BUHARI: SCORECARD OF A RARE LEADER
Once it is time for politics, Nigerian politicians play politics with virtually everything, be it book launch, award presentation, and sometimes funeral. It is therefore, not uncommon to see their supporters, including rented crowds, in hundreds of thousands at such occasions.
But for, General Muhammadu Buhari, two-time Presidential candidate, of the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and now presidential aspirant of the newly-registered Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, his was an uncommon book launch. The occasion held on Thursday, July 29, 2010.
The conference hall of the Kaduna International Trade Fair Complex, venue, was filled to capacity. However, there were no known 'big names' in the Nigerian political circle, among those seated, not even the Kaduna State government was represented, although the Governor, Mr. Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa, was expected to be the Chief Host.
Ordinarily, from the gathering, and names that were reeled out, one would certainly have mistaken the book launch for one that would end up a flop, where money realized, would be no where near N2million. But the guests were all faithful disciples of Buhari, and they demonstrated this, when it was time to launch the book.
The Chief Launcher, Alhaji Ahmadu Yaro, a businessman, blazed the trail with N5million, which turned out to be the highest donation. He did not pledge, the money was delivered in bank draft. He was represented at the event by Alhaji Abubakar Saidu. From there, others followed suit, with only a few persons making pledges, including former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who was not physically present but pledged N1million.
Investigations revealed that the cash realized on the occasion, was far more than the pledges. This, it was further learnt, was a demonstration of genuine commitment to what Buhari represents. At the last count, about N15. 6 million was realized in cash and pledges. The book entitled: The Sixteen Sins of General Muhammadu Buhari, written by a dyed-in-wool supporter, Prof Tam David-West, former Petroleum Minister, under Buhari and briefly under General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB).
According to the reviewer, Professor Ayo Dunmoye, of the Political Science Department of the Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, the book is the 'antiviral remedy to the virus of blackmail, hatred, hypocrisy and perfidy that has become the cankerworm in the characterization of General Buhari by his critics.'
He noted that the book was a testimonial to the fact that Nigeria still has hope and that 'not all our past leaders are selfish, unprincipled and corrupt and as such unworthy of being called upon again to serve this potentially great country-Nigeria.'
At the launch which saw chairman of the occasion, M.T Waziri, weep openly while outlining some of the rare attributes of Buhari, which are said to be lacking in the country today, also gave former Kaduna Governor, Balarabe Musa, the opportunity to admit for the first time that their incarceration alongside other politicians by Buhari in 1983, on the allegations of corruption, was justified. Buhari toppled Shagari through a coup in December 1983.
Musa, who until recently, was very bitter with Buhari for sending him to the gulag for no 'just cause,' stunned the gathering with his revelation, when he said 'even inside the prison, some of the NPN 'big men' were still spreading corruption. They used their money and influence to buy off our own food ration. So, they will eat their food, eat our own, while we go hungry. David-West, while welcoming the guests, called on political office holders to take their religions into politics.
He noted that since none of the religion condones stealing and corruption, religion would be and should be used to sanitize the system to launch the country into prosperity, even as he called on Nigerians to be prepared to revolt against any attempt by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to use Iwu's voters' register for 2011 elections, which, he noted, was full of foreign names.
West who noted that there was something divine about his appointment by Buhari, having appointed him without knowing him from Adam, further described Buhari as a leader who does not condone corruption and one who could lead Nigeria from darkness to light. He noted that if Nigerians believe that indiscipline and corruption are Nigeria's twin greatest problems, then, Buhari who is known to be either corrupt or indisciplined should be given the chance to lead the country again.
Said David-West: 'Ninety per cent of all what Nigeria has abroad in foreign currency is from petroleum, 85 per cent of our national budget is petroleum. The man is from Katsina, a Muslim; I don't know him from Adam. Buhari is a Northerner, I am a Southerner, he is Fulani, I am Ijaw, he did not know me at all before then. So I say there is divine guidance for Buhari to elect me. And by the grace of almighty God, we served this nation. OPEC was founded in 1960, Nigeria joined in 1971, Buhari performed a feat that no country has ever achieved. No one country has been selected to be given increase in oil quota, Nigeria made over 20 billion dollars.
'Yet, here is a man that Nigeria is suppressing. His enemies are vocal, but he is not vocal, he is a very humble man, he will not challenge them. So, I have to stand up for Buhari, I have to shout from the Niger Delta creeks to the Sahara, that here is a good man that Nigeria is suppressing, please God, let him lead us.
Also speaking, Buhari, who restricted himself to his prepared speech, described David-West, as a worthy friend.
According to Buhari, the book entitled: The Sixteen Sins of General Muhammadu Buhari' is Prof. Tam David-West's second book on me. The first was Who Really is General Muhammadu Buhari?
'As was the case with the first book, I had no prior knowledge that the author was working on this until it was out. Surprises of this kind seem to be Tam's way of doing things.
'Service to our nation brought Tam and I together and the values we shared in the course of that service have held us together. He is the kind of friend that brings out the best in you; the kind of friend in whom you feel confident to go into the jungle with. I have not only found in Prof Tam David-West a personal friend, but also a good servant of his country.
'Like Tam, many of us would cherish to be a good servant to our dear country-Nigeria. As good servants it will obviously be our desire that our country prospers. In my view the right way to prosperity is for this country to get credible leadership. Leadership, that will provide good governance, transparency and accountability in the handling of the affairs of the public. Leadership that will rule with the fear of God and be fair and just to all.
'This country has suffered so much from the 'arts' and 'sciences' of deceit, corruption, evils of sectional, ethnic and religious sentiments. Let us for once address issues on how to repair our decayed infrastructure, provide energy, good education, healthcare, security and generate employment. I, therefore challenge the people especially the media, organized labour, the academia and the civil society to evaluate us-the politicians, on these, rather than engaging the nation on unnecessary and selfish detractions.
Prominent among those who attended the launch were reinstated Bauchi Deputy Governor, Alhaji Mohammed Garba Gadi, Balarabe Musa, former Information Minister, Prince Tony Momoh, former IGP, Ibrahim Coomasie and a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, among several others.