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May 18, 2024

Leah Sharibu In Buhari’s Dreams, by Emmanuel Aziken

Leah Sharibu In Buhari’s Dreams, by Emmanuel Aziken

Miss Leah Sharibu turned 21 three days ago in the custody of Boko Haram insurgents six years after the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in one of its most infamous acts abandoned her in the hands of the savage insurgents.

She was one of 110 students of the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, who were abducted on February 19, 2018, by Boko Haram terrorists. It was a group that the Buhari government scandalously claimed to have degraded and technically defeated.

However, after reigning in majesty over the Nigerian state for eight years, it is no brainer that Buhari left Nigeria in a worse state in respect of insecurity than he met the nation.

For many of us in the media who saw Buhari as an answer to the insecurity that had engulfed some sections of Nigeria in 2015, it turned into regret that a former general became clueless and where not, an enabler through his actions that helped to fester the reign of banditry.

Though now in retirement, Buhari comes to mind over his lack of empathy to a brutalized nation that suffered much in the face of his incompetent handling of the affairs of the state, particularly insecurity.

Nothing demonstrates this sad story about Buhari than the remembrance of Leah Sharibu who is the archetype of the misnomer that was the fight against insurgency for eight years.

Sharibu was held back by Boko Haram for her failure to convert to Islam from her Christian faith. Remarkably, Buhari’s negotiators who forged the agreement that led to the release of the other school girls in their desperation for a deal to avoid the Chibok School Girls fiasco that dogged President Goodluck Jonathan, simply pulled back.

108 girls were eventually released, one reportedly died on account of the incident and Sharibu was held back on account of her steadfast faith in Jesus, The Christ.

Many Nigerian Christians have sounded the Buhari regime’s abandonment of Citizen Leah Sharibu as a reflection of the much-trumped religious bigotry of the former president.

However, enablers like Chief (Pastor) Femi Adesina have in the past severally attempted without much success to erase that sored section of the legacy of the former president.

What is clear to your correspondent is that the perception of President Buhari’s damage to Nigeria is not limited to religious boundaries. Indeed, it took a long time for many Nigerian Muslims to realise that Buhari indeed may have caused equal damage to Muslims and his one-time zealot support base as with any other sub-strata of the polity.

That fact is reflected in the fact that whereas his daughter could mobilize a presidential jet to fulfill a photography assignment from her United Kingdom university, many Sai Buhari youngsters tormented by insurgents around the North relocated to the South turning to Okada ridding and other menial jobs.

As he ended his tour of duty it became clear to all that Buhari’s attitude towards the Leah Sharibu narrative was not just religious, but borne out of lack of capacity.

Leah Sharibu became a phenomenon because of the combination of her stellar faith and the sheer bravado of the insurgents packing 110 students. That they were secreted within Nigerian territory outside the reach of our multi-billion dollar defence and intelligence infrastructure is a sheer wonder.

Many other victims of the damage to Nigeria by Buhari and the Nigerian state abound both Christian and Muslim. About 90 students and teachers of Federal Government College, Yauri, many of them Muslims were also kidnapped in 2021 and some of them remained in custody until the last days of Buhari’s government.

So by no means, Ms Sharibu was not just the only victim. But she was a symbol by way of the religious circumstances around her abduction which the government of the day did not bother to address.

The complete lack of empathy on the side of Buhari towards the victims of his failures beggars belief.

There is no recorded instance of Buhari or the mother of the nation as his wife, Mrs Aisha Buhari was so addressed, reaching out to the parents of Leah Sharibu.

Whereas Buhari liked to be addressed as Commander-In-Chief he simply forgot that he was also the Consoler-In-Chief who should be forthcoming in healing our wounds when his government fails to protect as it severally failed to.

If Leah Sharibu and the many other Nigerians damaged by the insecurity that festered under his watch do not appear to him in his day visions, it simply means that we brought forward the wrong man as president in 2015.  

Some would say that Buhari is no longer in command, but it does not remove the fact that he compounded the situation he met. That is the reason that President Bola Tinubu should learn from the negative legacy that he inherited.

We expect Senator Oluremi Tinubu to advance her projects towards also building and repairing the lives of many Nigerians who have been left traumatized by the brutish escapades of terrorists who are running rings around the nation.

We expect more empathy towards the populace and certainly do not want the repeat of a Leah Sharibu in their stewardship.

President Tinubu should consider it a challenge to his authority that large swathes of Nigerian territory remain outside the reach of his government. It is a pity that Miss Leah Sharibu and many other Nigerians are today being held in captivity not outside Nigeria, but within Nigerian territory.

That is the misnomer that Tinubu should address and burnish a positive legacy for himself.