Muhammadu Buhari knew he was not prepared for office when he first ran. His tears at his third failed attempt was not borne out of patriotism or desire to change the nation, he was simply imbued with a big desire to have his revenge on those he perceived pushed him out of power in 1985. Buhari is a wily fox who does not know or understand the principle of forgiveness. Buhari has no blueprint that would put Nigeria on the path of peace, progress or stability. Buhari is a master of doublespeak.
I confess, we missed the mark and campaigned for him. In the words of a famous comedian, he promised change but changed the promise once in power. By we, I mean, I included. I do not regret my part in pushing Goodluck Jonathan out of office. No nation could survive the haemorrhaging under Jonathan. But I confess we were way off the mark thinking Buhari would be a better choice given hindsight. Now we know.
Shocked this morning, to hear that Prof. Farooq Kperogi, a virulent critic of the wholesome cluelessness of the Buhari government is under the assassination watchlist of the cabal. Kperogi is a respected colleague and fellow journalist who has earned his plumage as a diligent reporter and a vocal social critic. He is perhaps too brazen for some people, but when it suited the purpose, nobody queried his style of criticism. Well, like a true patriot, Kperogi had to put country ahead of prebendal interests. That is the way of patriots.
It is criminal for any critic or journalist to have savoured the sweetness of good governance elsewhere and not feel the urgent need to ‘liberate’ his country from the claws of cluelessness whether they be perpetrated by their own kit and kin or by anyone else. If you find something good, you share it.
Now, it has come to my notice that Omoyele Sowore, another activist/reporter, has been picked up by the regime. Again, Sowore has his style that he has sustained from his school days.
In these two instances, you may not agree with the modus of these people, but you cannot fault their patriotism. They could afford to stay safely in their abode, earn their pay and forget about Nigeria. But they love their country. Most of us do. As someone rightly said “I love my country, its the leaders that I hate”. I don’t think anyone hates Buhari. I think we all do our bits hoping that the president would see reason and change the course of cluelessness, but apparently, like a dog destined for perdition, Buhari and his minions are heading for the path of infamy. What more, they want to drag the nation along with it. History is repeating itself as a farce before our very eyes and it is sad to see people make excuses. As he said in December 1983, Buhari could repeat – Yes, I will tackle with the freedom of the press.
This regime announced that it would monitor the social media handles of its critics. I for one offered to give them my passwords, because there’s nothing clandestine to my own campaign other than the restoration of good governance so that our country can achieve its full potentials and its pride of place in the comity of nations. That is my commitment. I seek no political gain for it.
Buhari has kept Sheikh Zakzaky in detention against court orders. Like Olusegun Obasanjo kept Hamza Al-Mustapha, Buhari has kept Sambo Dasuki. This regime, that protects those whose activities are inimical to the corporate existence of our nation arrested and incarcerated journalist Jones Abiri for two solid years without trial. After his court-ordered release, Abiri was kidnapped from the press centre. We all know that detainees are randomly tortured in Nigeria. Most of us were witnesses to the gory details of detention under the infamous NSO, whose officers were rehabilitated by Buhari and handed the reins of national security.
This regime picked up social activist Deji Adeyanju; exhumed a nine-year old charge for which he was discharged, just so he would not be able to factually damage their campaigns. Deji does not just advocate, he does so with figures.
I put it to anyone with brains and not coconut water that this Buhari is desperate. His unelected cabal, is hell bent on propping up a president who obviously suffer memory lapses and rule by proxy. They would do anything in his name without his authorization, even Buhari’s wife complains – albeit non altruistically.
Those who know the truth about the assassination of Dele Giwa, Bola Ige, Harry Marshal, Suliat Adedeji, Bagauda Kaltho are alive and well and close to this shitstem that claims to fight corruption while sitting comfortably on its cesspit.
Jonathan’s junta seized newspapers in transit without court order. Buhari’s junta has sealed newspaper houses, arrested journalists without charge and continues to support or wish away the insecurity challenges now making Nigeria pure hell on earth. This regime has threatened journalists and prevailed on publishers to sack them. This regime uses the NBC to pull critical programmes off the air and surcharge private broadcasters for the same things their megaphones are guilty in reverse.
Yet, this regime is bereft of the ideas needed to transform this country and enthrone national entente. But above all, this regime is wily, it knows how to manipulate the emotions of the people and to use religion and ethnicity as priming factors. This regime is dangerous to national ideals and corporate national survival.
While calling for the unconditional release of Sowore and all detainees, I draw the attention of the International Community to a dangerous pattern that might eventually burn Nigeria down. The international community should ask Muhammadu Buhari to respect the rights of all peaceful persons to gather and protest anything they do not agree with. That is the principle of democracy and Buhari claims to be a converted democrat.
I call on regime apologists who vilify critics because they live outside the country to remember that human beings have guaranteed international rights to travel and live anywhere provided they keep to the laws and rules of their hosts and international law. It is not a crime to live outside Nigeria for any reason. Nor is it a crime to use your external abode as springboard to peacefully campaign for good governance at home – East, West, North, South, home is always the best. Some of those benefitting from the spoils of bad governance today were at one time or another in their lives in exile. You know them.
We all die in the face of emerging tyranny if we continue to excuse the excesses of Buhari and his cabal. We all die if we carry on as if things are okay – they are not. This is not the Nigeria of our dreams neither is it Nigeria of its full potentials. If we continue to keep quiet or excuse Buhari’s excesses, when he comes for you (and he or his cabal will eventually), there’ll be nobody left to speak for you.
. Asaju, a journalist, writes from Canada.