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APC and its Presidential Candidate

By Dr Deborah Nelson
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1. Since the Slogan of APC is 'Change', the questions most Nigerians who are not emotionally attached to APC may ask could be 'change from what to what and who are the people that will bring about the change? They may equally want to know the antecedents of APC's presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari [rtd] [GMB]. This is because if APC emerges victorious in the presidential election, he will be on the 'Driver's Seat' of the nation, hence it is imperative for Nigerians to know his real antecedents, devoid of propaganda and mischief.

2. GMB, who is often referred to as' Mr Integrity' by his supporters had contested presidential election thrice without submitting academic qualifications as required by the 1999 Constitution. For 2015 presidential election, he said that his academic qualifications were with the Military Secretary. His claim of having attended a War College in the US was confirmed by the College. The College awarded him a Diploma but not a Master's Degree as he was reported to have claimed in his sworn affidavit. The US War College Diploma can not replace the School Certificate required of him. According to serving and retired military personnel interviewed, award of Diploma and Course Report to every foreign military student in the US military training institutions is a common practice. They said that both officers and soldiers who attend military courses [even those military courses that are purely practical such as Airborne course] in the US are also awarded Diploma and Course Reports irrespective of their academic qualifications. They emphasized that what qualified GMB to attend the War College was his rank [Colonel]in the Nigerian Army and not academic qualifications. They further emphasized that even if a Private soldier who does not have a School Certificate successfully completes Airborne Course in US military training school, he/she will also be awarded a Diploma and a Course Report. In view of these facts, the Diploma awarded GMB by the US War College can not be substituted for the School Certificate required of him by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. If GMB is 'Mr Integrity' as his supporters claim, he should either attach evidence of his educational qualifications to INEC Form 001 in accordance with the laws of the land or bow out honorably from the race.

3. Bola Tinubu [BT], Mr A.M. Akande and Mr A. Agbele were involved in a white heroin trafficking network in Chicago and some parts of Indiana between 1988 and 1993 while Mr L.A. Edwards was the source of the drug. During the period, BT was an employee of Mobil Oil Nigeria Limited in Virginia and his take home pay was $2,400 US Dollars per month. Mr Kevin Moss was the Special Agent that handled the drug case against BT and Mr P. S. Coffey was BT's Counsel. In a Verified Complaint for forfeiture in case No 93 C 4484 filed on 26 July 1993 before Hon Judge J. Nordberg of US District Court for Northern District of Illinois, the US government urged the Court to order the forfeiture of money held in BT's accounts at First Heritage Bank and Citibank because there were enough reasons to believe that the money represents proceeds of narcotics trafficking in violation of US laws, hence it was forfeitable to the US government. The Court in the Order given in 1993 said that the drug deal, specifically in white heroine, involved BT, his wife Oluremi Tinubu and three of his family members. BT finally opted for a Stipulated Settlement with the US government. In the Settlement Order dated 15th September 1993, Hon Judge J. Nordberg ordered that the sum of $460,000 US Dollars held by BT in First Heritage Bank account be forfeited to the US government. Cocaine, heroin, guns and other paraphernalia used in running the drug business was also recovered from BT led drug cartel in Chicago in 1993. In a letter to NDLEA in 2003, a former Narcotics Attache in US Embassy in Nigeria , Mr A.W. Kellum confirmed that BT was involved in drug trafficking in the US between 1988 and 1993. He concluded that 'though BT was not subjected to criminal prosecution, but for the fact that he acceded to forfeit $460,000 US Dollars to the US government on account of his involvement in drug trafficking in the US was on its own a conviction'. Here again, “Mr Integrity' who used a retroactive Decree 20 of 1984 to slaughter Mr. Lawal Ojuolape[30], Mr. Bernard Ogedenbge[29] and Master Bartholomew Owo[26] in the name of fighting drug trafficking is today wining and dining with this convicted drug baron, a potential 'Nigerian Eskoba' because he wants to be president of Nigeria at any cost.

4. He was appointed Executive Chairman of PTF and granted absolute powers to manage it by the Abacha's regime. Instead of managing it by himself, he contracted Afri- Projects Consortium [APC], as Management Consultants and Projects Consultants and delegated power of Engineer in all appropriate projects requiring such power to APC. Consequently, his in-law, Alhaji Ahmad Sahilijo, who was the Chief Executive of APC assumed absolute powers to initiate all projects, assess their probable costs, approve the costs, execute the projects and assess quality of the projects. The total amount that accrued to PTF from inception to 1999 when it was disbanded was N181,795,000,000. The Interim Management Committee [IMC] set up in 2000 by Obasanjo's government to look into the management of PTF found out that APC overcharged PTF for its services through gross inflation of contracts, purchase prices and importation of substandard/soon-to-expire drugs at inflated prices. That PTF purchased ambulances at N13 million each while actual price was N3 million each, thereby resulting in a loss of N900 million. That a total sum of N25, 758,532,448 was mismanaged by PTF. The IMC also found out that over 70% of PTF's completed projects were located in North West and North East where 'Mr Integrity' and his in-law came from respectively. So, under GMB's watch, N25,758,532,448 was stolen in PTF and over 70% of all PTF completed projects were located in the north. If at a younger age of 52 with absolute powers, the self-styled anti corruption crusader could not fight corruption in PTF which had less than 2000 employees and ensure equitable distribution of PTF projects across the nation, how can this same man at the ripe age of 73, fight corruption in Nigeria with over 170 million people and annual budget of over N2 trillion?

5. One Mrs Vera Ifudu, an employee of NTA was sacked from her job by GMB because she reported an interview she had with Dr Olushola Saraki. Dr Saraki had claimed during the interview that the $2.8 billion US Dollars which was reported missing from NNPC's account at Midland Bank, London Branch when GMB was the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources [PNR] was traced by his Committee to GMB's fixed account at the same Midland Bank, London. Dr Saraki was the Senate Majority Leader during the Second Republic and the Chairman of a Senate Committee that looked into the missing NNPC's money before the 1983 military coup. If the missing money, $2.8 billion US Dollars was not in GMB's fixed account at Midland Bank London Branch as alleged by Dr Saraki, as a self-styled anti-corruption crusader, GMB should have addressed the nation on the issue and constituted an independent commission to look into the allegation and make its findings public. However, instead of clearing his names through this transparent and honorable way, GMB promulgated Decree 4 of 1984 primarily to prevent Nigerians from either investigating or discussing the NNPC's missing money. Under this Decree, any story that GMB's government did not like was a punishable offence, two prominent Nigerian journalists, Mr Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor are in a better position to explain this.

6. When GMB accused IBB of destroying petroleum sector, IBB threatened to expose records of corrupt activities perpetrated by GMB when he was Federal Commissioner and Executive Chairman of PNR and PTF respectively. He challenged GMB to come out with clean hands in those two portfolios he headed or he ' will help him to expose his records of performance during those periods'. IBB then warned that GMB 'should be properly guided' because 'those who live in a glass house do not throw stones'. If the 'incorruptible' GMB did not either engage in or tolerate corrupt practices in PNR and PTF, he should take up the challenge from IBB, however, if he is very sure that he has a lot of skeletons in his cupboard as alleged, he should continue to ignore the challenge from IBB and remain 'properly guided' as warned for ever.

7. The N698 million Lagos Metro Line Project was initiated by Alhaji Jakande, the ex-governor of Lagos state to facilitate free flow of traffic in Lagos. The ex-governor secured a $450 million US Dollars loan at a fixed interest rate of 6% per year for 25 years to finance the project. He then deposited $60 million US Dollars mobilization fee at CBN to be transferred to Inter-Infra, the French Consortium that was to handle the project. But GMB cancelled the project because, according to him, he did not know how much Nigeria was owing and that he did not want to borrow money to complete it. The French Consortium that won the contract took Lagos state to International Arbitration Court and the state was fined heavily for breach of contract. Before the cancellation, the sum of $78 million US Dollars had already been spent on the project. Consequently, the total amount of money lost due to the cancellation is even more than what was required to complete it. Mr 'Integrity' might have thought that the project was a strategic move by Chief Obafemi Awolowo to stall the planned relocation of the Federal Capital to the north. He might therefore have concluded that if the chaotic traffic situation in Lagos was sanitized, the proposed movement of the Federal Capital to the north might not materialize, hence he must protect Arewa's interests by terminating the project. However, whatever were the reasons for this thoughtless act, its negative effects on the economic development of Lagos in particular and South West in general are indeed too numerous to mention.

8. At a seminar organized by Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria which took place in Kaduna in 2001, GMB said 'I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria. God's willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country……… what remains of Muslims in Nigeria is for them to redouble their efforts, educate Muslims on the need to promote the full implementation of Sharia Laws'. He then warned Muslims to desist from voting for any politician that will not protect Islam. His government applied to Organization of Islamic Conference [OIC] to admit Nigeria, a secular nation, into OIC as a full member but the request was only granted during the Babangida's regime. His penchant to use religion to enhance his popularity amongst Hausa Fulani Muslims have contributed significantly to the prevailing insecurity in the north. According to Governor Lamido of Jigawa state, whenever GMB talks to electorate in the north he usually plays up the religious card but once he is in the south he plays it down by harping on unity of Nigeria. The Governor then wondered why some people in the north ' are vilified and maligned because they refuse to vote for a Muslim as their president and have opted for a Christian?' He then asked GMB to tell Nigerians why he 'chose a Christian as his running mate and shunned the Muslim community, then turns round to tell people in the north that his contest is anchored on promoting and guiding their ideological faith?'. The governor also appealed to GMB to 'be sincere in the way he practices democracy so as to avoid a bloodbath and rampant killing of Nigerians '.

9. During a radio program with Liberty FM, Hausa Service based in Kaduna on 2 June 2003, he accused Federal Government of attacking Boko Haram terrorists and destroying their houses. He called on the government to treat Boko Haram terrorists the same way Niger Delta militants were being treated because Boko Haram members were also fighting for their rights. He condemned imposition of state of emergency in three North Eastern states as well as any attempt to proscribe Boko Haram as a terrorist group. He said that any attack on Boko Haram terrorists was an attack on the north and warned the government to stop killing northerners. It was therefore not surprising when the terrorists nominated him to lead their delegation for talks with Federal Government in Saudi Arabia, an offer he reluctantly turned down due to pressure from the El Rufais. However, because of the presidential election, the same GMB is now singing a different tune, especially in the south for the Amaechis, whose capacity to learn from history is irretrievably impaired by 'once a slave always a slave' mentality.

10. On 13 October 2000, GMB led a delegation of Hausa Fulani elders from Daura to Ibadan to protest the alleged killing of Fulani herdsman to Oyo state governor, Chief Lam Adeshina. He told the ex-governor 'Your Excellency, our arrival here is to discuss with you and your government our displeasure about the incident of clashes between your people and my people….. the Fulani rearers and merchants are today being harassed, attacked and killed in Saki like in any war. In the month of May 2000, 68 bodies of Fulani cattle rearers were recovered and buried under supervision and protection from a team of Mobile Police force from Oyo State Police Command'. However, it was later discovered that the itinerant Fulani herdsmen [GMB's people] were the ones that were destroying farmlands and killing people in Saki. Now again, Fulani herdsmen are killing northern minorities on daily basis, but since 'his people' are not the victims, GMB has neither condemned nor taken any action to stop the killing of non Hausa Fulani people in the north.

11. In 2011 he promised not to re-contest again but today, what is 'Mr Integrity' doing? He dumped Dr Alex Ekweme, the Vice President in Kiri Kiri maximum security prison while he quartered the ex-president Shehu Shagari, a Fulani man like him in a Guest House. He jailed Fela for failing to declare the amount of foreign currency he had on him at the airport but neither prosecuted nor jailed former Niger state governor, Alhaji Awwal Ibrahim, who was caught at Heathrow Airport with over 14 million British pound sterling. This note is in good faith so that Nigerians can know the truth about GMB. This is without prejudice to the warning given by Alhaji L. Mohamed that nobody should 'compare who Buhari was when he was a military ruler to a civilian who he is today' or the submission by governor Fashola that a 58 year old person, Mr J. Agbaje is too old to govern Lagos state but a 73 year old Grand Pa, GMB is not too old to govern Nigeria, all because the former is in PDP while the later is in APC. May Allah/God grant us, Nigerians the Grace to elect whoever pleases Him to lead our country

Dr Deborah Nelson
Sobi, Ilorin, Kwara State

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Dr Deborah Nelson and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."