I have always maintained in my articles, essays or discourses that “The fear of General Muhammadu Buhari is the beginning of self-serving wisdom among corrupt Nigerians, especially politicians and their cronies at the corridors of power.” This is because of his zero-tolerance for corruption and iron-cast discipline and uncompromising principle. This excruciating mortal fear of this bunch of Nigerians has become even more intense since General Buhari expressed interest in the Presidency through the normal democratic channel.
In a concerted effort or attempt to frustrate or even scuttle the fear-inspiring Buhari’s Presidential ambition; these Buhariphobics have over time orchestrated mendacious propaganda against his person. They spin all sorts of contemptible lies about him. They dis-inform the public with satanic audacity. They have persistently fabricated so many tendentious lies about him with such curious relish that one tends to wonder if they are capable again of knowing the difference between falsehood and truth. I am particularly concerned and worried over this trend for at least two main reasons.
First, no society ever grows and develops steeped in falsehood. Falsehood enslaves and obscures light; contrariwise; truth liberates. Those feeding society with falsehood are therefore necessarily enemies of society; especially when such fabrications are conveniently peddled to answer to personal obsessions or phobia.
My second concern and worry has to do with some of our otherwise respected intellectuals, who are expected to educate with the truth and not to conveniently mis-educate the public with disinformation. This is all the more frightening because some of these intellectuals are so greatly respected by the generality of the public because of their great learning and intellectual decorations both national and international. Because of this general approval by the people, some of these classes of intellectuals sink to conceit and tend to cherish an exaggerated or inflated self-evaluation or sense of self-worth. In short, they become megalomaniacs; victims of narcissism. They nurse mental delusion of their omnipotence and infallibility, which they parade and expect that their great learning and intellectual decorations can even sanctify their fabrications. They delude themselves to believing that the public, the people, will believe whatever they spin even without any proof. But they forget that this is only to the extent that their lies are not confronted with well researched and copiously documented counters; especially when it can also be shown that one can be very brilliant intellectually and be approvingly so decorated; nevertheless, still be physically lazy to painstakingly research into issues of societal interest.
Perhaps, I should at this juncture make the following germane disclosures:
General Buhari invited me to his ministerial cabinet in 1984. He swore me in as Minister of Petroleum and Energy on 18 January, 1984. Later on, I was also honoured with the Chairmanship of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as well as the Chief Executive of the NNPC; thereby making me the most powerful minister of petroleum. This includes even himself who was holding the Petroleum portfolio earlier on during the great General MurtalaMuhammed administration.
It is significant and underscores the General Buhari style to add that in spite of all the honours bestowed on me, he emphatically added: “Professor, I will not interfere.” And he kept strictly to his word until he was ousted in a self-serving Babangida coup on August 27, 1986.
General Babangida also appointed me Minister of Petroleum Resources. My long-standing friend (since 1975 in Rivers State General ZamaniLekwot Cabinet), General SaniAbacha, pleaded with me to please accept to serve “to continue the good work for the country.” I gave in not quite enthusiastically.
I must add, and indeed stress that I had never not met General Buhari before he invited me to his cabinet. He told me that he was guided by my writings on national issues and of course also by security reports on me. To God be all the glory!
Finally, on a lighter note, I wish to state that my salary as Minister was less than my then salary as Professor of Virology/Consultant at Ibadan: N16,000 to N18,000 a year. And I had no salary as Minister for three months because of delay in opening a Lagos bank account. As Petroleum Minister, I very regularly and very closely interacted with General Buhari. This gave me the golden opportunity to study him very minutely. I got to know him intimately especially what he stands for as a person. Thus, when I write about General Buhari, I do so from close firsthand experience. Not hear-say or stereotypes.
I have over time written a lot about General Buhari. This includes two formal works: “Who Really Is General MuhammaduBuhari?” and “The Sixteen ‘Sins’ of General MuhammaduBuhari.” The first was launched publicly at The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Victoria Island on March 9, 2009. The second book was launched in Kaduna (29 July, 2010) and Port Harcourt (14 March, 2011). Both events were crowd-pullers. I must mention that General Buhari was kept in the dark about both projects. I only informed him some two weeks to the launching. I don’t have to consult him to tell the truth about him. I was very delighted and indeed greatly honoured when our greatly respected and honourable former Head of State, General AbdulsalamiAbubakar, GCFR, CSG accepted to write the “Forward” to “Who Really Is General MuhammaduBuhari?” A fantastic “Forward” indeed! He also personally graced the public launching. He was even promptly there on time. I remain eternally indebted and bankrupt in gratitude to him.
But why General Buhari? Simple. He is a rare gem of a Nigerian, especially a leader. My third book, “General MuhammaduBuhari: A Very Rare Gem” is almost completed. My address at the launching of “The Sixteen ‘Sins’ of General MuhammaduBuhari.” in Port Harcourt on March 14, 2011 encapsulated the grounds for deep adoration of General Buhari: “I am a committed – very committed Pro-Buhari. Dyed-in-the-wool pro-Buhari. I have no regrets. I have no apologies. My unwavering, unflinching support is not based on sentiments or any patronage expectation whatsoever (I think I don’t need it). Among all the mortal leaders I know, General MuhammaduBuhari easily stands out a refreshing beacon of an exemplary leader in probity, integrity, focus, vision, discipline, courage, humility (almost self-effacing), honest in leadership by example (not by sermons). These are very rare qualities in contemporary Nigerian leadership (maybe even for all time).”
His response was superbly refreshing and humbling:
“Service to our country brought Tam and I together, and the ideals we share in common made us friends. Tam is a friend you can go into the forest with.”
“The Sixteen ‘Sins’ of General MuhammaduBuhari” was intended to expose and counter (with copious evidence) all the sixteen lies being peddled by the contemptible Buhariphobics over time. I even challenged them for debate at the public space. None has mustered the courage to pick up the gauntlet – even after over three solid years. This is very instructive indeed. In short, they simply orchestrated fabrications about General Buhari. Shameless bunch. It is also telling of our system that the book The Sixteen ‘Sins’, has been printed three times. Best selling. People tend to rush to “bad” news about leaders or persons than “good” news. They thought – very wrongly that I was exposing General Buhari’s misdeeds. After all their (the Buhariphobics) tendentious lies about General Buhari have been effectively debunked, they now in their desperation peddle that he is in fact too old to contest for the Presidency. I call this “The Politics of Buhari’s Age.” It is like a drowning man resorting to straw as if it is life buoy. But this “Age Palava” has shown even more clearly that they are either (or both) intellectually fraudulent or physically lazy to do meaningful research.
Therefore, in this discourse, “General MuhammaduBuhari: The Politics of Age” I intend, once again, to expose their tendentious lies and specious disinformation. I do this, once again, fortified by well researched facts and figures.
I must gratefully acknowledge the selfless assistance of my esteemed friend, Mr. OkoiOfemObono-Obla, LLB Hons, BL. Brilliant. Humble. He himself is a solid believer in General Buhari. He is thus, also very much committed to truth and justice and good governance.
General Buhari was born on December 17, 1942. He is 72 years in 2014. He will be 73 in 2015. Still young to be President of Nigeria! This nonsense about age is also faulted on the grounds that good leadership is not necessarily defined by age. It is also not defined by high learning – PhD and all that. Good leadership is innate divine endowment. But it can also be nurtured at times. From my research (ably assisted by my friend, OkoiObono-Obla) I list some 15 examples of leaders, both in Africa and abroad who are older – some much older-than GeneralBuhari. Let me start with our neighbour, Liberia, with its great lady president:President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President 2006 at age 70. She was 75 in 2011. She will remain president till 2016. She will be 80 years then. President Jacob Zuma, South Africa is 72 years old. He will be president till 2019 at 77 years.
Nelson Mandela, born July 18, 1918. President of South Africa in 1994 at 76 years. Still president in 1998 (single term) when he voluntarily stepped down for Mbeki. He was 80 years. If he had served his two terms he would have been 84 years.
President Peter Mutharika, Malawi 74 when he was sworn in on 31 May, 2014. He will be president till 2019 at 79 years.
President AlpaConde Guinea. President at 76 years. President in December 2011 at 72 years.President Jose Eduardo Santos, Angola 72 years. He will be president till 2020 at 78 years. President AbdeBourtefilka, Algeria 77 years. President till 2020 at 83 years old.
President AlasanneQuattara, Ivory Coast 72 years in 2012. President till 2016 at 76 years.
YoweriMuseveni, Uganda, president since 1985 at 70 years won another seven years in 2013 at 77 years, will be president till 2020 at 84.
President Jose Mujiaga of Uruguay 75 at election; reelected and is now 79 years.
President TedoroOblangNguemaMbasogo, Equatorial Guinea; born January 6, 1942 is 72 years and still going on.
President Michael Sata, Zambia 77 years – president September 23, 2011 at 74; will be president till 2016. He will be 79.
President Paul Biya of Cameroon (President Jonathan has obvious fancy for him) is 81 years. He will be in office till 2017 at 84.
President Milos Zeman of Chech Republic is 70 will be in office till 2018 at 74.
President Ronald Reagan; born February 06, 1911. President USA at 70. Two terms of 4 years in 1989 he was 78.
Selected Satanic Lies (‘Sins’) Against General Buhari (Ref: “General Buhari: “Sixteen (Sins’):
53 Suitcases Saga:
No iota of truth. Total lie. In fact the referenced Emir of Gwandu had only thirteen (13) – far cry from 53 – suitcases on board; and they all went through Customs. Question of “bulging” with ‘currency’ total fabrication (Ref. page 42-45 “Sixteen ‘Sins’).
N2.8 Billion Poppycock:
Totally False. Mere gossip and rumour. Unqualified tommyrot. The Honourable Mr. Justice Ayo Irekefe’s Judicial Commission of Inquiry. (Judicial! Yes) White Paper: No such money was ever missing. Fabrication. (Ref. Page 59 “Sixteen ‘Sins’).
The Petroleum Trust Fund:
Lie No 1:
PTF a parallel government. Total rubbish. Stupid. No government ever officially set up a parallel government to subvert itself.
Lie No 2:
PTF partial to the North. Stupid. Tommyrot. PTF’S first 1 Billion Naira (N1.07 Billion) spent on Lagos Water Works. PTF projects country-wide.
PTF Board of Trustees, great Nigerians, wide spread members such as: Alhaji Ahmed Talib. Professor ChimereIkoku. Professor J.P. Clarke. Chief Rufus Giwa.
PTF Education Consultants
Great Nigerians: Dr. YemiOgunbiyi. Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Pini Jason. Dan Agbese. (Ref: “Sixteen ‘Sins’Page 81-85).
Lie No 3:
“Expired PTF Drugs”
Total fabrication. Rubbish. Arrant nonsense. NAFDAC under the great Dora Akunyili was consultant and monitor to PTF; ensured quality control etc. (Ref: Page 83 “Sixteen ‘Sins’)
Lie No 4:
The management of oil and the economy. These are best under Buhari. No oil (fuel) importation. Buhari in fact exported fuel. No IMF. Naira not devalued: $1.5 to N1.0. Today, N160 to $1.0. N2.0 to £1.0. Today, N270 – N250 to £1.0.
Lie No 5:
Buhari “serial loser” of election.
Buhari has never lost in any free, fair and transparent election. He was always “serially rigged out.” fear!
General Buhari enemies confuse religious extremism with religious fundamentalism. He has respect for both Christian and Islam. For instance, three of his Cooks are Christians, his Confidential Secretary, a Christian. His Private Secretary, a Christian. His Driver number 2, a Christian. His second Security, a Christian and his Office Cook a Christian.
“Major-General MuhammaduBuhari, an extraordinary Nigerian, matched only by few in integrity and readiness to subject himself to the demands of public office… abiding concern for the fate and welfare of the people of this great country.”
By General AbdulsalamiAbubakar, GCFR, CSG.
Forward: “Buhari, The PTF Years” (1979).
“General MuhammaduBuhari, is a man of principle and moral absolutes who has made a name for probity and integrity. By all stands, Buhari, has proved an extraordinary Nigerian in and out of uniform.”
By General AbdulsalamiAbubakar, GCFR, CSG. Forward: “Who Really Is General MuhammaduBuhari, (2009).
“Nigeria, in its current dire straits needs Buhari more than he needs Nigeria.”
Femi Orebe “The Nation On Sunday” September 28, 2014 Page 18.
In conclusion, I urge my compatriots, please in 2015 and beyond in the interest of our Nigeria, vote for integrity, probity, zero-tolerance to corruption. Discipline. Never, never again for your recycled looted money for “stomach infrastructure” or pocket consolidation.
So help us God. Amen.
•Professor Tam David-West, eminent Virologist, writes from Ibadan, Oyo State