BY LLOYD F. UKWU
The All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari recently returned from a visit to London. He went to London for a medical treatment. The grueling presidential campaign had taken a toll on the ailing Septuagenarian and he desperately needed medical attention. His appearance, while in London, at the Chatham House was merely a smokescreen; it dissembled the object of the visit: medical treatment.
Although, the APC presented his London visit as a “working visit”, he failed to attend most of the programs organized as part of his “working visit”. His Chatham House appearance allowed the APC an opportunity to sell the Buhari presidential candidacy to the world, and especially, the United Kingdom. At the Chatham House, he presented a paper titled “Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition”.
The Chatham House hype belied the outrageous cost of that public relations outing for the APC. It cost the APC about N5 billion. The money was for the payments for the speaking engagement, numerous foreign consultants, air tickets for the huge APC delegation (including a contingent of governors), the purchase and renting of vehicles, hotel bills and other logistics.
Unknown to many, is that the London visit also allowed Buhari the opportunity to source funds from a number of Arab donors. Despite repeated denial by General Muhammadu Buhari and the APC of being sponsored by Arab countries and businessmen, intelligent sources revealed that Mr. Buhari made contacts with at least two Saudi billionaires with links to the Al Qaeda terrorist group. He solicited and received their financial support for his presidential campaign.
That Buhari is seeking financial help from Arab billionaires is fathomable. There are indications that some of his erstwhile financial backers are now withholding their funding from his political quest. Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State, an APC stalwart, recently made it clear that he cannot continue to fund the Buhari campaign because he needs money to pay state government employees.
Another major financier of the Buhari campaign, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is disenchanted with the APC. Consequently, he is hobnobbing with the ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). And once provided a soft landing, he will readily return to the PDP. He has since seized to be a financial supporter of the Buhari candidacy.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State was one of the most important financiers of the APC presidential candidate. Notorious for his flippancy and reckless remarks, he repeatedly embarrassed the APC with his unguarded statements. In one of his brazen remarks, he said that Nigerian soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency can justifiably disobey orders from their commanders.
Legal experts considered his statement treasonable because Section 44 of the Criminal Code provides that: Any person who attempts to (a) seduce any member of the armed forces of Nigeria from his duty and allegiance; or (b) to incite any such persons to commit an act of mutiny is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for life. The party tried to rein in his glibness. Piqued by his party’s remonstration, Amaechi is sulking, and in retaliation against the party, is holding back funds from the Buhari campaign.
With the once bloated coffers of the Buhari Presidential Campaign drying up, Buhari is in a desperate need of money. As such, he is reaching out to Arab donors for money. The sourcing of money by Buhari from Saudi businessmen with links to global terrorist groups is illegal. The Nigerian electoral act prohibits political candidates from raising foreign money and /or taking money from foreign donors.
Yet, in his characteristic disdain for the constitution and national laws, Buhari went with cap in hand to London, begging money from fundamentalist Saudi Arabian billionaires with ties to both Al Qaeda and ISIS. It is important to note that Buhari, his Saudi sponsors and the leadership of both ISIS and Al Qaeda are all fundamentalist Sunni Moslems.
Buhari’s ties to terrorist group, Boko Haram (with its enduring ties to Al Qaeda) that has lately declared its affiliation with ISIS have never been in doubt. For an earlier proposed negotiation between the terrorist group and the Nigerian government in Saudi Arabia, the Boko Haram chose him as its representative. He once proposed a general amnesty, financial rewards, jobs and political appointments for Boko Haram terrorists.
Before he started feigning the image of a national, unifying figure and trustworthy presidential candidate, he was critical of the Nigerian army for killing Boko Haram members and his supporters celebrated Boko Haram attack on Nigerian soldiers.
Lloyd Ukwu, an International lawyer writes from Port Harcourt.