Thursday, 24 October 2013
KNOW GEN. MOHAMMADU BUHARI (PART 6). PERSONAL STYLE AND FUN THINGS ABOUT HIM
-He is said to be the only Nigerian leader who did not touch the prices of petroleum products from Gowon’s regime.
-Buhari can be strong-headed atimes. At a time, he actually went against the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Alhaji Aliyu Usman Shehu Shagari. It was in the year 1983 and some Chadian forces invaded Nigeria via Borno State. Without wasting time, Buhari deployed the troops under his command to the border to repel the Chadians. As he was chasing them, he actually got into the Chadian territory. President Shagari had to order that the Nigerian troops be withdrawn but Buhari flatly refused the Presidential Order. His argument was that doing so would compromise Nigeria’s security and territorial integrity. It was not until the Chief of Army Staff, General Inuwa Wushishi intervened that Buhari decided to calm down and back off from the Chadians. But note that he was not the only one who felt that Shagari was unnecessarily interfering with the duties of the military and when Shagari was finally overthrown and replaced with Buhari, it did not come as a surprise to keen observers.
-Buhari was also seen as just too iron-fisted, the Nigerian version of a Saparmurat Niyazov. For example, there was the Miscellaneous Offences Decree, under this decree, cheating in examinations, stealing or vandalizing public property such as those of the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) or the Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL) means you will be promptly arrested, made to face military tribunals and people were jailed for up to 20 years for these offences. Some felt this was too harsh a punitive measure. Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was sentenced to ten years in prison in what the Amnesty International called trumped up charges.
-IBB and Abacha were very terrified of the Buhari/Idiagbon regime and had to orchestrate a coup of survival. According to the former Minister of Defence during Buhari’s era, General Domkat Bali: “Babangida and Abacha were
really very frightened under Buhari. Nobody knew the reason but
they were really hysterically jittery and desperate.” Buhari and Idiagbon were hinted about the plot to overthrow them but the underestimated the capacity of IBB and his gang. The coup to overthrow Buhari has been described as a coup of survival by IBB and his clique. IBB was implicated in a scandal and Buhari and Idiagbon had him slated for retirement and possible prosecution. IBB knew that the game was up for him unless he did something desperate to save his neck. And you know, desperate men do desperate things. IBB’s survival instinct kicked in. According to Femi Segun, who worked as a Protocol Officer and Interpreter at the State House: ”…IBB was asked to step out of the meeting which was going on because they wanted to discuss about him. For about three hours, IBB, as the then chief of army staff was just walking up and down outside without shoes and cap thinking seriously. We didn’t know what was going on but it was clear that he was asked to step out of the meeting. A few days later, he staged a palace coup.”
-However, it must be said that Buhari was not blindly punitive. When 250 politicians from all over the country were declared by investigators not have any case to answer, he ordered all of them released. These included Adamu Ciroma, the late Ikemba of Nnewi, Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu, Audu Innocent Ogbeh, Alhaji Aliyu Maitama Yusuf, Dr. Bode Olowoporoku, Mrs. Mobolaji Osomo, Chief Michael Koleoso and many others.