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Saturday, 22 June 2019

OIC summit : No Applause For Buhari

Actually, I did not plan to focus on Buhari this week but on the rising suicide rate in the country. I had wanted to approach the topic philosophically; why anybody would want to end it all; to go against the very first, and by far the greatest, law of nature which is personal preservation of a being plus the preservation of the species.

Then in came a reaction to my offering of last Saturday; “Blind APC LEADING Blind Nigeria.” It came from a friend of long standing who is one of the spokesmen to the President.  Last Saturday, I wrote that the spokesman in question had excused the President’s bolting  from the country immediately after his inauguration for a second term to attend an Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in Saudi Arabia on the premise that Buhari joined several other leaders there to condemn Islamic terrorism which is devastating Africa.
I posited this was hardly an achievement worthy of pride by any president of a country as  ravaged as Nigeria. I maintained and still maintain that Buhari should have stayed home to hit the ground running. He didn’t do that because  he did not even understand the urgency required of him to fight the myriad problems facing the country. The spokesman sent me a text message: “Global terrorism has a tinge of Islam. Sad but true. To say that countries with large Moslem populations have met and denounced terrorism is cluelessness is to display a lack of understanding of the global problem. It is important that these countries are publicly denouncing terrorism. But you are entitled to your own opinion. 



Have a good day.” Now, a word for the spokesman; it may have been some modicum of achievement if the spokesman had in any way in his earlier statement on the President’s trip to the OIC summit suggested that Buhari had in any way had worked towards swaying the OIC leaders to agree to condemn the Islamic religious terrorism ravaging Nigeria and a large swart of West-Africa. Did Buhari visit them before that meeting to sway them in any way? Or did he hold round the clock meetings with the leaders there and got them to change their earlier positions and turn around to support Nigeria’s? Did he? The late Gen. Murtala Muhammed in 1976, did just that when he attended the OAU meeting in idi Amin-led Uganda and tackled American hegemony in Africa by going against the position held by the US that African countries should not discuss the Angolan problem  because it was Angola’s internal affair. Murtala argued that Africa should not shun taking a position on the Angolan fight for independence, especially as both the US and the apartheid South-Africa had not only taken positions but were openly supporting some factions opposing the Angolan independence push.


Then Murtala showed Nigeria had assumed a leadership position in Africa when he announced Nigeria’s unilateral recognition of the Augustino Neto’s freedom-fighting squad as the true representative of the Angolan people and donated $10m to their cause. Africa queued up behind Nigeria; and a new era had been born for Nigeria. The whole world noticed that Nigeria had become Africa’s sole medium power and the continental undisputed leader. That was an achievement; a most stout, lusty and solid one and it resounded across the entire globe. Nigerians everywhere knew that their country had begun to matter and was no longer a big for nothing country, and they began to walk with a spring in their steps. Buhari was a leading member of that glorious administration…so even he is my witness that what happened at the last OIC summit cannot be compared with what Murtala achieved in 1976. Or did any country oppose the condemnation of global terrorism or the particular one related to Islamic extremists? Even Buhari himself who had entertained Nigerians while campaigning for a second term by calling sundry persons candidates of elections they were not contesting at all, and who was said to have even missed the date he came into power as a civilian president, can still recall the war in Syria and Iraq where the Islamic State had been declared and the world coalition that fought against it and defeated it. My friend, the presidential spokesman should please ask Buhari whether he was able to build a new coalition against the Islamic terrorism in Nigeria. He should please ask Buhari if he was able to get the OIC to commit troops to fight against the insurgents who kill while desecrating God’s name. He should ask Buhari how much OIC decided to commit to the fight against Boko Haram and other fighters who have, in God’s name decided to deny West-Africans the peace they need to fulfill their destinies. Then he should ask Buhari the role he played in getting the other summiteers  to agree to toe Nigeria’s line.

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My friend the presidential spokesman should also not forget to publish the soul-stirring speech that Buhari delivered at that summit that became a game-changer and became consequential—just like the “Africa Has Come of Age” speech which the illustrious Murtala Mohammed delivered in Kampala in 1976.  But if Buhari didn’t do any of such, then he should know that Buhari earned no praise at all for participating in that summit but actually earned a large amount of abhorrence, loathing and outright condemnation for winging away from Nigeria immediately after his inauguration when he was expected to be in a hurry to show that he would do things in a bond and fresh new way to take Nigeria  to “The Next Level.” Some facts have to be told; Buhari has been a military General, which means he must have attended an untold number of trainings that is supposed to have made him a master strategist. He has been a military Governor in the very terrain which Boko Haram has turned into a killing field- the entire North-East geopolitical zone. His home state is Katsina, which is now being affected by a new brand of terrorism, tagged Banditry for want of a better name. And that terrorism by bandits is fast blanketing the entire North-West; Buhari’s home geopolitical zone which he is supposed to know like the back of his hand. Then Buhari has been a military Head of State decades ago. So, he must have an understanding of Nigeria that must have sunk in in 1984 and 1985. As the years went by, he must have increased his knowledge of Nigeria. And please may we never forget that Buhari once headed a national interventionist/development agency; the Petroleum Trust Development Fund. So, it is bad enough that the man is proving to be less than ordinary in the job of governing Nigeria. But it is even worse that some spokesman would expect somebody like me to shun the facts and the tragedies and begin to praise a non-performing President.



 Development of any institution—be it a country, state, LGA, Ministry or business corporation has some well-established indices. So far, I have not seen such indices—in electricity generation and supply, in security of life and property, in unemployment and inflation percentages, in the number of children in school, in the quality of education, in the reduction of the number of almajiri children in Buhari’s own state of Katsina or his Northern part of the country, in the number of productive petroleum refineries, in the reduction of corruption, in road construction etc. It is unfortunate that this presidential spokesman reminded me of how some journalists praised Obasanjo between 1999 to 2007, when no golden epoch was opening up in Nigeria and I said so against the din Obasanjo’s praise singers raised. I was so exasperated then that I wrote one article I titled: “When Did Obasanjo Walk on Water?” I think I shall redo that piece soon; but on Buhari.
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