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From Ibrahim To Ibrahim: Buhari’s Tunnel Vision

President Buhari has even accomplished the unprecedented feat in Nigerian history of appointing the referee in elections he and his party will contest from his own region, to wit, the north


The hot news in town is that President Muhammadu Buhari has fired the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Lamorde and replaced him promptly with Ibrahim Magu. That is the Buhari way: From Ibrahim to Ibrahim. It is wellnigh impossible for Buhari to see beyond his northern domain.

He has thus far turned the seat of government at Aso Villa to Aso North! President Buhari has even accomplished the unprecedented feat in Nigerian history of appointing the referee in elections he and his party will contest from his own region, to wit, the north.

He has just sworn in the new chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, alongside new national commissioners, at a ceremony at the council chambers of the presidential villa, otherwise known as Aso North.

The commissioners include: Amina Zakari, northwest; Anthonia Okoosi- Simbine, north-central; Baba Shettima Arfo, northeast, Soyebi Adedeji Solomon, southwest; and Mohammed Mustafa Lecky from the South-South. It was only public outcry that stopped Buhari from swearing-in the former acting chairman Amina Zakari who happens to be his relative as the substantive chairman.

In sporting contests such as football, it is anathema to appoint a referee who comes from one of the contesting sides. For instance, if Nigeria is playing a match with Cameroun, the referee cannot be appointed from either Nigeria or Cameroun. This makes for neutrality. Who on earth will agree to the justness of the verdict an umpire that is seen from the beginning as not being neutral? Nigeria sows the wind of discord and stays poised to reap the whirlwind of blood.

It is in the line of Buhari’s parochial machinations that in the appointments and promotions for the management cadre of the Nigeria Customs Service by the Comptroller- General Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), geo-political balancing has been completely breached. The current exercise has Mr. P.C. Ukaigwe as the only Deputy Comptroller-General (DCG) representing the entire southeast geo-political zone when other zones have as many as five. It is indeed curious that the zone has no Assistant Comptroller General (ACG) in the list.

Incidentally, in the previous appointments dating from January 2014 to October 2015, the southeast was represented by Nwosu AC as DCG with Okafor BC, Okoli OI and Ukaigwe PC as ACGs. It will amount to fruitlessly blaming the victims when the youths have now completely lost faith in the Nigerian regime and are now clamouring for Biafra. If your plan is to keep people as your slaves, then be very prepared for slave revolts you can never ever defeat! The truth of History can never be banned.

In my book, it is this insensitive government that is doing great harm to Nigeria through unconscionable prebendalism. According to Wikipedia and based on the groundbreaking work of Professor Joseph Benjamin, “Prebendalism refers to political systems where elected officials, and government workers feel they have a right to a share of government revenues, and use them to benefit their supporters, co-religionists and members of their ethnic group.

The term is commonly used to describe the patterns of corruption in Nigeria.” Prebendalism happens to be the worst kind of corruption even as President Buhari glories himself as being the one and only fighter of corruption in the whole wide world. At any rate, Buhari’s pathetic parochialism did not start today. Even in his days as a military Head of State, he preferred to vote for a fellow Fulani man from Niger Republic against an Igbo man from Nigeria in the contest for the Secretary-General position of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

Let me quote directly from the book The OAU: Reality Or Fiction by Ibrahim Daggash, a former Head of Information and Communication at the OAU, on page 69: “I remember in 1985 in Africa Hall that he was for confirmation of Dr Peter Onu of Nigeria, who was acting Secretary General but Nigeria’s Head of State Gen Muhammadu Buhary (sic) was adamant in his support of Niger’s candidate, Idi Omaro, a Fulani Muslim.

In a meeting, a handful of Presidents led by Nyerere met with Gen Buhari and Nwalimu begged him: ‘Please give us Peter!’ Buhary refused and forgot even to be courteous to his old peers. What was astonishing, when the vote was in favour of Niger’s candidate, the Nigerian Head rejoiced to such a degree that he was unable to control his emotions.

That was a moment I witnessed and was convinced that General Buhari would not last long as a leader.” It is very obvious that Buhari is a champion of tribalism in its crudest form. Back in 2013, Buhari featured on the “Guest of the Week,” a Hausa programme of the Kadunabased Liberty Radio, and claimed that the then federal government’s offensive against Boko Haram was “a gross injustice against the north”.

Even as Buhari claims to be fighting corruption, he screams to the high heavens that General Sani Abacha his tribesman was never corrupt, even as the loot of the late goggled general is still being returned from far-flung places all over the world. Only Buhari’s identified enemies are adjudged corrupt. It’s a shame. The tunnel vision of replacing one Ibrahim with another Ibrahim can only bode ill for Nigeria.



– UZOR MAXIM UZOATU    e-mail: maxim.uzoatu@theunion.com.ng

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