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Wednesday 28 April 2010

Today's featured author -A Rejoinder to “Buhari, Atiku, Go and Rest” by Naiwu Osahun posted on Sahara reporters' &another( by Muhammed Kabir Hassan:)

* I find myself increasingly interested in politics and how it plays out. How we are all social and political animals. How ones destiny as a leader or a dictator are determined by the actions they took/didnt take when the ovation was at the highest.. A good portion of my facebook page is dedicated to this 'interest' and it has also attracted like minds. I have tried to keep this blog as free from that as possible, but still cant help but recommend a great article when I see it!

So bear with me :)

The following articles, ' On Change and Nigeria's Situation 3: Still on the urgent need for change' and ' A Rejoinder to “Buhari, Atiku, Go and Rest” by Naiwu Osahun posted on Sahara reporters' were written by Muhammed Kabir Hassan:long read, but so clearly written that you wont notice the time go by. I do hope you enjoy it *

A Rejoinder to “Buhari, Atiku, Go and Rest” by Naiwu Osahun posted on Sahara reporters'

A Rejoinder to “Buhari, Atiku, Go and Rest” written by Naiwu Osahun
Dear Naiwu Osahun,
I read your article with the above caption and was compelled to write a rejoinder because of the inaccuracies it conveyed. The article only succeeded in exposing your ignorance of what has been happening in Nigeria, not surprising to me because you have stayed too long in the West and have no clue or is it due to some deliberate intellectual mischief? It may be better if you start writing on Memphis Tennessee, the civil right movements and how Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis since you know that place very well to have been given the city’s key before you get enlightened on local politics back home in Nigeria and start writing. I am really disappointed with that article and other ones you have previously wrote. It is obvious that your article wanted to attack the personality of Buhari but it ended up with bunch of contradictions and lack of scholarship. I cannot defend both Atiku and Jonathan because they all have case files before EFCC. While Atiku has one with respect to PTDF, Mr. Jonathan’s wife has a case file involving 12 million dollars when he was Governor of Bayelsa and she was arrested by EFCC then. Jonathan became Vice President and now Acting President and the case has since died silently. However, on Buhari I need to put the records straight point by point, I hope my rejoinder will be given the same publicity as your initial write up.

1. Mitary Training: Buhari does not fit in to the profile you wrote. In case you don't know Buhari graduated as a military officer (lieutenant) in Aldeshot UK. He went to the US National War College Carlisle in Pennsylvania from 1980 -1981. That is where the most respected officers of the US army such as Collin Powell attended to become generals. He was at the Defense College of India as well. By all military standards, his training is superb and the best any general can get in the world. Buhari was not some idle sitting General on baboon tree as you stated in your write up when he was in the army. In 1982-1983 when Chad took over our land with more than 19 villages like what the Cameroonians did with the support of France in the case of Bakassi, he then Brigadier Buhari led a successful operation as the GOC to push back Chad and reclaim our territory. If it was Buhari, there is no way as President, he will hand over Bakassi to Cameroon, that is true patriotism. I am not Buhari's relative and I have never met him in my life. But I have taken the pain to know a lot about him by reading facts because I believe among all the possible candidates vying for the Presidency now that may end up ruling Nigeria, he is the best qualified. Someone challenged me on the comments section of Sahara Reporters that I must compare General David Petreaus (The General Commanding Central Command in the Middle East of the US Forces) and Buhari; that is a tall order. They did not serve in the same army but still you have to give it to Buhari. Buhari as Lieutenant after graduating from the UK royal army fought in the Congo in 1964-65 as part of the first mission forces to stabilize the country during it first civil war and won the Congo Medal. He is comparable to Petreaus of US in terms of war command and strategy training. Petreaus Attended the US War College, Pennsylvania to become a General, Buhari went to the same college from 1980-1981 to be General even though Petreaus did, Buhari is his senior even by the US army rankings. Buhari fought a dangerous battle in Congo as a Lieutenant and won the Congo medal, Petreaus did not. Buhari fought in the Biafra civil war as a captain; Petreaus has not fought in a civil war. Buhari commanded an army division to defend his country against Chad, Petreaus commanded an army division to destroy a country Iraq. Now anyone who wants to can compare them.

2. Buhari's family background: Buhari came from a poor family in Daura. He is not the typical northern prince that you may think of. He lost his father Mallam Dauda, when he was young and his uncle took care of him and sent him to school and after secondary school, he joined the army and went to train in the UK royal army. You should have found out about all that before you write your article. It is because of his kind of background and the suffering he went through that he has no sympathy for corruption and the northern traditional ruling families fear him. Quite unlike Atiku, IBB, Yar'adua, Abdussalam etc, he has no traditional title, he refused to accept one from any emir even though they want to give him one even today. The masses in the north have decided to give him one. They call him Baba Buhari Shugaban talakawan Nigeria (Meaning our father, Buhari the leader of the masses)

3. Buhari, the so called Jihadist: Buhari was the first person to fight religious extremism in Nigeria. Anyone can go and find out about a group called Maitatsine in the north that took up arms in 1984 in the name of Jihad in States like Kano, Maiduguri, Bauchi and Adamawa and what he did to them. You also need to read about his refusal to allow every tom dick and harry to become a pastor or imam in Nigeria like what is happening today. That is why we have so many religious crisis in the country because illiterates are parading themselves as Mallams and Pastors and fomenting trouble in the land. In respect of Nuhu Ribadu, Nasiru El Rufai, two of the most recent distinguished northerners anyone likes to mention, I would like to let you know that they have learnt a lot from Buhari as well. Nuhu got the opportunity to fight his first battle of corruption when he was doing his NYSC in 1984 when Buhari was investigating the 1984 thieves, Nuhu served in the Ministry of Trade where the import license scams took place and it is there, he told us on one occasion while delivering a lecture, that he got the inspiration to fight corruption and decided to join the police after his NYSC. In the case of El-Rufai, he also worked as consultant for PTF when Buhari was its chairman. Not surprising that they are hard working and distinguished. However, just before the 2003 elections, mischief makers like Atiku went to the south to misinformed people that he is a jihadist and support Sharia. If that is the case distinguished southerners both Christians and Muslims alike will not have supported him and I am talking of people like late Gani Fawehimi, who invited him to his house and raised Buhari’s hand before the media for all of us to see. People like Olu Falae, Tam David West and the like who still say a lot of good things about him and are supporting him. The truth must be told this time.

4. IBB's Coup against Buhari: Buhari refused to accept IMF loans and refused to devalue the naira then and I am glad you acknowledge that in your article and because of that he had to go because the west didn't like him so they used IBB to bring SAP that scuttle our econo y and put us in 18 billion dollars debt even though we sell oil. Meanwhile, he has retired General Ali Gusau in 1984 because of disagreements regarding work and defense contracts as reported along with Babangida, the duo planned the coup and when they succeeded, Babangida recalled Ali Gusau back to the army and made him his chief of Defense Intelligence. By the way, I would like you to know that Buhari sent Gusau on training to UK and US in intelligence and security while he was head of state. He made IBB his chief of army state but IBB is nothing short of a traitor to Buhari just the same way Dimka and Bisalla were traitors to Murtala.

5. Buhari planned a coup because of missing oil billions. He planned a coup against people like Umaru Dikko the then transport minister who were giving themselves import licenses for rice and skimming Nigerians and the like of Dr Tahir, the communication minister, who were importing horses and their food from Argentina. I met late Dr. Tahir who became Buhari's supporter in 2003, when I visited him in 2002 he told us that what Buhari did then was right, because they have lost their direction as a government. Dr. Tahir was a man of high intellectual capacity with a Phd in sociology from Cambridge, he spoke the truth. What Buhari did as a petroleum minister was the successful supervision and construction of three of the nation refineries, over 4000km of pipelines and 28 depots that we have failed to maintain today and so we import oil. How much has been stolen in just the turnaround maintenance of the refineries between Obasanjo and Abdussalam and still the refineries are not working? Over 4 billion dollars from 1999 to date. Infact before Obasanjo left, he auctioned one of refineries to Dangote at about 250 million dollars, something worth more than 3 billion dollars, Yar’adua reversed that sale.

6.Buhari and PTF: It is obvious you have not been home for long and so you are writing on what you don't know. On PTF, Buhari rehabilitated universities in Nigeria, provided textbooks for libraries and I am a witnessed, I used them for my final year project with PTF written on them. He supplied buses to the universities that time universities have no means of transportation. He built lecture theaters that I have studied in. We were happy to drive in the PTF buses and go for excursions to Kainji and Ajaokuta. What happened in PTF was after Obj won election even before he was sworn in and seeing the PTF records, he said he is going to ban PTF because it has no constitutional backing in a democracy. Because constitutionally all revenues must go to federation account and allocated by RMFAC. So when he was sworn in, he appointed a sole administrator, Dr. Haruna Adamu to investigate PTF hoping he will find something against Buhari. But it ended with Haruna going to jail for stealing $100 million dollars and it is in the records and newspapers in case you don’t know.

7.Missing PTF Money: . Let me tell you if that money you are talking about was missing in PTF, in both 2003 and 2007 elections, PDP and OBJ will have used that against Buhari just like he did to Atiku and PTDF and how he intimidated IBB on Glo by arresting his son, but OBJ cannot because he knows the man is so clean and that is who we need today in Nigeria. You can accuse Buhari for high handedness when he initially came in to power in 1983 by sending the politicians to Kiri Kiri with long life sentences but not corruption. Looking back to the 1980's , I can say Buhari was even compassionate. During that time, in Ghana and Congo and several African countries where they were coups, people like Rawlings in Ghana executed the government officials by firing squad or hanging but Buhari just jailed them. Some Nigerians are now even clamoring for a revolution or the Rawlings style.

8.Buhari and Democracy: Since the time he joined partisan politics, Buhari has conducted himself in the most admirable manner to anyone who knows what African politics is. Whenever, he lost, he went to court to follow due process. He has been in court for more than 20 months in one occasion making his case. He refused to mobilize his follows to rise against the Government or become unruly. If you don’t know he has such a large following but even if you think he doesn’t look at what is happening in other African countries. Raila Odinga and Kenya, they almost went to civil war because of elections. Morgan Tseveingire and Zimbwebwe, the country is now in shambles.

9. Let me be categorically clear, I am not saying Buhari is Saint Buhari and has no faults. I have my own different opinions on him as well but given our circumstances and the practical reality we are facing the main options we have in 2011 are BUHARI, ATIKU, BABANGIDA, GOODLUCK, the rest of the candidates are not yet out and I have not seen someone with their political heavy weight, we may be left with only the option of electing Buhari if we want to move this country forward. In a real political fight, Jonathan may not survive the intrigues. I don’t have anything against him but I am waiting for him to prove himself on electricity. I am even helping him because I have given his government a plan on how to fix it in the next one year, I hope he can deliver on the electricity promise to prove to us that he can lead and solve our problems.

Finally, if you think my points are not correct or I am being dishonest, I think we have no other option than I challenge you to a debate on your write up perhaps with Sahara reporters and informed journalists and historians as panelists. You are in Tennessee, I am in Pennsylvania, so we can meet in the neutral middle state of Ohio in a city like Cincinnati for the debate. I can pay for your travel fare from Memphis if you want me to. After the debate on Buhari with facts and defending the trash you wrote, then we can put it in on Youtube and Sahara reporters that way Nigerian’s will be more enlightened. I am not intimidated by the bunch of acronyms and titles after your name. It is dangerous to be writing stupid stories and misleading people, it is not helping the situation in Nigeria. The truth must be told this time for Nigerians to make good decisions.

MK Hassan is with the Department of Electrical Engineering @ Penn State University.

On Change and Nigeria's Situation 3: Still on the urgent need for change
Thank you so much for either calling me to discuss, for reading or on commenting on previous writes up. Your feedback alone is a testimony to the saying of Edmund Burke that Evil thrives only when good people do nothing. You are all an encouragement to those that have lost hope to regain it, and to those that are despairing to see a brighter future ahead and work for it.

I chose to write again on the urgent need for change because of the seriousness of the matter at hand and the state of moral crisis our country has reached. I do not want to bore you and I do not want to take your time if not for the frightening warnings I read in the holy books both of the Muslims and Christians alike on tolerating corruption in a land. I wished I haven't read those part of the holy books because of the gravity of the situation and how scary it is. The story was about a nation that was engrossed in corruption and was in a state of moral crisis. The good people choose to do nothing and among them were up to 70,000 scholars but the people were in a state of complacency and despair while corruption was striving in their land. Of course just like our society, the people prayed and performed all other duties assigned to them by God. However, the almighty was not happy with their state of affairs, so he destroyed that nation but he gave the stories in the books as a lesson to us. For Nigeria, a nation full of people of faith both Christians and Muslims fighting unnecessarily among themselves,it is time for us to fight back our common enemy; corruption and poor leadership.This is the time to take a stand fellow country men and women. This is the time to work for change because tomorrow may be late. I completely agree with the great mind Dante Alighieri who said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who at the time of moral crisis maintain their neutrality. I am really afraid that God may ask us on the day of judgment what have we done about the situation around us. What about you?

There is nothing to illustrate our level of moral crisis and the compelling need for us to act urgently to bring about the change we desperately need than what is happening in our country now.Fellow Nigerian consider the recent revelations from the NNPC on oil revenues since the return of democracy ten years ago. Nigeria has received about USD200.34 (about N34 trillion dollars) in oil revenues says the former MD of NNPC. Other revenue generating agencies like the Nigerian Customs Service and the Federal Inland Revenue Services remitted about N1.8 trillion and N9.6 trillion respectively as the next major contributors to the federation account. This staggering amount of revenues may not make sense to you. However, even without the government revelations, a simple calculation will tell you that every Nigerian whether born today or is dying today is entitled to spending from government worth at least 59 thousand naira in provision of services such as health care, water, electricity, security etc EVERY year. I am not talking of only people in Abuja or big cites, I am talking of every single Nigerian whether it is a farmer residing at a border town in Gashua where desert has overtaken his farm, a poor fisherman living in the creeks of Niger Delta with polluted rivers that he cannot fish in, or a baby given birth to in a village that has never seen electricity, water, clinic nor even a government official visit and those kind of villages are many. This is the reality my friends.

But even if somehow you are rich and do not need social services what about the level of insecurity? We can no longer travel safely to visit relatives or do business. We cannot sleep with our eyes closed because of armed robberies. Even if one escapes them on the road, one still has to live with pot holes on the roads and police men behaving like scavengers on innocent travelers, all these translating in to avoidable accidents. I remember when armed robbers visited my uncle's house and my uncle's family placed a distressed call to our house for help because when they called the police station, the police told them simply they are not coming that they neither have enough arms nor even fuel to come. Of course, if the police cannot make it, you can imagine how can we make it? So on second thought, we placed a call to the fire services unit to report instead that it was a fire outbreak but they told us, they have no water in their trucks (another wahala). We told them it is not the water that we are interested in to put out the fire, we need the sirens of their trucks blaring in the middle of the night heading to our neighborhood that may wake neighbors for help or scare the robbers. So it happened, the fire services trucks headed with full speed but empty tanks and sirens blowing in the middle of the night, the robbers got scared and left thinking that it was huge deployment of mobile police units. On this note, I extend my condolences to the family of Alhaji Abubakar Rimi and the nation at large. May his soul rest in peace, ameen. It is clear that we are not safe in Nigeria whether the high or the low and even for the complacent ones among us, the relative comfort we think we are enjoying because we feel we are safe has gone away. This time it is Rimi but it can be anyone traveling on the roads in Nigeria and that is why you have to take a stand, to commit to change, and to work for change in your life time because it is just worth it.

In this coming election, for those who still insist that they want to sell their votes we need to tell them the true price because they are being short changed (It is worth #59,000 naira every year not 50 naira only on election day) at that true price no politician can afford to buy the votes. For those of us who are maintaining our neutrality, we need to remember the great mind Dante, and the stories in the holy books because tomorrow may be late. We also need to remember the burden of responsibility placed on us as a people because it is not just about Nigeria. A prosperous democratic Nigeria means poverty leaving the African continent, it will give hope to the poor all over the world and become the pride of the black race. On the next write up, we shall examine another phase in change process: how to start acting and building coalitions that can bring change. However, remember that there is the urgent need for change and think about how great we can be as people if we can make it happen.

*From me: Buhari is clearly an enigma, and Muhammed is a prolific writer! Nigeria, good people, Great Nation! :)*

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