Dibie Kingsley Chukwuma
Most times when you make any statement that suggest anything but a victory for General Muhammadu Buhari before or during an election period in a gathering of his supporters fondly called “Buharist”, If you are lucky not to get lynched, man-handled or sent death threats, you are either greeted with insults or treated with disdain like someone who has just blasphemed against a holy prophet. In the best possible scenario, you might be lucky to get someone reasonable enough to ask “where are you from? The South-South right? No wonder, na Jonathan dem brother na.” Such statements leaves me wondering, does one´s place of origin in Nigeria automatically disqualifies him or her from objectively holding opinion on national issues? Putting National interest first, will it not be unfair to assume that someone like Nasir El-Rufai is unqualified to comment on President Jonathan candidacy simply because he is from the North-West geo-political Zone of Nigeria?
Like many Africans in the diaspora who share the experience of living far away from home, i have come to see that our relationships are hardly influenced by tribe,ethnic group or country of origin. Like most people I have met, we have learnt to first be Africans before our tribe or nationality. It is from this position I will crave the understanding of all particularly supporters of General Muhammadu Buhari to allow me to exercise my fundamental human rights guaranteed under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to comment on the political dynamics of my nation as it relates to the candidacy of the APC presidential candidate “General Muhammadu Buhari” in the 2015 General election.
It is no news that General Buhari previously contested the presidential election in 2003 against ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and lost. In 2007 against Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and lost. And in 2011 against incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan which he also lost. By virtue of the number of presidential elections General Buhari has participated in as presidential candidate of different parties, he is not only the most experienced candidate in Nigeria´s election history, but there should be little or nothing anyone should be able to tell him about presidential elections in Nigeria. To say the least, with his wealth of experience in the last 10 years, he is in a better position to school anyone interested in the subject matter particularly when it comes to the aspect of defeat and knowing when the odds are against you and cannot change in a presidential contest. Hence, when the General said in 2011 “This campaign is the third and last one for me since after it I will not present myself again for election into the office of the president,” by default, I assumed he had finally come to the reality of the odds against him. Thus, to be told that the General was pressured to come back and contest, defiles all sense of reason.
In the presiding election before 2007, I had no strong thoughts as to how General Buhari would fare in the election. But in 2007, I was more than convinced he would lose. Likewise in 2011 which gave me the audacity to openly share my opinion whenever and wherever the opportunity presented itself. Just like in previous years before 2011, it is with that same conviction I am predicting once again that General Muhamadu Buhari will lose again come 14th, February 2015. To ascribe his perpetual defeat to one factor will not only be unfair to history, but a total disregard to the truth and an injustice to the individuals, circumstances and scenarios that have characterised the Nigerian political landscape in the last couple of years and continue to play out against him. It is in this understanding that in the next couple of weeks before February 14th, I will try to bring to the fore some of the individual factors as they relate to the subject matter of a Buhari presidential campaign.
- To begin with, as of today, Many “Buharist” will agree with me that General Buhari is an anti-corruption crusader who has showed that he would stop at nothing in fighting corruption. His antecedents as military head of state speak for him. But in the same vein, many of them might disagree when I say that for the General, this is a factor that has over the years influenced his continual failure in every election since 2003. In August 1985, General Buhari was overthrowned by General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda, the same man credited to being instrumental for him to be Head of State on the eve of 1984. Before the coup by Gen Babaginda, it was rumoured that Gen. Buhari had planned to retire some top military officers on allegation of corruption and Gen. IBB was to be among those to be retired. And as we would say today, corruption fought back. Once the coup took place, Buhari was then detained in Benin City until 1988.
In the years preceding the government of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo and thereafter, Gen. IBB and his friends have not only become rich, powerful and influential figures, but also indispensable power brokers who have remained relevant through alleged corrupt practices. If Gen. Buhari wants to really fight corruption, who are those that he will be fighting? Will Gen. IBB be spared?
No offence, but if Gen. IBB be the man that he is, it is one reason Gen. Buhari must loose again come 2015.