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Civic Group Dismisses Buhari’s Chatham Speech

Clem-D.-Aguiyi By Ehis Agbon    Abuja, Nigeria. February 28, 2015.

Move on Nigeria, a Civic Action and pressure group promoting democracy, good governance and transformation agenda has dismissed the speech delivered by Retired General Mohammadu Buhari at the Chatham House London as windy and full of lies.

In a release issued to journalists by the group and signed by its National Coordinator, Clem D. Aguiyi, the group said the Chatham House speech by the All Progressives Congress APC Presidential candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari would have passed for a well-crafted speech if he was a first timer in Nigeria’s corridor of power and we are ignorant of his antecedents. Whatever is the pretence, Buhari has ruled this country as a military dictator. Nigerians are fully aware of his reputation no matter how he tried to run away from his past.

According to the group, Buhari’s speech was typical of APC. It began with lies and ended with so many other lies. Buhari began his speech claiming that outside the country he normally wants to be the country’s public relation and marketing officer, extolling her values. But, Buhari since the overthrow of his draconian regime had never spoken well of Nigeria anywhere in the world. He is also not known to have made any positive contribution to the success of any administration or positive of any president except for late Gen Sani Abacha who appointed him Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). We challenge that he makes public any evident to the contrary.

‘No civilized society will tolerate divisive character like Buhari to lead them , not even the UK press that endorsed him will consider him fit to lead medieval England, especially not after he had truncated a thriving democracy using brute force’.

‘Democracy’ the group said is a ‘slow process that require patience, time and discipline to mature and bear fruit. It is also regrettable that Buhari chose the 90th birthday anniversary of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the democratic president he unjustly overthrew to rationalize his treasonable misadventure’.

According to Mr. Aguiyi, ‘Democracy is a journey and when you obstruct a journey, you start again. Nigeria’s past military leaders which include Gen Buhari must allow the country to make progress in her democratic journey without further interference. Across the globe, all those that played infamous roles as coup plotters have all faded away. It is only in Nigeria that we find post-independence leaders still undermining successive administrations and our journey to progress’.

‘Buhari for the first time in three decades accepted responsibility for the ills of his military regime which include jailing of Pa Adekule Ajasin even after the military tribunal had discharged him of all corruption charges, held Dr Alex Ekwueme in captivity throughout the period of his 20 month old regime even when no crime was traceable to him and detained the late Igbo leader, Emeka Ojukwu who held no political office’.

It is insulting on the sensibilities of Nigerians that Buhari is accepting responsibility for the judicial murder of Bartholomew Owoh and two others whom he killed using a retroactive laws and the journalists he jailed under Decree 2 without taking steps to apologize or ameliorate the injustices of his tyrannical regime. It is not for Buhari to determine when and how Nigeria will forgive him.

Buhari’s antecedent as tyrant, coup plotter and dictator naturally precludes him from seeking for any higher office in Nigeria. It is significant to note that all actors of those past eras have since allowed the country and their respective countries to move on and heal.

Coincidentally , Buhari acknowledge that after rebasing our economy Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy , that our GDP is now valued at 510Bn and our economy rated the 26th in the world with inflation successfully kept as single digit but Buhari in his usual characteristic will not give credit for this success to President Jonathan.

In every society there are inequalities occasioned by different factors. The peculiarity of Nigeria’s inequality stems from the failures of leaders like Buhari. He is not known to have championed any cause that will uplift the life of others unlike President Jonathan who is helping northern children climb out of poverty through education. Jonathan established schools for the Amajiri’s, offered scholarships to indigent but brilliant students and established new federal universities.

Most of the things Buhari promised he will do are what the President is already doing with the economy which include diversification of the economy, attracting direct foreign investments and encouraging local manufacturing and investment in real sector of the economy. It also remains to be seen how Buhari will end corruption as President when his campaign is a minuscule of corruption. His left, right and centre are corrupt individuals who are financing his campaign. When he said he will draw the line on corruption, we wonder if this line will be drawn to protect his financiers and funders most of whom are indicted of corruption by Nigeria’s anti-graft body the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC. Regrettably, Buhari wasted the opportunity provided him by the Chatham House to at least address issues bordering on restructuring and his perceived support to Boko Haram insurgents whom he clearly refused to identify as Islamic extremists. It is incumbent here to note that the opposition APC goaded by Buhari exacerbated the security challenges in Nigeria. He need to be reminded that leadership is not about making inflammatory statements, playing to the gallery and issuing divisive statements such as saying the military attack on Boko Haram is an attack on the Northern Nigeria.

Buhari is retired and tired and does not understand Nigeria’s current problem especially when rather than appreciate our neighbors for their supports against insurgency, he chose the Chatham House forum to deride the efforts of the multinational forces. Even America which is the world super power still rely on the coalition of the willing and able to confront terrorism, Boko Haram as part and parcel of ISIS is a global effort requiring concerted efforts of all our friends and neighbors, the group said.

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