Frank Talk: Why General Buhari Should Lead Us By Onyeka Okonji

The past few months have been a very tight and challenging one in the polity of Nigeria, the political landscape of Nigeria has become so heated up that it affects even the citizens of this great nation who are wrongly believed to have no control over what goes on this country. Critical part of this season is the elections into certain offices in the country, the presidential elections being the most particular of the rest. Currently, we have 14 candidates running for the most wanted position in this country, a position which bestows one with so much power that it has corrupted so many in the past and even the present one who claimed to be shoeless but is certainly not hatless but is heartless.
In actual fact, there are 2 major candidates everyone is looking at, first is a former military Head of State; General Muhammadu Buhari and the second is the incumbent leader of this nation being Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. In the race to the elections, there have been a lot of mudslinging, most of which have been false and are perpetrated by those who want to retain power and those who are hoping to occupy certain positions at the federal levels of government should their candidate win. But through all this, it’s been evident that most, if not all of this malicious statements are being circulated by the People’s Democratic Party of which the incumbent President is the flag bearer. Most appalling is the way in which the media has been used to propagate hate messages as was seen in the hate and largely false documentary on General Buhari aired by the African (Un) Independent Television (AIT).
In line with these elections, there are several factors which come into play, few which should and most of them which should not.
There are four pillars that control elections in Nigeria and these are religion, ethnicity, economy and security.
I hope to accurately and as objectively as I can draft a comparison between the candidate of the APC and that of the PDP using these pillars.
Religion: This happens to be a very interesting pillar as both candidates are of different religions but it is highly disappointing to see or hear Nigerians (worst especially the ones we regard as intellectuals) use this pillar to malign the candidacy of one over the other and this I must say is greatly used by the PDP and its followers to reduce the chances of General Buhari wining.
When it comes to religion, we have General Buhari who is widely believed to be an Islam extremist and is falsely accused as wanting to Islamise Nigeria should he become the next President of this country. I stand to say that this accusation is entirely false and misleading because of the following reasons; firstly, when General Buhari was Head of State, he had every chance and absolute power to make Nigeria a Muslim nation, he turned down invitation from the Organisation of Islamic countries (OIC) to make Nigeria a member and yet, preachers of falsehood claim he wants to Islamise Nigeria. Secondly, if General Buhari were to Islamise Nigeria, it will require at least two-thirds of the number of states i.e. 24 out of the 36 states (including FCT) to agree to this deal, so I wonder how they expect this to happen. Thirdly, this isn’t the military era where the Head of State is both the legislative and the executive, for an Islamisation of Nigeria to happen, such will have to be approved by the House of Assembly and I really doubt that will ever happen. So my fellow countrymen, I then wonder how they expect or think in their wildest imaginations that General Buhari will be able to accomplish this.
In Mr. Jonathan, we have a Christian who apparently, the almighty God has lifted from nothing to somebody, one who claimed to be shoeless but now wears fancy iron shoes and uses them to trample on the citizens of this country. With regards to the Nigeria’s membership in the OIC, this was accomplished not by General Buhari but by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida and if anything, the only leader of this nation to attend an OIC meeting so happens to be Mr. Jonathan, so I am then baffled by what people mean and what they want to achieve by saying General Buhari wants to Islamise Nigeria.
Mr. Jonathan is alleged to have warned politicians from using religious gatherings as platform for re-election, but to date, he is the only one to have visited 3 big churches in the country namely, Winners, the RCCG and The Lord’s Chosen in that order and yet he asks the rest not to use churches as political platforms. Is Mr. Jonathan now what we call a church prostitute?
Mr. Jonathan and his party members say the General Buhari plans to Islamise the country, while Mr. Jonathan’s second in command says his direct opponent in the APC in person of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo wants to Christianise Nigeria. How ironic!
Hoping, I have spoken to your mind, I wish to move to the next pillar, which is ethnicity.

Ethnicity: This also happens to be an interesting pillar in that both candidates are from 2 very different cultural backgrounds, Mr. Jonathan; coming from the South-South region and General Buhari coming from the North-Eastern region of the country. I am baffled when I listen to the Ibos of this nation say, how can we allow a Hausa man to lead us? I consider this very naïve and myopic of them. Let it be known that I am Ibo so I should not come out as being unfairly tribalistic. But I need to ask you all the following questions:
If the white people of the United States of America were to be this myopic, will we have a black man as the President of one of the most powerful nations in the world?
If the white people of the United States of America were to be this myopic, will we have this same black man as President of the Harvard Law School?
Quite unfortunately, some former or will I say glorified touts who have benefitted from this present government, have declared war on the country should Mr. Jonathan not win. They may claim to do this for the benefit of their people the Niger-Deltans, but we all know that’s a big lie from the pit of hell because this large man so happens to have fleet of expensive vehicles and lives very comfortable that he will do anything to make sure the government that sponsors him remain in leadership. If he claims to be doing it for the people of his community, why didn’t bring some level of development to this community by siting his university in this community, that way he can provide jobs and also bring investors to the area, but yet he didn’t. So who is he deceiving and what kind of spell is he using on those who follow him? I need smart answers please!

Economy: This is one very funny pillar in the sense that a lot of lies have been circulated on the T.V and newspapers about the true state of the economy of this country by voodoo economists. The GEJ administration feels proud because of the statement that Nigeria currently has the largest economy in the continent of Africa, this is one very laughable claim because I am very sure that if you tell the hungry man pushing jerry cans of water for sale under the sun or the woman walking all around the bus-stops, selling drinks and sachet water and has to feed the family and send their kids to schools at expensive costs, that our economy is the best in the continent that he/she may land you a terrible slap on the face as a hungry man/woman is an angry man/woman.
It has been recorded in books that the regime of General Buhari, was one in which inflation and economic crisis was not a thing to talk about, government spending was greatly controlled and unnecessary financial debts were prevented, yet some greedy and inhumane people will not want him to get into power because of fear that their ill-gotten wealth at the expense of the citizenry will be diminished. They fear that the large sums of money they get from government to perform ‘contracts’ will be greatly monitored and such, they will do anything to prevent General Buhari from getting into power.
In Mr. Jonathan, we have man who doesn’t see corruption as stealing, as he rightly said so last year, before attempting to shift blame in his recent interview by claiming he borrowed the phrase from someone else. We have a man who has absolutely no will to end corruption in this country as is seen by one of his first despicable acts as President which was granting his former boss and former governor of Bayelsa state pardon for stealing large sums of money meant for the country. We have a man who plans to use technology to tackle corruption but is scared of using technology to do elections and feels sending corrupt people to jail isn’t necessary, an act which is done in every first-world country. It was under this regime that the former Secretary of State and former First Lady of the United States said that this government is one that breeds corruption, it was this same regime that the Guardian UK said Mr. Jonathan’s record on corruption is a disgrace. The New York Times went as far as calling Mr. Jonathan as one who leads a corrupt government and has little credibility. The Economist called Mr. Jonathan’s government as incompetent, callous and very corrupt.
Amidst all these, they claim our economy is the best in the continent. The best when our currency has been so devalued (an act which General Buhari vehemently opposed during his regime) such that there is massive inflation, cost of necessities of life are becoming expensive and yet our economy is the best. How ironic!

Security: This pillar so happens to form the bedrock as to who becomes the next President of this country. It is the pillar most critics are using to discredit the current government, which is not avoidable, as the present government wasted time and effort to preventing the current precarious nature of the nation.
Currently we have a Boko Haram terrorist sect, which has become so powerful that they were the de-facto deciders of when the Presidential elections will be held, which was originally slated for February 14th of this year and then shifted at the last minutes by 6 weeks. Boko Haram actually started in 2002, but it wasn’t until 2009, that this satanic sect became so famous and scary. The current administration in their defence said that the Boko Haram existed before they came, true! But they became really known when this administration got into power, so what happened in the previous years, what has changed?
This current government in their usual childish bid to shift blame claimed that the major opposition being the APC were the sponsors of Boko Haram, and rather than seek ways to destroy the threat they continued the false – blame – game while the sect became stronger, so stronger that they have successfully invaded army bases and taken over them, so powerful that they were able to mastermind the kidnap of over 200 school girls.
Mr. Jonathan appeared on stage one day to say that sponsors of this sect are in his government while his party claims the sponsors are from the opposition, again A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND!
Funny enough, just as Mr. Jonathan is not interested in dealing with corruption, so isn’t he interested in dealing with terrorism, that he boldly said that terrorism is a global phenomenon and it’s probably just Nigeria’s turn, he has adopted a slogan for himself anytime Boko Haram performs their experiment ‘I condemn it’. Mr. Jonathan, how long will you continually condemn these attacks and actually do something. By the way, I call the attacks an experiment because from one of point of view, I see it as a plan by the sect to test the strength of Mr. Jonathan’s government. He has shown great disregard with respect to terrorism such that he waited 18 days before acknowledging that the kidnapped Chibok girls were actually kidnapped, more alarming is the complete silence till date from the President’s mouth about the massacre of close to 2000 people in Baga area of the Maiduguri, a figure the incompetent Nigerian Army claim is false even when satellite images show otherwise, they claim it’s just 150, as if that’s meant to make us smile, that Oh! Okay, the number isn’t that large, for Heaven’s sake, those are communities and human beings with hopes being destroyed. No number should please any good person.
Let’s not forget that the reason for the postponement of the elections was because the military say they cannot protect us at that time. In other words, what we should understand is that the government we voted into power and the military it created have shamelessly claimed they cannot protect us, this goes contrary to the vows they swore before assuming office.
Oh! Lest I forget, now the military says they can destroy Boko Haram within 6 weeks, an act they couldn’t do in 4 years, it will take divine intervention from the Almighty God for this to become a reality. But let’s not forget that Mr. Jonathan said that he isn’t saying Boko Haram will be destroyed in 6 weeks, what is wrong with the information system between the leader of the country and his military? This same Mr. Jonathan claims that he wasn’t aware of the postponement of elections, who is Oga Jona lying to? Again I ask, what is wrong with the information system between Mr. Jonathan and the INEC, which doesn’t appear as independent as their name suggests, is he trying to say that the INEC made such a decision without letting him know? How interesting, because this will suggest that Mr. Jonathan, you are highly irresponsible! Again, I remind you that, A HOUSE DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF CANNOT STAND
Let’s make a comparison with General Buhari, a military man, a retired general in the army and a fellow of the United States War College. Let’s look at his past records, during his time in the military, he was faced with terrorist attacks too, one is that of Chadian rebels, for which he was made to defend the country from them and he successfully did it with the help of the well-equipped soldiers under this control, he pursued the rebels out of the country and even as far as into their own country, another is that of the Mataistine, which he was also able to handle successfully.
I wonder what went wrong in the military, because it was this same military that assisted other countries to fight wars for them and now we are finding it difficult to fight our wars. What’s going on? They claim that they are ill-prepared but then what happened to the money allocated for their care? There are also reports of sabotage by some members when they go out to fight the terrorist group, there are claims that their tracks are always so easily predicted that it could only happen with the help of an insider. What’s really going on?
Some ignorant people claim General Buhari is behind Boko Haram and they still continually do even after his convoy was attacked and some of his bodyguards killed, his own vehicle riddled with bullets, and yet he’s behind this group? Are we that gullible and undiscerning? I hope not.
Albeit, it must be said that there seems to be some sort of politicisation going on in the military to the extent that they now lay attacks on their seniors who ought to be respected in persons of General Muhammadu Buhari, in the way they handled his certificate joke. They have also gone ahead to insult General Olusegun Obasanjo just after his defection from a party he founded and was member of for 16 years, calling him a disgrace to the army. This is really serious and I hope this people are joking with what they say and they actually apologise behind the scenes to these retired generals.
Having gone through this 4 pillars, I wish to mention a few other points, one being age, which the mischief makers in Mr. Jonathan’s group are using to reduce General Buhari’s chances of winning. I hope they do know that age is not in any way a sign of when a person will die, as younger people die before older ones, sons die before their parents, even of natural causes. They claim General Buhari is too old and not mentally stable enough to rule a nation. Need I remind these ignorant ones that Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister of India at the age of 74 and was on record to have done tremendously well, Jerry Brown who is 76 years old is the incumbent Governor of California in the United States. So I wonder what makes these people say the things they do.

Now I implore you to undergo a small mental, emotional exercise;
You are a parent, on the 1st of January 2012, the President you voted into power removes the subsidy on petroleum products which causes an increase in their prices. The ripple effect of which will cause increase in transport fares, and other necessities of life. Then the thought that you have to pay school fees pops up in your mind, how are you going to cater for the family with the increased prices of fuel and amenities? Heart ache comes, your blood pressure increases, you are worried!
On the 5th day of this seemingly challenging year, some of your Christian friends are killed by a dreaded terrorist group called Boko Haram.
Some months later, your daughter(s) or sister(s) is abducted by Boko Haram in a school you managed to send her to, time to time, the thought of her being sexually abused comes to mind, the thought of her being used as a slave comes to mind.
And the President who swore to protect us decided to wait until 18 days before admitting the crime committed and taking necessary action.
This same terrorist group that causes you great fear at their sight visits your town again and 51 people are killed, some of which are your long-time friends.
Some days later, this same terrorist group launches another attack and the next day, your President goes dancing at his declaration speech, not showing any remorse or sense of guilt about the death of the people he swore to protect.
The soldiers out of patriotism decide to fight for the country, only to be given inferior weapons, made to take care of themselves when injured. Rather than devote enough resources to fighting the insurgency by providing arms for the soldiers to fight, the Nigerian Army sentences soldiers who protested to death by firing squad.
The international and local community rise up to condemn the lackadaisical attitude of the government, but rather than take up the task of fighting the insurgency, the government condemns them and brands them as opposition to democracy.
It’s a new year! Everyone is celebrating, but your family cannot, not because you detest celebrations, but because you constantly remember that one of you daughters is being held captive in a forest. And so you don’t see the need to celebrate.
Some months later, this same terrorist group launches attack on 16 villages killing about 2000 people, an attack which lasts for 6 days, without any reply by your country’s armed forces, your relatives who live in this town are killed in the process, coincidentally, another terrorist group attacks and kills 12 people in France. The President you voted into power decides to ignore the massacre of 2000 citizens of his country and decides to condemn and send condolences to the other country, his service chiefs and ministers take up the slogan IamBaga and till this day is yet to say anything about the incident.
The terrorist group which has your daughter captive now controls about 70% of your state, you can’t think of leaving the state, because you don’t have enough money to transport yourself and your family and start a new life.
Your President’s defence minister decides to place a stamp of irrelevance on human life by saying that the actual number of dead persons in 150 as if that’s meant to appease the nation. When satellite images show otherwise.
You begin to remember when the President you swore into power said that terrorism is a global phenomenon and that it’s just Nigeria’s turn. The Minister in-charge of economy says that your country has the best economy in the continent, yet the currency is being de-valued, prices of goods being imported begin to rise and yet we have the best economy. Your heart aches at the thought of how you will cope.
This President who took an oath to protect the citizens wishes to be re-elected, and visits a state in Nigeria and declares that people are after his life, when he refused to take care of the life of his citizens. After ignoring calls to visit your town and provide a sense of concern, He gathers a ‘special’ kind of courage and visits your state, not to console you or show any form of sympathy, but to campaign for re-election, he carries a banner with the inscription ‘I VOW TO DO MORE’.
Lest I forget, his elder sister dies, he postpones the inauguration of his campaign team out of respect for his sister, but didn’t see the need to do same to those who were killed before his declaration speech.
Take time to let this sink in.

Views expressed are solely that of author and has no association with nor its associates

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