I read Akin Osuntokun’s essay on the back page of: This Day Newspaper of January 2, 2015, titled “Buhari: Which South-West”? with bated breath, chagrin and consternation on narrow-mindedness! Osuntokun in his messianic and missionary desire and frenzy to use sophistry laced with hyperbole to stem the rising popularity of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the South-West tried aimlessly to whip up sentiments and emotion against Buhari.
Osuntokun even stretched to the ridiculous but obviously disrespectful extent of alluding to a “reinvented Buhari would plant a specially packaged millennia peck (Sharia permitting) on Mama HID Awolowo’s century old cheeks”. Osuntokun ‘s contemptuous piece certainly drips of sour grapes and bad belle concerning the great in road Buhari has made to the South-West Region of the Country in the run to the February 14 2015 Presidential Election.
It is undeniable that Akin Osuntokun is one of the hirelings of the Peoples Democratic Party and President Good luck Jonathan that has been paid to write rubbish and peddle unfounded falsehood to dent the image of General Muhammadu Buhari in the run down to the 2015 Presidential Election. He is certainly one of the Buhari-phobia hired to shoot down Buhari in the media.
So rather than Osuntokun telling us the achievements of President Jonathan concerning the economy; infrastructural development; educational sector; economy; foreign relations; national security; electricity generation; etc after almost six years in the saddle as President, he is obsessed with exhibiting his phobia against Buhari using rehashed and hackneyed stories that were concocted decades ago of what Buhari did or did not do when he was Military Head of State!
We are not interest in what Buhari did or did not do while he was Military Head of State almost three decades ago; Osuntokun should tell us what President Jonathan did with the almost $56 Billion that was left in the National Reserves when he took over as President in 2010.
Osuntokun should tell us why the Federal Government has not released the Report of the forensic auditing of the NNPC Accounts despite the promise by the Minister of Finance and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that the Report would be out by the end of November, 2014.
He should educate us what happened to the $20 Billion that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) failed to remit to the Federation Accounts.
Osuntokun should tell us who was responsible for State Governors insisting that money kept in the Excess Crude Oil Account must be shared.
Osuntokun should please tell us why Universities, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics in the Country were shut down for almost one year in 2013 – 2014 Academic Sessions.
Osuntokun should tell us why the Dollar is exchanging for N195. Osuntokun should explain why President Jonathan allowed a rag tag Insurgent Group (Boko Haram) to take over almost 20 out of the 26 Local Government Areas in Bornu State.
It is deceitful and a grand frivolity for Osuntokun to suggest that because the Military Regime of General Buhari seized the international passport of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and he was unable to travel abroad to attend to his health; Buhari has committed such a grievous sin that the people of the South-West should never relate with him, or that Professor Osinbajo (in-law to the Awolowos) should never have accepted to be the Vice-Presidential Running Mate to Buhari. Osuntokun’s essay was regrettably full of sound and fury but totally hollow.
To show that the essay was more of a study in emotional hysterics and mischief than an exercise in dispassionate objectivity, Osuntokun smuggled in the opinion of the respected Wole Soyinka on Buhari that was written four years ago titled “Buhari: A Leopard Does Not Change Its Colour”.
The essay of Wole Soyinka was maybe relevant in 2011 but not in 2015. If Buhari is not the alternative certainly President Jonathan cannot under any stretch of imagination and argument be the Choice in view of the bumbling incompetence, mediocrity and ineptitude we have seen under his leadership.
Is this not why the same Wole Soyinka has dismissed Jonathan as Nigeria’s version of Nebuchadnezzar? Is this not why Soyinka in his characteristic style of writing has argued trenchantly, vociferously and strenuously elsewhere that only idiots and corrupt persons can vote for President Jonathan again?
Undoubtedly Wole Soyinka’s view concerning the Buhari’s Military Regime is his own opinion (which he has the fundamental right to hold) but which view does not amount to an objective analysis of the good and bad of that regime.
It amounts to standing logic on the head for Akin Osuntokun to insist that because Buhari’s regime tried to use harsh measures to enthrone order and discipline in the country and in the process stepped on people that were regarded as sacred cows that disqualified Buhari from aspiring to lead the country.
Undeniably Akin Osuntokun is in love with the current prevailing order in the country where criminals are shielded and protected by President Jonathan to a system where the government would enforce the Law, Order and Discipline.
Certainly the Buhari’s military Regime cannot be completely written off by any objective and fair minded analyst regardless of its short comings. Under the Buhari’s Regime there was enthronement of the culture of prudent financial management, accountability, transparency, responsibility, discipline. Corruption and crime was fought to a stand still.
The national economy was vibrant. The regime was nationalist in nature and character so much so that it refused bluntly to accept stock and barrel the bitter prescription handed down by the International Monetary Fund.
The fact that the Buhari’s Military Regime was considered harsh and draconian does not becloud the incontrovertible fact that it is one of the best governments Nigeria ever had since 1914. Which military regime in history was not harsh and draconian?
Have we ever seen some measures of democratic tenets in draconian regimes? When Lee Kuan Yew took over in Singapore he introduced a lot of draconian and harsh measures and regulation in that country to the extent that it was an offence to spit in the public and for men not to be clean shaven.
However in the end despite the fact that the regime was considered totalitarian it revamped and turned Singapore within four decades from one of the colonial economic outposts and back waters to a First World Asian Tiger.
In the same vein, it was General Kamal Mustapha Ataturk who turned the fortunes of the Republic of Turkey (that emerged from the ashes of the collapse of the Otto Man Empire from the Sick Man of Europe to one of the most developed countries of the World.
Also the Republic of South Korea was changed from economic backwardness to a sophisticated advanced economic country by the military regime of General Park Chung-Hee (President of South Korea from 1961 – 1979) that was considered dictatorial and harsh by Western standards. In 1999 the highly regarded Times Magazine rated General Chung-Hee as one of the top “Asians” of the Century for his tremendous contribution towards the development of the Republic of South Korea.
Osuntokun’s essay is nothing but a mere farrago of words calculated to pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians to vote for President Jonathan when he has completely proven beyond a shadow of doubt that he is incapable and indeed grossly lack what it takes to be the President of country in the brink and throes like Nigeria.
It is only the undiscerning that will heap the blame of all the supposed sins of the Buhari’s regime on Buhari alone. The supposed mistakes or indiscretions of Buhari regime must be a shared responsibility.
The fact that Buhari’s military regime cancelled the contract for the construction of a rail line in Lagos cannot be used as sole basis for any fair minded person to suggest that Buhari hates or dislikes the people of the South West. Taking such a prism and perspective is nothing but crass pettiness and emptiness.
The decision to cancel the metro line was certainly taken by the Supreme Military Council in the overall interest of the country; this was the highest decision making body under the Buhari’s Military Regime after advice from the Federal Bureaucracy (Office of the Accountant General). The Office of the Accountant General is a Department of the Federal Ministry of Finance.
The Supreme Military Council was compromised of the Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters; Chiefs of Navy; Army, Air force, Police, the General Officers Commanding the Three Divisions of Nigerian Army to mention just but a few. There were few South Westerners including Brigadier General Ola Oni in the Supreme Military Council.
So it is mischievous to single out Buhari as a person for a decision taken by the Supreme Military Council.
The cost of the project was considered astronomical at that time and therefore not viable and affordable by the Government of Lagos State of Nigeria. The Federal Government did not make provision for the project and was to have guaranteed the loan that was needed to execute the project.
The Federal Minister of Finance under Buhari was a distinguished and sound academic from the South West – Dr. Onaolapo Soleye that managed the economy excellently during his tenure. I am sure as a true son of the South-West, Dr. Soleye must have considered the cancellation of the Metro Rail Project in the overall interest of the nation.
It follows that for Osuntokun to continue to rake up and resurrect issues such as the seizure of the passport of Chief Awolowo; search of Chief Awolowo’s residence by Security Agents of Government; jailing of politicians found guilty of corruption; Buhari’s serving in Abacha’s regime as Chairman of PTF and the cancellation of the Metro Line/Rail in Lagos each time Buhari contests elections by insisting that he is not fit to govern the country is intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.
If the metro line project in Lagos is that easy, why has successive Lagos State Governments failed to resurrect it?
Osuntokun forget to tell the same Buhari (whom he claim hates the South West) appropriate a whopping N1.2 Billion towards the resuscitation of Lagos Water Works as Chairman of the PTF in 1996.
It is hypocritical for Osuntokun to cite Buhari’s Address to the former Governor of Oyo State, late Lam Adesina when he led a delegation of Arewa Consultative Front that visited the Governor to mediate in the clashes involving Fulani herdsmen and local farmers in Oyo State in which Buhari referred to the Fulani as “his people” as an example of his ethnic inclination.
Is Buhari not a Fulani Man? What is wrong in Buhari saying the obvious? Where are the black people in the United States of America referred to as African-Americans? Is Akin Osuntokun not a Yoruba Man?
We are tired of obvious red herrings, tantrums and balderdashes on Buhari calculated to take our attentions from the fundamental failings of the current presidency which has brought the country into its nadir.
Osuntokun should give us a break and tell us the achievements of President Jonathan that merits his Third Term bid as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
He would surely do us a lot of good if he concentrates all his energies on selling and marketing his principal – President Jonathan to the electorates than bore us with his obsessive but worn out bashings on Buhari.