2015: Danger looms, warns Bolaji Akinyemi
By Jide Ajani
LAGOS — Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Chairman, 2014 National Conference, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, has alerted Nigerians to grave dangers ahead of the February 2015 general elections, insisting that some Nigerians are bent on dragging the country down the path of disintegration.
Buhari and Jonathan
Indeed, Akinyemi, who sent a letter dated December 16, 2014, to the two presidential candidates for next year’s election (President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of the All Progressives Congress, APC), went down memory lane, pointing out that the conditions precedent before the post election violence of 2011 appear to be child’s play when compared with the already over-charged political atmosphere of the present times.
Whereas Akinyemi suggested a way out of the looming doom, the erudite professor was quick to note that he had observed something similar just before the 2011 election and the violence to follow, but also lamented that his noble intervention was totally ignored, many Nigerians were to be killed in the violence that followed the presidential election.
Akinyemi’s letter reads:
“Shortly after his appointment as National Security Adviser, General Andrew Azazi, at his own request, met with me in my office in Lagos to discuss the state of the nation. It was on the eve of the 2011 elections. I told the General that I was not worried about the conduct of the elections or about the outcome which I expected President Jonathan to win.
“What really worried me, I told the General, was the management of the violence that would ensue after the elections. I was sure that there would be violence on a massive scale and I made some suggestions to him about how I thought the violence could be contained.
“My suggestions were not acted upon. The elections occurred, President Jonathan won and all hell broke loose. Missing were the conflict-controlled measures which I had discussed with General Azazi.
“Now we are back at the same crossroads again, except this time is more precarious and dangerous than the last time.
“Firstly, we have this very notorious prediction from United States semi-official sources that the world is expecting a cataclysmic meltdown of the Nigerian nation come 2015. Of course, most Nigerians have taken umbrage at this prediction for their country. But there are Nigerians who are indifferent to the outcome of this prediction.
“One of my low moments during the just concluded 2014 National Conference was when in an attempt to break an impasse, I painted a grim picture of devastation which would follow a breakdown of the Nigerian state, to which a delegate between 45 and 55 years old replied: ‘So what?’
“I thought to myself, here is a man who would probably run away to a neighbouring country at the boom of the first gun but was callously indifferent to the fate of the youths, women and children who would be caught in the middle.
“Secondly, the certainty of violence after the 2015 elections is higher than it was in 2011. If President Jonathan wins, the North would erupt into violence as it did in 2011. If General Buhari wins, the Niger Delta will erupt into violence. I don’t believe that we need rocket science to make this prediction.
“The violence of 2015 is going to be horrendous and worse than the one of 2011 for the simple reason that the illegal, massive importation of weapons into the country has reached such alarming proportions that I really wonder which is better armed, the militias on one hand or the official armed forces on the other hand.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I am not imputing the illegal importation of arms to any particular zone. Some years ago, some Iranians were arrested for bringing in a shipload of weapons into Lagos harbour. They were tried and jailed and then smuggled out of the country.
“Some months ago, sophisticated weapons were discovered buried in the basement of a Kano house. All these have now fallen below the radar. These are the ones we know about. How many do we not know about?
“There are states and movements out there, African and non-African, which do not mean well for the Nigerian state, which wish Nigeria to dissolve into a theatre of bloodshed, gore and instability.
“They will succeed if we continue the politics of making enemies of ourselves and friends of our enemies.
“The first step forward is for the two Presidential candidates to meet and sign a Memorandum of Undertaking that will commit both to:
lA civil and peaceful campaign, devoid of threats.
lA commitment to preach peaceful elections to their supporters.
lA commitment to control their supporters after the elections. Supporters of whoever loses should be entitled to peaceful protests but not to violent protests.
“I also appeal to the following:
- lThe Sultan, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III
- lThe Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi II
- lThe Lamido of Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Barkindo Mustapha
- lThe Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade
- lThe Oba of Benin, OmoN’oba Erediauwa
- lChief Emeka Anyaoku
- lPastor Ayo Oritsejafor
- lPastor Enoch Adeboye
- lHis Excellency, General Yakubu Gowon
- lHis Excellency General Abubakar Abdulsalami to facilitate the pre-election meeting between the candidates, the preparation of the Memorandum of Undertaking and as a Council of Wisemen to assist in managing the post-election conflicts.
Former Nigerian Foreign Minister and Deputy Chairman, 2014 National Conference.”
Source: Vanguard, 22nd December 2014.
Buhari’ll bring back dictatorship –Mu’azu
FROM TAIWO AMODU, ABUJA
National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu has cautioned Nigerians against voting for the APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming general elections.
The PDP national chairman in a statement expressed concern that Buhari’s presidency would throw Nigeria back to the dark days of military dictatorship. According to Muazu, “There are many reasons why Nigeria must not return to a quasi military dictatorship led by a warlord whose democratic credentials are suspect.
“It is also important to know that the power of the President is awesome and if you give it to a man who is not coolheaded leader like President Jonathan, he will certainly throw the country into chaos at any time.”
Mu’azu who extolled the qualities of President Jonathan, said the president, “is a tested and trusted democrat who is well experienced in running democratically elected government having been elected as a deputy governor, governor, vice president and now president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The statement further read in part: “General Buhari is the product of military dictatorship that cannot operate in a free country,” stating that he is unlike President Jonathan who at all times favours dialogue and persuasion which are the hallmark of democratic governance.”
Mu’azu continued, “We don’t want a combative presidency, which would be busy witch-hunting perceived enemies for trumped charges, then jail them for 200 years. If you read his acceptance speech you will note the language employed showed that direction his government will focus. The choice before Nigerians in 2015 is quite clear. Do you want a transforming leadership or a retrogressive return to a quasi-military dictatorship clad in democratic toga or do you want an environment of human right abuses where people live in fear? Yet it is supposed to be democratic setting.”
“All the gains of the past years will be lost when autocratic regime that General Buhari is known for takes over power in Nigeria,” explaining that this is the choice Nigerians will have to make in the February 2015 Presidential election.
Mu’azu who advised Nigerians to be careful before casting their votes said, “ what is needed is a giant leap into democratic governance and not the return of the ‘jack boot’ era of military in politics of the ‘kill and go’ era of the past.
Buhari is no alternative to Jonathan - Soyinka
“He (Jonathan) is the first President without any ties to the military mafia. All his children are in schools here in Nigeria. You cannot come across a skyscraper in any corner of Nigeria and people will tell you it belongs to him; even a seven storey building. I strongly believe that GEJ is a phenomenal change from before and if we cannot find a better, young alternative, then we must remain with him until we can groom someone better. This is no time to go back to the military mafia and go back to our vomit" - Prof. Wole Soyinka
“Buhari had always said he wanted a running mate that would contribute to his success at the election. Objections to Tinubu is understandable and I agree with the objections: Tinubu is a bad product to sell to the generality of South-West and to Nigerians in general.” – Atty. Ayo Ojutalayo
Re: A Dialogue With Nigeria: “any leader who attains to political prominence through the instrumentality of dividing and polarizing the peoples of Nigeria should never be rewarded with the presidency of this country” - Akin Osuntokun Dec. 19, 2014
“I’ve said the same thing several times, but like the mindless religious fanatics that they are, adherents of the Buhari cult are impervious to reason and common sense on such a straightforward issue”. - Nafata Bamaguje
Well, we already have a counterfeit, Can we do any worse or better by a substitution, perhaps a lesser evil? - Gbenga Ogunsakin
“In a multi-religious country like Nigeria, whose very existence is threatened by invidious ethno-sectarian schisms, how can a politician who aspires to be president not have the common sense to steer clear of divisive religious politicking? - Nafata Bamaguje.
"I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping across Nigeria." - Rtd. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in Kaduna at a seminar organized by the Supreme Council of Sharia August 2001;
“One area I am in accord with general Buhari is that he is not a fundamentalist.” - Gbenga Ogunsakin (Buhari: Fundamentalist orDemagogue?
“On that note, Akin Osuntokun's article may not amount to more than A good article, a jolly intellectual trip...from the Aristophanes throve of fancies...but we crave for something more than that at this moment, something desperately expedient.” - Gbenga Ogunsakin
“Rewarding an Islamist rabble rouser like Buhari with the presidency, sets a very dangerous precedent that threatens the nation. Islamists like him who refuse to keep their religion to themselves, gave us Boko Haram”. - Nafata Bamaguje
“otherwise we may just go over and never have the Reviewer's chance again. We need a hard copy solution right now, not a beautiful diatribe. We don tire joo”. - Gbenga Ogunsakin
"Sharia should be introduced in full across Nigeria." - Rtd. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in Kaduna at a seminar organized by the Supreme Council of Sharia August 2001;
“If he (Buhari) lacks obvious common sense on such a simple straightforward issue, he cannot be trusted to deal with the more complex challenges facing the nation, including the corruption, which he is hyped as the panacea”. - Nafata Bamaguje
“the main reason there was a coup during Shagari regime, was to save the Throne given by Allah to the Fulani…… Buhari is a Fulani who is now using what is called Al Taqiyya to "conquer" Nigeria” - Afis
“On the other hand punishing Buhari for his irresponsible unstatesman rants and posturing, discourages others who might want to thread a similar path”. - Nafata Bamaguje
“Buhari’s hyped anti-corruption credentials are just not worth the existential threat to the nation he and his divisive ilk portend”. - Nafata Bamaguje
“Afis: Do you know any minds that are not tribally biased? APC wanted an Hausa presidential candidate and they got one. APC wanted a Yoruba VP candidate and they got one. APC wanted some zombies to turn in to APC their states' monies, and they got them. Tribal bias painted all over. And I am, Ezeana Igirigi Achusim, Odi-Isaa, Nwa Dim Orioha. - Ezeana Igirigi Achusim
"Even as the dense and solid rock cannot be stirred by wind and storm; Even so the wise cannot be moved by voice of blame or voice of praise". - 'The Way Of Purity', In the Books of Bhudha.
"Ya Kpotuba! A. A. Madu
Buhari’s candidacy a fatal error – Okupe
By Charles Kumolu & Dapo Akinrefon
LAGOS — SENIOR Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe, has described the election of a former Head of State, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (retd), as presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a fatal error.
Okupe who dismissed Buhari’s electoral potentials during a courtesy visit to Vanguard’s corporate headquarters in Lagos, also dismissed criticisms against the administration’s capacity to uphold the nation’s territorial integrity.
He also urged the press to stop counting the number of days the militant Islamist Boko Haram group has held on to the more than 200 secondary school girls from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.
VISIT: Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin during a visit to Vanguard Media Ltd, Apapa, Lagos, yesterday. Photo: Diran Oshe.
Okupe in the same vein blasted Buhari for not making much money in his life, saying that repeated reference to the former head of state as a poor man was not a morale-boosting virtue for younger Nigerians. He said a man who failed to make much out of life should not be enthroned with the nation’s collective destiny.
Buhari’s choice a fatal error
His words: ‘’The choice of APC or their decision to elect Buhari as their standard bearer, is a fatal error. I have been in this game for nearly 30 years or more. I understand this game of politics very well. Buhari is not a winner, has never won, and will not win; and it is for a reason that he has never won.
“The question you need to ask yourself and what APC should have asked themselves is: Why Buhari? The calculation is that Buhari came with 12 million votes on the strength of his showing in the last election. Now, if you can deliver the entire South-West, that is another 20 million votes, and other platforms, you add it and he is going to win.
“Politic is not mathematics. Yes, Buhari had 12 million votes. The Bola Tinubus of this world, in the course of showing their capabilities, have been bruised; they do not control the South-West and that is very clear. In actual fact, because they have a lot of money, Buhari should have dumped them long ago because they cannot deliver.
“At the beginning of this year, maybe the calculation was still clear that they would deliver South-West. Today in the South-West, Ondo is not in the basket, Ekiti is not in the basket, Osun State is neither here nor there and I am saying that authoritatively.
“Omisore may still be the governor of Osun but even if he does not become the governor of Osun State, we have seen the results of election in Osun State. If that is something to go by, it is topsy-turvy.’
“In Lagos State, just as they (APC) are clamouring for change at the national level, people at the grassroots are saying they are fed up of the nonsensical things that APC has been doing in the state.
“So, the point I am trying to make is that theoretical calculations may be what has misled them into taking that decision, but it is unfortunate and regrettable, and it is a fatal error.
Buhari is a non-issue
“Buhari, to me, is a non-issue. Buhari has only two things going for him. He has not improved himself since he left office; he has not added any value, personally to himself or to any political tendencies that he represents. He is a religious bigot and there is nothing he can do about that. He is not even a nationalist. Some few days ago, some people came out to say that Buhari is the northern candidate. So, who is the southern candidate?
“Buhari is trying to make poverty a virtue, but poverty is not a virtue. The fact that Buhari has left office for so long and he says he is so poor, is nothing to celebrate, it is indolence and shameful. Is that a role model? Is that who you will want your children to be, a poor man? Indolence is not something we should celebrate. If a man like Buhari at his age says he is a poor person, that is too bad and it is also a deceit. That is not integrity.”
On Chibok girls
On the Chibok girls, Okupe said: “That is a very touchy issue, it is a very lamentable situation and an issue of profound national tragedy. It is not an issue of finding or when are we finding the girls. The media has got on the wrong side of it.
“The real issue is that we are in a war situation and at the beginning, I am not sure that everybody accepted that situation. Some people are waging a very serious war against Nigeria, nothing is worse than war. When you are in a war situation, anything happens. Murder, cold blooded murder, wanton destruction of property, kidnapping, raping, you can name it. Even the best armies in the world commit such terrible atrocities. It is recorded in history.
“So, a war situation is a bad situation, that is why I said that it is not about finding the girls alone. When you are in a war situation, all the things I have said can happen. The misfortune we have is that we had these girls taken away violently and it is extremely painful.
We must stop counting
“When you have over 200 hostages, it is bad business. The hostages are not kept in one place, which makes it more profound. So, do not let us go into the sentimentality of when government will bring the girls back. We are in a war situation, it is a very dicey circumstance but when you are talking of safety of lives, you cannot put tenure to what you must endure, to save a life and that is why we must stop counting.
“It is unnecessary, it does not help us, it does not help the girls. If it helps anybody, it encourages the insurgents and I don’t think that is the intention of anybody anywhere.
“If all these months and days, Boko Haram has not killed the girls and there is no information that the girls have been killed, it means there is a reason they are holding them and they have not killed them.
“We are not going to encourage them or create a situation where the girls are going to be killed. That was why the government took a lot of effort and took the bait when Chad offered an olive branch, unfortunately, nothing came out of it.
“That shows you that government is caring, this government, even at the risk of its reputation, is willing to go and do anything possible to release the girls but we are in a war situation.”
Source: Vanguard, 16th December 2014.
My Manifesto and Vision for Nigeria, by Muhammadu Buhari
Securing our Nation, prospering our People, To Change Politics and Governance, Security and Conflict Resolution, The Economy and Infrastructure Base, The Society and Human Capital Development, The Environment
MY COMMITMENT TO NIGERIA
1. Every country has its ‘lost generation’. Some were stolen away by war, some by economic downturns, and some by governments. Nigeria is perhaps the only country stolen by a cabal of political Mafias, merely for power, money, leisure and privilege. When the British administrators lowered the Union Jack in Lagos on October 1, 1960, Nigeria was Africa’s greatest hope. Its pool of talent mass of fertile land, and its newly discovered oil wealth, promised economic transformation and the role of leading the then independent African nations and those who were still struggling for freedom, under different forms of colonialism, to eventually lead the African Continent, onto the global stage.
2. Now, over fifty years of independence and despite our vast wealth – abundant natural and human resources, at home and abroad, we as a nation continue to struggle with the most basic needs (food, shelter, water, security sanitation, and electricity, etc). As a nation, we are paralyzed by wide spread poverty, endemic institutionalised corruption; high levels of unemployment; a near total collapse of our educational system and facilities, collapse and decaying health and ineffective social services systems, chaotic transportation and communications systems; and other basic but essential infrastructure; less than adequate institutions of government at all levels, resulting to break down of law and order, institutionalized insecurity to life and property; and weak, fragile and unstable economy, with non-functional financial institutions, etc.
3. Today, hospitals and universities are struggling with obsolete skills of by-gone centuries; insurgency controls large chunks of the Nigerian territories, kidnapping is now a profession and a cottage industry. For the little and common man and women who helped build this nation, things have never been so bad for these fellows. But for the corrupt politicians and big moneys bags, things have never been better.
4. Many Nigerians have completely lost faith in the country’s ability to govern itself. Nigerians have fundamentally, lost faith in the leaders at the helm of the nation’s affairs. The lack of confidence in the system and its leaders, erodes democratic principles thus further jeopardizing the country’s future.
5. Nigerians of goodwill, are angered by failures of corrupt and poor leadership. They are frustrated by economic policies that did not deliver on its promises. Nigerians are therefore impatient and want to regain their lost rights. Nigerians are worn out by conflicts, all over the country. Nigerians are now striving for a fresh start. This start must come from a new team, new ideas, that are committed to the promotion of acceptable and sustainable reforms. The mood now in Nigeria is changing as people begin to speak out more confidently against corruption, human rights abuses, and are not afraid to criticize and critique the unpopular policies of government. Throughout Nigeria there is ongoing debate on what is critical to the future of the country: CHANGE! POSITIVE CHANGE!!
6. What is certain in Nigeria today is that the ebtire country is in need of being fixed. The truth of the matter is that Nigeria today has all the indices for both success and failure. Skewing the role of the State towards serving special interests, dividing its citizens along ethnic and religious lines, trapping whole generations into avoidable poverty through educating the young with basically, no skill, etc., are all attempt to perpetually one set of corrupt leaders in power, forever, these are the indices of a failed state. However, assuming the will to power, by this other Nigeria, to remove the incompetent, corrupt leaders, with no progressive ideals, is the success side. The making of this competent team has become more urgent and imperative, but this can only be achieved through resilience and courage. I, Muhammadu Buhari have now come for the rescue. This is success by design. It will overcome our failure by design matrix.
7. The challenge, and choice facing all Nigerians at home and abroad is whether Nigerians have enough will and courage to unite, and resolve to radically move the nation forward –not looking backward to practices of a failed past, but building bridges to the positive fatherhood, motherhood, brother and sisterhood of the future! Again, my teaming supports are already leading the way to this possibility.
8. As a nation and the Sub Saharan Africa’s leading energy producer, we had in the past squandered the opportunity to build functional infrastructure to better the lives of the average Nigerian. We can no longer afford this luxury of inactivity. We must revive our public and private sectors in order to provide functional services and secure the good of the individual Nigerian and his or her family.
We are here commited to Change Nigeria:
December 10, 2014 is our Primaries Day. February 2015 will bring be our Presidential elections. As you know, the general trust level of politics, politicians and political leaders, is at an all time low. One may ask why? And we can as well understand why! After years of broken promises, hyper-corruption, the feeling that politicians have become too remote from the people, etc., it is no wonder that Nigerians have completely lost faith in the country’s ability to govern itself not just because of the problems facing the country, but the lack of faith in the present set of leaders at the helm of affairs.
The challenge, facing all of us as Nigerians is whether there is enough will and courage amongst us as citizens to unite, commit and resolve to radically reform, modernise and move the nation forward.
I, Muhammadu Buhari have resolved that the task ahead of me is that of Securing our Nation and Prospering our people –not looking backward to the failed policies and promises of the past. As I noted before, it is no longer a question of choice but that of the will and courage.
This document sets out our side of the bargain: the things I as your future president, want to do to change Nigeria for the better. I will however warn you all: I cannot do this alone. Each one of you and I must work together to get our economy on the right track, mend our broken lives, infrastructure, institutions, and the overall society. You must help me to reform our rotten political system, by getting involved, taking responsibility, and working together as a team.
I, Muhammadu Buhari believe that our politity, is broken. Our nation is in urgent need of a fundamental political reform. This requires honesty, integrity and forthrightness in order to improve governance, so as to make it transparent and accountable to the all Nigerian. Make me your Presidential candidate in both the Primaries and the Presidential elections.
THIS IS HOW I, WITH YOUR HELP, WILL FIX IT:
Politics and Governance
On Politics and Governance:
I, Muhammadu Buhari, believe that our politics is broken. Our nation urgently needs fundamental political reform and improvement in governance more transparency and accountable. If you nominate me in December, 2014 and elect me in February 2015, my administration will:
1. Initiate action to amend the Nigerian Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties, and responsibilities to states in order to entrench true Federalism and the Federal spirit;
2. Strengthen INEC to reduce, if possible, eliminate electoral malpractices in Nigerian’s political life;
3. Attract the best and brightest of our sons and daughters into our politics and public service by aggressive recruitment of private sector people, academics, and professionals within Nigeria and in the Diaspora through internships, fellowships, executive appointments, and special nomination to contest elective offices;
4. Prevent the abuse and misuse of Executive, Legislative and Public offices, through greater accountability, transparency, strict, and implementable anti-corruption laws, through strengthening and sanitising the EFCC and ICPC as independent entities;
5. Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases;
6. Restructure governance for a leaner, more efficient, and adequately compensated public service sector, while promoting effective participation of the private sector for more robust job creation programmes to employ the teaming youth.;
7. Require full disclosure in media outlets, of all government contracts over N100m prior to award and during implementation at regular intervals;
8. Reform and Strengthen the Justice System for efficient administration and dispensation of justice with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism and similar cases of national importance;
9. Fully enforce the Freedom of Information Act l so that government held data sets can be requested and used by the public and then such data sets be publish on regular basis;
10. Amend the Constitution to require Local governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data, and items of spending over N10M.
Security and Conflict Resolution
On National Security and Defence:
I will urgently secure the territorial integrity of the nation. I will never leave the defence of the nation in the hands of Hunters, Children, and Civilian JTF through the following:
1. Urgently address capacity building mechanisms of law enforcement agents in terms of quantity and quality as this is critical in safeguarding the sanctity of lives and property;
2. Establish a well trained, adequately equipped and goals driven Serious Crime Squad to combat insurgencies, kidnapping, armed robbery, ethno-religious and communal clashes, nationwide;
3. Consult and amend the Constitution to enable States and Local Governments to create city, Local government and State Policing systems, base on the resources available at each levels, to address the peculiar needs of each community. I will therefore work with the National Assembly to set and revised, when needed, boundaries of operations, for Federal, State, and Local government policing units, through new Criminal Justice legislation to replace the Criminal Code, the Penal Code and the Police Act.
4. I will push for more robust support in the Security and Economic stability of the West-African sub-region and African Continent as a whole. I will seek and maintain close and frank relationship with ALL of West Africa; Special relationship with South Africa and its Sub-region; UK, USA, Canada, EU, Asia, and the Middle East .
ON CONFLICT RESOLUTION, NATIONAL UNITY, AND SOCIAL HARMONY:
1. Establish a Conflict Resolution Commission to help prevent, mitigate, and resolve civil conflicts within the polity;
2. Bring permanent peace and solution to the insurgency issues in the North-East; the Niger Delta; and other conflict prone states and areas such as Plateau, Benue, Bauchi, Borno, Abia, Taraba, Yobe, and Kaduna in order to engender national unity and social harmony;
3. Initiate policies to ensure that Nigerians are free to live and work in any part of the country by removing state of origin, tribe, ethnic and religious affiliations from documentation requirements in our identification of citizens and replace these with State of Residence and fashion out the appropriate minimal qualification for obtaining such a state of residency, nation-wide.
On Foreign Policy:
1. Make regional integration a priority within ECOWAS including free trade with a view to ensuring that common tariff currency are in use by the end of my term in office, under Nigeria’s guidance and leadership, base on the size of its market force;
2. Maintain a strong, close and frank relationship within the Gulf of Guinea, the Commonwealth, South Africa and the rest of the world.
3. Establish a special relationship with the leading emerging markets like Brazil; Russia, India and China (BRIC) and other strategic partners around the world.
The Economy & Infrastructure Base
On the Economy:
1. Maintain sound Micro and macro-economic policy environment, and run an efficient government and preserve the independence of the Central Bank;
2. Restore financial confidence in the citizens and the world, by putting in place a more robust monitoring, supervising, and regulating of the financial institutions;
3. Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging at least 10-12% annually
4. As at 1999, Nigerian rate of unemployment stood at about 8%, today it is estimated from official statistics to be close to 30%. I will embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition scheme for graduates along with the creation of Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 5 million new jobs by 2019. A Small and Medium Enterprises Development Commission will be created for this purpose. I will also encourage State Governments to focus on employment creation, by matching everyone job created in the same state.
5. Integrate the informal economy into the mainstream and prioritize the full implementation of the National Identification Scheme to generate the relevant data;
6. Expand domestic demand and will undertake associated public works programmes to achieve this goal;
7. Embark on export and production diversification including investment in infrastructure; promote manufacturing, through Agro Based industries; and expand and promote sub-regional trade through ECOWAS and AU;
8. Make Information Technology, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Entertainment key drivers of our economy, by reviewing the present reward system, which is based on certification, to that based on skills, competencies, and performances;
9. Balance the Nigerian economy across regions by the creation of 6 Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAs) to act as sub-regional hubs in order to promote healthy regional competitiveness;
Put in place a N300bn Regional Growth Fund with an average of N50bn in each geo-political region; to be managed by the REDAs, to encourage private sector enterprise and to support places currently reliant on only on the public sector, to migrate to a private sector reality;
Amend the Constitution and the
10. Land Use Act to create freehold/leasehold interests in land along with matching grants for states to create a nationwide electronic land title register on a state by state basis;
11. Create an additional middle-class of at least 4 million new home owners by 2019 by enacting a national mortgage single digit interest rates for purchase of owner occupier houses as well as review the collateral qualification to make funding for home ownership easier, with a 15 to 30 year mortgage terms. This will equally help our banking system migrate from short to long term perspective of their role in sustaining the economy.
12. Create a Social Welfare Program of at least Five Thousand Naira (N5000) that will cater for the 25 million poorest and most vulnerable citizens upon the demonstration of children’s enrolment in school and evidence of immunisation to help promote family stability.
13. Provide allowances to the discharged but unemployed Youth Corps members for Twelve (12) months while in the skills and entrepreneurial development programmes.
1. Modernize the sector and change Nigeria from being a country of self-subsistence farmers to that of a medium/large scale farming nation/producer;
2. Create a nationwide food inspectorate division with a view to improving nutrition and eliminating food-borne hazards
3. Inject sufficient funds to the Agricultural sector to create more agro-allied jobs by way of loans at nominal interest rates for capital investment on medium and commercial scale cash crops;
4. Guarantee a minimum price for all cash crops and facilitate storage of agricultural products to overcome seasonal shortages of selected food crops.
5. Move the nation to an all year round small, medium, and commercial farming through a coordinated integrative irrigation of our existing dams as well as creation of more dam to collect the over flooding waters, nationwide.
6. Revive our Agricultural Research Institutes that are in a state of comatose;
7. Review and strengthened Veterinary practices nationwide.
1. Review the Public Private Partnership (PPP) enabling environment with a view to addressing the legal, regulatory and operational bottlenecks, challenging the effective administration of the system, by introducing enabling legislation. In addition, I will create a National Infrastructural Development Bank to provide loans at nominal interest rates, exclusively for this sector;
2. Generate, transmit and distribute electricity on a 24/7 basis whilst simultaneously ensuring the development of sustainable/renewable energy, by 2019.
3. Embark on a National Infrastructural Development Programme as a Public Private Partnership that will
(a) ensure 5,000km of Superhighway including service trunks and
(b) building of up to 6,800km of modern railway completed by 2019;
4. Enact new legal and regulatory frameworks to establish independent regulation and incentives to accelerate public and private sector investment in seaports, railways, and inland waterways;
5. Embark on PPP schemes that will ensure every one of the 36 states has one functional airport, with all 21st Century safety tools for effective commercial air travel.
On the Oil and Gas Industry:
1. Revive and reactivate our minimally performing Refineries to optimum capacity;
2. Make the industry and Nigeria one of the world leading/cutting edge centres for clean oil and gas technology; also producing leading world Oil and Gas technologist, scientists, and owing mega structure installations, drilling, processing, and production facilities and engineers. These facilities and scientists will be supported with the best services and research facilities.
3. Fully develop the sector’s capacity to absorb more of the nation’s new graduate in the labour market. The sector will be funded to produce more home-grown, but world class engineers, scientists, technologist, etc.;
4. Modernise the NNPC and make it the national energy champion. I will consider breaking it up into more efficient, commercially driven units; and may strip it of its regulatory powers, so as to enable it tap into international capital market;
5. Enforce the government master plan for oil companies to end flaring that pollutes the air and damages the communities and people’s health and ensure that they sell at least half of their gas produced within Nigeria;
6. Speedily pass the much-delayed Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and ensure that local content issues are fully addressed
7. Make Nigeria the world’s leading exporter of LNG through the creation of strategic partnerships.
The Society & Human Capital Development
1. Fully review provisions of the Universal Basic Education Act with emphasis on gender equity in primary, secondary school enrolment whilst improving the quality and substance of our schools, through outcome based education, that address the individual, family, and societal roles in education; and the associative skills and competencies that go with these responsibilities;
2. Targeting up to 20% of our annual budget for this critical sector whilst making substantial investments in training quality teachers at all levels of the educational system;
3. Implement a performance based education, predicated on outcomes, skills, and competences as against the current certificate based qualification. I will adjust the reward system accordingly too. This way, exams malpractice and certificate forgery will be resolved once and for all. Young men and women interested in real liberal arts education, based on a true understanding of scientific, the humanistic, and the social sciences will fill our classrooms to be prepared for future leadership of the nation;
4. Enhance teacher training and improve the competence of teachers in the light of the 21st Century and beyond understanding of the learner types, intelligence types, as the multiple assessment types, in order to open up learning for all our children types. The era of one student type will give way to an all learner type for our children and young people as well as adults who want to return to the classroom to sharpen their skills, competencies, and sensibilities. This re-engineering of our education will be followed with a clearly thought out and vigorous national inspection programmes;
5. Make learning experiences more meaningful for children as the nation’s education will no longer be a preparation for life, but life itself. Our children will be democratised for education, rather than be educated for democracy. This view of education will make educating our children more cost-effective in the long run;
6. Provide One Meal a day for all Primary school pupils. That will create jobs in Agriculture, Catering, and Delivery Services
7. Develop and promote effective use of innovative teaching methods/materials in our schools;
8. Ensure a greater proportion of expenditure on university education is devoted to helping our youth to understand the juxtaposition of Science, Technology, the Humanities and the Social Sciences.
9. Establish at least six new universities of Science and Technology with satellite campuses in various states. These six universities should be fully equipped with ICT technologies in order to attract and encourage small and medium scale ICT enterprises after their university education;
10. Establish technical colleges and vocational centres in each state of the federation;
11. Provide more conducive environment for private sector participation in all levels of education. Re-authorised the NUC, TETFUN, JAMB, etc, Acts to enable Private institutions of Higher learning to benefit from research funds and programmes that will serve the national good;
12. Establish six centers of excellence to address the needs of special education;
1. Prioritise the reduction of the infant mortality rate substantially; reduce maternal mortality rates to the levels acceptable by the World Health Organisation; reduce HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases drastically and improve life expectancy by an additional 10 years on average through our National Healthy Living program;
2. Increase the number of physicians from 19 per 1000 population to 50 per 1000 through deliberate medication education as epitomize by nations such as Ghana. I will increase national health expenditure per person per annum to about N50,000 (from the less than N10,000 currently);
3. Increase the quality of all federal government owned hospitals to world class standard by 2019;
4. Invest in cutting edge technology such as tele-medicine in all major health centers in the country through partnership programmes with communities and the private sector;
5. Provide free ante-natal care for pregnant women; free health care for babies and children up to school going age and for the aged; and free treatment for those afflicted with infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS;
6. Boost the local manufacture of pharmaceuticals and make non adulterated drugs readily available.
Set an effective prosecution and punishment systems, for those importing or adulterating drugs in the country.
7. The enhancement of the Epidemiological Units / Centres for Diseas Control to meet up with Global standards in containment of disease outbreaks, proper vaccine storage and research;
8. Create an Insurance Policy for our Journalists as the nation faces hard times and our Journalists faces more dangers in the discharge of their investigative work, to educate Nigerians in their rights and responsibilities.
On Youth, Sports and Culture:
1. Provide the opportunities such as setting up functional recreational facilities, Library with e-services, Community Centers, in collaboration with States, Local Government Authorities, Local Development Areas, etc for youth to realize, harness, and develop their potentials to the fullest, in order to facilitate the emergence of the new generation of citizens, who will be committed to the sustenance of good governance and service to the people and the country;
2. Establish Zonal world-class sports academies and training institutes and ensure that Nigeria occupies a place of pride in global sports and athletics;
3. Revive and restructure the Nigerian Football League and put incentives in place to make it as competitive as other national leagues
4. Put in place measures to identify talents early and ensure their participation in local and international games to enable them to be true professionals;
5. Help as well as mandate schools and communities to create neighborhood playgrounds/sports centre. I will create matching support funds for communities to acquire the needed equipment to develop skills and competencies;
6. Assist Nollywood to fully develop into world class movie industry that can compete effectively with Hollywood and Bollywood in due course. I will support the creative and performing arts with the necessary environment where by our great entertainers do not end their lives in abject poverty as is currently the case.
On Women Empowerment
1. Ensure the rights of women are protected as enshrined in our Constitution;
2. Guarantee that women are adequately represented in government appointments and provide greater opportunities in education, Job creation, and economic empowerment;
3. Recognize and protect women empowerment and gender equality with special emphasis on economic activities in the rural areas;
4. Use the Party structures to promote the concept of reserving a minimum number of seats in the States and National Assembly, for women.
On the Environment:
1. Ensure compliance with policies and measures to halt the pollution of rivers and waterways in the Niger Delta and the other parts of the country;
2. Create shelter belts in states bordering the Sahara Desert to mitigate and reverse the effects of the expanding desert
3. Support and accelerate the implementation of regional water transport initiatives across the country through effective dredging of the main waterways ;
4. Adopt a holistic approach to erosion and shoreline protection across the country;
5. Create teams of volunteers to plant and nurture economically viable trees in arid regions;
6. Restructure the Ecological Fund Office to enable it meet today’s environmental challenges;
7. Regulate the timber industry to ensure that double the number of trees felled are planted by the loggers;
8. Ensure full compliance with town-planning and environmental laws and edicts.
Boko Haram, Buhari and northern elite
19th December 2014
THE principal demand of Boko Haram is religious supremacy and inter-faith intolerance, this demand started in the current democratic era when a Sharia movement started declaring some states as sharia states in clear volation of the secularity of the federation contained in section 10 of the constitution of Nigeria. In declaring such states as Sharia states, they were effectively shutting out anyone who did not subscribe to their religious beliefs from becoming anything of substance in such societies, an act that went against the United Nations charter on economic, social and political rights, an aggressive form of social exclusion.
Many so-called political elite in the north such as Buhari, Sanusi and others were direct advocates of the sharia movement that culminated in 12 states being declared as sharia states. When this movement was sweeping across the north it was used for political mobilisation, many common people were fed on a diet of religious dominance and supremacy. When Gen.Olusegun Obasanjo a Christian was president, although he was advised to raise legal challenges to stem the religious intolerance being promoted by some state governments, he failed to do so, perhaps afraid of religious backlash in elections.
This use of religion for social and political mobilisation emboldened small groups who now saw it as an easy pathway to power, and their rise and popularity attracted the patronage of political leaders.This was how Yussuf became an important player in the politics of the North East, such that by the time Umaru Yar’adua became president, he commanded sufficient patronage to have government officials influencing his bail, upon been arraigned for trial for causing civil disorder.
While the social disorder being generated by the Boko Haram group was on the rise, the same leadership elements in the north, ignored the ideological origins of the disorder they were fomenting and instead erroneously projected the issue as one that was based on socio economic disparity. For example, General Buhari compared the Boko Haram insurgents with Niger-Delta militancy and advocated that the Boko Haram exponents should be given same treated as the Niger-Delta militants with an amnesty programme. His contention was debunked by many who pointed out that economic rehabilitation has never been a demand of Boko Haram but rather, the yearning for religious supremacy
But Buhari’s position was supported by other northern elite such as Emir Lamido Sanusi then governor of the Central Bank. According to Sanusi,the North was economically disadvantaged in comparison with the South, hence the Boko Haram problem.
However, as the northern elite tried in vain to explain the Boko Haram phenomenon on economic terms, the group became even bolder, killing both Southern and Northern Christians, and sometimes even moderate Muslims who opposed their use of Islam to justify their inhuman and bestial crimes.
To give a wider perspective to solutions to the problem, the government embraced the stick and carrot strategy proposed by General Obasanjo, who had earlier in his tenure failed to give any concrete challenges to the widening Sharia ideology. Even when states like Lagos, mindful of the consequences of such intolerance in a cosmopolitan city used very robust methods to suppress the rise of Sharia advocacy in the state. The carrot and stick approach of General Obasanjo failed to impress the Sharia fundamentalists of Boko Haram and some of their elite sympathizers who saw it as an effective way of resisting the rule of Goodluck Jonathan a Christian who was ideologically unacceptable to Boko Haram.
As Obasanjo approached the group they sent very strong signals of non-cooperation by killing those who tried to negotiate with Obasanjo, stepped up the violent killing of non-Muslims and non-northerners in the North with several murderous attacks in several northern cities, including an attack in Kano that killed over 200 people including scores of police officers and a journalist
Presently, the Boko Haram group has killed, over 4,000 people and displaced almost a million from their homes just to create a religious state or a caliphate. But the creation of a caliphate in the North has been a terrible proposal for every freedom loving Nigerian, but especially it has been most devastating to Southern Christians who have been driven from making any meaningful livelihood in the north of Nigeria and even worse for northern minorities who are more often than not Christians or animists. The declaration of sharia and a fundamentalist caliph in their indigenous homelands have not only made life meaningless for them but also driven them out of their homes.
To illustrate the devastating effect of religious intolerance which started with the declaration of Sharia in the north by some northern political elite, and the adoption of the virulent fundamentalist variant by Boko Haram, some Northern Christian groups particularly the ECWA Church and many others, estimate that they have lost over 400 churches to Boko Haram fundamentalism.
Such acts it must be repeated is based on the supremacy of religions which General Buhari in a seminar in Kaduna once described as “a legal responsibility which God has given us, within the context of one Nigeria to continue to uphold the practice of Sharia wholeheartedly and to educate non-Muslims”. In other to carry out this task, Buhari also declared in Kaduna in 2001 that, “God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country”.
Such declarations and the support of other politicians like Senator Yerima who insisted that according to Sharia a girl is a woman as long as she was married irrespective of whether she was 11 or 13 years are the origins of Boko Haram ideology, the only difference between these politicians and the suicide bombers is that the suicide bombers are more eager to die for the ideology by wearing a bomb rigged vest. What then would become of Christains particularly those in the northern part of Nigeria if Buhari who has demonstrated his commitment to this ideology become president of Nigeria is a nagging socio-political question which over one million displaced northern Christians must ponder daily?
Babatunde Oyewole, a cmmentator on national issues, wrote from Abuja.
The Crimes of Buhari - By Wole Soyinka
Written by Prof Wole Soyinka
The grounds on which General Buhari is being promoted as the alternative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naive. History matters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. Of course, we know that human beings change. What the claims of personality change or transformation impose on us is a rigorous inspection of the evidence, not wishful speculation or behind-the- scenes assurances. Public offence, crimes against a polity, must be answered in the public space, not in caucuses of bargaining. In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evident suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that this is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order Buhari? Need one remind anyone – was one of the generals who treated a Commission of Enquiry, the Oputa Panel, with unconcealed disdain. Like Babangida and Abdusalami, he refused to put in appearance even though complaints that were tabled against him involved a career of gross abuses of power and blatant assault on the fundamental human rights of the Nigerian citizenry. Prominent against these charges was an act that amounted to nothing less than judicial murder, the execution of a citizen under a retroactive decree. Does Decree 20 ring a bell? If not, then, perhaps the names of three youths – Lawal Ojuolape (30), Bernard Ogedengbe (29) and Bartholomew Owoh (26) do. To put it quite plainly, one of those three Ogedengbe – was executed for a crime that did not carry a capital forfeit at the time it was committed. This was an unconscionable crime, carried out in defiance of the pleas and protests of nearly every sector of the Nigerian and international community religious, civil rights, political, trade unions etc.
Buhari and his sidekick and his partner-in-crime, Tunde Idiagbon persisted in this inhuman act for one reason and one reason only: to place Nigerians on notice that they were now under an iron, inflexible rule, under governance by fear. The execution of that youthful innocent - for so he was since the punishment did not exist at the time of commission – was nothing short of premeditated murder, for which the perpetrators should normally stand trial upon their loss of immunity. Are we truly expected to forget this violation of our entitlement to security as provided under existing laws? And even if our sensibilities have become blunted by succeeding seasons of cruelty and brutality, if power itself had so coarsened the sensibilities also of rulers and corrupted their judgment, what should one rightly expect after they have been rescued from the snare of power. At the very least, a revaluation, leading hopefully to remorse, and its expression to a wronged society. At the very least, such a revaluation should engender reticence, silence. In the case of Buhari, it was the opposite. Since leaving office he has declared in the most categorical terms that he had no regrets over this murder and would do so again. Human life is inviolate. The right to life is the uniquely fundamental right on which all other rights are based. The crime that General Buhari committed against the entire nation went further however, inconceivable as it might first appear. That crime is one of the most profound negations of civic being. Not content with hammering down the freedom of expression in general terms, Buhari specifically forbade all public discussion of a return to civilian, democratic rule. Let us constantly applaud our media those battle scarred professionals did not completely knuckle down.
They resorted to cartoons and oblique, elliptical references to sustain the people’s campaign for a time-table to democratic rule. Overt agitation for a democratic time table however remained rigorously suppressed military dictatorship, and a specifically incorporated in Buhari and Idiagbon was here to stay. To deprive a people of volition in their own political direction is to turn a nation into a colony of slaves. Buhari enslaved the nation. He gloated and gloried in a master-slave relation to the millions of its inhabitants. It is astonishing to find that the same former slaves, now free of their chains, should clamour to be ruled by one who not only turned their nation into a slave plantation, but forbade them any discussion of their condition. So Tai Solarin is already forgotten? Tai who stood at street corners, fearlessly distributing leaflets that took up the gauntlet where the media had dropped it. Tai who was incarcerated by that regime and denied even the medication for his asthmatic condition? Tai did not ask to be sent for treatment overseas; all he asked was his traditional medicine that had proved so effective after years of struggle with asthma! Nor must we omit the manner of Buhari coming to power and the pattern of his corrective rule. Shagari’s NPN had already run out of steam and was near universally detested except of course by the handful that still benefited from that regime of profligacy and rabid fascism. Responsibility for the national condition lay squarely at the door of the ruling party, obviously, but against whom was Buharis coup staged? Judging by the conduct of that regime, it was not against Shagaris government but against the opposition. The head of government, on whom primary responsibility lay, was Shehu Shagari. Yet that individual was kept in cozy house detention in Ikoyi while his powerless deputy, Alex Ekwueme, was locked up in Kiri-kiri prisons. Such was the Buhari notion of equitable apportionment of guilt and/or responsibility.
And then the cascade of escapes of the wanted, and culpable politicians. Manhunts across the length and breadth of the nation, roadblocks everywhere and borders tight as steel zip locks. Lo and behold, the chairman of the party, Chief Akinloye, strolled out coolly across the border. Richard Akinjide, Legal Protector of the ruling party, slipped out with equal ease. The Rice Minister, Umaru Dikko, who declared that Nigerians were yet to eat from dustbins – escaped through the same airtight dragnet. The clumsy attempt to crate him home was punishment for his ingratitude, since he went berserk when, after waiting in vain, he concluded that the coup had not been staged, after all, for the immediate consolidation of the party of extreme right-wing vultures, but for the military hyenas. The case of the overbearing Secretary-General of the party, Uba Ahmed, was even more noxious. Uba Ahmed was out of the country at the time. Despite the closure of the Nigerian airspace, he compelled the pilot of his plane to demand special landing permission, since his passenger load included the almighty Uba Ahmed. Of course, he had not known of the change in his status since he was airborne. The delighted airport commandant, realizing that he had a much valued fish swimming willingly into a waiting net, approved the request. Uba Ahmed disembarked into the arms of a military guard and was promptly clamped in detention.
Incredibly, he vanished a few days after and reappeared in safety overseas. Those whose memories have become calcified should explore the media coverage of that saga. Buhari was asked to explain the vanished act of this much prized quarry and his response was one of the most arrogant levity. Coming from one who had shot his way into power on the slogan of discipline, it was nothing short of impudent. Shall we revisit the tragicomic series of trials that landed several politicians several lifetimes in prison? Recall, if you please, the judicial processes undergone by the septuagenarian Chief Adekunle Ajasin. He was arraigned and tried before Buhari’s punitive tribunal but acquitted. Dissatisfied, Buhari ordered his re-trial. Again, the Tribunal could not find this man guilty of a single crime, so once again he was returned for trial, only to be acquitted of all charges of corruption or abuse of office. Was Chief Ajasin thereby released? No! He was ordered detained indefinitely, simply for the crime of winning an election and refusing to knuckle under Shagari’s reign of terror. The conduct of the Buhari regime after his coup was not merely one of double, triple, multiple standards but a cynical travesty of justice. Audu Ogbeh, currently chairman of the Action Congress was one of the few figures of rectitude within the NPN. Just as he has done in recent times with the PDP, he played the role of an internal critic and reformer, warning, dissenting, and setting an example of probity within his ministry. For that crime he spent months in unjust incarceration.
Guilty by association? Well, if that was the motivating yardstick of the administration of the Buhari justice, then it was most selectively applied.
The utmost severity of the Buhari-Idiagbon justice was especially reserved either for the opposition in general, or for those within the ruling party who had showed the sheerest sense of responsibility and patriotism.
Shall I remind this nation of Buhari’s deliberate humiliating treatment of the Emir of Kano and the Oni of Ife over their visit to the state of Israel? I hold no brief for traditional rulers and their relationship with governments, but insist on regarding them as entitled to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities of any Nigerian citizen. This royal duo went to Israel on their private steam and private business. Simply because the Buhari regime was pursuing some antagonistic foreign policy towards Israel, a policy of which these traditional rulers were not a part, they were subjected on their return to a treatment that could only be described as a head masterly chastisement of errant pupils. Since when, may one ask, did a free citizen of the Nigerian nation require the permission of a head of state to visit a foreign nation that was willing to offer that tourist a visa? One is only too aware that some Nigerians love to point to Buhari’s agenda of discipline as the shining jewel in his scrap-iron crown. To inculcate discipline however, one must lead by example, obeying laws set down as guides to public probity. Example speaks louder than declarations, and rulers cannot exempt themselves from the disciplinary structures imposed on the overall polity, especially on any issue that seeks to establish a policy for public well-being. The story of the thirty something suitcases it would appear that they were even closer to fifty – found unavoidable mention in my recent memoirs, YOU MUST SET FORTH AT DOWN, written long before Buhari became spoken of as a credible candidate. For the exercise of a changeover of the national currency, the Nigerian borders air, sea and land had been shut tight.
Nothing was supposed to move in or out, not even cattle egrets.
Yet a prominent camel was allowed through that needles eye. Not only did Buhari dispatch his aide-de-camp, Jokolo later to become an emir- to facilitate the entry of those cases, he ordered the redeployment as I later discovered – of the Customs Officer who stood firmly against the entry of the contravening baggage. That officer, the incumbent Vice-president is now a rival candidate to Buhari, but has somehow, in the meantime, earned a reputation that totally contradicts his conduct at the time. Wherever the truth lies, it does not redound to the credibility of the dictator of that time, General Buhari whose word was law, but whose allegiances were clearly negotiable.
On the theme of double, triple, multiple standards in the enforcement of the law, and indeed of the decrees passed by the Buhari regime at the time, let us recall the notorious case of Triple Alhaji Alhaji Alhaji, then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance. Who was caught, literally, with his pants down in distant Austria. That was not the crime however, and private conduct should always remain restricted to the domain of private censure.
There was no decree against civil servants proving just as hormone driven as anyone else, especially outside the nation’s borders.
However, there was a clear decree against the keeping of foreign accounts, and this was what emerged from the Austrian escapade. Alhaji Alhaji kept, not one, but several undeclared foreign accounts, and he had no business being in possession of the large amount of foreign currency of which he was robbed by his overnight companion. The media screamed for an even application of the law, but Buhari had turned suddenly deaf. By contrast, Fela Anikulapo languished in gaol for years, sentenced under that very draconian decree. His crime was being in possession of foreign exchange that he had legitimately received for the immediate upkeep of his band as they set off for an international engagement. A vicious sentence was slapped down on Fela by a judge who later became so remorse stricken at least after Buhari’s overthrow that he went to the King of Afro-beat and apologized.
Lesser known was the traumatic experience of the director of an international communication agency, an affiliate of UNESCO. Akin Fatoyinbo arrived at the airport in complete ignorance of the new currency decree. He was thrown in gaol in especially brutal condition, an experience from which he never fully recovered. It took several months of high-level intervention before that innocent man was eventually freed. These were not exceptional but mere sample cases from among hundreds of others, victims of a decree that was selectively applied, a decree that routinely penalized innocents and ruined the careers and businesses of many.
What else? What does one choose to include or leave out? What precisely was Ebenezer Babatope’s crime that he should have spent the entire tenure of General Buhari in detention?
Nothing beyond the fact that he once warned in the media that Buhari was an ambitious soldier who would bear watching through the lenses of a coup-detat. Babatope’s father died while he was in Buhari’s custody, the dictator remained deaf to every plea that he be at least released to attend his father’s funeral, even under guard. I wrote an article at the time, denouncing this pointless insensitivity. So little to demand by a man who was never accused of, nor tried for any crime, much less found guilty. Such a load of vindictiveness that smothered all traces of basic human compassion deserves no further comment in a nation that values its traditions.
But then, speaking the truth was not what Buhari, as a self-imposed leader, was especially enamoured of enquire of Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor both of whom, faithful to their journalistic calling, published nothing but the truth, yet ended up sentenced under Buhari’s decree. Mind you, no one can say that Buhari was not true to his word. Shall tamper with the freedom of the press swore the dictator immediately on grabbing office, and this was exactly what he did. And so on, and on, and on………