Buhari, the President Nigeria may not have?

Posted: December 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson

The Almighty God will give us the best
He will give us what we deserve
If GEJ wins hurray but if he looses God has been very kind to him
Awolowo died without being president for one day, or hour that he so craved and begged for.
MKO died fighting to be President.
How many persons becomes President in a nation of 170 Million in every four years?

Precisely nine years ago I was guest to the Daura born General Buhari, at his home in Kaduna. The man who by his nature has divided Nigeria, across shades and opinion, ask Soyinka, ask Obasanjo, whether Christians are talking or Southerners are– or the Northern establishment is talking, you feel the ting,…ask me and I will tell you everyone is right and equally wrong in same measure.

The essence of this admonition is not to support, defend or malign the General, but simply an admonition.

On that day nine years ago, I interviewed in his capacity as then presidential candidate of the now defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party ANPP, and was ‘just’ 63 years, even at that point his age was still a matter of concern of debate. Ask Mallam Nasir El-Rufai.


Speaking with the General was rather a pathetic journey into why Nigeria cannot seem to move forward, while I talked to a couple of his lieutenants it was obvious from their personal opinion that the General will not be the President except a miracle happens…. A lot has changed today and he is coming under the slogan ‘change’, he maintains old associates, but it looks a different ball and there seems to be optimism around his current party.

In that encounter the retired but not tired General lamented the situation of the country, he told me that by simply logic and everyday living he could not understand why a nation that has earned more in the last seven years than it did in its whole existence is poorer for it. He blasted an energy reform that cannot provide a steady electricity supply for 12 hours and when it tried to give 3, 4 hours of such it was punctuated by 12-15 minutes intervals of darkness. Today the situation remained largely the same.

He spoke with passion, he spoke like the elder statesman he is, on Northern agitation for power then, the General’s view was that the ordinary Nigerian wanted food, clothing, shelter, security of his life, and property if he had any. Not the nonsense of North/South-South or East agitation.

I asked Mr. Buhari if he was going to probe “Big Brother Nigeria aka Obj. He stated that he was not obsessed with a probe of this and that, but as a pious Muslim he then swore to me that he would not turn a blind eye to any official complaint against Obasanjo backed by documentary evidence.

On IBB, he would not say much but then he smiles, “as colleagues at the Council of Former Heads of States, we are friends no wahala.” You could but notice that never will a marriage between Buhari and IBB occur, they are birds of distinctly different plumages.

On being a power broker, he said “Oh no, I am not that kind of person”.

I tried to decipher the man behind the mask. Inside his eyes I saw a man that could instill a form of discipline into the system, I saw a man that could provide a leadership that would make sure that one does not urinate by the roadside, that the Police does not collect money to buy pen from complainants before they can write their statements. But this was 2006, and even now its 2014!

We could not have finished our 30 minutes conversation without discussing accountability and then it was same sad Nigeria as Mr. Buhari lamented on how his own local Government spent N40m in welcoming the State Governor and of that sum N1m was spent purchasing packaged Nylon water.

The man I spoke with sure believes in something, and that’s where Nigeria needs to get it, we need to believe in something, though in the years after that encounter I was part of his team attacked in Zaria, and people have continued to remain divisive over his comments, be it on sharia, corruption or not running again for president. He believed in his pursuit, which has taken him to CPC, and now APC.

And incidentally this is one of many reasons I felt that would deny Mr. Buhari that coveted sofa in Aso Rock, Nigeria is always producing accidental public servants El-Rufai said so, and could not be wrong. Sadly, those seeking the office as a result of conviction, to try and leave a mark, never get it.

It’s 2014, Mr. Buhari is 72, a lot has changed, this is his fourth attempt at the coveted office, like probing Obasanjo, will he look up Jonathan if we have evidence that the otuekean stained his hand with chocolate from our cookie jar.

How is it now that the man that will not condone corruption be in the same kernel with questionable characters?

Maybe we stick with the new learning that his association with the ‘goons’ in today’s All Peoples Congress, APC, which is the same difference with the Peoples Democratic Party PDP is out of necessity, applying the political rules of using what is available. Anyway a political party is a conglomeration of all sorts, so it is not Mr. Buhari’s fault.

Much debate centers that just like Obasanjo is writing his memoirs; Mr. Buhari should be doing that too…Nigerians gravitate on religion, Muslim|Muslim ticket, North|South dichotomy, others wonder, why not a Fashola|Kwankwanso, Tambuwal|Fashola, Kwankwanso|Amaechi, or something even better…

But with some 55 days away, I can stand on my foot and say, none of both men have a grasp on the Nigerian malice, none is an Obama, neither are they any messiah, the problems are beyond these gentlemen whom many love to hate.

However, in local parlance we say, “na wetin bird chop e go take fly”, I cannot sit on the fence, its either Buhari or Jonathan, are we anywhere near change—Only time will tell.


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