Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Buhari’s Friends, Violence and War against Corruption

 Most people get worried whenever they hear the Presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari referring to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as “my leader.” If a badly tainted man like Tinubu is Buhari’s leader, then, we must all be wary of the man called Buhari himself. Tinubu has had and he is still having his hands in numerous dubious deals all over Lagos. He has converted so many government properties in Lagos to his personal use. He owns the Lekki Concession Company that illegally milks Lagosians daily with tolls on the Lekki-Epe Express Way. It recently emerged that Tinubu was convicted for money laundering in the United States some years back. According to documents relating to the conviction, the US court
ordered that the funds totaling $460,000 in the account in the name of Bola Tinubu represents proceeds of narcotics or were involved in financial transactions in violation of US laws and therefore ordered that these funds be forfeited to the United States Government. Neither a claim nor answer was filed on behalf of the defendant for the funds. This is the man Buhari calls ‘my leader.” It says a lot about Buhari himself.

What about Sani Ahmed Yerima, the corrupt, inept and morally bankrupt former governor of Zamfara State? He is also one of Buhari’s key allies. Yerima is a confirmed pedophile. These are the people frolicking with Buhari now.
Now, to the issue of election violence heating up the polity. As usual, Buhari’s friends have started issuing threats ahead of the Presidential election. We can all still remember Asiwaju’s threats of “rig and be roasted” before the Ekiti and Osun states gubernatorial election last year.
Then, the United States of America and many lover of peace faulted his threat. The US in a statement entitled, “Countering the crisis of credibility”, by its Consul General, Jeff Hawkins, wondered why politicians keep making elections incredible in Nigeria. Hawkins, who said the US had been watching the Nigeria political scene closely for about two years, warned Nigerian politicians against violence and disobedience to law.
Buhari and his cohorts are all over again, threatening to set up a parallel government if they fail to win the presidential election. The sponsorship of violence and intimidation, and the rhetorical threat thereof, are utterly unacceptable in a democratic society, and need to be expunged once and for all from the Nigerian polity and discourse. Many Nigerians are troubled by some of the rhetoric that has been thrown around in recent weeks and months as these elections draw closer. It not productive or reasonable to threaten violence, even when you perceive that others have been guilty of misconduct. Who benefits from that type of violent rhetoric? And why would any ordinary Nigerian accept such provocative language, especially considering the history of post-election violence in Nigeria, and the truly horrific carnage that this country has been suffering at the hands of Boko Haram?
Let me refer Buhari and his cohorts to the statement issued last year by the United States Government. It states: “If a candidate believes an election is threatened, then that candidate should be doing everything possible to see that the rules of the game are enforced properly – by having party agents in the numerous locations where they are permitted, for example, to bear witness to what happens – or doesn’t happen. That is part of the painstaking work of participating in, and building, a democracy. Drawing on or threatening violence is an attempt to short-circuit that process for the benefit of a few, but to the detriment of many.”
Buhari and his cohorts must realize that Nigerians have fought long and hard to earn the democratic rights they now possess and they want – and deserve – peaceful, credible elections across this great country in February 2015. That’s why these elections are a critical juncture. Every Nigerian – from the party leaders and candidates to average citizens – should do everything in his/her power to help meet those expectations, and thereby counter this crisis of credibility.

Already, Team Buhari has breached the peace accord with Jonathan. Their political thugs on Tuesday attacked the convoy of Jonathan in Katsina State during the continuation of his re-election campaign. Buhari is from the state.
According to reports, trouble started when Jonathan, accompanied by Vice President Namadi Sambo; National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Muazu; and Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State among others, decided to pay a courtesy visit to the  late President Umoru Yar’Adua’s mother, Hajiya Dada. As the President and members of his entourage made their way into the Yar’Adua Quarters, the brooms-wielding youths, who were suspected to be members of the APC, chanting “Sai Buhari,” surged forward.
Security agents had a hectic time dispersing the crowd. The Buhari supporters regrouped and again moved to attack the President’s convoy as he was ready to leave the residence after the visit. Security agents fired tear gas canisters to disperse the youths to allow vehicles in the convoy speed off. As the presidential delegation made their way towards the Katsina Airport, the youths hurled stones at the convoy. What is Buhari trying to turn this election into? He wants to burn Nigeria because of his ambition. Already, Niger Delta youths are threatening to retaliate if Buhari visits Bayelsa. Where are we heading to?
Let us revisit the issue of anti-corruption. In all the rallies addressed by Buhari, he was always taking a swipe at the PDP and that the Jonathan administration was incapable of fighting corruption. Buhari and his cohorts need to listen to the comment of Peter Obi in this regard. The former governor of Anambra State said: “Everyone in Nigeria claims to be a saint and accuses others of being corrupt. We all read and also heard from those who were there what transpired at the APC primaries in Lagos. That is not corruption, right? While I agree that there is the need to strengthen institutions like the ICPC and EFCC, to fight the physical and more tangible forms of administrative corruption, there is also the far more fundamental need to fight corruption from its very roots.”
Let’s go to the issue of Boko Haram. Over the years, the government has always pointed accusing fingers at the opposition as stoking the flames of insurgency in a bid to take over government. Some people have even directly accused Buhari and his cohorts of sponsoring the insurgents. The rise in terrorist attacks in the weeks leading to the general election is a testimony to this. The aim of Buhari and his cohorts is to use the security challenges to win votes.

The US Department of States recently raised an alarm in this direction. The US government said that the recent incessant attacks by the Boko Haram insurgents could be as a result of the approaching general elections in Nigeria.
“There has been a sharp escalation in the number of reported casualties. I think the numbers tend to be from about 2009 to 2013 – there were a little over 1,000 casualties. I mean, we’ve obviously all seen the reported numbers just this week – which we can’t confirm exactly, but it clearly shows there’s been a sharp escalation.
“It’s because Boko Haram has tended to, particularly around something like an election, used political issues or sensitivities to try and inflame tensions. We’ve seen that as one of their tactics, and that’s why it’s so important to move forward with the election, because we believe it’s important. Well, I don’t want to prejudge.
“We’ve seen successful elections go forward in places that have pretty significant levels of violence. So, we believe the election should go forward. We know there are security challenges. We do think that the election is probably a factor. As I said, we believe the election should still go forward, even in the face of this pretty horrific violence,” Marie Harf, the US spokeswoman, told journalists. So, we can see where Buhari stands in all these. He has a big question to answer. He wants Nigerians to reward him for stoking the flames of insurgency, by voting him President.

This Buhari says he knows how to end Boko Haram attacks within months. We need to take a second look at this. This man surely knows something about Boko Haram attacks. We have to vote him into office before he would stop the attacks. We have to reward him for stoking insurgency. A food for thought for Nigerians.
The issues of Boko Haram aside, let’s take a second look at Buhari’s certificate scandal. It is instructive to critically examine the statement of the Army regarding his claims that his school certificate is with them. To assert that the original credentials of former Head of State are not in its custody, the Nigerian Army has thrown the ex-leader a poser. The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Brig-Gen. Olajide Laleye, last week asked: “if indeed the Army is in possession of those certificates, why has he (Buhari) not demanded for them since 2003 when he forayed into presidential elections and had other shots at the presidency in 2007 and 2011 respectively?”
Laleye insisted that contrary to insinuations, the Army does not have in its possession the originals but only copies of credentials of all its officers whether serving, retired or deceased, including those of Gen. Muhammad Buhari (rtd). Laleye explained that the Military Secretary (MS) keeps copies of credentials, with the original in possession of the individual officers.
He added that even the copies domiciled with the MS are accessible to their owners within 24 hours. “The Military Secretary is the custodian of the military records of all officers serving, retired or deceased.  Therefore original credentials are with the officer while copies are with the MS. Gaining access to one’s credentials in the MS is possible within 24 hours”, he said. So, what Jazz is Buhari telling us? Buhari should simply surrender. Is he saying that he does not know that he can apply to WAEC for a replica if the original certificate is missing? What about the statement of result issued to him by the secondary school he attended?
Buhari only replied with his examination details and not the required certificate. So, when will he provide the certificate or Certified True Copy?

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