Deeds of BUHARI during his military regime that shows he is not the righteous man he claims to be.
BUHARI sacked the incumbent head of the NNPC, reinstated his right-hand man from his previous ministerial stint in that department and at the first opportunity, locked up Tai Solarin under an unrelated pretext – for disturbing leaflets calling for a return to democracy.
He was refused access to his accustomed medication for asthma.
That beginning redefined all concept of moral scourge, incorruptibility, transparency an even handedness in the execution of its own codes of justice. It was the BUHARI / IDIAGBON regime that presided over the saga of customs at the international airport of Kano.
As a measure to stabilize the Nigerian currency and terminate the business of illegal speculation, currency trafficking and other doggy financial national currency. So comprehensive were the measures undertaken to ensure that not a single forged or obsolete currency note was blown across the borders, either entering or exiting, that all land, air and sea borders were sealed tight, without notice.
Nonetheless, a Northern emir arrived at Kano airport with 53 bulging suitcases and – who would be waiting to clear him through Customs? Buhari’s own aide-de-camp, Major Jokolo! He encountered, and tried to brush aside the stolid opposition of the customs officer in charge of the airport- an unknown civil servant by name Alhaji Atiku who would later become the Vice-president of the nation after the return of democracy.
The custom officer held his ground as long as he could, but was no match for the aide-de-camp, who had flown to Kano from his duty post in Lagos solely to facilitate the passage of the emir’s camels through the needle’s eye of the Customs. Entry was eventually effected with only one casualty not long after, the stubborn customs officer was unceremoniously bundled out of Kano and redeployed to Lagos.
Based on the provisions of an allied regulation however, Fela Anikulapo, the Afro-beat musician, would be sentenced to a long term of imprisonment for failing to declare some foreign currency that he had legitimately brought into the country. Fela had kept the funds as immediate living expenses for his band, due to begin an overseas tour shortly after.
After Babangida came to power, the trial judge visited Fela in prison, apologized to him for his role in his conviction, and admitted that he had only acted on orders. “The judge done come beg me o!” Screamed Fela to the media”.
So implacable in its dubiety was the moral code of the duo- Buhari and Idiagbon- that most Nigerians, involved in routine, legitimate , decades-old monetary arrangements learnt to take self-protective measures.
Military coups are usually undertaken to terminate the life of a serving government. The Buhari coup set a precedent in Nigerian history by being openly directed against the political opposition. Leaders in opposition were detained without trial, or else sent to military tribunals on charge for military tribunals for which record, unprecedented sentences became mandatory.
Some were freed, sent back again for re-trial repeatedly on the same charges, as was the case of Pa Adekunle Ajasin, elder statesman of an opposition party and Governor of Ondo State. Even the pliant tribunal found itself unable to convict the old man and so, after several tries, he was simply left in prison detention to rot. By contrast, members of the ruling party either miraculously escaped capture – like the fifty-three suitcases- that were never brought to trial, or else escaped with light sentences or easeful confinement.
The media was muzzled by the notorious Decree No.2 which prescribed mandatory prison sentence for any journalist who published anything at all that ‘ embarrassed ‘ a government official, irrespective of whether or not the publication was a hundred per cent truth.
Two journalists, Tunde Thompson an Nduka Irabor, were the first causalities of this decree- they had published facts, and not for anything he wrote during the incumbency of that despot, but for having called attention, a year or so earlier, to threat of a coup that Buhari had made before actually carrying it out.
“Watch yon general, Babatope had warned, his ambitions run deep”. Babatope, after he had said this enrolled as to a student in Warwick University, England – Babatope returned home to prepare for his new life. For his prophetic pains, Buhari honoured him with indefinite residency in a maximum security prison. Babatope did not regain his liberty until the fall of Buhari.
Note: Detention without trial, or imprisonment after mockery of justice ran rampant. Which also seems to be the case now.
Beko Ransome-Kuti, president of the Nigerian Medical Association, in company of some of his lieutenants, took his turn in prison for leading an industrial strike of doctors.
The most unconscionable first of General Buhari and his partner, Tunde Idiagbon, however, was the enactment of an anti-drug trafficking law that was made retrospective, so that even drug offences that were committed before the law was passed came under the same forfeit in this case, three young men were publicly executed by firing squad soon after the law was passed. This was also equaled by the unjust killing of ken Saro- Wiwa and eight of his companion.
-Excerpt from “You Must Set Forth at Dawn- Memoirs” by Wole Soyinka.
– Following his recent election into office, one can say that President Buhari as obviously mastered the act of Transforming his war into a crusade; Morale strategies;
– Unite your troops around a cause. Make them fight for an idea.
– Keep their bellies full.
– Lead from the front.
– Concentrate their chi/spirit.
– Play their emotions.
– Mix harshness and kindness.
– Build the group myth.
– Be ruthless with grumblers. E.g political oppositions.
This mastered with his ability to preach the need for change but trying to reform too much at once, has brought the nation to its knees in so short a period. Because, unfortunately, Buhari seems to have neglected the other half of this principle. By trying to reform too much at once.
The whole principle is; preach the need for change, but never reform too much at once. This is because people are afraid of sudden change. As Robert Greene said; “Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things, if change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past.