Buhari’s real enemies

As a protest against the mindless stealing of the nation’s resources by PDP stalwarts and their children while Jonathan took refuge in Nigerian churches and Jerusalem synagogues, sometimes in company of those indicted by the National Assembly for financial malfeasance, Nigerians in 2015 overwhelmingly elected President Buhari. But Buhari was demystified within his first two years in office.

No thanks to his warring ministers, political office-holders and ‘loyal gate keeper’ permanently engaged in war of attrition, not over how best to serve Nigeria but over ‘who gets what, when and how’. Following the president’s inability to manage his warring men who many believe are serving other tendencies in his administration, he frittered away the goodwill of Nigerians.

And for the president, it was a double jeopardy. It is today a sort of sardonic humour that the same men that delegitimised Buhari’s “divisive administration of confusion and crisis”,( apology to Sule Lamido ) that are now hawking APC’s 2023 presidential ticket to President Jonathan who was humiliated out of office in 2015.

And in recent times, for President Buhari, it does not just rain, it pours. While Monguno, his defence minister and the now retired service chiefs who had held the president hostage with tales of possible coup were engaged in war over procurement of arms, an emboldened Boko Haram regrouped. Although government denied control of any Nigerian territory by the insurgents, what is not however deniable is that the deadly insurgents have now made killing of our ill-equipped and out-gunned soldiers their pastime.

Similarly, bandits and criminal herdsmen emboldened by the president’s warring disorderly men with incoherent messages, have turned kidnaping of students and demand of ransom as high as N500m into an art. With subtle encouragement of AK-47-wielding herdsmen by Bauchi’s governor, Bala Mohammed and a plea for amnesty and compensation for criminal Fulani herdsmen by Dr Gumi, replacing expected coherent response of the federal government, criminal herdsmen illegally occupying reserved forests of the southwest are not in a hurry to obey the laws of their host states.

That the war of attrition between warring Monguno, Buhari’s National Security Adviser (NSA) and the president’s retired security chiefs did not end with their long over-due retirement came in bold relief during his press interview with BBC Hausa service last week.

He had said without restraint: “The president has done his best by approving huge sums of money for the purchase of weapons, but the weapons were not bought, they are not here.. I’m not saying the former service chiefs diverted the money, but the money is missing.… The fact is that preliminary investigation showed the funds are missing and the equipment is nowhere to be found. When the new service chiefs assumed office, they also said they didn’t see anything on the ground.”

Defence of the former service chiefs came immediately from another warring member of the president’s ‘loyal gate keepers’- Shehu Garba, the president’s Senior Special Assistant on Media whose every intervention on behalf of the president seem to position his principal as being at war with those he governs.

Faulting Moguno, he had said: “About the $1bn taken from the Excess Crude Account with the consent of state governors used for military procurements, I want to assure you that nothing of that money is missing. The reference to it in the interview of the BBC Hausa Service by the National Security Adviser has been misconstrued and mistranslated. NSA made two critical points – one is that we don’t have enough weapons, which is a statement of fact; and two, procurements made have not been fully delivered.”

For the president’s political enemies who were once told by a Senator Shehu Sani, then a leading APC member, that the president fights corruption among opposition party members with insecticide but with deodorant among his supporters, Monguno and Shehu Garba’s different narratives was just one more example of the president’s double standard in his anti-corruption crusade.

Nigerians could not have also forgotten the Malami/Magu rivalry. After series of embarrassing public duel by both men serving the same principal, Abubakar Malami, wrote to the president, listing several allegations against Ibrahim Magu including mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets; diversion of recovered assets for personal enrichment; discrepancy in foreign currency recovered and the lodgment of its naira equivalent. Magu was detained on July 6, 2020 and a panel started investigating him on July 31, 2020.

Magu was also believed to have leaked Malami’s secret meeting with fugitive Maina in Dubai before his controversial recall to the Nigerian civil service. Malami masterminded along the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Dambazau, the recall of Maina, who was then wanted for alleged N2 billion fraud. He was condemned by Nigerians and civil society groups, forcing President Buhari to order his “immediate disengagement” from the civil service while “demanding a full report of the circumstances of Maina’s recall and posting to the Ministry of Interior.”

Perhaps there was no other issue that set Buhari against Nigerians than the unrestrained comment of Mansur Dan-Ali the Minister of Defence on the mindless killings of harmless Nigerians by criminal herdsmen. Speaking at the end of a meeting of the National Security Council over the Benue killings on January 25, 2013, he had said: “Whatever crisis that happens at any time, there are remote and immediate causes. Since the nation’s independence, we know there used to be a route whereby the cattle rearers take because they are all over the nation… If you go to Bayelsa or Ogun, you will see them. If those routes are blocked, what do you expect will happen?

“These people are Nigerians and we must learn to live together with one another. Communities and other people must learn how to accept foreigners within their enclave. Finish!”

But the killers as it turned out are not our own Fulani herdsmen. The minister while using blocked grazing routes as justification for killings subsistence farmers in their farms in federating states was silent on about 500 grazing routes that suffered similar fate in the north. And because the minister who kept his job was never cautioned by the president, Nigerians hold him responsible for Ali’s unrestrained comment.

President Buhari was also missing when his two warring men, the Inspector General of Police and chairman of the Police Service Commission held the nation hostage with herdsmen, bandits and cattle rustlers terrorizing Nigerians. Perhaps as a compensation for rejecting demands of states for state police, the president had approved the recruitment of 10,000 police constables. But for over a year, the government policy could not be implemented as the president’s warring political appointees dragged themselves to court. Even after an appeal court led by Justice Olabisi Ige had unanimously held that the IGP and the Police lack the power to recruit the constables, the IGP went to the Supreme Court in October 2020. All Nigerians got from an elected president was a deafening silence.

Lastly, the president was also missing as his misguided Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, plodded on with his poorly thought-out attempt at depriving millions of Nigerians from the mobile smartphone and digital space, through a mismanaged National Identification Number (NIN) policy. Matami wanted 100m Nigerians in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic to comply with his two weeks deadline (December 16, to December 30, 2020) after which all SIMs without NINs will be blocked from service providers’ network. As it later turned out, all those who have bank account with BVN numbers didn’t need to have wasted between N2000 and N10,000 to secure NIN.

Buhari may not be featuring in 2023,;his APC will however most likely pay for the perfidy of his warring men.

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