Buhari, Amaechi, goat seller: A search for the soul of our nation, by Fred Edoreh




President Buhari and Rotimi Amaechi
So, the wind blew and exposed the anus of the fowl? The Minister of Transportation and Director General of the Muhammadu Buhari Presidential Campaign Organisation, Rotimi Amaechi, was purportedly caught on audio giving his assessment of the President.
Try as hard as he might to deny it wasn’t him or that the clip was “audioshopped”, the voice and mannerism of the speaker bears so perfect resemblance to his.
From the abundance of the heart speaketh the mouth. Indeed, the confession rebounds frighteningly on the spirit of our leadership and on the soul and future of our nation.
It said: “Three years of Buhari o, everybody is dying, crying. Press men are crying, farmers are crying, workers are crying, politicians are crying, students are crying. The rate of poverty is very high. The President is not listening to anybody. The President doesn’t care. If he reads, he will laugh. He will say come, come they are abusing me here.
“In fact, there was one case of a trader who couldn’t sell his goats during Sallah. I was with Oga in the plane and the man was busy abusing Buhari, that because of Buhari nobody is buying his goat. And he said, “come, Ameachi come, what is my business with Onitsha goat seller? This country won’t change I swear. Nothing can change except everybody is killed.”
“This country is going no where, I swear. Even if you divide the country into ten, nothing will change. When Magnus was my SSG, I told him this country is hopeless and helpless. He said “Oga stop it, coming from a Governor, don’t be saying that.” Two months in Abuja, he said “Oga, this country is hopeless and helpless.” I said why? He said “Oga you are right, the only thing they do in Abuja is share money. They don’t work.”
But, it’s nothing new. Nigerians are feeling the pain of the collapse of the economy under Buhari. The revelation in the audio is in seeing that even those who are canvassing to sustain Buhari’s Presidency sincerely know he is incapable. Question is why are they bent on foisting him on us when they know “the President doesn’t care” and doesn’t understand that the lamentation of the goat seller speaks to the erosion of the people’s purchasing power, and that the suffering in the land is a function of his bad, very bad, economic policies and poor sense of management?
Clearly, our problem is not Buhari himself but our complicity to sustain the deceit of reinforcing failure for the long that we can continue to enjoy political and personal advantages, in betrayal of our nation and our children.
Buhari is well known. His coup of 1983 retarded the nation’s march on democracy and nation building, leading us to the seasons of the locusts with Sani Abacha, that personification of corruption, whom he says is his hero.
His mien underscores our hopelessness. With reasonable doubts, still, about his learning and certification, he consistently exhibits strained understanding of even the spoken word and poor judgment in responses and actions. Asked about the Africa Free Trade Agreement, he responded out of point to say many Nigerian youths are lazy and want everything free. He identifies Angela Merkel as President of West Germany, almost three decades after the unification of Germany, showing he is not in tune with today’s world.
His incompetence needs no debate. His election was just necessitated by the situation created by Goodluck Jonathan’s opting to contest in the 2015 elections against better judgment in the interest of national harmony.
Jonathan lost that election not because of corruption or bad governance as the campaigns made us believe. The anti corruption propaganda has been a mere perfection of the military to create disaffection against civil politicians to sustain their incursion into politics and power. They have continued to thrive and feast on it.
Nzeagwu used it to destroy Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa and the first republic politicians. Murtala Mohammed used it against Yakubu Gowon and to destroy our civil service institution. Buhari borrowed leaf of the mantra to oust the second republic democratic government of Shehu Shagari and to destroy all that fine class of civilian Governors, Lateef Jakande, Ambrose Allli, Abubakar Rimi, Solomon Lar, Sam Mbakwe, Barkin Zuwo, Bola Ige, Adekunle Ajasin, Balarabe Musa, etc, who were not guilty as accused but only bowed to the barrel of his gun.
Olusegun Obasanjo used the same propaganda to achieve public disaffection to destroy the class of the 1999 civilian politicians and Governors, to emasculate them from challenging his attempt on third term.
The election of 2015 which brought Buhari was about regional balancing for the position of the presidency. The naked truth is, after the sad annulment of MKO Abiola’s election, our nation reached for its conscience and decided on rotation of power to assure a sense of belonging and harmony among the regions.
Thus, in the 1999 elections, we were unanimous that the Presidency should go South West to Yorubaland, with the two major candidates being Obasanjo and Olu Falae. The North supported Obasanjo to victory.
After Obasanjo, power was to and did return to the North through Umaru Yaradua. Fate played us a trick and Yaradua died in office after two years. The Northern politicians argued that a replacement should be picked from the region to complete their eight years, but arguing the constitutional provision of succession by the Vice President in the event of the death of the President, it was resolved, under “doctrine of necessity”, that Jonathan should succeed his principal.
On the expiration of the Yaradua/Jonathan tenure, the Northern politicians came calling again to reclaim the presidency, but Jonathan wanted to continue, arguing his constitutional right to contest. The Northern PDP cited the need to respect the agreement on rotation. In fact, they held a separate Northern people’s presidential primary inside the PDP which was chaired by Adamu Ciroma to produce the candidate they expected the PDP to unanimously adopt.
The committee produced Atiku Abubakar over Bukola Saraki, Ibrahim Babangida and Aliyu Gusau. Unfortunately, Obasanjo was still determined to punish Atiku over his stand against his third term agenda and carried the weight of the party to deliver Jonathan, but not after Jonathan had promised that he will stay only for that term. The North, again, cooperated.
Remarkably, Atiku saw the danger in the betrayal of the rotation arrangement as it affected the North and left the party. He deciphers issues clearly and decisively. His hard fight against Obasanjo for which he now suffers vengeance in propaganda damage helped to save our democracy and our nation from the introduction of self-perpetuation in power which the third term agenda portended. Years earlier, he decided well to step down to support Abiola’s emergence as candidate of the SDP with which MKO won the 1993 elections. That move helped to stick the nation together with the Christians having no scruples in voting a Muslim/Muslim ticket just as the North freely voted for a Southern candidate.
We lost all that harmony both by the annulment and the new regional sensitivities that grew after the death of Yardua. As we witnessed, the denial of the presidency to North in the 2011 election incensed the people and led to mayhem, including the murder of youth Corpers, across the region.
The Northern PDP therefore did not find it funny that Jonathan reneged on his pledge and came up again to contest in the 2015 elections. All entreaties to see reason not to failed. Supporting him to second term victory would have meant the South would have had 18 years in the new democratic dispensation while the North would have had only the two years of Yaradua.
It was a hard sell for the Northern PDP. Recall the former Governor of Niger State, Aliyu Babangida, asking the PDP high command, “what do we tell our people?”
Knowing his lack of capacity, even the North had ignored Buhari in his previous bids to be President but, given the situation, who will blame the “new PDP” group – Tambuwal, Saraki, Kwankwaso, Buba Galadima, Baraje and co – for jumping ship to join forces with the opposition APC to wrestle power back to the North?
They delivered that 2015 election. If they hadn’t, perhaps, we may not still be having one Nigeria today. As we know, Buhari himself had threatened bloodshed in addition to the other song of making the country “ungovernable.” The Americans had predicted the division of the country.
The campaign was heated with the propaganda of corruption, a ready weapon into the heart of the people, with both Obasanjo, disappointed by Jonathan’s volte face, and the then Central Bank Governor, now Emir Lamido Sanusi of Kano, joining to amplify.
It didn’t matter to them that Buhari who became the beneficiary lacked the capacity to deliver on conscious governance and development. In fact, Obasanjo himself to whom the APC went for endorsement as “political navigator” confirmed that he had no confidence in Buhari on the handling of economic development issues. But there was need to reassure the North and forestall the anger that would have burned.
The Jagaban, Bola Tinubu, read the politics correctly and liberalized his party, hitherto South West based, to team up with Buhari while he waited for the consequent break away of the Northern PDP to support the APC merger to victory.
He today reclines to enjoy the personal returns on power and influence but he knows, sees and is hearing the groans of the people “dying and crying” under the torture of the present dysfunctional leadership.
We have come full circle and we can see that our choice, even though necessary at the time to sustain the unity of our nation, was awful. Perhaps, we did not have a choice.
Like the Ameachi audio tape confirms, Nigerians are dying and crying. Poverty rate has gone terribly high. They say we are now the poverty headquarter of the world. Inflation and unemployment has spiraled with companies closing down and foreign direct investment declined. Our debt burden, both domestic and foreign has quadrupled to over N22 trillion. The education, health, power and infrastructure sectors are in disorder. All promises made on job creation and the revaluation of the Naira have been denied. Petrol pump price has been raised against their promise at our Ojota protest to reduce it, also notwithstanding that subsidy payment has increased even when they said there was nothing like subsidy.
Early in the life of the Buhari administration, Gov. El Rufai of Kano identified that the government had derailed even though his letter to the President was muffled from public hearing. Similarly, at mid term, Obasanjo alerted on the dangers of reinforcing Buhari’s failures. The President’s wife, Aisha, had alerted that things were going wrong, no syringe at Aso Rock clinic right under the President’s nose, and that the man is not in charge. The Amaechi audio has only come to summarise the bleak situation with the phrase “hopeless and helpless.”
Disappointed with the sad state of affairs, the “new PDP” have pulled out in honesty from the sham. Sadly, the APC is bent on putting Buhari first before the nation whereas Tinubu knows that there are better hands with sounder minds in the Northern fold of their party they could have presented Nigerians with hope for a new lease of life from Buhari’s reign of suffocation.
2019 is therefore not just about politics for the sake of power. It is about the recovery and salvation of Nigeria. It is no about religion and no longer about region, even though, thankfully, the North is sure to retain power.
We cannot be hopeless and helpless. God forbid! The fault is not in our stars. It is in our lack of sincerity. Hypocrisy is preaching what one does not believe in. Foolhardiness is believing ones own lies. Wickedness is siding with evil and it is established that those who cover their sins shall not proper. But what we made, we can unmake.
This is why those who left the PDP to APC to help take power back to the North will remain heroes of our survival as one nation, no matter that we have refused to appreciate their good sense. They endured and cooperated till it became too obvious and absolutely necessary for them to act. They have also seen now that Buhari is taking us nowhere, just like the Amaechi tape confirms, and they have resolutely come out to say so and to present us a better plan. They act in truth and in the best interest of the nation, no matter the propaganda, tyranny and victimization which the powers that be visits on them. That is statesmanship and patriotism.
The choice is now ours, to choose to live with a leader who will listen, care and work or keep dying and crying under Buhari.



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