General Muhammadu Buhari
•Says he’s serial election loser •PDP: Remarks reckless, provocative
By Ahamefula Ogbu,Chuks Okocha and Sunday Okobi
The Presidency Tuesday took a swipe at the comments of Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari, threats of bloodshed in 2015 if the elections were rigged.
While the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) described Buhari’s comments as inciting Nigerians, reckless and provocative, a Northern Christian group, Christian Awareness Initiative of Nigeria (CHAIN), said Buhari’s comments was unbecoming of a former head of state.
But reacting to Buhari’s comments, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati, also derided Buhari for boasting that he was well abreast of the happening in the oil and gas sector and wondered what he would have said when a scandal worth billions of naira was perpetrated in the 70s which led to the setting up of the Justice Ayo Irikefe panel to probe the fraud.
“Major General Buhari (rtd) also boasts of his knowledge of the Petroleum Industry because of his time as Federal Commissioner for Petroleum. We wonder why he did not boast of the infamous scandal that occurred in that ministry where under his watch billions of Naira (in the 1970s) were reportedly stolen, a matter which led to the setting up of the Justice Ayo Irikefe panel,” the statement stated.
Abati said it was however not surprising that former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, described him as an unelectable and one insensitive to the feelings of the people due to his uncouth manner of speech and actions.
“Finally, we wish to make it known to Buhari that given his reference to “dogs and baboons”, perhaps his best course of action would be to travel to the zoo of his imagination because President Goodluck Jonathan was elected by human beings to preside over human beings and it is human beings who will determine what happens in Nigeria at any material time not ‘dogs and baboons’,” he said.
The statement described the entire position and wordings of Buhari’s statement as inciting and coming at a time the Boko Haram group has been spilling innocent blood, wondering why anybody who has the interest of the nation at heart could subscribe to or be fixated on the shading of innocent blood which no leader should tolerate.
“We find it very sad that an elder statesman who once presided over the entirety of Nigeria can reduce himself to a regional leader who speaks for only a part of Nigeria. We now understand what his protégé and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Malam Nasir El’Rufai, meant when he wrote in a public letter in October of 2010, telling Nigerians that Buhari remains “perpetually unelectable” and that Buhari's “insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus are already well-known.” Who can know Buhari better than his own political associate?
“Come to think of it, as the CPC presidential candidate in the 2011 election, how many states in the Federation did he visit to campaign for votes? Buhari never bothered to campaign in the southern part of the country and consistently played up the North-South divide to the chagrin of patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians. As the results revealed, Nigerians will never vote for anyone who wants to divide the country. Is Buhari going to continue to be a sectional leader?
“The Federal Government led by President Jonathan is not Boko Haram. Boko Haram means Western Education is sin. That being the case, one wonders how a government that devoted the largest sectoral allocation in the 2012 budget to education could be said to be Boko Haram. Between 1983, when Buhari forcefully seized power from the democratically elected administration of President Shehu Usman Shagari, and 2012, no other administration has committed the same quantum of resources as the Jonathan administration to education in the part of Nigeria that has witnessed the most Boko Haram-related insecurity.
“Only on April 10, 2012, President Jonathan commissioned the first of 400 Federal Govern-ment Model Almajiri Schools, equipped with modern facilities such as a Language Laboratory, Qur'an Recitation Hall, classrooms and dormitories as well as clinic, vocational workshop, dining hall and quarters for the Mallams. As Nigerians read this, more of such schools have been completed.
“We now challenge Major General Buhari (rtd) to tell Nigerians what he has done, whether in his capacity as the head of a military junta or in his private capacity, to bring education to vulnerable children. If he cannot live up to this challenge, perhaps he has to reassess who really is Boko Haram”, the statement said.
Addressing journalists in a statement titled: “Buhari Should Spare the Nation His Thirst for Blood”, the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Olisa Metu, said: “What Nigeria needs right now is ‘evolution’ in the true spirit of democracy. The utterances of General Buhari, a former military Head of State is truly, undemocratic, unpatriotic and un-statesmanly.”
Meanwhile, CHAIN in a statement signed by Pastor Caleb Ma’aji, in Kaduna and made available to THISDAY, stated that: “We have noted with dismay the bloodthirsty and unstatesmanly utterances of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari who threatened the nation with bloodshed should the 2015 election not be free and fair.”
Buhari is once again inciting people to take the law into their hands; inciting Nigerians to slaughter fellow Nigerians as he did sequel to the 2011 general
Continuing, the Presidency wondered why someone known for his highhandedness would turn around to charge a listening President like Jonathan of not listening to anybody whereas it was the same disposition that led to his overthrown by his colleagues.
Continuing, the statement said, “It is on record that the Federal Government led by President Jonathan is a listening administration hence its decision to pursue all means of resolving the Boko Haram insurgency including through dialogue.
“When Buhari says that ‘if what happens in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, ‘the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood’, we hereby state that it is Buhari himself who does not listen. He has obviously refused to listen to the Nigerian People, the European Union, the Commonwealth Monitoring Group, the African Union and a multitude of independent electoral monitors who testified that the 2011 elections were free and fair and "the best elections since Nigeria returned to civil rule.”
“Indeed, such a reaction from Buhari is not totally unexpected since he has become a serial election loser who has never taken his past election defeats graciously even when such elections were generally acknowledged to be free and fair.
“Still on the issue of Boko Haram, we wonder what locus a man whose party’s Secretary General, Buba Galadima, told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in December, 2010, that the Federal Government is underestimating the support base of Boko Haram, has to accuse a government that has been threatened on camera by the leaders of Boko Haram of itself being Boko Haram?” the Presidency charged.
Metu said Buhari was reported in the media as predicting a bloody revolution in 2015, saying, “The reports in the national dailies today quoting the same retired General as repeating that blood will flow in 2015 is another build-up to Buhari’s relish of funeral train.
“While PDP cherishes freedom of speech, assembly and association as the custodian of Nigeria’s democracy, we at that same time know that such freedom goes with immense responsibilities. We condemn in no uncertain terms this shameful call for the spill of blood of innocent Nigerians to acquire political power,” the PDP spokesman said.
“We understand that since he would only accept that the election is free and fair on the condition that he wins the election, we note that in reality, Buhari is really saying that there would be bloodshed in 2015 if he does not win the 2015 elections.
“Knowing what we suffered after Buhari's 2011 statement calling for the lynching of certain persons and the bloodshed which followed his statement and which mostly claimed the lives of Christians and National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) members of both the Islamic and Christian faiths, we are alarmed at this bloodshed foretold and we call on the Federal Government and indeed the International Community to rein this bloodthirsty merchant of death,” the group said.
Buhari had said if the 2015 election was not free and fair, there would be bloodshed in the country, describing President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration as the biggest Boko Haram facing the nation due to its bad policies.