in his village! Why are you surprised? You saw how she rough-necked with Senator Dino Melaye on the Senate plenum. You also saw how she told a hapless Igbo folk on the streets of Lagos, and on camera: “We don’t trust you Igbos. Igbos in Lagos must marry our (Yoruba) girls so that our women will inherit their properties”. Something along that drift.

Remi Tinubu is a tigress and very protective of her precious husband. If you are a chicken, don’t walk close to the Jagaban or you become Remi’s dinner. While her husband was enduring Buhari’s heavy-handed presidency and treating Tinubu (the main man who made him president) with disdain, a peeved Remi Tinubu could not hide her feelings. She went to TVC’s popular all-ladies discussion forum, “Your View”, anchored by Morayo Afolabi, and vented her feelings on February 20, 2018. She complained that Buhari had dumped them after they helped him into power. She even said despite her husband’s continued strong devotion to Buhari, she would not campaign for him in 2019.

If you know this background to the Daura visit, you will have no choice but to conclude that our feisty First Lady actually mounted a presidential jet and went to her husband’s “unfaithful” partner to tell him with body language: “You see now; we are in, and you are out!” My book documents the intense infighting between Buhari and Tinubu when the former tried to impose at least two different candidates as his preferred successor. This effort failed. Tinubu outwitted Buhari, and with his bottomless pocket, brought the Northern APC Governors and other party big shots behind him. Buhari lost control and Tinubu emerged. Buhari had no choice but to turn around and help Tinubu across the finish line with the full powers of the state.

Now sitting pretty in Aso Villa, Tinubu is tearing down Buhari’s legacies piece by piece. Did you hear what Idris Malagi, the new Information and Culture Minister, said after being sworn-in on Monday? “We won’t lie to Nigerians to defend government”.

He wasn’t even subtle in distancing himself from the perceived reckless propaganda style of Lai Mohammed, his predecessor. New FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, vowed to “restore” the Abuja masterplan, meaning that it was violated under past regimes, particularly under Buhari who kept incompetent Mohammed Bello (nicknamed “Kindergarten Minister) in office for eight years. Bello laboured hard to turn Abuja into a quasi-Islamic city. Wike will return it to a proper Federal Capital. Of that I am sure. Tinubu’s appointment of Wike as FCT Minister is a deliberate statement that Abuja is for all Nigerians, not only for the Muslim North.

Again, Tinubu can’t wait to lead ECOWAS to invade Buhari’s father’s country to “restore democracy”. How does Baba Yusuf feel about this after playing Father Christmas with our borrowed funds to gratify his father’s country? See what Tinubu is doing to Abdulrasheed Bawa and Godwin Emefiele, especially the latter who faithfully implemented the naira policy ordered by Buhari, seemingly against Tinubu’s political interests. Look at how he immediately (and patriotically, if I may add) deployed the armed forces against the bandits and armed herdsmen terrorists. Buhari had protected them because of ethnic and religious affinities. More are on the way. By the time Tinubu is done, there will be little to identify his government as a regime linked to that of Buhari and the APC.

The only real continuation is Buhari’s ethnic nepotism and lack of regard to the Federal Character principle in Section 14(3) of Constitution which directs the equitable sharing of top government offices. Tinubu has favoured his kinsmen and women in terms of quantity and quality in the allocation of positions of power. Usually, when you cheat, someone loses. Tinubu and Buhari are on the same page: ensuring that the South-East is the loser because they lost in the South-East. Tinubu fails to learn the lessons of the Buhari era, which is that cheating causes trouble. 

Anyhow, for Buhari, it is a case of “Gone Too Soon”.