Forgers, cloners, Toronto, now Katsina
By Abba Adakole
Muhammadu Buhari may be a man of integrity as many like to shout the rest of us down with; but he has lost whatever purity was ascribed to him, if any. He has lost every measure of respect now that we know that as former head of state, he did not know that copies of his credentials were not in his military file. What kind of General or head of state was he?
Either Buhari did not know, or he did not have the credentials. Some have suggested that the men who ousted him from power in 1985 have the information, and have been using it against him. Many recall that a few years ago when two presidential aspirants, one from Minna and the other from Katsina, were in the heat to be chosen as the northern candidate, there was a hot exchange of words in the media, until the foot soldiers of the Minna group threatened to go public with information. They abruptly ended the brickbats. Now we know why the Katsina group chickened out.
The embarrassment over the Buhari certificate now calls to question the qualification of most Generals of the Nigerian Army who joined the force as part of the orchestrated efforts of some leaders, in the past, to people some government establishments with young men from their geo-political regions. With what is going on, it behoves journalists, hiding under the Freedom of Information (FoI) law to call for the qualifications of all our Generals so that Nigerians can know if the Army, past and present, was not peopled by fraudsters and liars who fed fat on us.
Already the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has more or less wondered why Buhari went to his former secondary school when all he needed to do was to ask the statutory body that conducted the examinations for his results.
WAEC Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Lagos, Mr. Yusuf Ari, told a national newspaper: “No individual has the legal right to approach WAEC for the verification of another person's result except the owner of the result.” He was apparently reacting to the result released by the Katsina State Ministry of Education on Wednesday. According to him, the constitutional right vested on the Freedom of Information law does not include invasion of privacy, adding that, “The certificate in question belongs to Muhammadu Buhari and he alone has the right to apply for verification. Be that as it may, WAEC cannot take any action except, the owner of the certificate asked us to do so. We are an independent body; therefore, we cannot be partisan on this issue.”
Speaking further, Ari said all the former Head of State needs to do is to apply by giving WAEC the name of his school, examination number and year of the examination and the result will be verified. However, after verification of the results, it will be forwarded to the institution and not the owner of the results.
Also, this writer wonders how Buhari could claim that he graduated with Shehu Musa Yar'Adua when records show that the late former Chief of Staff, Supreme headquarters joined the Army in 1959. Did he return from the Army to sit for his papers with Buhari in 1961?
With the history of some chieftains of the APC as forgers of university degrees, even from abroad; many are not surprised that a party caught cloning Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) will find it difficult to come up with a document from Katsina State.
If forgery, cloning and social media intimidation are not working to get the APC candidate the presidency, there is now a resort to threats and uncivilized behaviors, like attacking the presidential convoy, while calling him and his entourage that included Muslims “arne,” a derogatory word in the north for the worst kind of unbelievers, deserving of death. There are speculations that the daughter of a presidential candidate was amongst those who participated in the base act which APC spokesman attempted to defend on television.
Already, Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State has expressed disgust over the threats to northerners who were not backing Buhari, adding that the siege mentality being inflicted on the people was the beginning of the failure of the opposition APC at the polls.
.“The fear of Buhari is the beginning of leadership failure; therefore Nigerians and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, government must stand up to its mandate,” he said. Also, there have been reports of southerners living in the north receiving threats of attacks on their lives and businesses, in a manner that proves the Janjaweed tag on the APC by the PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, as right.
Lamido's position is reiterated by a group of northerners under the aegis of the Northern Emancipation Network (NEM) which issued a thought-provoking statement that questioned Buhari's integrity. The group said: “Our worry is hinged on the many moral questions that surround the personality of General Muhammadu Buhari who was imposed by the opposition All Progressives Congress as representing the North in the presidential contest. The most worrying is the nature of double standards that are now shaping Buhari's characteristics as he makes a fourth attempt at the presidency.
“As concerned northern citizens who have the long term political interest of our region at heart, we are forced to publicly raise concern about the looming danger in the quest by some of our people in the frenzy of perpetrating General Buhari's candidacy in the forthcoming presidential elections. Our concerns stem from our fears of what may actually be the hidden agenda of some outsiders, notably, Tinubu in projecting Buhari's candidacy. At 72 years of age and obviously frail looking, especially against the backdrop of rumours about his health.
“We are concerned that the millions of Nigerians in the North, who express support for President Jonathan are constantly harassed sometimes with death threats but not once have these so-called Northern elders come out to speak in defence of our constitutional right of association. Are we not Nigerians? Is President Jonathan not a Nigerian? Is General Buhari seeking to be a Northern or Nigeria's President? Are the lives of APC or Buhari supporters more Nigerian or more precious than ours?”
It described as unfortunate that Buhari, who had to divorce his late wife, Safina, for allegedly seeking and receiving favours from General Ibrahim Babangida while he was in detention, should now, out of sheer desperation, turn to the same man for political support.
NEM said it was amazed when reports said that Buhari had personally gone to seek support from IBB and Obasanjo, both of whom he described as political enemies in a recent interview with Weekly Trust. Based on this and many other moral questions around Buhari, NEM added, it was forced to reiterate its stand that the General was not and could not be the sole northern candidate for the presidency.
If forgeries, cloning, threats are now the tools to get Buhari into power, it calls to question his much-vaunted integrity; or is it as some have suggested, he is so blinded by ambition that he has decided on the path of perfidy which is the stock in trade of his co-warrior from the south-west.
Mr Adakole contributed this piece from Abuja via [email protected]
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