Buhari. Photo; TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV
Only the ignorant Nigerian elite and the poorly capitalised section of the press organisations that could not reach their beats properly, could not recognise the fact that the very resourceful service chiefs who helped our leader to crush the menace of insurgents in the North East and bandits in his own North West deserve much more than meretricious ambassadorial posts. Are you still debating evidence of the former service chiefs’ achievements? The first evidence: the service chiefs who have been remarkably supported by their reticent defence minister have succeeded in federalising what used to be a local insurgency in Borno and Yobe states.x
Only those who are too young to know would not know that Yobe was actually created out of Borno state a few years ago. At the moment, most of the insurgents in the North East, notably in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states have been so strategically, sorry ‘technically defeated’ in the northeast zone that they have moved to most of the states of the federation in various guises as either bandits or abductors or gunmen as some cowardly media practitioners call them. What is more, the service chiefs have succeeded in making security and defence votes to be of top priority in appropriation bills’ scale of preference all over the country.
Only people who don’t read our constitution as they should as patriots would not know about chapter II of the constitution where it is written that ‘security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government’. Can’t we all see that most of the governors in our federation do not joke with the very significant security votes? It is really curious that most members of the elite corps do not know enough to know that we need to secure life and property first before we can talk about governance issues.
Didn’t the followers of Christ among the elite study to show themselves approved… to the extent of knowing that only the living can praise God as a man after God’s own heart, David once declared? I mean we need security first and the former service chiefs have established that with the ingenious way they got our leader to pay attention to security and defence votes more than human capital issues, they call education and health, which only some overzealous intellectuals, would actually want to be of top priority at this time.x
There is a time for everything. This is a time to praise the president and his immediate past service chiefs. We can’t claim to be wiser than our president who actually got this job because of his impeccable integrity. Only very few opinion and leader writers have been claiming that the integrity of the strong man from Daura has been grossly overrated.
Let’s get back to the brass tacks. Our president was so angry with the elite on the point at issue, undue criticism that he hit back at them. His words: “Nigerian elite are not interested in rating (our) competence but they are interested in harassing us with all efforts we are making…”
Interpretation: the president accused the Nigerian elite of criticising him unjustly despite all the strides his administration has made. President Buhari actually noted this after he revalidated his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Katsina State. The exercise was flagged off in Daura, the president’s hometown in Katsina State, where bandits and Covid-19 scare are also being technically defeated.
Evidence of technical defeat that the elite didn’t see: President Buhari who just signed a Covid-19 protocol law, was seen in the midst of other APC dignitaries and state governors, unmasked, despite the coronavirus threat, as he thanked them for boosting his morale. He also thanked the national caretaker committee chairman of the party “for shouldering the responsibilities of the APC”.
After the exercise, the President became specific in counting his blessings to the nation. He accused the elite of criticising his administration “despite his efforts to revive the oil industry, among other sectors of Nigeria’s economy”. His words again: “When we took over the administration, production went down to about half a million barrels per day, the price collapsed. We had to do what is called a bailout, wherever we got the money from. Upon all the money from 1999 to 2014, we gave you money from the centre to pay salaries. No, Nigerian elite are not interested in rating the competence but they are interested in harassing us with all efforts we are making…You, who are in the field in charge of your constituencies, you have to make efforts to convince the elite to please give us the due relevance and respect we deserve that we are working so hard with limited resources,” he told members in attendance in his country home, Daura.x
This is the problem with the Nigerian do-nothing elite who are beginning to behave like their American counterparts the Hurricane Donald Trump, the immediate past President of the United States once tagged “the enemies of the people”. How can the elite in a very endowed but poor country with a complex diversity fail to see the numerous achievements of our very brilliant president who has become a global expert in managing change? How can the petty elite fail to see beyond the narrow prism of #ENdSARS noise and parochialism tag they and the Lagos-Ibadan axis of the press have given the president of the richest country in Africa? This is quite unfortunate, as our lawyers would always say when they lose a big election petition lawsuit in a higher court. What did I see that these elite didn’t see? In 2019, I wrote an article most of the noisy elite might not have read at the time. The article published here was titled, ‘Why Buhari is Man of the Decade’ (1&2) September 15-22, 2019 (https://guardian.ng/opinion/why-buhari-is-man-of-the-decade/ September 15, 2019 and https://guardian.ng/opinion/why-buhari-is-man-of-the-decade-part-2/ September 22, 2019
If they had read and digested the article, they would have just encouraged me to write the third part of the article – just to hail the president of the most powerful black nation in the whole wide world.
Let me just brighten your weekend with some of the excerpts of the seminal article here:
‘As I was saying before the rumbling about the fate of a vice president in an accident-prone presidency cropped up the other day, let’s continue with our narrative on the very knowledgeable versus the most understanding, sorry the most artful.x
Recall that I had partially concluded last week that despite our perception and even naivety that the president had been uneducated, ‘the same unhealthy, clueless leader as we claim’, had taken control of the three arms of government.
I had noted then that despite the alleged limited education, ’… he has surrounded himself in the presidential bureaucracy with some of the brightest men he can trust from his region….I had asked a rhetorical question: ‘Where is the testimony of the knowledgeable ones?’ And I had charged us to continue the debate on ‘the difference between knowledge and understanding’ of the power elite.
I have received some responses to the debate on why I had thought that Buhari had been underrated and so should be ‘Man of the Decade’. As I promised, let’s examine the profile of the president’s men, most of us didn’t know. Since 2015, we have been calling them all sorts of names and the most constant has been a Cabal. Even the First Lady, Hajia Aisha Buhari who holds a master’s degree, has been quoted several times as describing some of the known president’s men in derogatory terms.
So, specifically, there are four names that are constant when it comes to reporting of the president’s men. And only one of them holds an official position as Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari. Others include, Alhaji Mamman Daura, Alhaji Ismaila Funtua and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe. The three big men are generally regarded as organic members of the president’s kitchen cabinet. Only some members of the aristocracy of the Nigerian mass media may know that there is sense in which one can claim that the best profession in the world, journalism actually brought together this triumvirate of powerful men behind the president (Daura, Ismaila and Kingibe).x
In other words, these are not ordinary men. They are very educated. They are very British (they were all educated in ‘Great Britain’). They all understand history of their relationship with the very British colonial masters who taught them to understand the peculiarities that define our complex diversity. Let’s see the bio data of most powerful one the president himself actually introduced at the first cabinet retreat in 2015 as the presidency, ABBA KYARI as captured in various documents…’
You can see why the elite nurtured by the critical, sorry political section of the press should be vilified for not seeing the profound way the lanky man from the sleepy town of Daura has changed the country. Oh my God, why didn’t the elite and their press see the other day even the correlation between the #EndSARS success story that gripped the world and the ‘not-too-young-to-rule law the president alone spearheaded in his first term in office? Why didn’t the flagship of the Nigerian press, The Guardian see this when they made #End SARS protesters as their ‘2020 Person of The Year’?
Can’t the elite see the great strides the president has recorded even to his people? Why can’t they compare him with his successor, President Goodluck Jonathan who didn’t complete any concrete projects including the East West Roads for his Niger Delta deprived people? If the president is behind the many road-and-railway projects to his kinsmen, sorry neighbours even in Niger Republic, why should he be criticised for that? Why is even the letter-writer-general-of-the-federation Obasanjo still being criticised that there is no road from Lagos to his Ota farm and university and even Abeokuta despite his eight years in office?
In the main, I have no doubt that the powerful patriots who facilitated the victory of President Buhari in 2015 including Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, should be part of the celebration of the success story of Buhari’s presidency. I mean that they should claim responsibility for whatever has happened to Nigeria (2015-2021) – because they were the architects of the 2015 victory of Buhari.