How President Muhammadu Buhari ignored my patriotic and well-informed advice in 2015 and Nigerians are paying dearly for it today (PART 1)

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PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari
Buhari

By Mike Ozekhome, SAN

INTRODUCTION

There are critics and there are critics. Some Critics criticise for the fun of it. Others do so to be noticed. Yet, some others do so for altruistic reasons. Yours sincerely falls   into this last category. As a Social Critic, Human Rights Activist and pro-democracy Campaigner (leave out the lawyer and writer in me), I criticise and critique governments and their actions, with a view to making our country and society better. I use available and unassailable data, backed with hard cold facts, law, logic and common sense. I do this from a non – blurred set of analytical binoculars; akin to Galileo’s telescope, which totally changed mankind’s view about the entire universe. That is why I always proffer solutions after raising the problems and challenges. I always ask the questions about our challenges. I then answer the questions. Occasionally, I also question the answers. As a Pan – Nigerian, non – partisan and non – card – carrying member of any of the existing Nigerian political parties, I discuss and analyse events and issues most dispassionately, with uncommon candour. I then proceed ahead to proffer the panacea. Most humbly, that is the difference between me and other social Critics.

You can always disagree with me. It is your Constitutional right to so do. You may even dislike, loathe, insult or abuse me for my strong views. That is also your right. I cannot force anyone to like me. In any event, I am not in any popularity contest. But, one thing you may not be able to do is to fault my hard, cold facts and data. As Uthman Dan Fodio once put it, “conscience is an open would; only the truth can heal it”. This position signposts my today’s discourse which takes us back to 2015, where my views and suggestions, wholly ignored by this government, have today resonated from their cold graves and are today hunting us, like a phoenix from its ashes. The following two pieces which I wrote, respectively, on 21ST OF APRIL, 2015, and 3RD OF MAY, 2015 (ever before Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigerian PRESIDENT), will demonstrate how I tackled the then President Goodluck Jonathan and the then president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari. These views and suggestions were contained in my series, titled, “THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE WINNERS AND LOSERS”, published in my weekly Sunday Telegraph column, “THE NIGERIAN PROJECT”. Had President Buhari hearkened to my patriotic pieces of advice and humble intervention, Nigerians would not today literally be on fire. And President Buhari would not today be holed up in Aso Villa, contending with nearly two weeks of “#ENDSARS” protests. By the way, #ENDSARS, in its full nakedness, is nothing but an euphemism for Nigerians’ deep – seated anger, exasperation, despondency, provocation and disappointment, about Buhari’s  clueless, lack – lustre, but dictatorial iron – fist rule. Read both articles carefully and judge for yourselves, those who are the genuine patriots, and those who are the corridors – of – power – hypocrites, bootlickers, fawners and emergency contractors. Now, read this first part. Part 2 follows immediately. I humbly urge you to also read and digest it carefully.

THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: THE WINNERS AND LOSERS (PART 3)

SUNDAY TELEGRAPH OF 21st APRIL, 2015.

“This week, we shall conclude our analysis of the pattern of voting in the last presidential election that denied GMB a Pan-Nigerian mandate, and thereafter, set an agenda of action and success for him.

NORTH WEST

GMB’s strongest base as expected was the North West, where he hails from. A predominantly Muslim, Hausa-Fulani region, these geopolitical zones clearly underlined the politics of religion and ethnicity that bedeviled the last election, in the same measure that South- South and South-East exemplified these in favour of GEJ. GMB walked away with victory in all six states of the zone, leaving Jonathan to pick 25% in only one, Kaduna. GMB made his largest haul of votes here, which firmly put a seal to the coffin of GEJ’s ambition to retain his seat.

Let’s do some mathematics: Jigawa – GMB (85.3%), GEJ (13.7%); Kaduna – GMB (64.5%), GEJ (27.7%); Katsina – GMB (92.8%), GEJ (6.8%); Kebbi – GMB (83.8%), GEJ (14.9%); Sokoto – GMB (80.5%), GEJ (18.2%); Zamfara – GMB (80.4%), GEJ (19%).

In the 2011 election, GMB had hauled 6,453,437, a figure he upped in 2015 to 7,115,199. This figure is about half his total votes across the entire country! From only one out of six geopolitical zones! GEJ, on the other hand garnered 3,395,724 in 2011, a figure which abysmally depleted to 1,333,709 in 2015.

From the above results, GEJ, more than in any other geopolitical zone, actually lost the election in GMB’s South West home turf, a clear indication that religion and ethnicity played a major role in the election. But, can GMB afford to be president of North West and parts of North East geopolitical zones alone? I think not. He dares not.

With all these results added, we are faced with the grim picture of a gravely fractured country, wearing the hideous visage of a sorry country yearning for nationhood. It means that absolutely more than half of Nigerian voters rejected GMB in the just concluded election. The margin of 2,571,759 votes with which GMB defeated GEJ, pales into infinitesimal insignificance when compared with the humungous 10,280,334 votes with which Jonathan beat Buhari in 2011.

What is more, both President Jonathan and President-elect Buhari, had each scored the mandatory demand of 25% in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states, to satisfy the constitutional requirement. Buhari was lucky to have had plurality or majority of votes. Significantly, GEJ, the loser, had 25% in 27 states, while GMB, the winner also had it in 27 states of the Federation, the same number as GEJ. This is a very dicey situation of the same six and half a dozen, the same Hamlet and the Prince of Denmark. More interesting is the truism that in the remaining states that both candidates lost, GMB, the winner, had over 10% in only one state (Imo) while GEJ, the loser, scored over 10% in seven states (Kano, Jigawa, Gombe, Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna and Sokoto states), showing clearly, more acceptance of GEJ in the North, than of Buhari in the South. Do you now see why he needs to work very hard in bridging this alarmingly yawning divide?

THE PROVERBIAL BANANA PEEL

Nigerians are very impatient people, having been short-changed again and again, by successive governments, whether civilian or military. Ask GEJ how he frittered away the overwhelmingly massive love, goodwill and support that Nigerians bestowed on him in the 2011 election, with just one stroke of an ill-advised action – removal of oil subsidy in January 2012, barely seven months after he was sworn in as president. He was never thereafter allowed any breathing space, or honeymoon period to romanticise his victory. Many Nigerians never forgave him. That same proverbial banana peel is still there, in Aso Villa, lurking around GMB. Can he avoid it? Only time and his actions will tell. Nigerians shout “hossana” today and “crucify” him tomorrow.

– Oct. 27 2020 @ 10:59 GMT |

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