By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu
In three previous elections Muhammadu Buhari was rejected at the polls for various reasons.? Between then and now nothing has changed in the fundamental? reasons for which he was previously rejected, the only thing that has changed is that this time some opportunistic and self serving ?politicians? most of whom decamped from the PDP have decided to work with and for Buhari as a strategy for self preservation having lost out in the PDP. Some others including the notorious ?Godfather and one of the most corrupt Nigerians; ?Asiwaju Bola Tinubu ?likewise joined the Buhari train for political calculations and agreements that would have seen him emerge as the vice presidential candidate. Unfortunately for him the strident campaign against a Muslim-Muslim ticket put paid to that ambition.
Thus much of the present Muhammadu Buhari amalgam of hypocrites is not because anything has changed in the essential attributes of Muhamadu Buhari that caused his earlier electoral rejections but because some opportunistic politicians are once again seeking a platform to serve their individual interests with the deceptive slogan of change, ironically this time with the same man they all too frequently campaigned against and rejected in the past.? We are now deafened by the drum beats of change, but this is the change that none of the defectors as governors, speaker of the house of representatives and Godfather of a whole region could deliver in their respective jurisdictions to the extent that something as basic as pipe borne water does not exist in any of their states or local governments, yet they now want to convince us that just because the name of their political party has changed they have overnight become change agents
There is no doubt that Muhamadu Buhari?s character and persona has and remains a problem for very good reasons. It is not for nothing that his handlers have been in overdrive trying to humanise him. Their efforts at making Buhari human have seen him appear in pictures with the traditional attires of various ethnic groups. He has uncharacteristically appeared in suits hi-fiving a young lad and his wife and family that were once hidden from the public in typical Taliban style have all also appeared in photo ops. They even sold the lie that one of his daughters was married to someone from Anambra state and for the second time he has picked a pastor as running mate all in the desperation to remove the chain of Islamic fundamentalism and bigotry hanging on his neck. Buhari himself has made promises of restructuring the nation in a belated attempt to calm frayed nerves that justifiably are apprehensive of his gambit for the presidency.
No president in Nigeria?s history has had to devote so much time and investment trying to be humanised as much as Muhammadu Buhari. ?The fundamental question that must now be asked is why is Buhari such an ogre that must be humanised and made presentable to the Nigerian masses? The answer is self evident in Nigeria?s past and present. Muhammadu Buhari as an individual constitutes one of the greatest fault lines that has crippled Nigeria. Not only does he come from a military constituency that has not acquitted itself in its management of Nigeria leading to a ruinous pogrom, civil war and the subsequent tyranny, tribalism, looting and misrule of Nigeria, he also comes from the North that has practically held the rest of the nation hostage, instituted all forms of internal colonialism, marginalisation, social injustice, corruption, domination (born to rule), ethno-religious conflicts and ultimately wrecked the nation. But aside from Buhari?s core constituencies that neither fostered ethnic harmony nor economic development in Nigeria what is more of note and importance are the actions and pronouncements of Muhammadu Buhari himself.
First as a military president he blatantly disregarded Nigeria?s diversity by having a North-North, Muslim-Muslim president and second in command. I need not delve into all the details of the excesses and human rights violations of his military regime with retroactive decrees that in a shameless? display of rank hypocrisy executed drug peddlers exporting drugs outside Nigeria while he himself comes from a military constituency that is notorious for drug trafficking and abuse. It is no secret that 9 out of every 10 soldiers in the Nigerian Army smoke Indian hemp. Army barracks in Nigeria is the first port of call to buy Indian hemp. Buhari himself like most Nigerian soldiers ?buys and smokes Indian hemp, but he ignored? the drug problem in his military constituency and hypocritically executed drug traffickers not minding that the Islamic nations he emulated in executing drug traffickers also executes people for trafficking Indian ?hemp drugs.? Why did he not start his drug eradication campaign from his military constituency that is infested with drug problems?? Hypocrisy and double standards?
How about the jailing of journalists under the draconian decree 4 and the jailing of politicians cleared of corruption? ?Fast forward to the late 90?s and you would think that with the passage of time and having been a military head of state and thus a statesman Buhari would have learnt some lessons and adjusted accordingly but ?how mistaken.? As soon as the Sharia campaign and Sharia riots started Buhari once again showed his true colours. Not only did he support Sharia in violation of Nigeria?s constitution he advocated that it be introduced all across Nigeria and this was even as thousands were being killed as a result of the Sharia riots. Not done, he famously gave a speech asking Muslims not to vote ?for those who cannot defend their faith.? With the emergence of terrorism and groups like Boko haram which is an offshoot of the Sharia movement enabled to a large extent by the important support it received from supposed statesmen like Buhari during the early part of the movement, his Sharia politics has not changed.
Whereas in other parts of the world leaders of all stripes unite in the face of terror attacks as we saw again recently in France, in Nigeria Buhari joined the politicisation of terrorism by tacitly supporting Boko haram; advocating amnesty for such nihilistic murderous terrorists and accusing the military of killing Boko haram members in their quest to rid the country of terrorists. Buhari has all his life played the politics of tribalism, religious fundamentalism and sectionalism. It?s no surprise given his antecedents, actions and pronouncements that he overtime acquired the image of an ogre which has necessitated the current efforts to humanise him.? Nigerians recognise in Buhari a rabid tribalist and religious fundamentalist who has no respect or regards for the nations diversity. He represents? the core North and all the negative innuendos and bad experience that goes with the born to rule system,? the oppression, the marginalisation, the injustices? and? the misrule of Northern leadership that has crippled the nation and widened her ethnic and religious divisions.
When June 12 elections was cancelled Buhari never rose above board to condemn such blatant injustice. Through all the religious riots in the North over the years Buhari?s voice was never heard condemning such criminal and barbarous acts. When his voice was needed most he has remained silent as evil triumphed in the land. His silence owes to his support of the ethnic and religious machinations of the North to which he is one of the beneficiaries.? ?For many the fear is justifiable that a Buhari presidency will herald a return to the nightmare of military rule and Northern rule with all it represents. It is one thing to physically humanise a man with photo ops and slogans, but to what extent has the man?s mind been humanised?? Buhari?s handlers have tried to humanise him with photo ops but I and so many others are not convinced that his mind which is more in need of such has been humanised.
Muhammadu Buhari is very hard to sell and except the majority of Nigerians have become intellectually disabled and lacking in common sense it is most likely going to remain so!? The change Nigeria needs has to come from genuine builders and not bigots.
Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu
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