• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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As Buhari returns to Abuja

As Buhari returns to Abuja

Former President Muhammadu Buhari returns to Abuja on January 16 – the first time since he left in the late afternoon of May 29 – to attend the launch of a book written by his longtime friend and staffer, Femi Adeshina. The book is an account of the former president’s service, and as you might imagine, it is essentially PR material on the man and his administration. The author is eager to save the Buhari legacy from total obliteration. Adeshina stands as Buhari’s staunch supporter. Returning to Abuja after eight months, the political atmosphere is now hostile, with newcomers actively tarnishing his image and legacy.

Accused of leaving a corrupt, mismanaged, and incompetent government, Buhari faces scrutiny for his tenure.

Accused of leaving a corrupt, mismanaged, and incompetent government, Buhari faces scrutiny for his tenure. The former CBN Governor is labelled a thief, and the CBN is subjected to unprecedented investigations. Buhari’s ministers, including Sadiya Umar Farouq, are accused of money laundering, threatening the former president’s legacy. Despite denials, these allegations cast a shadow over Buhari’s impact, putting his reputation at risk in the face of intense scrutiny and criticism.

Prominent figures in the new administration, such as Finance Minister Wale Edun, CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso, Dele Alake, and Bayo Onanuga, consistently criticise the former president, blaming him for national challenges. Even Gov. Charles Soludo, seemingly unbiased, described Buhari’s legacy as a ‘dead economy.’ Soludo attributed much of the economic damage to CBN mismanagement during Buhari’s tenure. Former CBN Deputy Governor, Prof Kingsley Moghalu, labelled Godwin Emefiele the ‘worst CBN Governor in history.’ Criticising Buhari seems a prerequisite for favour with the new administration, setting the tone for Buhari’s anticipated speech in Abuja next week.

“Let me express my gratitude to Chief Femi Adeshina for writing this book which is his own account of the work we did in the eight years that we served this great country. Adeshina was at the ringside seat and so he had a full view of the policies we enunciated, decisions we took and did not take and the contending forces we dealt with.”

“Since I left office, I have focused on taking a well-deserved rest in Daura, attending to my farms and receiving visitors. I have kept a respectable distance from Abuja, just to allow the new administration to settle down.

“As we can all see, the new administration has settled down quickly and hit the ground running. It has recorded unprecedented achievements. Food prices have come down drastically; a bag of rice is so cheap that Nigerians are no longer hungry; the Naira has firmed up against the dollar and the rampant cases of insecurity that overwhelmed the nation during my time have been drastically curtailed. Ahamdulahi!

“You may recall that, as President, my strategy for dealing with insecurity was to introduce RUGA to effectively manage the problem of farmers-herdsmen clashes. But I was misunderstood and accused of being sympathetic to the Fulani herdsmen because they are my kinsmen, from the same Fulani stock as I. All the killings and kidnappings in the country were blamed on the herdsmen and I was castigated for being sympathetic to them. But now, what do we have? Those herdsmen have been chased away since I left office and today, we have peace in the Middle Belt. No more killings on the Plateau! Kidnapers have been dealt a serious blow and today, there is no single case of kidnapping. There is peace all over the nation. May Allah be praised!

“On the issue of the Central Bank of Nigeria, I have decided not to say much on this since the matter is sub judice. But I can confirm that the then Governor had obtained my approval for the issuance of new currency notes. It was meant to reduce the volume of cash in the economy and stem inflation. The fact that cash is still scarce and the banks are not paying above certain amounts over the counter is a clear indication that we were not wrong, after all.

“My administration also fought a very difficult war against corruption, and we recorded considerable successes in the number of arrests and convictions. But Nigerians do not seem to appreciate the work we did. But corruption is still with us.

A young head of a parastatal, a lady, was recently arrested by the EFCC for stealing N37 billion. She also mentioned her supervising minister, another young lady, as her accomplice. As if that is not enough, the minister is also embroiled in another case of transferring a huge sum of public funds into a private account. You see, (he pauses) these young people.

They are not too young to do anything, including those things the adults have been doing with reckless abandon. The audience bursts into a prolonged laughter and the former president pauses, takes a long look at them and continues.

“On the removal of fuel subsidy, I must also commend the new administration for having the courage to take the hard decision. There are many benefits that have accrued to the nation, and for me personally, as I said a few weeks ago, I am pleased that fuel prices have gone up because it has reduced the number of people who visit me, and in addition, Nigerians are now learning to walk to their offices every day. It is good for them, jare! (More laughs)

“In conclusion, let me say that the nation is on the right path to recovery. Renew your hope, but continue to tighten your belts. Thank you very much for your attention.’’

A standing ovation. Some people are confused as the National Anthem rings out.