If You Know What I Know, Buhari Will Be Next President


Dr. Wunmi Akintide



     I consider myself a stakeholder in the enterprise called Nigeria. I am also a believer in a fair and free election as the very foundation of the ideal democratic system of Government we all wish to embrace in our country. A system in which the incumbent President anoints a successor before the very first vote is cast is a dictatorship, pure and simple, and should be rejected by the majority of the Nigerian voters in 2007.

    To do otherwise is to institutionalize rigging of elections at both the local, state and federal levels of Government in our country. It is sad and strange that a President who claims to be the very symbol of honesty and decency in our country would be the first to be leading a concerted effort to impose his personal choice of a candidate on a country of 140 million people.

    What, if I may ask, is the purpose of holding an election, if we already know ahead of time who is going to win. That is an invitation to anarchy. The President ought to leave that decision to the voters, and to let the so-called Independent National Electoral Commission do their work, and to let the choice of the voters emerge through the ballot box in a free and fair election that is totally devoid of all gimmicks and manipulations.

    Since I am a registered voter in Ondo State, I cannot, for the life of me, give my vote to the PDP or its flag bearer, whoever that may be, in view of its abysmal record in the last 8 years, and I would urge the other voters to do the same because Democracy is all about choice.

   We have so many parties registered in our country just to be sure our right to free choice is not compromised. The PDP has had its chance. It is time to try other Parties and their candidates like they do in most civilized countries of the world. In the last mid term elections in America, for example, the American voters demonstrated their freedom of choice by going for the Party in opposition for more than 12 years,  as a revolt against the policies of the current American President and his Republican Party. That is the way to go, and that is what Nigerian voters must emulate.

   Democracy cannot thrive on a one Party system like Obasanjo is insinuating. That was why the whole nation rejected its bid for a third term as unconstitutional and selfish because the job of nation building is not a one man or a one party affair. It is a collective effort passed on from one generation to another, and no single person or Party, however wise, has all the answers. Our founding fathers like the great Herbert Macauley, the three founding Premiers in Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sardauna Bello and Obafemi Awolowo, to mention a few and not to talk of other leaders like Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Mohammed and Shehu Shagari all played their part, preparing the way like John the Baptist did for Jesus, before General Obasanjo came on board.

  The sweat and the labors of those leaders cannot be swept under the carpet, and under no condition should any Nigerian leader be allowed to give the impression, that without their input, Nigeria cannot function or survive. After such leaders are dead and gone, I can tell you, the nation would still continue to soldier on.

     Obasanjo must understand that from the get go that he must not overstay his welcome, and he must allow Democracy to really take hold in our country not in the tradition of a Robert Mugabe and other quasi dictators in Africa who behave as if they were the only wise men in their country.

  “Unto whom much is given, much is expected” I, for one, have expected Obasanjo to play a much constructive role than he is currently playing in our country. He was expected to be a role model of a President who should have placed more emphasis on the Nigerian Constitution as the supreme Law in our country. He should have been the greatest champion of the Rule of Law in our country by doing precisely what he did when he chose to let the verdict of the Supreme Court on Governor Ladoja take hold in Oyo State. But that was only the exception and not the rule.

     Obasanjo as President has violated the Constitution more often than any other civilian President in our history. He appears to only go by the Constitution only when it favors him, and he throws it overboard whenever the Constitution does not suit his whim and caprices or tally with its own personal agenda.

   That is bad for our country, and that is why Nigeria must never allow Obasanjo to mislead the country again for his own selfish interest. Wole Soyinka in a recent expose on the excesses of the President has said it all in very lucid language certainly more than I can ever attempt. Obasanjo only loves himself more than he loves the nation, regardless of what he may be saying to the contrary.

    It is true that he has accomplished a few things for Nigeria and I give him credit for that. His Debt Relief effort has helped to lighten the financial burden of our Nation but such relief has not, in any way, impacted the lives of the common man on the Street in any positive way. He has done more for his own wallet and interest before leaving office than paying more attention to the collective interest of our nation. He has chosen instability instead of stability by nursing the ambition to ignore the Constitution and seeking a third term bid which is the major cause of the schism or the irreconcilable differences between him and his Vice President. There is very little to choose between Obasanjo and his Vice because both have sinned against the nation, and have enriched their own pockets at the expense of our nation in their 8 years in office.

    The pot is only calling the kettle black. That is not the kind of transitional leadership we expect from Obasanjo. Today, Obasanjo is behaving more or less like the late Houphet Boignac of Ivory Coast,  Emperor Jean Bokassa, or President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo or worse still like. President Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Waza Banga who, at one point, was  richer than his whole country of Zaire. Obasaanjo has abused his presidential office in raising money for his own personal Library using the services and contributions from lobby companies and contractors seeking favors from his own Administration. What corruption can be worse than that? In more civilized countries of the world, Obasanjo would have been facing impeachment proceedings for abuse of office, as we speak.

      Either himself or one of his family members has purchased more of Federal Parastatals and Companies that are being privatized including some shares in the Virgin Nigeria Airline that has replaced the defunct Nigeria Airways. Yet Obasanjo has had the effrontery to be investigating Atiku Abubakar for playing some games with the funds of the Petroleum Task Force while he was chairman. That is double standard... The whole situation stinks and yet Obasanjo is asking the nation to give the PDP and its gang of pen robbers another lease of life. I just don’t get it.

   I am rooting for General Buhari for President in 2007 because he can be called the lesser of all the evils or candidates wanting to be President today.. I am saying so, because I know him the best of all the people throwing their hats to the ring today.

   He was Head of State for a little while, and he led one of the most disciplined regimes our nation has ever known. His regime initiated the War against Indiscipline and he pursued the initiative with the persistence of a demon with a Deputy who was one of the most courageous Nigerians you would ever know.

      Buhari was a military Governor with a distinction and he never, for one day, abused his office. He was known in the Military circles at home as one of the most disciplined and incorruptible officers of his generation. I worked for the Federal Government as a senior public servant in the Army Headquarters along Marina Lagos and I was privileged to be the first Nigerian child of  ex-servicemen in Nigeria to be awarded the British/Canadian Legion Scholarship in 1963. That award saw me thru my first degree at the Obafemi Awolowo University from 1963 to 1966. I therefore became very close to the Military Establishment in Nigeria and I came to know General Buhari both as a junior officer, and later on as a Colonel and Brigadier and much later as a Major General and Head of State.

    With General Buhari, what you see is what you get. If he promises you anything he  delivers on it, come rain or shine. He is a man of honor and impeccable integrity. He is the kind of man Nigeria needs at this time to lead the War against Corruption and to do so with honesty, integrity and fairness. Those who have labeled him a Jihadist or an extremist, just don’t know what they are talking about. It is in his DNA to tell the truth always, and he could care less whose horse is gored, but he would tell you like it is no matter what.

     He is the kind of man we need at this time to lead our nation, and I am not overtly concerned about the fact that his religion or faith may render him unelectable. I would rather deal with a man who is not afraid to identify with his faith than a man who wants to be all things to all men. Yes, General Buhari is a Muslim by faith, but he is neither a bigot nor a radical Muslim in the strict sense of the word. He is certainly does not belong to Al Quaeda. He is the kind of a leader who would not judge you by your faith or state of origin but only by the content of your character.

     Since going into Politics, he has chosen to moderate his military stance on issues because he understands even better than Obasanjo where to draw the line and he understands like Obasanjo that the unity and stability of our country, are very paramount in his priorities. If it were not so, he would have incited his supporters in the North to cause mayhem during the last election when his Party, the GNPP was openly robbed at the polls by the PDP political machine.

     Like a very principled man he was, he took his grievances to the highest Court in the Land. But once the Court ruled otherwise, he took his fate like a man because to him the stability of the nation was non-negotiable. He was not a sore loser and he understands that sometimes even well qualified and good candidates can lose elections and come back to win again, if they persevere. General Buhari has paid his dues and he deserves our votes, this time around, as a dependable leader who has sacrificed so much for our nation in the past.

    With the coalition of Parties supporting his candidature today, and there will be more, he has as good a chance as any candidate to send the so-called ruling Party to the turkey farm as they say in America.. I believe Buhari  is electable and he can win, with a rainbow coalition of support that are now lining up for him across the country, and especially now that two of the potential spoilers in Atiku Abubakar and the evil genius may have been damaged beyond redemption to any more offer themselves as viable candidates.

     If Obasanjo would not let Atiku run for President, Atiku could also play the leper for Obasanjo as wisely stated in a famous Yoruba proverb which says “if a leper cannot milk the cow, because he lacks the fingers so to do, he can at least overturn the container of milk with some effortless ease. In that kind of scenario, General Buhari would be the obvious beneficiary, if you ask me.

    Rigging of elections in our kind of society is only possible when the opposition is not as articulate and strong as the rigger, as the August 16, 1983 Election rigging in Ondo State should have thought the whole Nation. Omoboriowo was pronounced the winner only for a few short hours, before hell broke loose, forcing the Shagari Government and his INEC to quickly retreat while the real winner, Michael Adekunle Ajasin quickly reclaimed his crown with acclamation.

     The same scenario could play out itself, one more time, at the national level this time around, if Obasanjo and his PDP ever got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. That would be the day!

      I predict a scenario where that may occur, if General Buhari is denied his well-deserved victory this time. You better watch out!

  I rest my case.

Dr. Wunmi Akintide