GIVE US THAT PEOPLES' GENERAL IN YOUR PARTY!
A Special Appeal to the All Progressives' Congress National Delegates and Presidential Aspirants
I write this appeal with strong words and all sense of modesty because the time has come for all good-lovers of Nigeria, who aren't driven with financial gains and undue familiarity-context to speak up if indeed we aren't satisfied as a nation with the immediate pasts, present and what we can assume to be the future of our dear country. For a very long time now, I have been writing and sharing my thoughts on the state of the nation at various phases and most importantly at it affects the leadership of the country at the centre. Much as I agree that every man cannot do more than his capacity and the nation cannot grow better than the level of its leadership, I am still of the strong belief and notion that we aren't yet where we should have been, not to talk of where we should be by now. It is on this premise that I want to register my thoughts that if the ruling party hasn't been able to provide the needed pace of development, there is no problem if an alternative platform, an opposition party, importantly the All Progressives Congress (APC) should be welcomed to the corridor of power, in doing the needful for this nation's development.
I also think that it is also important that this letter must be specific since it is directed to a specified political party, APC, because the only way to escape from this catastrophic oddity we have find ourselves, is the ability of the party in question to field a formidable, credible, reputable, intelligent, energetic, discipline, religious and principled character in the coming February 2015 Presidential Elections. With due respect to the party, all the aspirants as at this time are up to this task considering the antecedent of the leaderships we have gotten in this nation- The Accidental Presidents-but if indeed the political leadership and activities of the office of the President can be taken as a serious business, we need the better than the best and not only the best.
The delegates of the All Progressives Party, as the name of your party implies, I want to beg you on behalf of others that you should consider these points, before you take your final decisions while putting your fingers to the ballot. I am sure that the primaries (if delegates conference is eventually adopted) will be highly monetized because a lot of money are always involved in Nigeria's party primaries, but remember that you are representing not yourselves, but you are only opportune to present to the non-partisans, apolitical, anti-GEJ but not pro-APC, Pro-Buharis but not APCs, Pro-other presidential aspirants among other interests, a better candidate compared to the incumbent President, His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR in the coming General Elections in 2015.
The issues I want to use this medium to address are as follows:
• Don't be carried-away by the phantasmagoria of illusion of the title 'Governor of…' Like every other aspirants who are either serving Governors, former Governors or outgoing Governors, I am confident to bring a reminiscence of history that General Muhammadu Buhari had been Governor of one of the Northern States (now with many new progeny states) during the Obasanjo's Federal Military regime. Muhammadu Buhari till today has never been indicted by any records of governance on any corruption (Financial, Political, Spiritual, Emotional and Academic). His Legacy projects remains in all of these new states and this has made the people's love to draw nearer to him, the pride of Daura himself. Please consider this!
• Just as your party APC, also have/may have some Ministers and former Ministers in the race as well, let us not forget that General Muhammadu Buhari was one time Minister for Petroleum in this same country and it was during his time that we ever enjoyed the best service of fuel and natural gas in this country, unlike now that the downstream sector has been privatised. General Buhari has never compromised his standard and virtue, if he can serve conveniently without been stained under the draconian government of Late General Sani Abacha. He served a very juicy position of PTF, yet he is not rich. It may sound embarrassing in the Nigerian perspective, but the truth is that General Buhari doesn't have a petrol station not to talk of an oil block. I remembered a friend told me that Buhari should be the most foolish man in Nigeria, but it is not, he has only valued his name than riches. You can also value yours too. Please Consider this!
• Buhari was the best performed Head of State in the history of our Federal Military Government. The regime of Buhari made us to understand that robust political economy isn't about taxation or the paper theories of the Okonjo Ewealas of this world, Buhari insisted on self and fiscal discipline to the extent that inflation was drastically reduced from 23% to 4% and unemployment was hardly discussed in the polity of the nation's economy. He has done this even as at a very young age of 32years when he is supposed to be liable to social pressure, how much more he will do if opportune again at 73years. A more matured Buhari that could sacrifice the pleasure of this world at a tender age can do more now that he has nothing to add to his purse than good name and goodwill. Please consider this!
• They call him religious fanatic (too religious) and that he was going to Islamise Nigeria. It is so unfortunate that it is now a crime to have much respect and regard for your own God and live to the tenets of your faith. I am a Christian and with due respect, I don't think the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives priority for religion. Religion is a private affair as recognised in the law of Nigeria. Besides, what is bad in knowing that there is no other institution to fear and respect than GOD? If we can justify that we have to be religious and also if the need be, to be too religious, why then should some individuals who also have their own means of communicating with their God, now politicise a private life, just to score a cheap political point. The Christian fanatics who couldn't read a meaning to the President of a Nation like Nigeria that has three major religions kneeling down before a man of God before the world press are same condemning a man just because he prays five times a day. What a Politics! The publicists who said that Buhari will Islamise Nigeria have failed to realise that Buhari was once a President/Head of State, who had every opportunity to establish an Islamic State in Nigeria, but didn't. He respected other people's religion, even his Deputy, Tunde Idiagbon. This same Buhari fielded one of most respected and fiery Christian Nigerian Pastor in the last 2011 Presidential Election, in person of Revolutionary Pastor Tunde Bakare. In actual fact, Tunde Bakare has been blacklisted by this same people who calls Buhari a fanatic because of his zero-tolerance to corruption. Maybe you don't know that Bakare, the Nigerian Martin Luther Kings (Jnr.) was christened the 'Prophet of Doom' because his sermons are too crude and unrefined to their filthy ears. It is now crystal clear that the rumour mongers aren't helping the nation, they are only lying. Please Consider this!
• Buhari is richer than the richest man in the APC. He is the Peoples' General! May I humbly use this medium to speak more on the meaning of the Peoples' General? The Peoples' General is the one who is not only been loved by the people but been loved dogmatically by the people because they see him as a Messiah. Examples of the peoples' general are Dr. Nelson Mandela of South Africa, Obafemi Awolowo of the Yoruba descendants, Ojumegwu Ojukwu of the Igbos, Jesus Christ of the Christians and Prophet Mohammed of the Muslims as a socio-political school of thoughts (apologies to religious fanatics). The Northerners so much believed in the words and institution called Buhari that the Northern Nigerians felt the only means to express their dissatisfaction was by burning their temporary voters cards because they felt the powers that be had declared a wrong representation of their voice through the ballots. The meaning of burning of voter's card is as good as alienating oneself in the decision of the Nation and choice of leaderships at all levels. I beg to strongly recommend that General Muhammadu Buhari is the only politician in the North and Nigeria as a whole today who fills rallies without renting a crowd. Infact, Buhari hardly produces posters because people donate for him, having known that he's not one of the country's money bags who have robbed Peter to pay Paul. I trust the good people of Nigeria that Buhari will raise the 27million naira, only by just making a request for public donation (even without) because over 27000 Nigerians are ready to pay 1000naira as donation if you think that the pride of Daura cannot find the outrageous amount and thus may not participate in the primaries. I was opportune to meet this man during one of his visits to my State in the recent and why some political jobbers were running after some political bigwigs to collect money from them on the name of Stomachstructure, a new political lexicon in the Nation's politics, nobody rushed behind Buhari for such, even though they all stood agog for the people's general, not because they felt he couldn't still afford their daily demanded stipends but because they wouldn't just want to ask him for such. They knew he was more of a discipline man with virtues who will never project such demoralising values but will fix the nation to the generality's sake. Please Consider this!
• Buhari is the only man who can face the major problem we are facing in this country. Our major problem isn't insecurity, it is not Unemployment, it is not food insecurity, and it is not dilapidated infrastructure. Our problem in Nigeria is CORRUPTION. Buhari is the only man who has the capacity to combat corruption to stand still simply because 'He who must come before equity and justice must come with clean hands'. Within the last fifteen years of the PDP in the power at the centre, a lot of things have gone wrong within the Presidency and the party at the centre, some of which were: The fuel subsidy scam involving sons of ex and serving PDP chairmen, the Halliburton scam involving PDP chieftains and members/ former chair of the PDP Board of Trustees. I think the pension scam is running into several billions of Naira, the forgotten national I.D card scam, the electricity regulation scam, the NPA corruption scandal inspired by Bode George, the recent USD9.3m and the USD5.7m arms-deal (who is lying we are yet to know), the missing billions of naira at the NNPC, among others. The most embarrassing aspect of it all is that 'It's always a PDP family affair' If indeed the APC is serious with the Change-Nigeria Project as she has been preaching, I think there is no other thing to do than to Kill Corruption-Not Nigerians. Let us not forget the 1983 War Against Indiscipline (WAI) so soon. Gen Buhari arrested people in 1983 because most of them deserve to be arrested as they have corruptly enriched themselves and turn public funds into their personal property. A Buhari presidency will provide the socialist government and corruption-free system and stop the unnecessary rise in the level of poverty, deprivation and corruption in our country-Nigeria, which will as well forestall the bloody class revolution of the very hungry poor majority versus the very rich minority, which is destined to happen in the country and may lead to anarchy. Gen Buhari can douse that tension by providing good leadership we need. Please Consider this!
• Even though Buhari will be 73years old by 2015, he is just too energetic. He looks like a man in his 50's. I stand to be corrected, I don't know any time that I have read it in any of our national dailies that he has been flown abroad for any medical checkups, like those who claims to be relatively younger. Not minding the fact that he has a high number as age, he is very athletic, fit, smart, intellectually balanced and very strong. My opportunity to meet Buhari one-on-one made me to fall for him more than ever before. I was expecting a 72-year old man to be using a walking stick or having intermittent rest per walking distance, he came inside the room I was, with some friends that were waiting to meet the peoples' general, with a resounding general body fitness and agility. He was sure of what he was saying and with correct dates in history to all he said. This was barely few minutes after I have watched him trek some distance while commissioning a project in my State and spoke for a long period of time without fainting (as expected of an old man). I am not God, but with what I saw, I think General Muhammadu Buhari has many lives and years in him. I hurriedly flashed back in history that my political idol, Chief Obafemi Awolowo GCFR of blessed memory was 70-year old in 1983 when the whole western region was interested in his presidential ambition, Late President Nelson Mandela was President of South Africa in his 70s and lots more to mention. Please, don't be deceived with the lies about age, think of Sound Mind and Health!
• Don't deceive yourselves; He's the only person that can defeat the incumbent President. Let this stick to your mind, the delegates of the APC Presidential Primaries that, no amount of money in the coffers of your 17 Governors and money bags can outsmart the financial strength of the presidency, therefore, cast your vote with every sense of defeating the PDP government, the Party and the Presidency as a whole. Remember that the presidency controls your security, the intelligence agencies, the media, your federal allocations, and anything you may bank on. In my own candid opinion and advice, Gen Buhari is the right presidential candidate for the APC come 2015. The strongest asset of the APC is Gen Buhari's political value and support base which spans across the length and breadth of Nigeria. If in the 2003 presidential elections which Gen Buhari contested under the umbrella of ANPP, he scored a total of 12, 216, 171 (32.82% of the votes cast) votes to PDP's 22, 809, 446 (61.27%), losing to the PDP with 10,593,275. At the 2011 presidential elections, not minding the weak political strength of his then Vice Presidential Candidate, Pastor Dr. Tunde Bakare, and the newly floated party, Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen Buhari single-handedly defeated the PDP in 12 of the 19 states in the North and scored a total of 11,914,953 votes while President Jonathan scored 22,350,242 votes, not minding the fact that one of the major opposition failed to have a merger with the CPC and whose leadership was said to have allegedly compromised, therefore surrendering the bloc of the South West to the PDP, Buhari was defeated with 10,435,289 (as announced by INEC). The implication of this same difference is simple: The bloc votes has always come from thesame region-The NORTH! Buhari has always lost the election to the South Zone (South East, South West and South South).
Considering the fact that Buhari was contesting single-handedly against the almighty factors in Nigeria, there were possibilities that the elections were rigged, manipulated or highly financially induced, while his voters were rather contributing money for him or supporting him by casting their votes for him. Remember he is not that rich! It is still on record that Gen Buhari has always defeated the PDP and her candidates since 2003 in Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Borno, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara till date. So Buhari's electoral value makes it easy to beat the PDP in 2015 because these votes are constant 'k' like that of the x and y-variables in mathematics. Therefore, if the APC is serious, the party shouldn't find it difficult to work more on the South Western States (Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti States) and close mark the PDP and INEC in the South East and South South, just to prevent over-blotting of results and that settles the matter.
Anything short of this, any candidate that finds his/her through the primary may result to zero-votes from the north, because these million votes aren't for APC, they are for the Peoples' General, the pride of Daura and the only hope of a Reformed Nigeria-General Muhammadu Buhari. It will only be a blessing for the APC to win on a platter of Gold by fielding the People's General. Please Consider this!
Thank You for reading.
Adeolu OYEBODE, a freelance journalist and political activist.
Email: [email protected],