ajor General Muhammadu Buhari’s first appearance on the Nigerian Political radar was in the night of Sunday, December 31, 1983 – his confirmation as Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, by his colleagues that gathered at the Bonny Camp Military Base in Victoria Island, actually took place at the wee hour [about 0200 hours of that night], thereby authenticating his date of arrival to Power January 1, 1984.
He came and appointed Brigadier General Tunde Idiagbon as his Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters – that made Tunde Idiagbon second in command to him in that Military Junta. This appointment was instructive but I am afraid that too many Nigerians did not study to understand the implication of that appointment.
One, General Tunde Idiagbon; of blessed memory, was not only from Northern Nigeria – same as General Muhammadu Buhari, but the formal was actually from Daura Town; the same town that Muhammadu Buhari comes from. Tuned Idiagbon, of course, was a practicing and devoted Muslim – same as Muhammadu Buhari.
Unfortunately, his [Buhari] tenure, which he kept strictly to his heart because he never told Nigerians when he would go back to the Barrack or hand over democratically political power back to civilians, was dismantled by another Military officer. The Army officer that caused him that havoc was Major General Ibrahim Bademosi Babangida – a Maradona sort of an officer and a perpetual Coupist for that matter.
Major General Muhammadu Buhari licked his wounds – that was after spending almost two years in detention; a place the Military would better call “protective custody”, he went home to Daura for a rest first, before starting the course of meditating over how his cookie crumbled.
It must have been the time of reminiscence that the retired General and former Head of State came to the sad conclusion that his mission and purpose of making incursion into the Nigerian political space during that first journey was not accomplished. That must have decided him to return back to the Nigerian people through the only route available – a route which he unfortunately once destroyed: Democratic Route.
And he returned.
First time; on his return journey, according to the Jagaban of Borgu in Niger State; Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, “oja nune” – meaning he fell down. Ditto the second and third times. Asiwaju Bola Tinubu even told them in Abeokuta that “the man cried bitterly on television” –which was true of course.
But there is something good in tenacity and perseverance. Buhari kept “coming”, which eventually paid off for him, as the Nigeria people decided at the end to vote for him – more on the technical shrewdness of Bola Tinubu’s intricate political maneuvering than Buhari’s personal acceptability.
Whichever way, he became a democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He returned back to Nigerians in 2019, for revalidation of the mandate given to him in 2015, and this was quickly authenticated.
This should be enough as preamble or historical perspective for this exercise – meaning we should be moving to the topic of the day, to wit: PRESIDENT BUHARI, TERRORISM AND NIGERIA’S REAL BAD NEWS.
This topic is anchored on the three promises which President Buhari and the political platform [APC] that brought him to Power made to Nigerians before being voted for in 2015, albeit Corruption, Insecurity and Economy. Today we shall be taking the discussion on the background of Insecurity exclusively. Let us go.
As of the time Muhammadu Buhari was sworn-in as President on May 29, 2015, the insurgency we knew in Nigerian was only the Boko Haram issue, and this was limited to the North-East exclusively. But from that year – 2015, to when President Buhari came for revalidation of mandate in 2019, insurgency had added another monster called Fulani herdsmen to its folder. This addition came under the umbrella of Miyetti Allah, and they came fully in the character of terrorists. Permit me to say something here before moving the narration further for purpose of clarity.
Nigerians have always lived peacefully with the Fulani tribe and their cattle for centuries without much ado. But the definition given to these our brothers, after Buhari’s second coming, was terrifying, to the extent that the Global Terrorism Index classified the Fulani Militant [which the Fulani Herders transformed to] as the Fourth Deadliest Terrorist Group in the whole world
The Fulani Herdsmen moved from the North-East to the North-West, North-Central and now totally covering the whole country. They came with full capacity of unleashing all manners of atrocities – including kidnapping, maiming and killing, without any challenge from any constituted authority in Nigeria; not even the federal government.
Worst even, was the unwillingness of the Buhari-led federal government to categorize this people as Terrorist, but instead, remained delighted calling them bandits, unknown gunmen, kidnappers and what have you.
It was only when Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Abuja Federal High Court gave that audacious judgement, on November 26, 2021, pronouncing them Terrorists that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice “managed” to proscribe them in a belated Gazette.
Now, as we discuss this topic, the Terrorists; which the Nigerian Government preferred calling Bandits, have brought the whole country totally under submission. The Nigerian Federal Governments, which constitutionally has the exclusive control of security, either refused to protect Nigerians or lacked the power to do so. What Nigerians see on daily basis; which is very abysmal, is a government that is romancing with the terrorists back-to-back, and publicly too.
In view of the government’s inability to confront the terrorists, the latter have established audacious authority of control across the land, with terrible consequences for Nigeria and Nigerians.
For example, on March 28, 2022, the terrorist attacked a train, that left Abuja, heading to Kaduna, at Katari town in Kaduna State, killed a few of the passengers before taking greater number of the remaining passengers into captivity. Isn’t this a horror story of how a group of terrorists have subdued Nigeria?
The federal government, again, either by default or design, could not do anything about the train situation. The only thing that is obvious on this terrifying and gruesome train’s attack remains the fact that the terrorist have so far collected, close to a Billion Naira as ransom for those passengers taken into captivity. More are still there with them in captivity.
Let us not forget that two days before the train’s attack, the terrorist had invaded the Kaduna International Airport and attacked a plane. They were in full control in that operation as well.
Then, the same terrorists elongated their audacious character by attacking the Kuje Prison; now called Correctional Centre, on July 12, 2022, despite the fact that intelligence report on the attack was properly documented and presented to the Authority in advance. On that operation the terrorists freed all their commanders; 64 of them, being held at the Prison.
Having accomplished all these successes, the Terrorists sent another terrifying message to Nigerians, saying they are now ready, if Government fails to meet their demands on the remaining passengers of the Abuja/Kaduna Train, to kidnap President Muhammadu Buhari and the incumbent Governor of Kaduna State – Malam Nasir El Rufai.
The Terrorists even told the whole world where they would be taking both President Buhari and Governor Nasir El Rufai to, after kidnapping them. We will bring them here, indicating the forest where they are operating from in Zamfara State. What a tragedy of audacity?
This is where the Nigerian’s Doomsday story starts from. And what is the doomsday story here?
More than 6 days after the Nigerian Terrorists announced their plans for the kidnap of the President and the Governor, Muhammadu Buhari did not even know that they were coming to kidnap him. It is the other man scheduled for kidnapping by the Terrorist – Nasir El Rufai that told us that President Buhari did not know.
Isn’t this – the fact that our President wouldn’t know that he is next to be kidnapped, not a greater calamity for Nigeria and Nigerians?
We are concluding this exercise next week, by the grace of God.
Godwin Etakibuebu; a veteran Journalist, wrote from Lagos.
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