The 23rd child of his father, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari joined the military in 1962 at 19 and at 40, he toppled a democratically elected civilian government to become Head of State before he was booted out of power at 42.
Within the first 20 years of his working life, Buhari made hay, attaining the pinnacle of his potential. Clearly, he was an exemplary youth.
I ask, who among the unruly Nigerian youths that recently distrurbed the piece of the country with protests at the Lekki tollgate, possesses any achievement akin to this world-class record of Buhari? Who?
Not given to frivolities like today’s youths, Buhari is serious. Even in middle age, Buhari was quite unlike the fanny-scratching dingbat from Ile-Ife, who always opens his mouth before thinking, recently cursing and spewing rubbish after President Donald Trump lost the American presidential election. That was a terrible example of a brainless youth living off the heritage bequeathed by his controversial lineage.
Unlike the fabled Solomon Grundy, Buhari’s life is eventful and enviable. Therefore, whenever the President looks down on Nigerian youths and harshly mocks their luckless destinies, we should understand; Sai Baba is only holding them up to his own matchless standard.
When presidential spokesperson, Femi Adesina, last week said Buhari acted like a father after deploying soldiers to murder innocent youths protesting police killings and brutality at the Lekki tollgate, he forgot to add that, “Buhari was teaching a lesson in the destructibility and ephemerality of human life because life is but a walking shadow.”
I wish Nigerians knew the value of our President and accord him due respect. With Nigeria proclaimed as the global capital of poverty on the strength of just 80 million of her 200 million population living below poverty line, is it wrong to feel exasperated and deploy soldiers to suppress a legion of hopeless youth protesters disturbing the peace of a retired septuagenarian soldier?
Many have cursed Adesina out for tactlessly defending Buhari’s endless gaffes. Many have argued that working as spokesperson in the Office of the President sends truth, compassion, humility and integrity on sabbatical. I disagree.
Did erstwhile diligent labourer in the presidential vineyard, Reuben Abati, not disclose to an unbelieving nation that demons abound in the Presidency that could turn the hearts of good people into stones, and twist their heads backwards like a roadkill at dusk.
How many of the protesting youths ever enjoyed scholarships like Mr President, or how many of them were ever sponsored by Nigeria for any endeavour? So, shouldn’t these youths who never benefited anything from Nigeria show some respect to a President, who has lived his life on the generosity of the country? If Adesina picks an offence against nameless youths taking the name Buhari in vain, or Minister Lai Mohammed seeks to restrict the use of social media, are they unjustified?
You never value what you have until you lose it. May Nigeria not lose Buhari now. Show me an enterprising president, and I’ll point at Buhari.
At barely 20, Buhari was commissioned a second lieutenant of the Nigerian Army in 1963, before assuming various posts such as military governor of the old Gongola State, petroleum minister, among others – within an Army whose generals were notorious for coup plotting, pepper soup eating, beer guzzling and messing up with ladies inside officers’ mess.
The messiness within Nigeria’s military was publicly derided by the Lagos police command spokesperson, Alozie Ogugbuaja, who stirred the hornets’ nest in the 1980s.
If you ask Adesina and Buhari’s other spin doctors, it’s not Buhari’s fault that Nigeria’s military is even worse off today with loyalty and esteem in tatters while ethnicity, corruption and nepotism have become epaulettes worn over patriotism and competence.
The fault is in Nigeria’s stars which failed to avert the sacking of the Fulani Major General as commander-in-chief by the bloodiest of the Nigerian military generals, Ibrahim Babangida, in 1985. The fault is also in Nigerians who refused to resist Babangida and his bloody co-coupists from taking over power. To perpetually stay in power for Nigeria’s sake, Buhari, surely, wouldn’t have flinched if the dog and baboon were soaked in blood.
No country has a President like Buhari – simple and plain like tea without sugar. I’m proud of my President. I don’t know why you’re not. Unlike the Ghanaian ex-president, Jerry John Rawlings, who died last week at 73, Buhari, 77, can’t produce his secondary school certificate, though he saw the inside of a secondary school.
Shortly after graduating from Achimota College in 1967, Rawlings enlisted in the Ghanaian Air Force, and was commissioned in 1969 as pilot officer.
As much as I tried, I couldn’t lay my hands on any record of Buhari bagging any distinguishing personal award as a soldier in training, whereas Ghanaian military records show that Rawlings won the prestigious ‘Speed Bird Trophy’ as the ‘best cadet in flying the SU-7 ground attack supersonic jet aircraft’.
Idioms don’t fly with soldiers because soldiers mean what they say and say what they mean. With soldiers, kill and shoot are hallowed words without synonyms. With the time Buhari has spent mixing up with bloody civilians in the last 35 years, however, he must have learnt some idioms.
The expression, ‘the fish rots from the head down’ is an idiom that won’t be permissible in Aso Rock because of its meaning, which indicts leadership. Rather, Aso Rock will accept the biology fact that fish truly rots from the guts.
I strongly believe that the Nigerian fish rots from the head down. Were it not so, the Buhari administration wouldn’t have clamped down on the organisers of the Lekki protests, freezing their bank accounts and hounding them. If the Nigerian fish isn’t rotten from the head, under Buhari, soldiers won’t open fire on harmless youth while the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and military authorities engage in shameless buck passing.
If the head of the Nigerian fish isn’t rotten, Nigeria and her military should have long crushed Boko Haram like Chad and Cameroon have done. If the head of our fish isn’t rotten, Nigeria won’t spend billions of dollars on Boko Haram insurgency, yet our unmotivated soldiers get killed daily because they use obsolete armaments.
If Buhari and his Army were not a crude joke, the military wouldn’t have declared Boko Haram factional leaders, Abubakar Shekau, and Maman Al-Barnawi, along with 84 others wanted, last week, having declared both terrorists killed on a number of occasions in the past.
I love idioms, and I will close with three. Buhari and his military are cut from the same cloth. In 2023, I hope Nigerian youths will strike while the iron is hot so that our nation may be saved by the bell.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, November 16, 2020)
Opinion: Igboho writes President Buhari, by Tunde Odesola
(Published in The PUNCH on Monday, July 25, 2021)
Shugaban Nigeria, ya kwana uku.
Your Excellency, I do not seek to rouse the ghosts of the slain victims of Fulani Ghoulish Nomads (FGN). Before you hasten to add hate speech charge to the list of rootless allegations your rulership has levelled against me, let me quickly state, sir, that ghouls are not only located in northern Nigeria.
They’ve sprouted and taken over every inch of the land ruled by your underachieving regime, wearing the masks of terrorism, corruption, rape, banditry, ritualism and daily bloodshed – kicking Nigeria in the teeth – with no end in sight.
Aare Buhari, though the dead have long buried the dead, their ghosts won’t just rest in peace. So, the spirits of the dead continuously hover over the face of the waters, crying for justice and seeking repose, but getting neither from your bullying regime.
Before my letter reopens the bleeding wounds of the past, permit me to do a brief and formal introduction of myself, sir. My name is Sunday Adeniyi Adeyemo. I’m a 48-year-old indigene of Igboho town in the Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State.
Your Excellency, if Oke-Ogun evokes some sense of utter disdain in you, I understand. It was Oke-Ogun that caused you to storm the Oyo State Governor’s Office, Ibadan, in October 2000, in company with some prominent Fulani leaders, on the allegation that some Yoruba farmers allegedly killed 68 Fulani herdsmen in a reprisal. Do you remember the incident, Baba Yusuf?
God bless his soul, Alhaji Lamidi Adesina, the first executive Governor of Oyo State in the Fourth Republic, who hosted you and your aggrieved entourage from the Caliphate.
Before he spoke on the occasion, Lam, as the governor was popularly called, first called on the state Commissioner of Police, and the state Director, Department of State Services, both of whom told you to your face that the alleged death of 68 Fulani in the hands of Yoruba farmers was untrue.
Lam also called on his deputy, Chief Iyiola Oladokun, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Michael Koleoso, both indigenes of Oke-Ogun, and the chairman of one of Oke-Ogun LGs, Chief Ademola Alalade, to speak. They all told the truth which indicted the Fulani in Oke-Ogun as the killers of their Yoruba neighbours.
Your Excellency, when he spoke to round off the meeting, Lam advised the Arewa Consultative Forum to seek the unity and peace of Nigeria at all times.
Baba Buhari, though I never attended a university, I’m not an illiterate. I can read and I can write, despite starting out as motorcycle repairer. Through hard work, self-improvement coupled with my belief in Ifa, I’m today an employer of labour.
Shugaban Nigeria, just like you don’t write your speeches yourself, I didn’t write this letter myself, too. Baba Zahra, mi o gbo oyinbo nla nla, walahi! I don’t understand big big grammar. But I understand justice and truth. This is why the cause I champion, which is the emancipation of the Yoruba from daily killings, victimisation and repression, is being supported by true sons and daughters of Oduduwa. The support is what produced this letter, Your Excellency.
Baba o, I am citizen Igboho, a creation of the abject Nigerian leadership. Like millions of my ilk living in the nooks and crannies of the country, I’m a product of years of government neglect.
When your government kept silent as Fulani herdsmen butchered my people day and night, I embarked on the road called self-help and employed bravery, street wisdom and defiance to rescue my people.
This was after Dr Fatai Aborode, Europe returnee, was killed in his Igangan community of Oke-Ogun by suspected Fulani herdsmen when he complained that his 400-acre cashew farm was eaten up by Fulani cows.
President Buhari, though Aborode’s murder was one death too many, your regime kept silent and did absolutely nothing to assuage the killing or assure the people of Igangan of their safety. Also, popular herbal trado-medicine practitioner, Alhaji Fatai Yusuf, aka Oko Oloyun, had over a year ago been killed along the Igbo Ora-Eruwa Road in Ibarapa, among many other deaths. Ironically, sir, hundreds of captured Boko Haram terrorists were granted pardon and rehabilitated into the society, after alleged deradicalisation.
Baba Halima, I’m not a criminal. The pervading sense of hopelessness, injustice and insecurity in the South-West was why I went to Igangan and gave the Fulani therein an ultimatum to vacate the land.
Sir, do you know that long after my seven-day ultimatum, the Emir of Muri Empire in Taraba State, Alhaji Abass Tafida, has also given a 30-day ultimatum to Fulani bandits. But he hasn’t been declared wanted.
Your Excellency, as I said early on, I may not understand big big ‘turenchi’, but I can read and I can write.
I read on Sahara Reporters website that the emir didn’t only give a 30-day ultimatum for Fulani killer herdsmen occupying Taraba forests to vacate, he also said, “From now onwards, if anyone is kidnapped from this emirate, we will go into the bush and kill any Fulani man we see.”
General Buhari, if a Yoruba or Igbo monarch had said what Emir Tafida said, the fire emanating thereof from Aso Rock would’ve burnt the crown on the head of such a monarch into ashes. But because the emir is from the North, Aso Rock looked away like a corrupt invigilator who has been bribed by cheating students.
Baba Hadiza, what have I done wrong? I’m only fighting for my people, just like you took up the cause of your people and led a delegation to Lam in October 2000.
Oga Buhari, in 2019, you also led a delegation to the UN General Assembly in New York, where, in your own very words, you advocated ‘the rights of the Palestinian people to have their own country…and live in peace in their own land’.
Having said this to the ovation of the world in 2019, President Buhari, what is the justice in your rejection of the clamour for self-determination being championed by me and my fellow comrade, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, when southern lives are not worth a fart under your regime?
Baba Fatima, it’s natural if your health is diminished by old age, but I know your memory is still intact to remember that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, in 2012, lamented that his government had been infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists.
Ogagun Buhari, your own regime is no better. It’s even worse because whereas it was Jonathan’s government that was infiltrated then, it’s your cabinet that has been infiltrated by Islamic fundamentalism now.
A beloved member of your kitchen cabinet and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, had, in a sermon years before he became minister, openly expressed views sympathetic to the notorious al-Qaeda group and Boko Haram, describing the slain al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden, a worthy Muslim. Pantami also expressed happiness that infidels were being massacred.
Infidels in the eyes of the Pantamis peopling your cabinet would be no less than millions of Christians, traditional religionists and believers of other faiths in Nigeria. With such a minister in your cabinet, Mr President, what’s the guarantee that the war against terrorism isn’t a lip-service by your regime?
Only God know how many innocent Nigerians were killed by Islamic terrorists who took up arms against perceived infidels having been fired up by Pantami’s destructive sermons.
Instead of investigating Pantami to check if he had been truly deradicalised or not, the Presidency rose stoutly to his defence, and said the leopard has changed its spots.
I, Igboho, didn’t say one-hundredth of what Pantami said. Today, Pantami is a free man but I and the supporters of my cause are being hounded by your regime. Two members of my family were killed when DSS attacked my house. This nepotistic attitude is unbecoming of a father, mujin Aisha.
Your Excellency, I’ll close with the words of your forebear, Uthman Dan Fodio, “Conscience is an open…”
Thank you, sir.
Facebook: @tunde odesola
Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
Opinion: Do not kill Kanu and Igboho, by Tunde Odesola
Reflections on the man Nnamdi Kanu, by Chimamamda Adichie
Yesterday I announced that I would unveil my thoughts regarding the IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. Several people reached out, advising me to be neutral and steer clear of political discourse. They meant well for a young female writer with a reputation to protect, an image to project, and the care not to cause offense. I almost yielded but changed my mind this morning.
The Igbos are the same people about whom I wrote my current published work, In Blood and War, a book set in the then troubled Biafra.
On principle, I consider it unethical to make money off retelling the struggle of this tribe, and in the same breath be silent about their same struggle.
It is beneath morality for a writer to choose to speak only when it favours him or her. To retreat to silence in order not to ‘taint’ reputation.
To speak on this particular issue, of the man called Nnamdi Kanu, does not tribalize me or my works of literature. Especially as this remains an age-long fear of most writers; the fear of offending, a fear of stepping on toes, of banishment by a displeased societal sect, and even possible ostracism.
I speak because the making of a villain or hero often depends on who tells the story. Representation matters, when perspective becomes the thin line between an activist or a terrorist.
WHO IS NNAMDI KANU?
Nnamdi Okwu Kanu is a Nigerian Biafra political activist, and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB.
In a move to create an independent state for the people of old Eastern Region of Nigeria through an independent referendum, Kanu founded IPOB in 2014.
He began his activism for the freedom of Biafra as director of Radio Biafra in 2009, and anchor of Biafra awareness under Ralph Uwazuruike, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
NNAMDI on Referendum, and SECESSION
According to Article 2 of the nation’s constitution, Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria’.
Our law does not recognise the right of a state to break away from the union. The only way to legally grant such an option is through an amendment to the law.
Hence, Nnamdi Kanu’s call for a referendum.
Same constitution only addresses two scenarios where a referendum is recognised – state boundary adjustment and the recall of a member of the National Assembly.
Headstrong on this path, Nnamdi Kanu ran into trouble with the Nigerian government and was first arraigned over allegations of terrorism, money laundering, treason, others, on October 14, 2015.
Later granted bail in 2017, he fled Nigeria in September after the military invaded his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, in the southeast of Nigeria. A move that prompted the Nigerian government to secure a court order proscribing IPOB as a terrorist group.
Nnamdi Kanu’s whereabouts remained unknown until his recent arrest a few days ago. He and his co-defendant are currently facing treasonable felony charges at the Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. He also faces charges on unlawful possession of firearms and management of an unlawful society. The presiding judge adjourned the case to July 26, 2021.
Last week, while parceling one of my books to a buyer, a young boy of about 20 years old was making a call beside me.
At the end of his call, I understood four things:
1. He was negotiating to pay 200k to obtain a form that will identify him as a Niger Delta militant
2. This young man was not a militant
3. Incriminating himself and mortgaging his future through filling out such form would enable him get his share of the amnesty dished out by the Federal government monthly.
4. Our government negotiates with terrorists.
Since the arrest of the IPOB leader, my feed has been agog with posts casting aspersions on his person. Of which majority are made by Igbos, falling over themselves in a frenzy to denounce Nnamdi Kanu.
Meanwhile, a regular Hausa man is yet to put aside his Suya trade, cast on ashes and put on sackcloth, and then come on social media to endlessly bemoan the menance of Boko Haram in the country.
My ear still itches, awaiting the day a regular Yoruba man would take a chill off a peppery dish to criticize Obj. for not being the messiah we had hoped for. No, he is their brother. They must not speak bad of him.
Neither are the Ijaws pausing the oil bunkering trade in the rivers long enough to come online and rant about distancing themselves from militancy in the Niger Delta region.
I am yet to see any of these tribes measure the size of their phallus by how hard they throw their kinsman under the bus.
But not your average Igbo man.
No. Not the average Igbo man with itchy fingers, who masturbates off lambasting Nnamdi. The Igbo man must belong. He must trend. It is fashionable.
The Igbos are a bit too extra on this table.
GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY?
Still on the call for secession, on the 2nd of June 2021, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made the below ‘heartwarming endearment’ to the Igbos on Twitter :
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”
The above threat from the house of the presidency stinks of beating a child and asking him not to cry.
No one in their right mind departs a good home, one that is working.
Shouldn’t the real question then be . . . why do these people so badly want to stay apart from the rest of the nation?
First demonize a people, call their outcry terrorism, then their injustice becomes acceptable, their oppression becomes deserving.
Guilty or not guilty?
Nnamdi’s methodology may be rad, but his intentions are understandable. And for that, I will not throw him under the bus. Unbridled passion, passion without diplomacy, is all I see.
In the words of Peter Tosh, everyone is crying out for peace and none for justice.
I ponder in idle musings:
Whether Nnamdi is a terrorist, depends on what you mean by a terrorist. Yesterday it was Sowore. Then the youths at the Lekki tollgate. Today Nnamdi. Or could it be that this country only understands you better when you act mad?
On nitty-gritty, we might have become a nation that picks and chooses the brand of terrorists deserving of amnesty. Perhaps the class with guns and doing the most harm are more deserving on the VIP list. That is the only way the massacre of the armless IPOB youths can make sense.
One day, in a saner clime abounding in freedom of speech, I will laud the beautiful corruption of a beloved country called Nigeria
Till then, we will watch the brave made into examples, and shiver at the spectacle, until fear seals our lips and sends us tumbling back into the tunnel of silence.
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