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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Buhari’s place among African heroes

by Mika’ilu Barau

Brooding over national and personal issues induced about two-hour insomnia in me the previous night. The role of the Nigerian media in misleading the gullible public carried greater part of my attention.
I explored this phenomenon in relation to the way media have been working in giving one of our greatest national figures in General Muhammadu Buhari a sectional outlook. This concern took me into the adventurous appraisal of GMB’s personality in the context of contemporary Nigerian society and Africa. I was shocked to discover that sometime this week, one Ibrahim A. Waziri drew a conclusion similar to mine, namely that none of Sir Ahmadu Bello, Mandela and others measured up to GMB in national service.
It was indeed consoling to find someone sharing a seemingly radical conclusion and making it public. This piece is considered necessary in that it will aim at reinforcing Waziri’s view by presenting an alternative procedure for drawing the same conclusion. I approached this evaluative endeavour from the perspective of three wars that General Buhari fought, which no other African hero was privileged to fight in and survive. This I consider as ‘triple war angle’ thus: 1. CIVIL WAR: General Buharei fought a real battle to keep Nigeria one. Even his adversaries among Nigerian Army Generals attest to Buhari’s courage and valour in the war that nearly tore the populous African nation apart.
2. CORRUPTION WAR: Immediately after the Civil War, most Nigerian top military figures used their participation in the war as a license for looting the nation’s resources and treasury. The wealth amassed by many of those who participated in the war, and several other post-civil-war army officers, could hardly be explained within the boundaries of legitimate earning. General Buhari outstandingly survived that battle by emerging out as a corruption free personality after serving as Head of State, Military Governor, Petroleum Minister and Chairman of the Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund of Abacha days. I read an interview in which Buhari confirmed that the only corruption he would live to regret was reading Things Fall Apart that he borrowed (and returned) from the library of University of Nigeria Nsukka without the permission of nonexistent librarian during the civil war!
3. MEDIA WAR: This war is ongoing. Ever since General Buhari decided to participate in politics and save Nigeria from the onslaught of its thieving politicians, he has been the subject of negative media campaign of the dreaded Lagos-Ibadan axis of the press. They falsely attribute divisive tendencies to this outstanding General in order to appease their paymasters and continue to deceive average Nigerians. If divisive tendencies did not manifest in Buhari during his crucial and sensitive services earlier mentioned, it will be a lot ridiculous to imagine that it would happen at the stable post - sixty phase of his life. The performance of Buhari in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 election is indeed a good indication that he is surviving the evil media war that sent many good people and policies to their graves prematurely. I strongly feel, he will in one way or the other harmonize this victory in the 2015 election.
I loaded many African personalities (Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Obafemi Awolowo, Nelson Mandela, and Kwame Nkrumah, etc) as variables in my triple war equation but only General Buhari remains in the bracket. Most of our first generation African heroes did not fight real wars while the later ones faltered in the battle field of corruption. The few that have been enduring (General Gowon for example) could not take the risk of politicking and bearing the corollaries of blackmail of the so-called Mgbati press. Thumbs up to the People’s General: a tree that makes a forest; one person that makes a crowd and a politician that makes a party!
Barau wrote from Kofar Dawaki, Talata Mafara, Zamfara State

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