By Shola Oyeyipo
Reactions are now trailing the Democracy Day speech of President Muhammadu Buhari, with two elder statesmen Chief Ayo Adebanjo and Alhaji Tanko Yakasai saying the speech failed to meet expectations.
Nonagenarian core Awoist and Afenifere chieftain, Chief Adebanjo, did not give President Buhari any chance at all as he changed his television to another channel in the middle of the speech.
He said without addressing principal issues of development like restructuring, there was nothing new the president had to say.
“When I saw the way he was talking, I just tuned to another station. You people will be fooling yourselves if you expect him to talk about restructuring. Restructuring will negate the deliberate ethnic cleansing by the herdsmen. I have been saying he will not do anything about it.
“It was the military that de-structured Nigeria. Everything you are complaining about were brought by the military in 1966 and his people are the beneficiaries. It is why I have said I am disappointed that he has not disappointed me. I thought he would disappoint me by doing what I thought he would not do.
“I saw his campaign media person, the lawyer Festus Keyamo, saying the perpetrators of the killings were not herdsmen, that they were miscreants. Does the government condone miscreants? We said he should disarm them. What has he done?
“As we talk they (herdsmen) still kill, rape, assassinate and destroy homes in Benue, Zamfara and other states, who have you arrested. If because they are from Libya you cannot stop them, then get out of the office,” he said.
“Honestly, I am an embittered old man. You are elected to office to do the job, not to tell us why the job cannot be done. So, get on the job.” Adebanjo said.
Founding member of Arewa Consultative Forum, Tanko Yakasai, who spoke with THISDAY from far away Saudi Arabia, was particularly unsatisfied with the president’s anti-corruption war.
Noting that President Buhari is making the same mistakes he made when he was military head of state, the elder statesman said as in his first time, the presidency is simply celebrating an unsuccessful anti-corruption crusade.
Referring to Buhari’s tenure as military leader, Yakasai said: “Locking people up made him popular with the common man because most of the common men are envious of important people. He was arresting government officials and the rich people. By that he made majority of ordinary men happy. That was what made him their hero.
“For three years, he did not say he achieved anything he can point to. This time around, he is repeating the same thing. Now for three years, he has been arresting people and he did not convict anybody. He is saying his biggest achievement is fighting corruption, but how many people has he convicted?
“His former secretary; he removed him after allegations against him were proven by the vice president’s panel. Nine months after, he did not convict him before any court of law.
“Is that the right way to fight corruption? Former Abia State governor, Orji Kalu, he was alleged of misappropriating about N3billion of a state. He joined the APC. He is now the image make of the presidency. He was (allegedly) given money to go round to meet traditional rulers, church leaders and so on.
“So, if anyone is suspected to be corrupt, he should just join the APC to be free? I learnt witnesses in his case have disappeared. This is not the way I want anybody to fight corruption in Nigeria. I don’t want a policy that is not applicable to all.
“I don’t want a policy that is not applicable to all – that will be justifying what Senator Shehu Sani said: â€™we are in a situation where perfume is being sprayed on corruption when it affects Buhari’s men while insecticide is being sprayed on corruption when it involves perceived political opponents of the president.’
He specifically faulted the refusal to release some detainees from prisons after various courts, including the Supreme Court and ECOWAS court, had granted them freedom.
According to him, ” When he (Buhari) locked up politicians in 1984/1984, including former president Shehu Shagari, former vice president Alex Ekwueme, former senate leader Olusola Saraki, they were not arranged or charged. How can somebody defend himself when for two years they were not charged.
“I challenge him to state the court he took former president Shagari and what charges he brought before him.”