By Majeed Dahiru
“Like all far right political figures, Muhammadu Buhari in both perception and reality is quite divisive. By his body language, speech and actions, Buhari has divided Nigerians against each other in a manner that aptly describes as unprecedented. With his habitual game of blames and buck passing, he has turned the poor against rich, Muslim against Christian, north against south and most recently, petrol buyers against petrol marketers. By refusing to take responsibilities for the good, bad and the ugly situations in the country he is leading, Buhari has left Nigerians confused and turned on each other instead of coming together to hold him accountable.
“Out of a divided Nigeria is an emergence of a state of ‘’apartness’’ otherwise known as apartheid. No thanks to Buhari’s unbridled nepotism, which has elevated sectionalism to a state policy thereby making some Nigerians more equal than others. From a disproportionate appointment of key government officials from his Muslim northern section of the country, which has inevitably led to a near northernization of government business to the subsequent deployment of state resources and apparatus to further a vain northern political agenda, Buhari has clearly shown he does not belong to all but belongs to some.
“Nowhere is this state of apartheid more profound than in the most fundamental role of government, which is to secure lives and properties of its citizens. The deliberate concentration of top defence and internal security top job in the hands of Nigerians of Muslim northern extraction, have resulted into a security architecture that ensures sectional security but not national security. The Nigerian army was most decisive in crushing Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB, whose separatist’s agitations, though peaceful, were offensive and irritating to the conservative northern establishment who would rather the status quo remain. That zeal that was displayed by the army was lacking in the police who failed to arrest and prosecute an irate mob of elderly looking youths who issued a quit notice to the entire citizens of south eastern origin, majority of whom are non IPOB members to leave the north.
“However, the most glaring apartheid security policy of the Buhari administration is its government’s mishandling of the existential threat posed by armed Fulani herdsmen militia. The marauding activities of killer Fulani herdsmen, which have resulted in thousands of dead or displaced people over a large land area, have assumed a bigger proportion than the Boko Haram insurgency yet the Buhari administration refuses to designate them as terrorists. By failing to admit the activities of killer Fulani herdsmen constitute terrorists acts against the Nigerian state, the Buhari administration have clearly shown that not all lives matter. The official position of the Buhari administration that activities of killer Fulani herdsmen is nothing but ‘’communal clash’’ is not so different from Aung San Su Kyi’s position that denies ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by Burmese Bhuddists militia but claims its ‘’community clash’’. Similarly, like the Burmese security forces who look away when ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims are taking place but are quick to blame ‘’ Islamist terrorists’’ operating out of Arakhine state for its excessive use of force on civilian population, the Nigerian police went into Benue and came up with a story of presence of a’’ Tiv’’ militia at a time when seventy three people mostly of Tiv ethnicity were slaughtered.
“And when the president finally spoke, he sounded so much like Aung San Su Kyi, when she says ‘’ communities must learn to live in peace and accommodation’’ without making a strong statement condemnation. By contrast, the Buhari administration was swift and decisive in confronting the Boko Haram insurgency that is ravaging most part of the Muslim north east.
Similarly, the President took seriously the crime of cattle rustling, which affects his own ethnic Fulani cattle breeders’ kinsmen. So serious was this issue dealt with, that Buhari personally launched a military operation in the north western state of Zamfara to combat cattle rustling. Since the terror attack on farmer communities in Benue by killer Fulani herdsmen started, the Buhari administration had not launched a decisive military operation to contain the deadly group and the president has not visited Benue to personally reassure the people of his willingness to secure their lives and properties.
“Like most far right leaders, Buhari is an embodiment the ethno-geographic sentiments and aspiration of his own section of the country from whom he drew his greatest political support. Like PW Botha, the leader of the White Nationalist party in Apartheid South Africa, Buhari is not willing to upset his most secure support base by pandering to a unified nationalist ideal over sectional sentiments. Racial or ethnic supremacy is the opium of the far right mob and Buhari has overdosed his core base of supporters with his elevation of sectionalism to unprecedented levels. This has kept his mob of far right supporters drawn largely from his section of the country in line of devotion to his cult of personality. Tragically, his defence and security policy of pacification of Killer Fulani herdsmen has emboldened the terror group to unleash mayhem on helpless citizens because they are of getting away with it. The suggestion of establishing cattle colonies by the federal government after the recent massacre in Benue betrays the complicity of the Buhari administration in the pastoralist war of expansion. Most Nigerians went away with the impression that such terror acts by killer Fulani herdsmen are allowed to take place in order to weaken farmer communities and make them easy to give up portions of their land for unrestrained open grazing.
“The killings in Benue have gone beyond an ordinary clash between farmers and herders. The seventy three men, women and children that were slaughtered were defenceless unarmed victims of well-armed Killer Fulani herdsmen terrorists. These innocent Nigerians were slaughtered in their homes, some of whom are too old to even farm. Some others were students who came home for holiday while others are little children who don’t own any farm land. A clash occurs between to equally armed groups with each standing its ground forcefully. A case where defenceless people are massacred in their homes while they sleep is a terror attack that must be declared as such by the state and its recurrence prevented by all legitimate means. Unfortunately, the apartheid state of Buhari’s Nigeria lumps these innocent victims of terror attack under the category of ‘communal clash’.”
IMN’s Audacity of Lawlessness
By Femi Giwa
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) has succeeded where others failed. It has successfully branded itself as the victim, effectively casting the Nigerian state as the aggressor comparable to an occupation force. Those familiar with IMN ascendancy are possibly asking how a problematic group that unleashed hell on commuters and other road users in Zaria has today become an outlawed group that people are blindly canvassing for to protest, kill and destroy property without being held to account.
The answer can be found in several seemingly unrelated development that are yet connected – the one connection being that they all helped IMN evolve the persona of the victim, which now allows it to commit more crimes without its members fearing repercussions.
First is the ability of IMN members to continue hiding their penchant for lawlessness behind the façade of peaceful protests, which are anything but peaceful anyway. It is not unusual to see the group swell its rank with women and children while the hardened elements with catapults, swords and other cudgels stay embedded within the protests, these are the fighters that are able to launch projectiles at security agents without being identified as the source. The arson brigade of the group is similarly concealed, they spray paint graffiti on public buildings and private businesses while their other members are milling around to create a human screen that shield the destructive acts from public glare.
The other factor is ubiquity of social media. Reports of successive encounters with law enforcement are recorded and reported according to IMN’s version of events. They have slick photography and video productions that are published and promoted to tell the IMN story – footages of militants hurling stones and petrol bombs at security personnel are carefully excluded such that the audience goes away with the impression that IMN could not have struck the first blow. The social media feeds are further promoted by embittered commercial activists, who have other axes to grind with managers of the state so it is logical to have the “an enemy’s enemy is a friend” approach to things. Such emergency activists are thus hooked on defending IMN even when their crimes are glaring.
Thirdly, many may not know or believe it but IMN has a deep pocket, which some analysts had attributed to Iranian sponsorship. Anyone that has ever catered to the material and monetary needs of, say, four people at a time will understand what it takes to finance such; but here is IMN bankrolling the logistics of keeping thousands of mostly unemployed people on the streets for protests. The deep pocket supports not just the transportation and feeding the protesters on the streets but also pays for the propaganda and media manipulation that created for IMN the image of a “harmless group” when in reality it is a dangerous group, outlawed in Kaduna state and teetering on the verge of becoming Boko Haram’s replacement. The Iranian support extends to sustained coverage on the owned Press TV, which creates short video clips that allege persecution against IMN.
Furthermore, IMN is a beneficiary of the tendency of decision and policy makers to be stuck on political correctness. What this implies is that those that should keep IMN in check in Nigeria continually commit and enslave themselves to concepts that are unrelated to the Nigerian situation.
It is not unusual to hear people demanding that IMN should be treated like groups that are non-violent because some people want Nigeria to be seen as being compliant with human rights conventions. This error is being reinforced by groups like Amnesty International that practically suggests that security agencies should leave IMN alone to torment other citizens. None of those pushing these kind of ideas have ever come out to condemn IMN for its excesses and crimes. The dictum seems to be “the state is always wrong where IMN is concerned.”
In addition, IMN has been emboldened by the Federal Government’s decision to not designate IMN as a terrorist group even when it has become glaring that this is an unavoidable step to contain the group’s growing resort to terror to make its points.
The outcome of the foregoing is that IMN has been able to embrace more lawlessness with each successive protest. If its members kill a policeman the next thing they will claim is that “we were demanding for the release of our leader”. They echo the same refrain when they set a police patrol car on fire. It has been the standard response they have for their numerous atrocities. One is then compelled to ask if Mr Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, the IMN leader is different from other awaiting trial murder suspects in custody awaiting judicial decisions or trial.
The fact remains that El-Zakzaky is being held for cases of multiple murder, which is no longer news. Rev King is on death row for murder so maybe his followers should take to the streets to demand that he be released while attacking security operatives and crying persecution. Those supporting IMN would definitely support them since their goals are at variance with the Nigeria vision.
Common sense demands that the madness stops now. IMN must be made aware that it cannot continue to act lawlessly even when it does not recognise the rights of the Nigerian state over its own existence. Those indulging El Zakzaky and his men must stop now because the farce has gone on for too long. The cat and mouse chase around IMN’s lawlessness is no longer about El Zakzaky and the state but has spilled over to concern all Nigeria. It is a matter of time before citizens begin to resort to self-help for dealing the IMN menace and that will be really ugly.
Giwa wrote from Lagos street, Abuja.
Buratai: Oasis of Buhari’s Change Agenda
By Raymond Onoja
Most times, some Nigerians feel predications of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on the “Change” mantra should begin and end with Mr. President. However it is a junkyard thought. It explains why often, some Nigerians ask President Buhari to show them the “Change” he promised Nigerians, a psychological detachment from supposed roles.
Leadership anywhere is a collective responsibility and those who exercise it at the lower rung have even greater obligations. The President will fail if he is the lone executor of his policies and programs in governance. Every Nigerian is a leader or “President” in the big or small organization, he is privileged to lead and must amble to the path of the “Change Agenda .” But many Nigerians have failed to recognize this sacrosanct truth.
However, it gladdens the heart to know the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of counter-terrorism operations in Nigeria, Lt. Gen Tukur Yusufu Buratai understands and demonstrates obligations of supportive leadership. His perception of the Nigerian Army as an institution and a country he leads, with the flavour of the “change agenda” has presented to Nigerians a polished army and an organization which is bequeathing enduring legacies to the nation.
He has taught the Nigerian Army virtues of professionalism, patriotism, loyalty, hard work, transparency, honesty and dedication to all assignments. The Army Chief has groomed soldiers who now know, every mission must be accomplished and all assignments must end in positive results or victories.
This is even as it is widely known that budgetary votes to any arm of government or sector have never been sufficient. Paucity of funds to solve the barrage of problems afflicts almost all public institutions. Some heads of MDAs use this as an excuse to celebrate poor performance.
Interestingly, Gen. Buratai has turned the reality of meagre funds to the Army into strength by prudent management of funds accruing to the Nigerian Army. Soldiers are winning the war on Boko Haram terrorism and other insurgencies in the country because troops are psychologically and physically encouraged by their leader.
Soldiers are motivated to give their best through various incentives. Gen. Buratai does not compromise their welfare. Salaries and allowances are never delayed, but paid promptly.
For the first time in the history of the Nigerian Army, the institution has not only transformed, but it is rapidly breaking new grounds under Gen. Buratai. Part of the “Change” agenda of President Buhari is the patronage of local products and services.
Gen. Buratai is religiously committed to this policy. He purchases Army operational vehicle from Innoson Motors, an indigenous company.
In education and training of Army personnel, Gen. Buratai has proved that it is possible to shun foreign institutions. He has stamped that Nigeria has the capacity to develop its own competitive and world class local institutions for the Army and Nigerians.
The COAS has established the first Nigerian Army Aviation School, which has trained the first batch of Army pilots in flying warplanes. There is also, the first ever Nigerian Army University, Biu (NAUB) which will offer professional and specialized training to soldiers, other security agents and civilians. It has commenced operations.
President Buhari has always preached that anywhere Nigerians find themselves in leadership; they must depart from the old order and impact positively on the people by doing things differently. It is under Gen. Buratai’s reign that the Nigerian Army executes its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to its host communities across Nigeria. There are signposts of such projects in water, roads construction, and electricity supply and free medical services to numerous communities in Nigeria.
The Army boss keeps his word. He promised Nigerian Army post-service housing scheme. He was specific on ensuring that every Nigerian soldier who has fought the counter-terrorism war will retire to a befitting home in appreciation of their sacrifices to the nation.
Today, the Nigerian Army in synergy with Betonic West Limited has already launched N7.5 billion Army post-service housing project in Otukpo and Ohimini local government areas of Benue State. There is nothing more comforting than to have a shelter over your head after meritorious service to your country.
Reformations and innovations’ are central to the dictum of the “Change” mantra of Mr. President. Gen. Buratai has established numerous fresh Army formations across the country. Nigerian Army barracks which wore the distinctive emblems of centres of filth and deterioration have been rehabilitated or renovated. Army barracks across the country have been given new facelifts.
It is natural that in every establishment, there are a few bad eggs. Gen. Buratai knows the Nigerian Army is not insulated from the social malaise. For decades, Nigerians have complained of human rights violations perpetrated by soldiers, unfortunately no one harkened to their lamentations over this problem. Gen. Buratai has changed the narrative by establishing the first ever Human Rights Desk at the Army Headquarters (AHQs) to handle such complaints.
President Buhari believes in the concept of leadership by example. This which Gen. Buratai emulates. So, when the Army Chief laces his boots and hops into the trenches in the Northeast with his troops, it demonstrates leadership by example. It is practical expression of his competence in the art of war both as soldier and leader.
Gen. Buratai knows effective leadership is not achieved through propaganda. So, at all times, he strives to feed Nigerians with the truth and condition of the counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast. He neither lies nor exaggerates, but sticks to the truth.
Therefore, Gen. Buratai represents the rarest personality of leadership example at subordinate level. He is a son and leader, in whom President Buhari is well pleased. Buratai is an indisputable symbol of the “Change” agenda of President Buhari’s administration.
Onoja is a development analyst based in the United States of America
Frank: How Oshiomhole allegedly collected $50m from aspirants, candidates during Primaries
Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has exposed how the National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, allegedly collected over $50million from different aspirants and candidates during the primary elections of the party.
Frank said a large percentage of the money was paid to Oshiomhloe through proxies from Imo, Zamfara, Adamawa and Ogun states among others.
Recall that the nation’s secret police had interrogated Oshiomhole, and reportedly did ask him to resign over allegations of bribery and corruption against him.
In a statement signed in Abuja on Thursday, the former APC spokesman threatened to publish the names and amounts paid to lobby the National Chairman to clear aspirants and substitute the names of duly elected candidates with those that failed.
According to Frank, the Department of State Services (DSS) has presented its report and findings against Oshiomhole to President Muhammadu Buhari but the President is still in dilemma on what to do.
“I dare say that this singular act of refusing to order the prosecution of Oshiomhole over sundry acts of bribery and corruption he committed as contained in the DSS report, President Buhari has shown that his APC-led administration is a stinking house of corruption.”
While expressing surprise at Oshiomhole’s latest ordeal, he said the former Labour leader will go down in history as a party chairman who had allegedly received such humongous bribe within a short period of time in office.
Frank, however, called on the President to act on the recommendations of the DSS by ordering : Oshiomhole’s sack and prosecution, if his (Buhari) government is actually fighting corruption or opposition.
“We are in the know that President Muhammadu Buhari has received the DSS report on Adams Oshiomhole and Nigerians are patiently waiting for the action or inaction of his government because this is an administration that has claimed fighting corruption as an achievement.
“In the history of party administration in Nigeria, no party chairman has been accused of collecting the jaw-breaking amount of money allegedly collected within a short period in office like Comrade Oshiomhole has allegedly done.
“Instead of Oshiomhole to clear his name, he has taken to diversionary path asking the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki to resign. Nigerians are not gullible. We shall wait to see how the acclaimed anti-corruption regime will act on this particular issue.
“This same Oshiomhole has been attacking the Senate President, calling on him to resign on moral ground, can Oshiomhole now step aside while investigation into his financial malfeasance is on going to justify his much talked about morality?” Frank asked.
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