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BUHARI: A Nigerian Or Nigerien?

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President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria means many things to many people — Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike. To the Buharists or Buharideens he is the best thing to happen to Nigeria presidentially. He is a patriot whose integrity is never in doubt; he is incorruptible, morally-strong, a no-nonsense retired General committed to taking Nigeria to the next level. They easily point to the so-called war against graft, the billions of Dollars released to the recently-retired Service Chiefs for the prosecution of the war against terrorism. (Never mind the recent controversy over how the billions were spent). They would readily argue vaguely that Nigeria is now safer and better than when their local champion came in way back in 2015.

For the die-hard Buharists the embattled President is addressing multiple challenges facing the country especially security. And his administration is making enormous progress in agriculture, economy, anti-corruption etc. Besides, the lanky man from Daura is improving the infrastructural needs of the country and making efforts for stolen funds and assets to be tracked and repatriated back to the country.

For the die-hard formidable opposition (led by the fugitive IPOB champion, Nnamdi Kanu), however, Buhari we knew all along prior to his second coming onto the national stage had ‘died’ long ago abroad and another ‘Buhari’ (Jubril from Sudan) was crafted surgically to replace the dead and buried one!

And to the moderate opposition led by the PDP the President and his APC ruling party had failed to deliver on their promised ‘change’ mantra. What has changed since 2015 had been large-scale insecurity across the federation, looting, terrorism, abduction for hefty ransom, banditry and socio-economic mess.

For the hardliners, Sunday Igboho, Asari Dokubo etc, Nigeria has since outlived its usefulness to the rest of us; it has therefore failed to work in the overall interest of the constituent units hence the urgent need for dismemberment. Dismantling the confused federal house is the only option available. Oduduwa Republic is what Igboho and his folowers are proposing while Dokubo had established the so-called Biafran Customary Government headed by no other but himself!

For the revolutionary fringe of the opposition (led by the irrepressible Publisher of Sahara-Reporters, Omoyele Sowore) Nigeria under Buharism does not need disintegration but a revolution, one capable of altering the political course of history of our nation. For Comrade Sowore what Nigeria needs as a matter of national urgency is a surgical operation that uproots the present diffident and vacuous leadership at the centre.

And to the electorally-deposed President Donald Trump of America Buhari was a “lifeless” figure he would never want to see or meet again in his life! But thank goodness the haughty megalomaniac is no longer residing at the White House. If otherwise was the case then our President would never ever be invited over for whatever reason of state or international relation or diplomacy.

A retired Army Colonel, Tony Nyiam, had said recently in an interview with an international TV station based in Nigeria that President Buhari had publicly revealed he was from the Niger Republic! Nyiam declared that as Commander of a unit under the then General Officer Commanding a battalion in the north Buhari had told them during a briefing that most of his family members were originally from Niger Republic but that he was a Nigerian officer owing allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

When General Buhari was himself he had led a battle against the invading ‘rebels’ from Chad chasing them away. Even when the then President, the late Shehu Shagari, had intervened following a diplomatic understanding with the then Chadian President ordering Buhari to pull back his troops he had doggedly refused to back down.

Today the Buhari we knew and loved as the defender of the general interest of Nigeria and Nigerians had since changed to a sectional nepotistic leader without conscience. Besides undoing national unity by lopsided appointments to key national positions his mental acuity is noticable. When the late Abba Kyari, his erstwhile Chief of Staff, was still in Aso Rock rumours were agog of a surrogate presidency.

Read also: Biafra, Oduduwa Republic – ’liberation struggle’ as the new hustle

And today we are still hearing of the shenanigans of a cabal deciding and ruling Nigeria by proxy! Yet 2023 is still far away off.

After bouts of infirmity that took him outside the country for months on medical tourism President Buhari is rumoured to be suffering from advanced dementia. He hardly remembers anything and hardly reads or writes. Some aides of his had exploited this executive forgetfulness or memory loss to defraud the nation of millions of Dollars!

Since coming to power democratically Buhari has never hidden his ‘love’ of Niger Republic and Nigeriens. Recently he named a boulevard in Abuja after the out-going President of Niger, Mahamadou Issouffou. Before that he had commissioned millions of Dollars worth of rail network linking northern Nigeria to Maradi in Niger. He did this even when transportation is still a huge challenging problem in many Nigerian cities and towns.

As a military dictator in the early 80s Buhari was said to have voted for Nigerien candidate for a top job at the then Organization of African Unity (now African Union) at the expense of a Nigerian of Igbo descent. He must have felt more affiliated to a Fulani man from Niger than a Nigerian man from the south-east.

Ambassador Peter Onu of Nigeria was Acting Secretary-General of the OAU. At the 1985 Summit in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, statesmen like Julius Nyerere, the late President of Tanzania, lobbied for Onu’s election as substantive Secretary-General. Instead of campaigning for senior citizen Onu General Buhari had ensured that Ide Oumarou, his Fulani brother in the diaspora, emerged as the Secretary-General. And he reportedly relished in that criminal unpatriotic accomplishment of his.

President Buhari is a Nigerian by birth quite alright but he is perhaps a Nigerien by attitude and tendencies. If an opportunity presents itself for a choice between Nigeria and Niger he may not hesitate to go for the latter.

Of course there is little or no doubt that Buhari is an eminent Nigerian. But the underlying truth remains self-evident that his heart beats across the border towards Niamey. He demonstrates ‘love’ for Nigeriens more than Nigerians!

By SOC Okenwa…

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