‘Oh Abu Zar, I truly love for you what I love for myself. I indeed see that you are weak, so never accept to lead even two people and never accept safekeeping of the orphans’ wealth’’
Perhaps I am the more suitable to write this piece than anyone else, having stuck out my long neck, in spite of my kith and kin, for General Mohammadu Buhari’s (GMB) presidential ambition. I even lost friendship with my closest acquaintances.
Never for one day did I waver in my task. Any critical analyst can praise the strength of my character and doggedness – so unwavering in the face of threats, vituperations and slandering verbal missiles at my person. There were those who said to me, ‘‘your mother’s rotten c*nt’’. I got them all. Name it!
As soon as friends and foes took a break to strategise on how next they would deal with my person, since defriending on Facebook and other social media didn’t deter me, I showed up at Chatham House in London, to give Buhari support. I flew in from Nigeria to give such support to All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s presidential candidate. In those days, with clenched teeth and stiff upper lip, once I put my foot firmly on the pedals of criticisms against the former president Goodluck Jonathan, I helped throttle him to his final defeat in 2015 general election in Nigeria. My critical articles, comments, views, reviews and sometimes mere ‘‘propaganda’’ were awash in social media. Some of my friends whom I choked with my comments are yet to recover from electoral haemorrhage.
If I find myself in similar circumstance (in the overall balance of probability) as former president Goodluck Jonathan put Nigeria, I will still do same things again but not to elect GMB. President Jonathan wasn’t up to the job of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was so much a mediocre that he made it possible for Nigerians to (now regrettably) prefer General Mohammadu Buhari.
And regarding President Mohammadu Buhari, whom we chose, King Duncan – a creature in the small world of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth: Act 1, scene 4 – once said, ‘‘there is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face’’. And here we are today. The face, indeed, is the index of that mind.
So, no one can possibly say I am bias, as an Igbo man, if I hold president Buhari on his jugular and throttle him, too, with well-deserved criticisms to his resignation.
First of all, like former President Alhaji Musa Yaradua, President Mohammadu Buhari (PMB) eventually turned out an Invalid. Both men are from the same axis.
In case you feel so strongly about the adjective, I am prepared to make amends. For instance, I can say, ‘‘he is a spent Force’’. He is, in fact. If you still object to the last option, then I put it to you: you are not ‘‘a good somebody’’ – as Nigerians would say it in the street.
Despite his good aristocratic nature and political sagacity, Alhaji Musa Yaradua (August 16, 1951 – May 5, 2010) knew he had severe kidney condition. He knew he was disabled for the top job. He was physically challenged.
Latched unto Olusegun Obasanjo’s political support and famous caricature telephone call, Yaradua was quick to debunk speculations, in 2007, about his health, when he challenged his critics to a game of squash. It was his desperate brainwave for Nigerians to end speculations about his health. Later in November 23, 2009, Yaradua was reported to be receiving treatment for pericarditis – a disease of the heart – at a clinic in Saudi Arabia. Thereafter he was never seen in the public domain again. His absence then created a dangerous power vacuum – orchestrated by the infamous cabals of mainly northern extraction – which threw Nigeria into confusion. Eventually the system threw up the inglorious Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency.
Yaradua was in and out of the hospital, excluding his mid political campaign trip to Germany on March 6, 2007, and his subsequent return, on February 24, 2010, to Abuja, under the cover of darkness – Shina Rambo style. We all know this painful history, which was written on marble by the northern elements.
It wasn’t difficult to arrive at the title of this article. I nearly used a different title, which is: ‘‘Unfortunately Buhari’s presidency ends today, but the charred electoral promises still linger with Osibanjo’’.
If I chose this title in a rumour fertile Nigeria, many detractors would have speculated on Buhari’s health and quoted me wrongly. So I reverted. Simple!
So let’s talk about Invalid. As a young village boy – a proud status which later paid off in life since it gave me the first hand opportunity to interact with nature by which I formed my mind – I played a lot of village games. I roamed the rubber plantation to pick rubber seeds called okwe. And in these series, as an Igbo man, I want to play okwe to win okwe – or ‘‘tie okwe rie okwe’’ as Igbos would say.
Rubber seeds are found in their pod – a hard shell that would need cracking on hard surfaces. Often times when the pods ripen and crack by an act of God – kpoai like a firecracker, their seeds are flung here and there, further apart. To save the hassles of search and pick, one might as well pick the fallen pods at the foot of the tree, in order to save oneself from back pain. Actually lazy children, who wouldn’t make more effort, couldn’t be bothered. They wouldn’t bend low, and they paid dearly for it later in life. Those seeds were useful in all sorts of games, especially the mash. We used them to practice numerical counting and arithmetic. Those lazy children who didn’t understand arithmetic are today history. They indeed paid dearly!
So after picking the pods, you set to work to crack them mechanically on hard surfaces, in order to extract the real thing – the seeds. It turned out that the pods picked at the foot of the tree were those which had fallen prematurely. When you cracked them, you would see soft and wrinkled seeds. They were invalids!
The invalids were at variance with those useful seeds picked here and there in the plantation, which were hard and smooth.
I repeat. President Mohammadu Buhari turned out to be such an invalid, unfortunately. Like Yaradua, he knew he can’t hear a word, and he’s unwell with ear infection before he contested presidential election. He knew too his voice was becoming throaty. Most of all, he has anaemia.
And why does yours sincerely now think so? Let’s face reality. The reasons are now tangible – emphasis on tangibility. Abundant evidence. Ill-health apart.
With our lead quranic quotation, Islamic Sheikh Ahmad Gumi had, on October 24, 2014, warned General Buhari not to contest the presidency of Nigeria, on account of his salient weaknesses. Gumi took inspiration from Prophet Mohammed’s (peace upon him) exhortation to his beloveth Abu Zar Algafary.
In that warning letter, Sheikh Gumi said, ‘‘this is an honest and candid advice from the prophet that is still valid today for any leader whose weakness borders on leadership qualities’’. His reason was that ‘‘Abu Zar’s weakness has nothing to do with his credibility or truthfulness’’. Never! The prophet had said of him, “there is nobody under the shadows of trees or bare sun that is more honest in speech than Abu Zar”. Abu Zar was ascetic and unmaterialistic. Abu Zar was incorruptible. And yet he was not suitable for leadership.
Sheikh Gumi was clear and unambiguous as he never claimed holiness, when he addressed GMB. And that’s why he said, ‘‘I am not claiming to be even by an atom’s weight anything close to our noble prophet, yet I am encouraged to give you this same advice by the virtue that you are not also close to Abu Zar in piety’’. Sheikh Gumi realised well enough in 2014 that ‘‘we are living in a time of great tribulations and fitnah – civil unrest/rebellion, especially for this Ummah – the entire brotherhood of faithful Muslims – because of our collective iniquities, ignorance of religious instructions and the love of Dunyah – world’’.
I would like to end this Part 1 in series with the ‘‘bombshell’’ from Sheikh Gumi, whose late father – senior Sheikh Gumi – also warned Buhari in 1983.
Due to Gen Mohammadu Buhari’s impressive military resume in June, 1983, Gen Ibrahim Babangida, Brigadier Sani Abacha and Lt Col Aliyu Mohammed had detailed Major Mustapha Jokolo to cajole Buhari to accept the putsch, so that they could gain credibility. Major Jokolo, the re-instated Emir of Gwandu, was said to have ‘‘convinced his fellow middle ranking inner circle storm troopers in Lagos to adopt the ascetic and relatively clean Buhari – fresh from battle victories along the Lake Chad border – as an acceptable national figure to unite the armed forces as a whole behind the change and give it the façade of a patriotic putsch’’. Moreover, Buhari’s acceptance within the coup plotters was helped by the fact that the coup d’état ousted Alhaji Shehu Shagari – a core northern Fulani Muslim – who should be replaced by a core northern Fulani Muslim, for stability purposes, since Gen Babangida wasn’t yet prepared for the top job. It was at this occasion that the late Sheikh Gumi (snr) came in to advise Buhari against disrupting the democratically elected second republic. Gen Babangida and his co-conspirators used and dumped Buhari.
Thirty-one years after, Sheikh Gumi (jnr) said, ‘‘sir, your weakness is not in your past impeccable record of accountability of public wealth and the fight against corruption and indiscipline. Your weakness is in your INABILITY TO CONTROL MEN, compounded further by your STRICT AND OBSESSIVE REJECTION OF CORRUPTION’’.
How this trait of GMB makes him an invalid is anchored on our closing quote from an Arabian poet, which is expounded in Part 2 in the series: ‘‘Northern Nigeria and Her Invalids. When shall…?’’
As my reader, you can keep a weekly date with Yours Sincerely. Co-incidentally today, Friday, July 7, 2017, is the nth anniversary of my birthday, and I decided to serve this article as a special icing on the cake, which is to come.
“A fool cannot be the leader of his people but the true leader of the people must feign foolishness.” ………An Arab poet.
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