Home COLUMNISTS What They Don’t Know About Buhari, By Yusuf Ozi Usman

What They Don’t Know About Buhari, By Yusuf Ozi Usman

Muhammadu Buhari was virtually dragged into partisan politics by a few patriotic Nigerians who, as far back as 2001, saw the ship of Nigerian state sinking; a few Nigerian patriots who were endowed with foresight that the kind of government at the centre then would not be able to take the country to any reasonable development heights.

They went to Buhari, at various times, in his Kaduna and Daura residences, to beg him to join partisan politics and possibly, leadership position to save Nigeria from the perceived socio-economic perdition. Buhari resisted all the entreaties, saying that after serving the country at the highest level and many other capacities, he should be allowed to enjoy his retirement. He conceded to their pleas only when they reminded him of his own word at the time he took over the mantle of leadership as military Head of State, in his nation-wide broadcast, where he said: “we shall remain here to salvage this country together.”

Even after agreeing to take up the challenge of whatever it would take for him to return to public life, and perhaps, the mantle of leadership, Buhari made it clear to those patriotic Nigerians that he had no money to execute any political or leadership obligations within the Nigerian political context, and that even if he had the money, he would not like to play money politics.

Even before he concluded his ‘excuses,’ those few patriotic Nigerians assured him that they would take care of the issue of money for the leadership obligations, to which Buhari still warned and insisted that he would not like to be part of extravagance and unnecessary display of money anywhere.

One thing led to another, Buhari was rail-loaded into the 2003 presidential campaigns. Those few patriotic Nigerians strictly followed his principle of moderation in resource output, provided him with a new Prado Jeep and just four other vehicles (a bus for media men, three cars for main campaign people, protocol officers/accountant and security personnel each). Except on three occasions where the campaign team went by air to Yola, Ilorin and Akwa Ibom, all the movements for the campaigns, both day and night, were conducted by road, with him in the front.

After the purported loss of the 2003 election, the same few patriotic Nigerians, who on their own, took the electoral fraud to the tribunal and fought up to the Supreme Court, still begged him to contest in 2007 and 2011 elections.

After losing in the three consecutive elections, Buhari openly declared that he had quit politics. But the few patriotic Nigerians would not just let him be. They reached out to the like minds across the country to help in persuading the angry General to change his mind. They almost went down on their knees for him.

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Eventually, Buhari caved-in and put up another fight (with the patriotic Nigerians at the background) for the presidency again in 2015. This time around, for reasons that are too numerous to recount in a piece such as this, Buhari became a democratically elected President. What happened between then, when he became President and now, is also too numerous and politically charged to be recounted here.

However, the same Buhari, at the beginning of the preparation for the race towards 2019 presidential election, told his aides, ministers and political party that he had no money to buy the party’s nomination form, and that even if he had the money to buy it, he would not be able to fund his campaign. And yet, he is sitting pretty on Nigeria’s trillions of Naira and Dollars and all that.

Buhari reminded the patriotic Nigerians and others around him that the huge amount of money he is sitting pretty atop belongs to Nigerians: young, old, men, women, unemployed, top civil servants, artisans, messengers, mad people, sick people at home and in hospitals, etc. And that the only money he can lay claim to be his own is his salary, allowances and occasional estacodes from his presidential trips in and outside the country.

He warned his ministers and chief executives of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) not to divert a kobo from whatever vote made in the budget or government purse for the execution of public projects to campaign for his re-election. He warned that he would deal with whoever acted to the contrary.

Recently, Buhari appealed to his campaign team and the leadership of his All Progressives Congress (APC) not to use foul language on the personalities of the opposition presidential candidates, and made it abundantly clear that if any of the opposition candidates wins the 2019 election; if majority of Nigerians prefer and vote such candidate over and above him, he will gladly hand over to him or her, and return as a happy old man, to Daura to enjoy a sound rest for the rest of his life.

Now, which Buhari have the haters been labeling and calling names, even when they have misunderstanding with their wives?

If they like, let them vote back the familiar super looters for all he cares. He would have played his ‘own’ roles in accordance to the principle of individualism; fulfilled his own obligations to humanity, and above all, to God, to Whom we shall all return to give accounts of our deeds.