*As Buhari Leaves a Legacy of Debts, Deaths, Divisions and Decay*
Moses Oludele Idowu (email@example.com)
“The man with a groan never moved the world except to more groans.”
– John G. Lake ( 1870-1948)
Let me begin this essay with a test. I want to know how long you have been reading newspapers and following Nigerian Affairs and, especially how sharp your memory is. Then I also want to provide a background for most of our youths ( under 40 years) who have not been born or who were still in their teens when this incident happened.
Here is the test question: Who was the public official who coined the term “Buharism”? Where did he first use the term and in what context?
In the morning of February 1984, the whole nation was shocked when Brigadier Tunde Idiagbon, then Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters and second in command to the Head of State, Maj.General Muhammadu Buhari at a news conference told a bewildered nation that three UPN governors have confessed to receiving kickbacks of N2.8m from the French Company, Bouygues Nig. Limited. Buhari had seized power and arrested all the former public officials and clamped them into detention for.trial. In his news briefing Idiagbon reiterated their fight against corruption and that the three former governors would soon face the Military Tribunal. The governors were Chief Adekunle Ajasin ( Ondo) Chief Bola Ige ( Oyo State) and Olusegun Onabanjo ( Ogun State).
This news was featured in all newspapers and was a blow to progressives. Chief Obafemi Awolowo who was the leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria and whose long time associates were named felt the personal insult and had to address the press the second day after his own meticulous investigation. Not a frivolous person, he conducted discreet investigation and found to his shock that the former governors, who he had known for years did not at any time confess to receiving kickbacks.
By the next day Awo called a press conference and told the nation that from his investigation the governors never received and never confessed to receiving. He then ended his statement with these words: “Facts are sacred.”
So who was telling lies? Soon the three former governors were brought before the Tribunal and after a trial two of them were discharged and acquitted. These were Chief Bola Ige and Adekunle Ajasin. Onabanjo was convicted not because he took any money but because he knew when Bouygues gave the money to the party as donation.
The question in the mouths of everyone and the defunct Concord newspaper led us in this with an editorial: if they were released, discharged and acquitted, then they could not have confessed to receiving kickbacks. So Awo was right. Idiagbon lied to the nation against the politicians. But no one could say this publicly or call them liars because it was a crime to embarrass public officers due to Decree No.4 ( Public Officers Protection Decree). Buhari dealt with this nation.
By then it was impossible to see the politicians again even by their relatives but the fact of their acquittal was proof they didn’t confess as Awo rightly noted.
Then the big drama.
Meanwhile in the course of Awo trying to cleanse himself and his people from stains he had to release the accounts of UPN and their spendings, income and expenditures to the public.( Can the APC do the same today?) In the process he gave a state by state contribution to the party and it was in this connection he stated that Lagos State gave 20 million naira to the party.
This information was published and the Federal Military Government headed by Buhari read it.
Few days later in his interview with the defunct Concord newspaper’s trio of Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu and Yakubu Mohammed, Buhari blurted out that Lateef Jakande, the former governor of Lagos would explain the twenty million naira.
That was Buhari in his elements. Obviously he had misread Awo’s statement. Awo did not say Lagos State Government gave N20m but that the party in Lagos State – which of course include donations and contributions from companies, industries, etc who identified with the populist programs of UPN. However, our Head of State could not read between the lines. He could not differentiate the two and their meanings.
Thus they kept Jakande in detention even though they found no incriminating evidence against him. Lagos State Government money was not missing and nothing was found on him, still they kept him. Until August 27,1985 when Buhari himself was swept away by another hurricane from within that Jakande was released.
The second day of his release he made a pilgrimage to Ikenne to see his leader and mentor. Ebenezer Babatope who was also released at the same time made the trip. The pressmen were also waiting for the duo.
It was during the encounter with the press that Jakande was asked to throw light on the 20 million naira. It was then Jakande used the term Buharism. He said the notion that he took 20 million from government was “Buharism in practice.” Because Awo’s press statement was clear: the money was contribution from Lagos State branch of the party not from government. But in the convoluted, bigoted imagination of Buharism it became something else. Is it that our Head of State even in his late thirties and in the best frame of mind could not read and understand a simple statement which even secondary school students then, could understand?
Jakande warned Nigeria that morning to be wary of Buharism. How we wish we had listened? How we wish we had understood that Buharism means tragedy, a false framework for development; and thus save this nation from the tragedy of the last eight years!
Even while the opposition politicians were being hounded into prison and for trials the real culprits in the main ruling party were not touched. Except for Adamu Attah of old Kwara State and Clement Isong of old Cross River none of the core northern politicians in the ruling party was tried. It was so bad that Professor Wole Soyinka described that junta as a “coup against the opposition” because it was the Opposition they were fighting not the ruling party. It was a government of discrimination between south and north.
Shehu Shagari who was head of the government was kept in comfortable “house arrest” while his Christian deputy and southerner, Alex Ekwueme was in detention battling with mosquitoes. Even when political gatherings were banned northerners were still meeting.
It was so bad that Tribune – fearless as ever – pointedly described the Buhari administration as “the military wing of NPN.”
Buhari has never believed in equality of North and South, of Christians and Muslims.
Has anything changed in the last 8 years?
But in the morning of August 27 1985, Joshua Dogonyaro was on air to announce the death of that regime and sweep that government away. And by Monday, May 29 God willing, the era of Buharism will finally come to an end forever in Nigeria. Never again. Affliction shall not rise the second time.
*The Accident of Personal Character*
Every revolution, tragedy and disaster is the result of accident of personal character. Not so much the outcome of ideological postulations, theorising or philosophical reasonings.
What if Adolf Hitler had had enough money to complete his training in architecture and had succeeded as a painter or architect, the profession which he so much loved? Would there have been a Third Reich or a World War?
What if Karl Marx had succeeded as a poet? Would we have had this dangerous ideology of class warfare, struggle and “dictatorship of the proletariat” that has trapped one- third of world population, an ideology that is so good on paper but rarely works in practice?
Muhammadu Buhari said he would have been following the cows and goats – like Saul his Biblical compeer- but for the opportunity to go to school. Or he would have probably ended up in a Koranic school instead of Nigerian Army – the dumping ground in those days for many Northern youths who could not make it anywhere else. It is in these little decisions around one man that the destiny of over 220 million is now endangered, threatened and submerged. Like the Economist of London wrote, “Nigeria would have been better off if Buhari had remained in the barracks…” And I would add, that Nigeria would have been much better off if Buhari had gone to a Koranic School than a military academy. At least his decisions would only affect few people among his own clans and tribe. With his Northern Fulani hegemonic disposition, his rabid Islamic fundamentalism, his hypocritical attitude to corruption and graft, Buhari is a disaster in a purely multi- ethnic civilian setting.
Within eight years Roosevelt turned American Depression to prosperity and abundance, within the same time frame Buhari turned a nation with the largest economy in Africa to the poverty capital of the world. He has turned an oasis to a desert of woes, chaos and strife leaving behind –
” A land of darkness as darkness itself
A land where there is no form nor order
And where the light is as darkness.”
*A Tragic Legacy*
As Buhari leaves on Monday he will be leaving a legacy. What legacy will this man be leaving behind? A legacy of terrorism, unmanageable debt that now gulps 100% of revenue for servicing and runaway inflation that will soon turn many Nigerians to beggars and paupers.
This is not all.
He would be leaving a divided nation, so divided that some citizens especially in the East have now resorted to armed struggle as a form of balance of terror to Northern herdsmen terrorism over which Buhari paid lip service. So divided that for the first time Nigerians now know they are Southerners and Northerners, Yorubas, Igbos, Hausas, Fulanis etc., and not Nigerians. Even Hausas now refuse to be called Hausa-Fulani, they want to be called by their separate identity as Hausas and do not want to be grouped with Fulanis again.
Christians now for the first time are asking questions: Is this nation really for us all or for another religion.
That is how far Buharism – a dangerous ideological framework based on executive lawlessness, high-handedness, and islamofascism – has mismanaged Nigeria’s ethnic and religious diversities and deepened the divisions among us.
This is not all.
Buhari would be leaving a legacy of corruption, high- wire corruption the kind that was even rare in the days of PDP, whose sordid and abysmal record Buhari and his crowd in APC trumpeted to climb to power.
I shall touch on this briefly before concluding this essay.
There is one more legacy Buhari will be bequeathing to Nigeria on Monday. Barring Divine interventions, he would be handling over the government to another guru, a master and grandmaster of executive extortion of the Alpha- Beta School of Legalised Robbery and Scientific Extortion; the man who started the entire racket of State Pension for governors that has emptied the treasuries of many states even when workers and pensioners are not paid. This is now the man on the heels of a rigged and manipulated election still a subject of serious litigations that will preside over the finances, appoint CBN governor and Finance minister and others. Boy, I dey fear for Nigeria.
I pray that I may be proved wrong but in my opinion I see this transition as the most sinister legacy and the worst tragedy of the Buhari administration.
Goodluck Jonathan redeemed his clueless and incompetent administration by conceding defeat in a free and fair election. That was his crowning glory, that was his virtue. Buhari is crowning and compounding his regime of woes by a fraudulent electoral process; that is his eternal vice.
*State of Blood*
That was the title of a book chronicling the atrocious regime of Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, another despot who share the same religious beliefs with Buhari. Muhammadu Buhari came to power with the promise of ending insecurity. Boko Haram seems to have driven the Jonathan administration to it’s wits end and Nigerians needed a replacement. And who else but a vaunted general of the army? Buhari projected himself as the right person to tackle this scourge.
The abduction of 276 Chibok girls sealed the fate of Jonathan administration and roused the anger of Nigerians.
Alas, we were only going from frying pan to fire. I had warned Nigerians then that between Jonathan and Buhari there is no option just like between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Eight years after what do we have today? A state of blood where no one is safe. In place of only Boko Haram which was localised to a region, Northeast, we now have ISWAP, bandits, Fulani herdsmen who now have the entire North and even East within their firing range.
Thousands have perished under Buhari’s watch. In the first few months of his coming to power almost 1000 Shiites died in Zaria when soldiers descended on them. Few months later it was the turn of Onitsha where 30 people marking the Biafra day were gunned down.
The Nigerian Security Tracker of the Council for Foreign Relations says 63,111 Nigerians have been killed since this administration took office due to insecurity – 27,311 during first term and 35,800 during this abysmal second term. Now that is a disastrous record on the part of an administrator.
Yet money has been spent procuring arms and logistics. It is stated according to Dataphyte that eight trillion naira ( N8tn) has been spent on defense in the last eight years of this government and the terrorists are possibly better armed than our security agencies.
As we speak hundreds have been killed and still been killed daily in Pleateue State, Benue and North Central by Fulani herdsmen. Thousands have left their homes and communities to save their lives. The security agents do not even pretend again to protect them.
Yet a government that claims to be fighting insecurities is busy with rehabilitating bandits and terrorists instead of those in IDPs. Could there indeed be some facts about Buhari that we do not know?
Today it is the unanimous opinion of all and sundry except of course the liars and hypocrites in the cult of APC that Nigeria is more unsafe today than even in 2015.
Muhammadu Buhari does not obey laws. He finds the rule of law a burden. He even complained at the beginning of his administration of the tedium of having to wait for a National Assembly approval. He does not even know the difference between a “suspect” and a “convicted” person. Which means that in forty years between his military regime and civilian administration he had probably never read a book. Junaid Mohammed swore that the Buhari he knew has never read a book in his adult years. So his mind possibly has atrophied. Perhaps that is why he is still talking about “grazing routes” in the 21st century. He is probably not aware of Land Use Decree which vests all landed properties in the State and under a State Governor.
Several court orders were disobeyed by this government. Even when the court gave judgement for Sowore the DSS still refused to release him. The court has ordered the release of Nnamdi Kanu but he is still being detained. The court gave orders that it was wrong to prevent customers from their money and CBN cash redesign as illegal but the government refused to make cash available and refused to obey the court untill many died.
It ordered DSS to invade the houses of Supreme Court justices and arrest these men on the suspicion that they stole contrary to law of separation of powers. None of those justices was convicted in a proper trial.
It accused and removed a whole Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen based on what we now know as a forged ex- parte order. Which government does this in 21st century? All because he needed to put a more pliable and corrupt instrument, Tanko Mohammed of.the same religion with him because of permutations towards the 2019 election. This is Buharism in practice. This is the avoidable tragedy Jakande warned us against.
The most laughable of all the claims of Buhari is that they came to fight corruption. One of the favourite talking points of Buharists and his chorus singers is that he hates corruption, he is a man of integrity and all such rhetorics of nonsense. They cite his ascetic frame and his demeanor as proofs that Buhari even hates materialism. Yet he enjoys the best medical care abroad that Europe can afford at our expense; conducted a billion naira wedding talk of town for his son among other things. Buhari’s insularity and aloofness are not due to any spirituality or moral superiority they are probably due to his inner inferiority, mental deterioration and ignorance.
The facts available to us today which future historians will use shows Buhari did not come to fight corruption. Sure EFCC & ICPC did secure several convictions of small thieves and scoundrels but how many of these are the high profile thieves eating fat under this government – a government with its own moral baggage and ineptitude.
Just this week the court granted an order based on SERAP litigation that government should account for the $460m CCTV loan it took which cannot be accounted for.
Corruption entered another realm under Muhammadu Buhari. Another word entered the corruption lexicon which was rarely heard of: budget padding.
In 2016 budget was padded running into hundreds of billions which according to Pius Adesanmi, was the worst in the history of Nigeria.” Same for 2017.
And what did the man of integrity do? He would deal with the culprits and “get into the root of it.” It is now more than 6 years and they have not gotten to the root of it.
Not only that in 2021 the budget was padded to the tune of 300 billions. [ See ‘ Strange Items in FG’s 2021 budget’ Vanguard, Jan.6,2021).
Similarly the 2022 budget was padded to the tune of 100 billions.
Even the AU called the costing of projects in Nigeria fraudulent. Using similar projects under AU’s Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa ( PIDA) it observed that Nigeria’s newly- contracted 283.75km Kano – Maradi Standard Gauge rail line $6.91m ( N2.6b) per km exceeds estimates by over 100% i.e., $1.959b should cost less than $1b.
The World Bank said the same thing years ago.
Those are witnesses from outside of the corruption of this nauseous government that will definitely go on Monday.
Here are other shocking details that need proper investigation and closure:
* Alleged stealing of N9.6 trillion ( $25b) oil revenue as detailed in NNPC Leaked memo.
* Reported stealing of N1.1t worth of crude using 18 unregistered vessels.
* Looting of N2 trillion in hazy oil subsidy regime including a criminal under recovery for unnamed West Africa countries as well as illegal tax per litre of petrol running into trillions of naira.
* N500 billions spent on Social Investment Program without any details or register of beneficiaries.
* N16 billions on Mosquito Net Project exposed by First Lady Aisha Buhari.
* N90 billions stolen from the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS in a racket in which certain top APC leaders were alleged to receive N3b each.
* Looting of N33b National Emergency Management Agency NEMA Fund as exposed by House of Reps Committee that the fund was never used for the victims of insurgency.
* Siphoning of N48 billion of money meant for rebuilding of 6 Northeast states ravaged by insurgency.
* Looting of N25b from NHIS.
* Looting of billions of NDDC under Akpabio. (This man is now warming up to become the Senate President in the 10th Senate)
* Mismanaging of N100 billions purportedly disbursed to Nigerians for food during COVID-19 lockdown that cannot be seen or felt anywhere.
* Missing of $1b arms fund. The new Chief of Army Staff says he could not trace the arms purchased with $1b under Buhari according to NSA head, Monguno.
Time will fail me to talk and itemise other frauds of this government including judgement debts frauds involving the Attorney General, Malami and Ibrahim Gambari, Buhari’s Chief of Staff.
So much for a government that came to fight corruption!
What people do not realize is that the Buhari regime is a crime scene. The mediocre intellectuals, handlers and chorus singers mouthing the integrity of this government should be ashamed if they know the meaning of intellectual dishonesty.
A former Managing Director of Alpha Beta Consortium, Mr Apara sent a memo to EFCC detailing the facts that the company and Bola Ahmed Tinubu had defrauded government of unpaid tax running into N100 billions. Under a government that fights corruption. Did they act on the leads given as an anti-graft agency? Never.
On Monday that same man, a guru, the very embodiment of institutional corruption and personification of official graft will be enthroned by Muhammadu Buhari as successor – a crowning climax to a war that never even took off.
As to fools still mouthing integrity, those who went to school but learned nothing it is now your trouble. When we warned you in 2019 you claimed you knew Buhari more than anyone. Now it is your turn to pick the pieces.
This government began with a false philosophy: debt is good. This seems to be the working philosophy of APC. In every state where the party reigns it leaves a legacy of debts. Full of economic illiterates they believe you must borrow by all means and at all costs. That there cannot be development without borrowing. Buhari being a functional economic illiterate bought into this false philosophy and thus laid a foundation of poverty for interminable generations. APC does not know the elementary meaning of economics that debts is the principal key and way to poverty and the more debts the less the value of the xcurrency.
Today Buhari is leaving us with a debt of N70 trillions. When he came in 2015 our total debt was only 12 trillions. That is how bad he has mismanaged the economy.
In 2020 during COVID-19 lockdown I warned this nation in a viral essay of the danger of economic failure especially what happened to Germany in the 1930’s which led to the birth of totalitarianism and the rise of Adolf Hitler. We are now closer to the fulfilment of that prediction unless the right steps are taken fast.
This government to be sure made some improvements in infrastructures. The Lagos – Ibadan rail and the River Niger Bridge and some other federal highway. But all these cannot payback the humongous loan contracted by this administration. Who will pay the loans? The creditors will definitely come.
Just few days to go he still want $800 million approved as loan to distribute to vulnerable families due to impending removal of petroleum subsidy. Just few days to go. Obviously that loan won’t be used for any disbursement but as severance package for this thieving administration as someone as suggested.
So you see this man does not represent something good for Nigeria. To take loans that future generations will pay and to squander it or use to develop another nation or to build rail to another nation. It is treason.
That is an enemy action.
In Buharism we see a failure of leadership on a wider scale. He was aloof and insular even within his administration. He merely issued orders and cared not whether they were obeyed or not. Even when he ordered the Inspector General of Police to relocate to Benue State in the wake of insecurity he wasn’t aware that his order was not obeyed.
He spent several months abroad without transmitting the instrument of authority to his vice. For several months and almost a year after his inauguration he could not name ministers or even names to Governing Councils and Boards of Corporations. Now just less than few days to go he has suddenly woken up and making appointments and even requesting approval for loans possibly to tie the hands of the incoming administration. That is Buharism in action – cyclical movement ( one step forward two steps backwards), locked- in thinking, asymmetrical policy initiatives, tardiness, incompetence..
That is what led to the first Recession in 2016. The foreign investors waited for coherent and concrete policy framework and directions of the new administration but there was none except the blame of looting and corruption of the previous government – which APC has now exceeded. The foreign investors immediately took their money to other climes.
For more than two years it was blame game and complaints about the Jonathan administration rather than any concrete policy direction.
And now having failed tragically he would still blame previous government and his literate but uneducated handlers and singers would assist him in attempting to rewrite history.
If there is one lesson Nigerians need to learn about this administration it is that democracy can be even more dangerous than a military rule. Sure, it offers more possibilities but if mismanaged it can lead to greater disaster.
Under a military rule Buhari was easily removed because his colleagues quickly realized he wasn’t a presidential material. But in a civilian administration that same man installed his lackeys into the leadership of National Assembly and pocketed the Legislature that became a rubber stamp, frightened the judiciary by removing and humiliating a whole Chief Justice and with the two arms of government submerged the road was paved to an imperial presidency. While an ignorant and a disoriented citizenry sleep on in Jonahical indifference. That is the reason for the tragedy we now find ourselves.
When Richard Nixon tried to pool wool over the Americans during Watergate they rise up to challenge his excesses. Nigerians sleep on waiting for God to save them from the prison they voluntarily placed themselves.
Nigerians should learn not to judge anyone by appearance. An ascetic frame alone does not mean success. That you hate opulence does not mean you averse to corruption or you can create wealth or you will stop waste. Buhari reneged and contradicted all the promises he made to Nigerians.
Nigerians should learn to ask questions and stop acting like fools raped by one government to another.
Could we have averted the Buhari tragedy? Yes, of course. The signs were there. The First Lady herself warned us that her husband was not in charge, that our government has been hijacked. Did we listen?
Rotimi Amaechi in a leaked memo told us that Buhari doesn’t read even memos. What kind of president doesn’t read even memos in the 21st century?
These are warning signs to prevent us from falling into the same snare in 2019 but a nation without understanding could not read the signs.
So God is just. No tragedy comes to a person except what he invites upon himself. And Nigerians deserve Buhari and his followers including one of them who will take over this coming Monday if the Lord wills.
Indeed Nigerians have played the fool. Buhari said he got all he wanted from Nigeria and now if he is disturbed he would go to Niger Republic the land of his fathers and kinsmen, possibly where his loyalty resides. The question I have for the crowd of nincompoops and chorus singers who won’t let us talk defending Buhari is this: can you also say in days and years to come that you got what you wanted from the Buhari administration and from Nigeria?
[ Note: I am by this medium informing the APC and the Buhari administration that I am writing a book about this era detailing their atrocities which will be released soon. You will not have the last say about your government.]
Facebook: Moses Oludele Idowu
© Moses Oludele Idowu
May 27, 2023
All Rights Reserved