Two of the most upsetting utterances I have heard lately came from presidential hopeful and former head of state, Gen Muhammadu Buhari.
When the retired soldier claimed to have sought a bank loan for the purchase the All Progressive Congress expression of interest and nomination forms, I found it really nauseating.
What was that about? To prove that he couldn’t afford the forms, that he did not steal Nigeria’s money or what?
Gen Buhari should kindly stop flaunting this overused badge of integrity. Okay, we have heard, he didn’t steal money. But, integrity is not all that we ask of someone who wants to be Nigeria’s president in 2015.
If that’s the only stripe that he brings to the table, the good old General should be advised to wait for an appointment as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (E.F.C.C) soon after a new president would have been sworn in in 2015. Haba!
But before I recovered from the foregoing, Buhari brought something else on. In an interview with thecable.ng, he claimed to have been privy to the overthrow of his administration by Gen Ibrahim Babangida (IBB).
Telling of his reaction to the news that a coup was in the offing, Buhari said: “…I sat and discussed it with him in my office. He was the chief of army staff and I was the head of state. He brought the news that he went to Kano and people complained that I pulled a pistol during a council meeting… I said Ibro ─ I called him Ibro because I was just senior to him by a few months ─ I said whoever wants to sit on this chair, let him come and sit here. And he decided to do it…”
I still do not know what to make out of this. Was Buhari asking for my sympathy? Am I to accept him as a simple, compassionate, not-desperate-for-power dude? To see him as a meek man, who would not pull the trigger of a gun in hand even when his friend has a knife to his jugular or what?
If he had such expectation, I think Buhari should have chosen some ecclesiastic calling rather than the cut and throat life of the military and politics which he now desperately pursues.
This man headed a military government, which sent journalists, harmless newshounds who carried no firearms, to jail. His administration supervised a number of executions (including a minor whose sentencing was retroactive). Although he would have us believe that the decision to execute convicts was taken by the Supreme Military, this smacks of either dereliction or cowardice.
Unlike the draconian laws with which his administration sent a number of Nigerians to jail and the grave, Babangida’s coup plan remains an established military misdemeanor. One which is against the state and not head of an extant administration. Having knowledge of such plans without taking action therefore makes you an accomplice. So while Buhari has saved his old time buddy by looking the other way, he is an accessory to the crime committed by IBB and his fellow plotters.
Unfortunately General does not realise the gravity of his sin against Nigeria otherwise he would not go about gloating about his shameful negligence.
By Buhari’s own admission, the devaluation of the naira from which Nigeria never recovered started under IBB. The Duara born General also reminded thecable.ng about the number of military officers sentenced to death under IBB’s watch for the same reason for which Buhari spared him.
But there are far more reaching repercussions that Buhari possibly hasn’t contemplated. If he dealt with IBB’s impending coup decisively, even by mere retirement, Nigeria would have been spared so many horrors of one and a half decades following 1984.
We possibly would never have had the June 12 annulment debacle and the unspeakable confusion that followed it. Nigeria would not have had to deal with a General Sani Abacha and the savagery of his rule. Just maybe our armed forces would not have suffered the official decapitation from which it still suffers. Without the years in which these buddies passed us around and held us by the barrel of the gun I wonder if Nigeria’s notoriety for corruption and arbitrariness would be an issue.
So rather than posturing about like the one Nigerian who is able to save us from ourselves, General Muhammadu Buhari should be penitent and apologise to Nigeria for the disservice of terminating civilian rule in 1983 and the imposition of the Banbagida and Abacha eras on us.
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