PRESIDENT BUHARI MEET BUBA GALADIMA YOUR FORMER ALLY
“I can’t see any integrity whatsoever on the side of Mr President. Which integrity? Someone who condones corrupt people around him? We know of his relatives. We know of his friends who were bankrupt before 2015.
We know of his relatives who took N2,000 transport money from us to go to Kaduna. Today, they are multibillionaires.”
Buba Galadima, PUNCH, December 27, 2018, p 42.
This is serious. Galadima’s declaration about Buhari and his relatives and friends, if true, and I repeat, if true, must rank today in significance with the historical fairy tale story titled “The Emperor Has No Clothes”. For the sake of those deprived of the childhood pleasure of having a loving father reading Aesop or Grimm tales to them at tender age permit me to summarise how a little boy disrobed the Emperor.
As the story went, a powerful and forgetful Emperor once ruled a country. His word was law; but he was also very forgetful. One day, the Emperor stepped out of the Palace stark naked to stroll down the boulevard and greet his subjects. Everybody else pretended that all was well as they responded to their absolute ruler until the monarch reached a small boy standing with his mother. The boy exclaimed “Mummy, but the Emperor has no clothes!!” The truth which all the adults were evading was thus exposed by a small boy. There are several lessons to be learnt by Nigerian politicians today – especially those advertising Buhari as Nigeria’s Mr Clean or Mr Integrity. They should get set for the shock of their lives. They might soon discover that they are guilty of false advertising and publishing Fake News about Mr President. But, before going into the substance of today’s article there is need to introduce Buba Galadima, the man levelling the accusations against the President and cutting him down to size in the process.
I knew Galadima when I worked for the Buhari Campaign organisation as an unpaid supporter in 2010-2011. I enlisted with Buhari for two reasons. First, Jonathan was a complete disaster and his recently published autobiography has further convinced me that the Devil and Obasanjo must not have meant well for Nigeria when they imposed GEJ in 2011. Second, I thought we needed urgent action on three fronts in 2011 – security, corruption and jobs. I was not so stupid as to expect Buhari to know what to do about the Nigerian economy. So, I voluntarily undertook to write an Economic Blueprint for Governance for him. I however was convinced that he could handle security and corruption. I was wrong and I sincerely apologise to Nigerians for the error. But, remember as you read this that in 2015 we had a choice between known failure Jonathan and the promise that Buhari represented.
Buba Galadima was Buhari’s Campaign Manager and he was handed the “Captain’s band” because he was Buhari’s closest friend. He was later to be the moving spirit behind the merger of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and the Action Congress, AC, which formed the core of the All Progressives Congress, APC. As soon as Buhari acquired rich friends from Lagos, Adamawa, Kwara and Rivers states Galadima his long term associate when he had no money was quickly sidelined. But, Galadima knows virtually all the former poor relatives and friends of Buhari until 2015. He most probably knows those who have become billionaires while Fellow Nigerians are descending into extreme poverty at the rate of six every minute. What Buba is painting for us is a picture of “Monkey work baboon chop” under President Buhari. We should listen to him. But, Buhari and his handlers should also learn some lessons from Galadima’s revelations – if they are capable of learning anything. Let us start with the first.
“If you shut it up and bury it underground, it will but grow and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through, it will blow up everything in its way.”
Emile Zola, 1840-1902. VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 255.
The myth well-sold by the APC of Buhari as a totally incorruptible man and one of integrity, on which the 2015 presidential campaign was built is now being gradually blown up by the Buhari administration and the President himself since assuming office on May 29, 2015. A man with integrity would ally himself with justice based on equity. Anybody who cares can go back ad read the newspapers and visit news reports by televisions and radio stations, including the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN in late May and June of 2015. No former Military Head of State or elected President of Nigeria had ever made appointments to the Federal Government, FG, not only so lopsided in favour of the North but in favour of his own state, Kastina, his friends and relatives to the utter detriment of national unity and inclusiveness. Nobody laying claim to integrity can be so openly unjust.
Today, the unjust allocation of appointments is yielding results in what Galadima had to say. “Go to Daura [Buhari’s home town] GRA. When you go there, all the houses that make you feel that you are in Dubai, London or Beirut were built by who? To whom do these properties belong?” Everybody knows that Buhari occasionally goes home to Daura. Has it never occurred to “Mr Integrity” to ask who are the owners of these palatial of these palaces growing up in his own neighbourhood and how the owners suddenly got so wealthy. Incidentally, the immediate past Director General of the Department of State Services, DG-DSS, and his family are among the residents of Daura GRA. Also as an aside, the role of the former DG-DSS who was implicated in the assault on the National Assembly, NASS, has died a natural death. Our President does not believe in enforcing the law when the offenders are from Daura GRA. Another example is Professor Yusuf, who was only asked to go when the national outcry was overwhelming.
“Justice is the first of all virtues, for courage is of no use unless it is accompanied by justice, and if all men will act justly then there would be no need for courage.” Agesilus, Spartan King, 444-360 BC, VBQ p 111.
As Military Head of State, Buhari was not the embodiment of justice. The disgraceful Decree 4 to which he appended his signature was one of few laws since the beginning of creation which made telling the truth a punishable offense in law if the disclosure embarrasses a government official. The two journalists who were jailed under that decree went to prison because they actually exposed corruption under the Buhari junta. So, by nature, at an early age, Buhari was never interested in fighting corruption as a whole but in using the façade of fighting corruption to deal with those he wants.
The President we thought we elected in 2015, and who we thought had learned his lessons has merely proved to us, once again, that it is almost impossible to teach an old dog new tricks. Together with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, he had embarked on selective prosecution of corrupt individuals. Two of the greatest financial crimes in this country occurred on the Niger Delta, committed by two former Governors who collected about N2.8 trillion each with very little to show for it. They are both resting comfortably in the bosom of the ruling party – totally undisturbed. My next book certainly will be titled APC: CORRUPTION INCORPORATED.
“Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones outside.”
Buba Galadima’s outburst resonates with many people who staked their reputations on supporting Buhari in 2011 and again in 2015. In 2015, we were eagerly pointing accusing fingers at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The fingers are still pointing. PDP was corrupted right from its choice of Presidential candidate. Obasanjo who emerged as the flag-bearer of the party knew that his nomination was bought by shady individuals and they quickly went about looting the treasury. His own personal conduct was disgraceful. One of his favourite sons, El-Rufai, now Governor of Kaduna State, had the whole of Chapter 8 devoted to how he corruptly ruined NITEL till today. His reward was not sack or prosecution; he was elevated to the Ministry of Federal Capital Territory and the atrocities continued. Today, the same El-rufai is in bed with Buhari.
“Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are.”
There is no evidence at my disposal yet that President Buhari is himself involved in shady deals. But then, when he partook in the coup to oust elected President Shehu Shagari from office in December 1983, all their enquiries revealed that Shagari and his Vice President, Dr Alex Ekwueme, to their everlasting glory, were not involved in any corrupt practices. They were sacked based on the dubious principle of “guilt by association”. Right now several Buhari’s associates have been publicly revealed to be involved in corruption – the former Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr Maina of the Pension scheme, the DG-NHIS, MDAs not remitting revenue to the Federation Account, the Social Intervention Programme etc – none is in court today. No account has been rendered of Abacha loot which some suspect are being “re-looted”; and buildings confiscated by formerly corrupt individuals are being inappropriately disposed of by the EFCC and the FG. Corruption under this government has assumed a totally different shape. But, it is still corruption because at each and every turn transparency and accountability is lacking.
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