Why Obasanjo, Jonathan, Abdulsalami Visited President Buhari
Clement Ejiofor, Naij.com – Nigeria news.|2015-08-17
Editor’s note: Femi Odere, a media practitioner, shares his views on why President Muhammadu Buhari received so many guests during the last week. In his opinion piecefor Sahara Reporters, he alleges Buhari is now aware of all cases of corruption that took place during and in previous administrations.
In five working days, Buhari had received three former heads of state. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, August 8, 2015, was promptly reported by the nation’s media establishment. It was almost instantaneously reported by the various social media platforms. But Nigerians did not know that the immediate past president of the republic, Goodluck Jonathan, had come and gone to also see his successor on Thursday, the day before Obasanjo’s visit.
Jonathan’s visit to Aso Rock, reportedly made at night, was also reported to have been facilitated by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, who is the chairman of the 2015 Elections Peace Committee. News reports also had it that Jonathan’s attempt to see his successor was not particularly smooth-sailing, as Abubakar himself had to rally other arrowheads in the nation’s power centers to intervene for the former president before the Aso Rock gate could be opened.
If true, it shows the ultimate futility of power. As if given a report that the visits of the godfather and his godson (now estranged) may not have yielded the results they expected, the following Tuesday, members of the 2015 Elections Peace Committee “invaded” the villa to meet with President Buhari. In what can now be referred to as a stampede, in less than five working days, Buhari had received three former heads of state either individually or within a group, in addition to the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, who is also the spiritual leader of the nation’s Islamic faith, and other high profile individuals in the committee.
Rush to the villa was on account of Buhari’s vow to kill corruption
Although it may not have been expressly and officially stated, Nigerians do not need to be told that the rush to the villa was on account of Buhari’s vow to kill corruption before it “kills” Nigeria. Perhaps the best way to look at the sprints of these major power centers to Aso Rock is to situate their convergence on the “Rock” (in quick succession) within the context of the epigraph above. The above epigraph encapsulates the relationships (mostly convoluted) that exist between the various power centers that these people represent, on the one hand, and the relationship between President Buhari and these power centers on the other. On the “third” hand is the relationship between the Nigerian electorate’s yearning for change as an emergent power center—represented by Buhari—and the entrenched, elite power centers in the country, who are responsible for its sorry state and that of her people. Buhari’s emergence through the democratic process has revealed the gory state of the nation and the debilitating, suffocating stench in which Nigerians are mired, no thanks to the most vicious corruption that the world probably has ever known. By now, Buhari himself may be wondering if Nigeria has not already been “killed” by it since there are things he knows that the visitors to the “Rock” now know he knows. These are the “known knowns.”
They do not need to be told that things have really become serious when a president of the most populous country in Africa blurted in exasperation, in the faraway United States, that the monies in the accounts of these corrupt elements in our midst was “mind-boggling.” For Buhari, whose country is already known in the international community to have taken corruption as a way of life, to have made this damning declaration must have sent serious shock waves to the corrupt but very powerful class in the polity. Hence the marathon race to the villa, because the things they believed Buhari did not know—the “known unknowns”—have become the “known knowns.” Thanks to Buhari, the hapless Nigerian public now also knows that a minister carted away more than $6 billion within four years.
Buhari must be reminded that the power centers’ “pilgrimage” to the “Rock,” most probably to wrest concession from him not to go the whole hog, or at least give some people, if not some on the entourage, some slacks in his war against corruption, are among a group of very powerful people that tried in his previous attempts—even in the last presidential election—everything humanly possible to shut him out of the presidency, even by foul means.
“All looted funds must be returned to the nation’s coffers”
The president must not lose sight of the fact that these people hardly wish him and his administration well, because his presidency happened in spite of them. Jonathan’s reply, when Buhari intimated him with some of the earth-shaking corruption that took place under his watch that he was “hearing about some of the graft allegations for the first time,” was the most irresponsible statement to have been made by a former president. Hardly did he realize that the statement, in itself, was a serious indictment on his leadership. But we’re relieved that Buhari was reported to have also told the former president in no unmistakable terms that “all looted funds must be returned to the nation’s coffers.”
Just as that statement was another testament to the fact that Jonathan’s thoughts and utterances, if not his approach to governance were far below the office he was saddled with, one is not fooled that what was inherent in the statement was his intentional refusal to acknowledge what he knew; the “unknown knowns” that psychoanalytic philosopher Slavoj Zizek says is the fourth category of Rumsfeld’s declaration that he either deliberately left out or, ironically, wasn’t aware of.
Nigerians have a government of the people and for the people The Buhari presidency represents the very first time in the nation’s democratic history that Nigerians have a government of the people and for the people. But the sad and unfolding irony is that the battle line is slowly but surely being drawn to obstruct the “by the people” component, which gives democracy its name and meaning. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Naij.com.
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Amechi’s Brief Comment:
This is why most Nigerians and I cheer and support President Buhari because he is a unique Nigerian who has lived honestly and honorably. For example, the charge against him during the campaign was that he was asking for campaign donations from the masses because he did not have the money for his campaign while tthe others flooded everywhere with their own money. I thought that it rather showed his strength — that inspite of his impressive resume, where he had all the chances like his opponents to amass money like them, he was still penniless.
Anyone who was a general in Nigerian army, served a State Governor, as Petroleum Minister, and former Head of State, among others and was scrapping for cash to run for election must be hailed as a saint and massively voted for the post as Nigerians did in May 2015.
This means that Nigerians are not surprised that President Buhari is going after former presidents Obasanjo, Jonathan and Abdulsalami. We are also expecting him to get to IBB. Their loots must be recovered as they suffer the consequences of their gross criminal mismanagement of the Nigeria.
Nigerians are praying for President Buhari’s courage, for God ‘s blessing and for his success because, perhaps no other nation has been so more devastated and looted than Nigerians by their leaders.