by Larry Fredrick
As we mourn the passing of Major Gen. (Rtd) Joshua Nimyel Dogonyaro on Friday, 14 May 2021, I remembered his role in the 1985 coup that ousted Buhari from power.
Coincidentally, a friend shared Dogoyanro’s coup speech with me on WhatsApp. In that speech, a bewildered nation had been given the justification for yet another coup barely 2 years of military intervention that overthrew the civilian government of President Shehu Shagari in 1983.
As I glanced through that speech, I muttered aloud to myself; “This is déjà vu! Jeez. Looks like we are on a time warp.”
Once again, more than 3 decades later, Nigeria under President Buhari leadership is seriously drifting… perilously. And the optics is not good. It’s frightening to put it mildly.
Recall that Aisha Buhari, the first lady, had alerted the nation when she noticed the drift sometime ago during the President’s first term. She’d openly cried out to a perplexed nation that her husband’s government had been hijacked by undisclosed cabal in the Presidency.
Her outburst was unprecedented coming from a first lady and set some tongues wagging as to what was actually happening. Aisha upbraided her husband for jettisoning the promises and people that helped the party to win the elections.
Regrettably, President Buhari dismissed her outburst and described her role in not too flattering terms in the infamous “she belongs to the oza room” interview flanked by his host, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany.
Ever since, all what we have been witnessing in the country is uncertainty, stagnation, suppression and retrogression. Hmm. Surely, if you had been around during Buhari first time as the Military head of State these words specifically mentioned in Dogoyanro’s speech will resonate with you, won’t they?
Nigerians bidded their time and hoped to ease Buhari out through the ballot in 2019 Presidential elections as he had claimed to be born again democrat. But it was misplaced hope. Apparently, the democrat garb Buhari was adorned with by his political handlers was designed to deceive Nigerians.
As matter of fact, Buhari remains aloof, inflexible, rigid and authoritarian as ever. A leopard cannot change its spots. He won the election for the second tenure deploying fully the power of incumbency and all manners of subterfuge including having to suspend the Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Walter Onoghen and appointing a new Chief Justice Omar midway during the 2019 elections!
Who will bail Nigerians from asphyxiating grip of Buhari this time around?
With rubber stamp NASS at his beck and call, a compromised and timid Judiciary, emasculated citizenry and civil society groups, and demoralised armed forces, those hoping for 2023 to have a new President, may be on a long thing. 2023 seems to be eternity considering the situation in the country right now.
The million dollar question: Will Nigeria survive till then? Or, is the country being set up for military intervention by northern wing of the caliphate to continue with Fulani hegemony as being rumoured by conspiracy theorists?
Will President Buhari back the long overdue call for restructuring of Nigeria with powers devolving to the federating units along the line of fiscal federalism and regional police be implemented as recently demanded by 17 Southern Governors? Or, will the country eventually implode by the internal contradictions and dysfunction of the present lopsided structure? Time will tell!
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