The lamb at home doesn’t know the deadliness of the hunter in the forest. Radical issues require drastic actions. With uncommon courage and a massive sense of patriotism, I, Babatunde Odesola, a middle-aged Nigerian journalist and a die-hard lover of democracy, hereby, call for a revolution against millions of Nigerians who have been demonizing Mallam Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) and his amazing party, the All Progressives Congress.
The acronym, GCFR, is the biggest garland in the land, befitting of a major-general running a vicious regime. GCFR means Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, and not Grand Corrupter of the Federal Republic, which resonates more with the Nigerian masses.
A down-to-earth truth is that if angels descend from heaven and take charge of Aso Rock today, some unscrupulous anti-establishment protesters will still sing ‘aluta’ on rooftops, in market squares and at road junctions, setting alight raging bonfires. Well, I know the ruling APC has graciously provided state-of-the-art facilities for revolution chanters, Omoyele Sowore, Olawale Bakare, Nnamdi Kanu and their religious ilk, Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, to digitally mix their ‘aluta’ songs with seasonal carols in nationwide prison holes now dignified as correctional facilities.
Before I’m accused of collecting money from the major-general to do a hatchet job, let me point out that Alhaji Buhari’s stinginess stinks to high heaven, and I love him for that. Nigeria is in dire need of a tight-fist, no-nonsense ‘old soja’ like Sai Baba. Buhari is an ungenerous, 77-year-old herdsman, who doesn’t throw money at people, except for his indulgence of his rich, motorbiking son, Yusuf, whose siblings coughed out high foreign exchange as school fees to graduate from schools abroad. Yes, the children must have personally paid their foreign school fees by themselves because Pa Buhari can’t afford to pay such crazy fees!
I don’t need no stupid protesters like Sowore, Bakare and their accomplice lawyer, Femi Falana, to tell me that Buhari’s life earnings can’t foot the tuitions of his several children that schooled abroad; I know the truth. I know such money is unaffordable for even a Field Marshal in the Nigerian Army. I also remember that Buhari gave his uncle, Mamman Daura, a palatial residence inside Aso Rock, where the latter and his overindulged daughters noisily live off taxpayers’ money with impunity. Those must be the lazy Nigerian youths Buhari was referring to in London, last year.
I didn’t forget that this incorruptible major-general is for everybody and for nobody. This is why he could proudly identify with his children’s numerous foreign certificates, but not with their tuitions. This is natural; honest major-generals don’t like stains on their starched khakis. They won’t look kindly at you if you blow the kakaki when you see their long, lean hands in the hot pot of soup and the palm oil tell-tale on their bony lips. Abeg, don’t ask me where the money could have come from; manna still falls in the Katsina desert, you unbeliever!
Nationwide, people accuse Mr Buhari of nepotism, clannishness, clumsiness, sluggishness, brazenness and lawlessness. Though dazed by these allegations, I’ll still rise to Baba’s defence by saying Buhari has saved so much money for Nigeria. But they chorus, “Taaa! Baba nla falsehood.” These revolutionists are stubborn and silly, you know. They say Nigeria needs not save up money stupidly in a piggy bank which is accessible to bats in bullion vans. They ask, “Of what good is it to save up money in a leaky piggy bank while foreign debts drown the nation? Of what good is it to jingle money in a piggy bank like a three-year-old while unemployment, hunger, insecurity, poverty and hopelessness ravage the land?”
These revolutionists are stupid. They went back in time to 1983, the year of reckless military abandon when Major-General Buhari snatched power, and they came up with disturbing facts. They began to question and query. Foolishly, these silly revolutionists couldn’t understand why Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, a mere ‘spare tyre’, and several governors from the South-West and South-East were clamped behind bars while the head of the alleged corrupt and undisciplined civilian government, President Shehu Shagari, was left out of jail — without trial. Also, they said the major-general and world’s No 1 Anti-Corruption Crusader never condemned the evil regime of the dark-goggled armed-robber general, Sani Abacha, who is still sinfully rich — more than 21 years after his death and alarming seizures of his outrageous loot. But I ask, “Are all these enough to label Mr Integrity an ethnic bigot? In what ways do these little things show Mr Clean as unclean?”
Because his secondary school certificate developed wings and flew away, these ‘turenchi’-speaking revolutionists think the major-general is brain-lazy when it comes to logical reasoning. How wrong they are! Like the war general he is, Buhari defended himself logically and fiercely, two weeks ago, when he opened up on the profound logic and ingenuity of how he catches treasury looters.
He said, “Well, like I said, I have learned in the hard way. When I came in uniform, I got those who were leading, took them to Kirikiri (Maximum Prison) and told them they were guilty until they could prove themselves innocent. I put, based on almost all the geopolitical zones, committees to investigate them. Those that were found to have lived beyond their means, the balance was taken and was given to the states. But, I myself was arrested, detained…So, under this system (democracy), which is supposed to be more accountable, it is too slow for my liking, but I have to follow it.”
Between Major-General Buhari and the Nigeria Police Force, I don’t know who borrowed the awesome thief-catching style from the other. Without investigation, the Nigerian police would arrest on mere suspicion and torture till a suspect confesses to a crime never committed. Similarly, Maj.-Gen. Buhari openly confessed, a fortnight ago, that he clamped civilian leaders of the 2nd Republic into jail (without evidence), accused them of guilt and burdened the leaders with the onus of proof. Could this be the reason why many corrupt public officials wriggle out of corruption cases and return home to enjoy their loot today? And many 2nd Republic leaders were discharged and acquitted after they innocently spent numerous months in jail.
The Department of State Services (DSS) has obviously improved on the Buhari Maja-Maja Theory, arresting Sowore and Bakare inside a court in session, detaining them and defying various court orders setting both men free. But when he was dealt, in 1985, the same blow that he dealt others, the major-general whined cowardly and played the victim, saying, “I, myself was arrested, detained…” But he failed to add, “Like I detained others without evidence and trial.”
After that nightmarish coup that shattered his iron rule in 1985, our major-general has lived in morbid fear of coups — a reason many adduced to his reluctance to change his service chiefs despite obvious evidence that they have no answer to the crushing insecurity across the nation. I suspect that the old soldier’s perpetual fear of being toppled underlines his utter intolerance to being challenged or called to question. Some say that’s why Baba gave command of the security organizations in the country to his North, whose sons control the military, DSS, police and all. When the cold-blooded regime bares its fangs against revolutionary protesters and phantom hate speeches, please, know that the major-general is living in abiding fear of losing his crown a second time.
You can reach the Tunde Odesola via email using this address: [email protected]
This piece was originally published in The PUNCH on Monday, December 30, 2019.