By: Charles Ibekwe
Barely, Seventeen months into the four-year tenure of President Muhammedu Buhari (PMB) there are vitriolic campaigns in the air. Regrettably, it is anchored by some members of the political elite club, stripped of intellectual thoughts or initiatives on how to saunter Nigeria on the global map of developed nations. They have disappointedly resorted to the grotesque by sponsoring veiled partisan campaigns for 2019 against PMB.
A national newspaper in Nigeria, (not, the Nigerian Newspaper) yesterday, published a poorly crafted piece, with the caption “2019 Presidency: Northern Cabal Looks Beyond Buhari.” It is the latest manifestations of such partisan inclinations of the political elite in the country. With biased senses, they aim to score the shots with every presidency in Nigeria for their selfish ends. Fate of the masses is their least worry; but their selfish interests, top priority.
And once these gods, some of whom have outlived their political usefulness, are not sufficiently appeased, the occupant of the office of the President is “incompetent, unfit, a failure and cannot deliver on any campaign promise,” for declining to toe their “crooked” perceptions.
And self-professed APC national Leader, (such abhorrent illegal status) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and his latest political bloodsucker in the North, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar exemplify the negation of politics of development in Nigeria. They are infatuated with leadership all the times for the wrong reasons.
The publication quoted earlier is just about the worse reflection of the antics of desperadoes seeking to uproot perceived rivals from power. It is not only disjointed, but the contents lie generously and logic takes sabbatical leave to the extent of placing the sponsors in the dilemma of identifying between Jesus Christ and Lucifer.
The sponsored piece muses about Buhari’s so called “kitchen cabal” of four persons in Aso Rock, who they claim, manipulate him and indeed, rule Nigeria. But they lack the audacity to identify them by names; they are just in fluid talk.
But after sustained media campaigns, every Nigerian has come to identify the so-called Aso Villa ‘cabal.’ They have accused them of blocking the free, idle access peculiar with them to distract PMB, as hitherto done, by Nigerians who claim to be power brokers.
Through such unnecessary access to the President, these self-acclaimed power brokers would infuse him with obnoxious ideas, against certain personalities, interests, groups or sections of the country to create confusion and grab whatever they lay their hands upon and dissipate like whirlwind. When it happens, the President is left to salvage the trouble. This is what has inspired hatred on the personal aides or close allies of the president.
PMB has time immemorial proclaimed his desire to allow every structure of governance function freely and independently, based on the tenets of justice, equity and fairness. So, he is not interested, in enmeshing himself in deciding who becomes the APC governorship candidate of any state in the country. That’s the quality Nigerians wish displayed in their leader.
No wakeful Nigerian is unaware of the months of orchestrated campaigns from this informal political cabal outside of Aso Villa, (if there is any in Aso Rock, anyway) which has sought numerous devilish avenues to influence PMB to sack his Aso Villa “Kitchen cabal” to pave way for new appointees who could be amenable to them. They have deployed tricks of all hues including blackmail, allegations of corruption and all manner of campaigns of calumny.
Sometimes, they blackmail by discrediting the strong personality and credentials of PMB to push for the sacking of the Aso Villa “cabal.” But none of the gimmicks has worked in the direction they planned and the anger in them has indefensibly ossified.
The publication under purview is a disingenuously crafted narrative to sow the seed of discord between PMB and his closest aides. By the rendition the piece offered, PMB would now perceive his closest aides as those plotting his downfall and in fists of anger, flush them out to the wild excitement of the informal cabal outside of Aso Rock. But they missed the point fundamentally, especially as the points used to enliven the plot are too feeble for consideration.
In the first instance, PMB’s “kitchen cabal” members are not oblivious of the desire of some political power mongers to have them sacked. It is therefore, extremely irrational for the same camp to begin to plot the ouster of Buhari in 2019 for the simple reason of his “faulted” performance.
The report claimed, “Members of the cabal running Aso Rock are no longer comfortable with Buhari’s performance and are worried that the North could lose the Presidency in 2019, if nothing was urgently done. Leading members of the cabal are largely from Adamawa, Borno and Katsina States.”
In this quotation, known shadows of the sponsors of the article emerge. When it makes reference to Adamawa, a hundred guesses would point to one direction, with a Southern collaborator. But the dragging of Borno and Katsina states into the fold is to wisely conceal the roots of the plot.
But who in his right senses would say, PMB has not performed in the last 17 months he ascended the Presidency? The United Nations (UN) has acknowledged his instant lethal blow on BHTs and the defeat of terrorism in Nigeria as promised.
Nigerian military, particularly, Soldiers of the Nigerian Army under the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Buratai, confronted the Boko Haram challenge, made unquantifiable, but rewarding sacrifices, in rare exploits against terrorists in Nigeria for the success and respite the country enjoys presently. This gallantry has earned not just Buhari, but also his servant, Buratai countless international recognition as the heroes and conquerors of terrorism. What is greater than this feat in governance?
For further update, Nigerians enjoy solace from armed bandits and cattle rustlers; restiveness in the oil rich Niger Delta is receiving quicker presidential attention, with PMB’s recent parley with leaders and stakeholders from the region led by Chief Edwin Clark and others.
There are spirited efforts to diversify the economy to reduce Nigeria’s over dependence on oil revenues, with the re-energizing of the agricultural sector. Multi-billion naira loan facilities have been availed farmers across Nigeria, in spite of depression. This is just a resume’ of what PMB has achieved and who in all sincerity can claim he is not performing? If the previous administration had achieved this much, Buhari would not have been in the reckoning of Nigerians angling for change in 2015.
Now, to the unreasonable stretch of the group to PMB’s health condition! May be, a human being is not supposed to fall sick. But the same Nigerians, sponsors of the hoopla complained of the President’s excessive global-trotting. So, a sick man has the strength to fly lengthy hours around the world for official duties and personally perform other state functions?
And they condescended to the laughable, complaining that age is not on his side as “born on December 17, 1942, President Buhari would be close to 77 years old by 2019.” They could as well remind Nigerians how old was OBJ when he served his second tenure as President or ask the Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe whether he lacks strength or senile to rule his country now.
The issue of PMB’s daughter, Fatima’s proposed marriage to Alhaji Alico Dangote, whether real or imagined, is a private affair of both families. But dragging Dangote, Africa’s richest man, in the unwilling “Northern cabal’s” game of replacing PMB is the most uninformed aspect of the publicity. Those who are abreast with history can attest to Dangote’s rejection of repeated appeals to vie for Nigeria’s Presidency.
With a blossoming world business conglomerate, no sane man would think a man of his status can sacrifice his business empire for Nigeria’s leadership in these horrible times.
When one juxtaposes a portion of the report which states inter alia, “The wife of the president had recently in a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hausa Service interview lamented that most officials of the government are not known to the President and the first family; adding that they are usurpers who did nothing to help the All Progressives Congress (APC) struggle in 2015;” with another idea espoused in the same piece which states that;
“…the nature of the appointments he has made, defined by lack of consultation and inclusiveness, has alienated many.” Hmmm! It’s dumbfounding. It strikes pandering about the group, as fools in competitive display of ignorance.
Wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari cannot be complaining of the unfamiliar nature of her husband’s cabinet appointees. Yet, a “Northern cabal” would be credited with statements that PMB made appointments without due consultation and inclusiveness. It shamefully does not add up or jells.
Straight interpretation of Aisha’s quote by the veiled sponsors means PMB was handed the appointees for appointment, that’s why they are strange or alien to Buhari. Hajiya Aisha adds that they do not share in Buhari’s concept and vision of “change” in Nigeria.
So, there is no faintest of any possibility that the same “Northern Cabal” would turn around to complain as the report seeks to insinuate. The inaccuracy of the assertions is so amusing to the extent of compelling the recommendation of the authors to a psychiatric test.
Retrospectively, Nigerians are not fools and the enslavement of the masses by the informal cabal outside the confines of Aso Rock has come full-blown and widely known through social media. PMB remains a popular leader among the masses of Nigeria and the abhorrent, illogical propaganda would not diminish this popularity.
Despite the prevailing hardship in the country, the antagonistic cabal should take time to sample street opinions about President Buhari and the inescapable conclusion they would get is that Nigerians are not ready to return back to Egypt or back to the hands of this cabal, symbolizing sufferings and enslavement now and for generations yet unborn.
Ibekwe, a public affairs commentator contributed this from Enugu