Buhari, Echocho and 2019: Beyond Partisanship and Primordiality

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Moving out of the Ribadu Campus of the Postgraduate School of Nigeria Defence Academy in Kaduna metropolis to its outskirt in Rigachikun nightfall, June 6, I got a WhatsApp message from Munir Dahiru whom I had not communicated with in two years, indicting President Muhammadu Buhari as the leading culprit in the herdsmen-farmers’ perennial clashes across the country.
I was stunned and enraged, not with the message because as a dye-in-the-wool supporter of Buhari, I have already developed thick skin against such malicious and mischievous campaign of calumny against the Nigerian President by those who obstinately refused to be humble in defeat since the 2015 elections.
But my grouse was about the messenger whom I have known as a person since our days in Bayero University, Kano; where we both served as executive members of the institution’s Students’ Union Government (SUG) in 2001/2002 session. We were so close in the government because he was the President and I was the Public Relations Officer. In that government, we had Aisha Gambari of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Isah Dongoyaro, also of the EFCC as the Speaker; Aminu Tukur Bello Ngawa, of the Nigerian Communication Satellite (Nigcomsat) as the Financial Secretary; Nasir Jibril of the Nigerian Football Federation; Alhassan Adamu of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and amongst others whom I couldn’t recollect while writing this piece are all Hausa/Fulani (sorry, this coinage is used to make less educated Nigerians to understand the crux of this analysis), except Gambari who is a Yoruba/Fulani and this writer who is Igala.
Again, Gambari and I were the only duo in the government that hail from the North Central part of the country, all the other executives, to the best of my knowledge, are from the Northwest Geopolitical Zone like Buhari and are children of the northern elites. The essence of this narrative shall be understood in subsequent paragraphs.
Back to Dahiru, my reaction via the same channel to this Kano young man for accusing Buhari, the most upright Nigerian leader since 1960 of wrong doing was “Presido, I’m disappointed. This should not come from a barrister at law like you.” The reaction, like a sudden shock from an eel got him tremored to the extent that the now garrulous legal persona was spluttering when he called to justify his claims and to further paint the General in bad light.
To dissuade me from the almost a decade and half confidence I have reposed in the old General, Dahiru, Kwanwaso Man Friday for the same period began to mischievously draw my attention to the fact that I was supposed to be given recognition by Buhari’s administration for my unalloyed support. “But because they are opportunistic politicians, they do not know how to share power,” Dahiru argued, expecting me to ally with him. He continued, “We” referring to Kwankwaso and his supporters, “are leaving for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Buhari would be defeated in Kaduna, Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kogi, Benue, Kebbi, Kwara, Jigawa and Plateau States in 2019.” With this foreknowledge, the news of Alhaji Abubakar Saraki and his cronies defecting to the PDP yesterday did not come as a surprise to me. Sorry for deviating to this inconsequential senatorial defection. I don’t like indulging or dissipating my energy discussing frivolities. I don’t know the consequence the defection of Saraki and his bootlickers to their original party would have on the re-election of Muhammadu Buhari in 2019. I hate repetitions; Buhari’s political strength as I have been emphasizing since 2002, is beyond political party and other sentimental attachments. Kwankwaso, Saraki and the other Senators’ action, as I have said, was premeditated. It was the only desperate move for the sixteen self-centered national lawmakers to save their political dynasty from nosediving into permanent oblivion.
At this point I can conclude that Dahiru’s memory was not absolutely retentive, if not he would have known that from the last argument we had at the late Hajiya Laila Dongoyaro’s house in Kaduna on June 16th, 2002, while we were on transit to Abuja to visit Umar Gha’ali Na’aba at the National Assembly, that my support for Buhari was beyond class, partisanship, ethnic considerations, religion and sycophancy. A clearer indication to this was the fact that all the members of his executive mentioned above were against Buhari even when he shares common primordial denominators with them. As it was then, so it has always been. My support for Buhari is not for personal gains and aggrandizement, but for the good of Nigeria.
Therefore, as I discovered on the entourage then, and as it still remains till date, Buhari’s major enemies are the northern elites and their wards. He is a cog in the wheel of their progress. The status quo ante where the elites determined who went to power, who controlled the oil wealth and how allocations in their various states were shared must be rejuvenated. And Buhari who has been inhibiting this ungodly status quo from rejuvenating must be exterminated via a life threatening ailment which he survived by the skin of the teeth in the early months of his administration after a protracted period of bedridden in England. Since Buhari regained his health over a year and half ago, Nigeria has not rested, the forces of evil have waged war against the country because of the president’s refusal to allow them to as usual feast on our commonwealth. This war is manifesting in the form of farmers/killers clashes across the country. It is therefore not surprising that Dahiru could mischievously blame the clashes on Buhari. It is their plan; one of the many plans to make Buhari unpopular.
However, making this country ungovernable as a political strategy to remove Buhari in 2019 will be akin to fetching water in a basket. The reason is that Buhari supporters like yours sincerely are real, they are not sycophants who chant the president praises for monetary gains. This is what Dahiru did not know, Buhari supporters cuts across the social strata, and like this writer, they are not political jobbers. They have been with the General when he was in the political wilderness without losing sleep. How can they now lose confidence when their “idol” is in power? The detractors and the defectors are in fool’s paradise.
Echocho: The Buhari of Kogi State
Similarly, back home in Kogi, Alhaji Jibrin Isah Echocho is being loved by the masses and at the same time being repulsively detested by the elites. He is to the Confluence State what Muhammadu Buhari is to Nigeria. Like Buhari at the National level, Echocho support base in Kogi State is unmatchable. He is being wooed left right and centre by candidates who are gunning for sundry positions in 2019 because of his cult like followership. The late Prince Abubakar Audu was inarguably able to coast home to victory against the incumbent in 2015 because of the last minute support of Echocho. The reason Echocho is being hated is not because he is blocking them from stealing from the State treasury (he has no control over it); he is being hated because when he had the opportunity (not even in government) he gave the less privilege children facelift that made them to almost be at par socially with the so-called elites. Echocho youth empowerment and poverty alleviation efforts across the State as testified to remain unprecedented.
Consequently, his supporters like Buharis are real; they not political jobbers and sycophants who can do anything for money. As Echocho declared his intent some weeks ago to represent the good people of Kogi East Senatorial District at the National Assembly, he would be banking on his good will and his beneficiaries who want to reciprocate his good gestures to win the seat in 2019.
– Mohammed Lawal Shuaibu

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