African Sun Times (SAN Franscisco) –
Nigerians will be going to the polls to elect a president. The contest is basically between the candidates of two political parties – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), as the other nine presidential candidates could hardly be considered as worthy of challenge. The contest pits, on the one hand, General Muhammadu Buhari, a former Head of State who during his two years of terror-laced reign inflicted an incredible amount of dictatorial and autocratic policies on Nigerians; and on the other, the current President Goodluck Jonathan who has, in his five years of administration, laid a solid foundation for democratic governance in Africa’s most populous country.
This election is very critical. It is a test of whether Nigeria will be a shining light to democratic changes in Africa, where we still have a large number of dictators, and whether Nigeria will be returned to the club of dictators. There is nothing wrong with governments changing hands in Africa: in fact, we applaud such tiny occurrences exemplified in Senegal, Ghana, Malawi, Zambia, but such changes should occur with individuals who understand the ethics of democracy, not with an individual who did everything to prevent the return of democracy in Nigeria.
With a little more than two weeks to the election, Nigerians are finally beginning to come to their senses when they look at the history and personality of General Muhammadu Buhari, who is challenging the current President. Nigerians are frightened about another Buhari administration and here are the five reasons they will deny Buhari another chance at the presidency of Nigeria.
A FEELING OF ENTITLEMENT – Nigerians believe that Gen. Buhari has a feeling of entitlement that he is owed the presidency of Nigeria. This is the fourth time that Buhari will be running for the presidency of Nigeria because he feels he is entitled to it; but Nigerians have become resentful and are worried that Buhari must have an agenda he wants to carry out that he was forced not to do when he was ousted from office in 1985. Nigerians remember what happened in 1983. On December 31st, 1983 General Buhari decided to oust a democratically and constitutionally elected government in office. Nigerians had suffered for 13 years of military dictatorship and were very ecstatic when General Olusegun Obasanjo orchestrated the return of the government to a civilian rule. (Mind you, I am not a fan of Obasanjo). Nigerians had suffered enough and don’t want another military government. But barely four years into a democratic government, Buhari decided to crown himself a Head of State and plunged Nigeria into another 16 years of military dictatorship.
Unlike Buhari, Nigerians were grateful to Obasanjo and he was the person that Nigerians turned to in 1999 to lead them back to a democratic and constitutionally elected government – after all, he had orchestrated the disengagement of the military in 1979 and returned the government to a civilian administration. Buhari, on the other hand, wants Nigerians to reward him for his ambitions of grandeur and entitlement. Whatever agenda he had when he seized power in 1983, he feels he was denied the fulfillment of that agenda when Gen. Ibrahim Babangida ousted him from office. It is delusional for Buhari to think that Nigerians should equate him with Gen. Obasanjo: for God’s sake, Obasanjo for all his faults, is a democrat, while on the other hand Buhari is a dictator. Nigerians are not going to reward a dictator with the presidency of Nigeria.
POWER-HUNGRY – As stated above, on December 31st, 1983, in order to feed his hunger for power, Buhari seized the democratically elected government of Nigeria. Nigerians were tired of military dictators and in Buhari, they tasted what a real military dictator is, unlike Gens. Gowon, Murtala Muhammed or Olusegun Obasanjo. During his reign of terror, he abolished the freedom of the press and cowed the non-tameable Nigerian press from publishing any articles relating to a return to democratic government. And since the return to democracy, no thanks to Buhari, he has run for presidential elections three times, each time as head of a political party that he formed. Obasanjo, Yar’Adua, and Jonathan, on the other hand, were selected by their party, not a political party they formed. Had the All Progressives Congress not nominated Buhari as their presidential candidate, he would have bolted the party and formed yet another party so that he could run. Just as he seized the government in 1983, he believes he must always be at the head to command his minions.
LAWLESS AND NOT ANSWERABLE TO NIGERIANS: Nigerians should not reward an individual who committed treasonable seizure of a democratic elected government. Buhari wants to equate himself with Obasanjo. We cannot accept that. I have already detailed Buhari’s lawlessness in an article, “Gen. Buhari: Lawlessness of a Law and Order Candidate.” Buhari doesn’t believe he is answerable to Nigerians, and nobody articulated this trait most poignantly than Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka. In writing about what Soyinka wrote, I said, “It is this pattern of lawlessness that Nigerians must be profoundly frightened about of a man who believes that he doesn’t have to answer to basic issues that Nigerian need answers to, arrogating himself the feeling that he is above board, above the fray. These are some of the complaints that Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka discussed in his critical essay on Buhari, titled “The Crimes of Buhari: The Nigerian Nation Against General Buhari.” Wrote Soyinka, “The grounds on which General Buhari is being promoted as the alternative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naive. History maters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. Of course, we know that human beings change. What the claims of personality change or transformation impose on us is a rigorous inspection of the evidence, not wishful speculation or behind-the-scenes assurances. Public offence, crimes against a polity, must be answered in the public space, not in caucuses of bargaining. In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evident suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that this is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order.”
NO PROGRAM TO ADDRESS ECONOMIC NEEDS OF NIGERIANS: All Nigerians have heard from Buhari since he accepted the presidential candidacy of the APC is how he is going to fight corruption. But Nigeria faces problems other than corruption, which, no doubt, is important to the welfare of good governance. Every Nigerian leader has pledged to fight corruption; every world leader has pledged to fight corruption. There is corruption everywhere in the world, but what is very important is how you are going to lift the standards of life of the average Nigerian. Right now, oil prices, the main stay of the Nigerian economy, has fallen to its lowest level. The Naira is depreciating fast. Nigerians are yet to hear what Buhari is going to do with less money coming into the country. Promising Nigerians a pie in the sky is not what is needed now. What is needed are specific policies spelt out to address the issues of the economy, but issues of security. How are you going to deal effectively with the Boko Haram insurgency if in the past you have been an enabler of the group through your indiscreet utterances.
COUP PLOTTERS MUST NOT BE REWARDED: There is nothing that remotely recommends Buhari as a leader other than the fact that he plotted and overthrew a constitutionally and democratically elected government. He seized power and imposed himself on Nigerians and proceeded to terrorize Nigerians with draconian decrees. He used the army that was supposed to protect the security and international borders of the country to commit atrocities against the citizenry of Nigerians. Buhari is yet to apologize, and he has shown defiance, about seizing the government, but he expects Nigerians to hand him the same position he violently seized so that he could again terrorize the people.
Nigerians should be frightened at the prospect of Buhari assuming the presidency of Nigerians because he feels he is entitled to the post. When he was not entitled to the post, he seized it by force in 1983 until Nigerians were spared his autocratic and dictatorial power grab by the “you-chop-I-chop” Gen. Babanginda. Buhari is power-hungry, hence he feels he must be at the head of any political party, if not, he would breakaway and form another to run for the presidency. Finally, it would be suicidal for Nigerians to reward a coup plotter, who should have been dealt with a military justice.
Hence Nigerians are going to hand another defeat to the presidential ambitions of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari. Nigerians have their eyes wide open and hopefully after this he would realize that he committed a treasonable offense more than equal to the offense of those Nigerians he executed during his reign of terror against the country.
Dr. Chika Onyeani is the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning African Sun Times (Africa’s No.1 newspaper in America), author of the internationally and critically-acclaimed No.1 bestselling book, “Capitalist Nigger: The Road to Success,” as well as the blockbuster novel, “The Broederbond Conspiracy,” adapted by the San Francisco State University to teach students “how to write a spy novel.” He is the Chairman of the Celebrate Africa Foundation.