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The last major news about General Muhammadu Buhari, the APC chieftain, before a bomb attack on him last week was his hot exchange with the Presidency over the gale of impeachment blowing in the land. In a widely publicized statement, the General charged that “what we are witnessing today, impunity and political rascality as demonstrated by the selective targeting and persecution of opposition politicians, is an attempt to subdue the will of Nigerians who have made clear their commitment to free their country from the grip of an incompetent leadership that is bent on severing the ties of nationhood and ruining whatever progress we have made as a country.”
The Presidency returned the fire in its own statement saying that “It may well be time to pull the brakes, as General Buhari says in his statement, but it is he and others who have resorted to idle scapegoating and blaming President Jonathan for their self-inflected political troubles who need to stop their inexcusable partisanship and show greater regard for the truth, democracy, constitutionalism, the rule of law, peace, security and the well-being of the nation.”
Few days after this tit for tat encounter, the General was almost blown off in a bomb attack as he left Kaduna for his Daura country home. The immediate temptation is to conclude that the presidency may have sought for more deadly means to silence the outspoken opposition leader. This kind of analysis, even though tempting, is rather simplistic and unscientific. It is true that given his status as a former Nigerian Head of State, criticism from the Buhari quarters carry a lot of weight both nationally and internationally. Not too long ago, another former Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo had raised an allegation that President Goodluck Jonathan has raised a death squad and handed to it a list of one thousand opposition leaders to be eliminated. But given our current situation, we should resist the temptation to jump into such a hasty conclusion.
It is true the Presidency feels the punch of Buhari’s accusations, but as current trends in our country have shown, the government has no monopoly of weapons of mass destruction in Nigeria. Other vested interests in the polity with a demonstrated capacity for violence like Boko Haram have also borne the brunt of Buhari’s criticisms. It is rather ironic and tragic.
The government has often accused the opposition of politicizing the insurgency we are facing today. It is an accusation the government itself cannot come clean of. The APC has often been accused by the PDP and government of sponsoring the insurgency. Clearly, the government itself cannot be absolved from theon going game of scapegoatism. The most dangerous dimension of this game is that the President appears to have the listening ear of those who see Boko Haram as a ploy by northerners to stop him from winning the next elections. The fact that northerners – both Christians and Muslims – are the major casualties of the on going madness makes no difference to those who are peddling this thrash. They just want to ingratiate themselves to the President as a way of picking the crumbs from the huge quantity of dollars that has been officially classified as missing from our common patrimony.
The President must free himself from the captivity of the experienced cabal of daft men and women that have imprisoned him in this pigeon hole. He must find the real causes of the insurgency without which he will not find a solution. Reducing it to a north south power tussle like his former National Security Adviser, the late General Owoye Andrew Azazi did is counter-productive and will not yield any solution. If Boko Haram is a northern creation, why are they gunning down Emirs and targeting leading northern politicians?
The attack on Buhari must be investigated by the security agencies with a high level of professionalism. Unfortunately, our security agencies are very deficient in this. I saw the pictures of a man dressed in feminine attires and identified as a major suspect in the weekend papers. The man looks more of a homosexual to me than an assassin let alone suicide bomber. Of late, on my visits to Kaduna I have encountered similarly attired men – their number appears to be on the increase – trying to lure me into their horrible acts. Our security agents should do better than parading this man whose only sin may be homosexuality. A failure to find the culprits will lead many to conclude that the government is behind it.
Finally on the question of impeachment, the PDP appears to be getting it wrong. Nyako deserved to go. Left to some of us, he should have gone in 2010 and not now. But when some of us were calling for his removal that time, the same PDP dominated House that has removed him today passed a special resolution in March 2010 calling him the “messiah” of Adamawa. To embark on whirlwind campaign to remove opposition governors now will be an additional stress on the security vacuum in which we live. Nasarawa is already on the boil.