One thing that Mohammadu Buhari’s handlers successfully shoved down the throat of Nigerians in 2015 was that Buhari has integrity; that he is incorruptibly upright. Somehow, Nigerians, for some inexplicable reasons, swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Nigerians did not look beyond their noses; they made no reference to history: they did not look back to 1984 when Buhari was the military Head of State to know who Buhari really is. For his record then was to be a powerful indicator of the tenor of his presidency. After all, a leopard cannot ever shed its colour.
The dictionary defines integrity as, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”. In the above definition of integrity, honesty is as a key word. Honesty is synonymous with integrity; it is the doppelganger of integrity. Buhari’s antecedent has not, in any way, reflected integrity and honesty. For example, his school certificate saga impugned his integrity. It was most disgraceful; it dramatized his insincerity and totally discredited him. From 2015 till date, the debate on whether or not Buhari has a West African School Certificate remains inconclusive. And the document he produced as his secondary school transcripts is suspect. Many believe that it is totally fabricated, or, at the least, doctored. Instead of producing credible evidence that he has a certificate or its equivalent, President Buhari flooded the courthouse with SANs to stall any further inquisition. Thus, till date, Nigerians cannot attest that their president has a school certificate or its equivalent.
In addition to his dishonesty, Mohammadu Buhari has proven himself a terrible president; his presidency has been a disaster for Nigeria. It has resulted to pervasive poverty and economic misery, heightened ethno-religious strife, trivialization of human life, and worsening official corruption. For a man that ran for the presidency four times prior to his election, Nigerians were surprised that he had not in the process identified possible capable hands he can work with when elected president. It took him six months to put together a cabinet that was not in any way distinguished, just a hodgepodge of political jobbers, old hands and mediocre minds. That was the first telltale sign of Buhari incompetence and cluelessness. It should have then been obvious to Nigerians that Buhari presidency was to be a four-year unmitigated catastrophe.
There is evidence that Nigeria became progressively more corrupt under President Buhari. The Transparency International recently ranked Nigeria more corrupt than during the Goodluck Jonathan presidency. Ostensibly, he is fighting corruption, but his administration has demonstrated that it is more corrupt than any other prior Nigerian administration. His handlers are painstakingly trying to project him as a man of honor, he pontificates as a model of incorruptibility, and his administration hounds corrupt members of the opposition. Yet, Buhari has shown unbridled tolerance for corruption within his administration and among his cronies. Not surprisingly, the Buhari administration is doing a terrible job in its fight against corruption because what you do not have, you cannot give.
His presidency worsened all our societal problems, for example: ethno-religious violence, corruption, poverty (Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world); insecurity; etc. Of all the evil brought about and/or compounded by Buhari’s misrule, the most disturbing for Nigerians and most perilous for the country is the mass murder of the innocent by Fulani herdsmen in central and southern Nigeria. Buhari is an Islamic fundamentalist that does not dissemble his commitment to the Sharia penal code and Fulani expansionism. Not surprisingly, his coming to power emboldened the Fulani herdsmen; they started operating with new found audacity and viciousness. The Buhari administration has acquiesced, and in some instances, sponsored the herdsmen’s murderous binges. Unlike in the past when farmers and herdsmen slugged over farmland and grazing routes with clubs and machetes, the herdsmen are now armed with sophisticated high powered rifles, and have taken to killing off the entire population of farming communities, burn down entire communities, seize and occupy these communities and even rename them. His government refused to protect these farming Christian communities targeted by the herdsmen or arrest and prosecute the herdsmen and their sponsors.
Suddenly, just a few months before the presidential election, the murderous rampage of the Fulani herdsmen came to a halt. They temporarily suspended their killings of hapless men, women and children and raping of women; the burning of farming villages and forceful eviction of all their inhabitants; their seizure of these villages and giving them Fulani names. This is politically expedient; they do not want to ruin the prospects of Buhari’s re-election. After Buhari’s re-election, the herdsmen will once again reemerge for the second phase of Fulani expansionism. They will renew their attacks on Christian communities in central and southern Nigeria. They will continue with their rape of women, young and old; mass-murder of innocent men, women and children; destruction of entire communities and displacement of their inhabitants; and the confiscation of their land.
The re-election of Buhari will be most regrettable for Nigeria. His second term will be one of the most violent, divisive, and bloody episode of Nigerian history. One of the major limitations of democracy is that it does not guarantee the election of good leaders; it only makes possible the removal of bad leaders. President Buhari is an extremely bad president. It is exhilarating that we Nigerians reserve the constitutional right to remove Buhari on the 16th of February 2019. And this we must do with our vote to forestall the evil that will befall Nigeria if Buhari is re-elected.
Lloyd F. Ukwu
Ukwu, an international lawyer, writes from Washington DC. Contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org