Buhari and Boko Haram

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Even the Boko Haram group knows that former head of state, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, is an honourable man, and thus named him in the list of those they wanted to lead the dialogue between them and the Federal Government. Buhari is popularly called Mai Gaskiya in the northern part of the country (meaning honest man, or man of integrity), and with all its anarchist inclinations, even Boko Haram knows it. Here’s a man of integrity, a honest man, who only needs to say the word, and we can take it to the bank. But do some Nigerians know?

With amusement, I watched some small-minded people rejoice and exult at the nomination of Buhari by Boko Haram, since they interpret it to mean that the Daura-born former head of state is one of the sponsors of the insurgent group. How shallow. Vacuous. Even asinine.

Without any shred of evidence, some Nigerians have simply decided to dub Buhari a Muslim bigot, and every attempt to convince them otherwise has been like water off a duck’s back. Tell them Buhari’s personal driver and cook are Christians, it falls on deaf ears. Add to it that one of the people Buhari respects most in the country is Gen. Theophilus Danjuma, a Christian, former Chief of Army Staff, and later Defence Minister, they block their ears with wax. And to further prove that he has no antipathy towards Christianity, remind them that Buhari picked a pastor and preacher as running mate in last year’s presidential elections.

Yet, the cynics and sceptics are not impressed. How else will Buhari convince the naysayers? I don’t see. And they were the ones rejoicing last week when Boko Haram nominated Mai Gaskiya to lead the ceasefire talks. The way they carried on, you would think they had unearthed vital evidence to prove that Buhari was, indeed, the sponsor of Boko Haram. Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has issued a statement that Buhari was not contacted, nor would he have anything to do with the proposed dialogue recommended to hold in Saudi Arabia. But the anti-Buhari forces were still bursting blood vessels, stamping their feet, spitting in the sky and collecting the spittle with their faces, saying the man was not fit to lead the talks.

Who will purge these people of their phobia for honesty? Who will deliver them from the gall and thrall of bitterness? Who will set them free from their self-inflicted bondage? Mai Gaskiya lives his life quietly, honestly, simply, yet they want to send themselves to premature graves, just because Boko Haram asked him to lead talks.

The balloons of the antagonists were finally deflated on Wednesday, when Gen. Buhari not only turned down the Boko Haram offer, but added that he did not know any member of the sect or “of any religion that will tell people to kill others and burn schools.” I am sure some people in government (and out of it) would have been happy if Buhari led the talks with Boko Haram. Not because it would engender peace in the country, mind you, but because it would justify what Sam Nda Isaiah of Leadership Newspaper calls “their pet fantasy.”

Yes, he is the brain behind Boko Haram, that is why they chose him to lead the talks, they would say. I like how Nda Isaiah further put it in his piece, ‘The Buhari I know.’ “The people around President Jonathan have, for long, been insinuating the nonsense about a link between some northern leaders and statesmen who have served the country in the past meritoriously and Boko Haram.

Because they were the sponsors of the Niger Delta insurgency, they believe that everyone must be like them.” Quite enlightening, isn’t it? Those who point fingers at Buhari as being Boko Haram sponsor were the ones behind the Niger Delta insurgency, so they are now using their standards to judge everyone else. Simpletons! Now we know where they are coming from. Daniel Elombah, in an article posted on the Internet under the headline, ‘This desperate attempt to link Buhari with Boko Haram,’ submitted that since the April 2011 elections, “there had been both overt and covert campaigns to tar Gen Buhari with the Boko Haram brush.” Waste of energy. Beating a dead horse, I say. Elombah asked pertinent questions about the olive branch waved by Boko Haram through one Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulazeez, who spoke on behalf of the sect last week. The germane posers are as follows: this purported spokesman had not hitherto been known to the media, how then can anyone be sure he is authentic? Two, he spoke in English, a language never known to have been used by Boko Haram spokesmen, who usually speak in Hausa, and use the name Abu this or Abu that. Three, Abdulazeez did not ask for the implementation of Sharia law across Nigeria, a long-term demand of the sect. Four, the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, had always disowned any idea of talks with the government through videos posted online. Is Shekau now part of this deal? Why not then come out to authenticate it? Elombah concluded: “In my view, whoever masterminded and concocted this announcement no doubt achieved his aim because all over the Internet and elsewhere, many Nigerians opined that this shows Buhari’s connection to the terrorists.” Well, people can believe whatever suits their fantasies, but it often does not change the truth. As Buddha said, “three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.” Or, as Winston Churchill declared: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” Despite what some people have decided about Buhari and his connection with Boko Haram, the truth remains the truth. And for me, my position is simple. I don’t see Buhari as Boko Haram sponsor, but let anyone show me unassailable evidence to the contrary, and I will apologize publicly on this page. Yes, I’m a Buhari-for-Life, but show me the slightest scintilla of evidence that he sponsors Boko Haram that has reportedly killed over 3,000 people in cold blood, and I will not only decamp, I will also cast the first stone. Now, to the crux of the matter. Should Buhari have led the talks with Boko Haram? I want the group to sheathe its sword. I want the wanton killings to stop. I’m tired of the boom of bombs. I’m weary of seeing people stream daily into a dark eternity. I want the hell that has enlarged itself against Nigerians to close up. But should Buhari have led the talks? In a sincere country, yes. But Nigeria is filled with too much insincere people. If Buhari led the talks, not all the perfumes in Arabia would have ever sweetened his reputation again. The cynics will say he was able to broker peace because he was the moving spirit behind the insurgency in the first place. Yes, we said it, he was the one behind Boko Haram all along, that was why they listened to him. And an innocent man would be tarred unjustly with the brush of infamy for life. Again, see the cocktail of attacks and bloodletting that followed the ceasefire proposal by Boko Haram last week, which probably confirms that the group is split right down the middle, or that the purported spokesman is an impostor. A civil war hero, Gen Mohammed Mamman Shuwa, was assassinated in Maiduguri. Boko Haram says it didn’t do it. So, who did? Question. The day after, four people, including two policemen were killed in Yobe. Who did it? Another four were killed in Bolori, Maiduguri. Whodunit? And the Joint Task Force (JTF) equally continues to kill the insurgents in their scores. Does dialogue appear to be in the offing with these scenarios? No. The whole matter may have to be re-approached with greater sincerity from both government and Boko Haram. But Nigerians are tired of tough talks from a government that is completely helpless and hapless before insurgents, just as we are equally fed up with unending stories of bombings and assassinations. For me, the naming of Buhari in the proposed negotiating team by Boko Haram was a plus, rather than minus. They wanted a man of honour, man of integrity, whose word is his bond. And who is that man? Mai Gaskiya. Gen. Buhari, a man of unimpeachable integrity and sincerity. Boko Haram knows this truth, but a lot of Nigerians don’t, and that is why they have always conspired to keep Buhari away from power. In Luke 19:42, Jesus Christ looked at Jerusalem, and lamented over the city: “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which pertain unto they peace. But now, they are hid from your eyes.” And I also lament over this country. If only Nigerians know what they have lost in Buhari’s leadership, the probity, the accountability, the integrity, the many salutary possibilities. But they don’t know, because it is hidden from their eyes. And the blindness is self-inflicted. Truly, there was a country.

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32 Comments

  1. Rev Fr Ekemgba Jude on

    I am one of those who believe that Nigeria and Nigerians are still wallowing in Ignorance. Buhari is a man of integrity. His days as the PTF cahirman still remiain untarnished. I strongly agree with you Femi

  2. Anyikwa felix ifeanyi on

    I have read series of articles on there was a country and since then always expect to see your unbiased view of there was a country but up till now have nt seen it to conclude my observations. If truly there was a country then i will like to read your master piece

  3. The Man Buhari is that man that the Country needs to put it in shape that have been the dream and aspiration of ordinary Nigerians.

    • I cannot see the essence of this piece. If it was intended to tell Nigerians about Buhari’s leadership, especially “the probity, the accountability, the integrity, the many salutary possibilities””, I can tell the writer that many Nigerians have never doubted that. The issue now is: Should the killings in the North and other part of Nigeria be allowed to continue? (The answer should be NO)! Will Nigerians be happy if Buhari’s efforts help to end the killings? (The answer should be YES)! Buhari has his name to protect, but I believe saving lives is FAR MORE IMPORTANT than that. (NB: Is there no “Abu” in “Abdulazeez”?

  4. Gbam,Femi ur a true Nigeria,as an igbo man,i strongly believed dat Buhari still remains de best tin we re still mising,soon,all d lies against him will crash.Mei Gaskiya,may God keep u.

  5. Not every bomb blast is a product of the Boko Haramists. Gen Azazi, a former National Security Adviser told the country that some of the bombings are a fallout of the breach of the “zoning formla” of the PDP. And didn’t the president say BH had infiltrated his govt? When will GEJ name the Haramists in govt? Every attempt to rubbish the name and integrity of Buhari shall and must fail! The country still needs him. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed not so much because of the evil of those people, but because of the absence of a handful of men of integrity and honor. Nigeria still needs Buhari, I repeat.

  6. YOU HAVE SAID IT ALL. MAI GASKIYA IS THE MAN.
    THIS IS REALLY A PLUS FOR HIM TO MOVE FORWARD. AT LEAST THEY ASKED FOR ONE MAN WITH INTEGRITY NOT MANY NIGERIANS WITH BIAS MIND.
    FEMI, KEEP IT UP. YOU ARE MY HERO.
    THANK YOU.

  7. Femi l disagree with U̶̲̥̅̊ on dis, did U̶̲̥̅̊ hear ur magaskiya after 2011 election wen he said dis country will be ungovernable for goodluck? Α̲̅Ω̴̩̩̩̥d̶̲̥̅̊ wen he also said dat come 2015 blood Α̲̅Ω̴̩̩̩̥d̶̲̥̅̊ water will flow bcos babooms Α̲̅Ω̴̩̩̩̥d̶̲̥̅̊ monkeys will suck those blood?

  8. IT’S UNFORTUNATE THAT THE NIGERIAN YOUTH IS VERY SHALLOW IN MANY WAYS, JUST LIKE THE EDUCATION SYSTEM HAS COLLAPSED SO ALSO OUR YOUTHS ARE IN TERMS OF ADEQUATE RESEARCH COLLAPSED . BUHARI RULED THIS NATION BETWEEN 1983—-1985. IT’S SUCH A SHORT TIME IN HISTORY FOR THOSE WHO WERE KIDS THEN TO READ ABOUT, SO THAT THEY COULD KNOW ABOUT THE ” ENIGMA” BUHARI . UNFORTUNATELY THE DUMMY SOLD BY OBASANJO ON BUHARI AS AN UNCOMFORMIST RELIGIOUS FANATIC, WHICH WAS SOLD TO DESTROY BUHARI IN AN ELECTION YEAR IS STILL MAKING THE ROUNDS 8 YEARS AFTER. AM SORRY FOR NIGERIANS WHO DO NOT KNOW THEIR ENEMIES. THE YOUTH SHOULD READ THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF NIGERIA SO THAT WE CAN DISCERN BETWEEN IDIOTS AND PATRIOTS THAT HAVE RULED THIS NATION. AS MIDDLE BELTER WE HAD A WRONG NOTION OF OJUKWU AS KIDS. HE WAS PAINTED AS EVIL BY WAR PROPAGANDIST, BUT WHEN I STARTED TO READ AND WRITE, I DECIDED TO READ BOOKS ON THE CIVIL WAR BY VARIOUS ACTORS AND CAME TO FIND OUT THAT OJUKWU RIGHTLY HAD A REASON TO GO TO WAR. THAT WAS A WAR OUR FATHERS FOUGHT TO CAPITULATE OJUKWU BUT I KNEW THEY FOUGHT WRONGLY. HISTORY WILL VINDICATE THE JUST.

  9. As usual, you are spot on……the problem of nigeria are the people themselves,not the leaders….at all levels….so a nation and its people got the leaders it deserves…..am sure that you have gone through so many of the comments, reactions and submissions of people since this story of boko haram readiness for a truce and the conditions came up and i think that is what prompted your SENSIBLE and REASONABLE missive,,,,i always marvel at the blindness,deafness,dumbness and senselessness of many nigerians arising from poverty,sentiments and lack of understanding..i did not believe for once that the proposed truce was from the original boko haram[as we have many of them now and it makes the issue more complex]..and a critical assessment of their conditions and demands further confirms my disbelief…the most important one which you clearly treated is the listing of BUHARI as one the mediators,,,head or tail…it is meant to discredit the tested and trusted general….thank God he declined the TIME BOMB because GEJ and his untrustworthy gang would have used it against him..now and in the future…to further blackmail him and GOD FORBID finish him in any way including assassination….because THEY knew clearly that he is the only one that has the credentials to confront GEJ come 2015…if the intention of GEJ AND HIS COHORTS is to continue using the boko haram[a very small percentage of the myriad of problems facing beloved nation]to discredit buhari,the north and islamic religion..i think he is gradually losing it…and his supporters through YOU..FEMI and so many reasonable people of the pen and ink …..the REAL TRUTH will come out one day….i hope it is VERY SOON….tnx sir for saying it the way it is……

  10. @ Anyikwa Felix Ifeanyi, I honestly will not advice d@ uncle Femi writes any piece on THERE WAS A COUNTRY. You know why? Please just read Luke 20:1-8 & see for yourself d wisdom the Lord Jesus employed in an exact condition you are placing Femi; sentiments & prejudice are hard to cure even much more than ignorance.
    However, on d issue @ hand, I think it takes a mai gaskiya to defend another- Uncle Femi, you are d best

  11. Boko Haram, by nominatimg Buhari as the head of its ‘negotiating team,’was implying that he(Buhari) knows the terrorist group’s sponsors even if he may not be one of the sponsors himself. If not, why didn’t the group nominate,say. Alex Ekwueme or Olusegun Obasanjo, who could be deemed neutral parties in Boko Haram-Federal Government face-off? The only reason it nominated Buhari was because he (Buhari), shares their fundamentalist philosophy.

  12. How do u expect the best and the most sincere man to rule us when the few thieves still want to glue themselves to power by all means.

  13. D fact is, since d Nigerian couldn’t find out dat Gen Buhari was d man behind Boko Haram wit all d security agencies at dia disposal and subsidy money makes d Fed Gov fail flat. But even if BH truthfully list Gen Buhari to lead d dialogue, it is bcos of his integrity and honesty. Period. D same thing Niger Delta saw in d person of Prof Wole Soyinka wen dey asked to dialogue 4 dem. As a Niger Deltan, I can bet 4 Buhari and wouldn’t lost a second of sleep. Oil thief thief make ona kill Buhari bcos eno corrupt. ‘Indeed dia was a country’. Pls Femi don’t write ur opinion about ‘dia was a country’ bcos u dey make me and my wifey friday enjoyable.

  14. Haba! Ejike cant you reflect? Somebody whose cooks and driver are christians can still be a religious bigot? Learn to be objective in your reasons ok!

  15. They thought they can soil Buhari’s name by falsely link him to Boko Haram issue but the drama only exposes PDP culpability in Boko Haram insurgency.Buhari remains oneof the very few detribalised,honest,religiously tolerant,politically pragmatic,selfless and incorruptible nigeria.

  16. Buhari is one man every body should be given a chance to lead this country. No sentiment, no ethnocentrism, no religious bigotry.
    If people like OBJ can be sellected to rule this country, why not level the ground for the people’s choice to be.
    As an Igboman i have always voted for Buhari.

  17. He might employ christian as cooks and driver, He still have skeleton in his cupboard. Why should he call fire and blood if loosed election. See Romney congratulated Obama b4 day break. He said he will make Jonathan govt ungovernable if he lost the election. Recently on Ekwueme’s birthday interview if he is not a tribalistic why should he detain Ekwueme at kirikiri and placed Shagari under house arrest at Kaduna. Why shouldn’t he campaign at southern states during last election.

  18. You are spot on Femi,Buhari is an honest man everybody who know him from Adam can attest to that;only those who stand truth on its head will continue to be in denial. A president Buhari more than any other ruler would have exterminated this murderous boko haram by now,and thats the truth. Majority of those who hate Buhari are ignorant,corrupt or both,and they are mainly political jobbers and disgruntled individuals.

  19. Christian Tobechi on

    Why you are an apostle of so called buhari that truncated the civilian government Obasanjo arranged still baffles me, since U are his advocate, advice him to respect him self, retire from politics and become elder statesman and stop embarrasing him self.

  20. When I told my uncle who is a Professor about Buhari in the build up of 2011, he dismissed him with a wave of the hand. But few months after the election, he started biting his fingers in regret. He has called me severally to complain how I warned him about GEJ’s candidature, but he wouldn’t listen. My uncle was overtaken by ethnic sentiment when they said GEJ is Igbo(afterall his names are Azikwe and Ebele). If the truth must be told, those who are calling Buhari a religious bigot are only overtaken by ignorance, sheer sentiment and religious fanacticism itself. They are bigots of the first order.

  21. U do err. Wat ‘ve u seen in buhari ‘the evil genus’? d fanatist/bigot? Wit immature unguided tongues promising ungovenable situation 4 Naija? and bld sheds when he looses 2015 election. does it mean if he does not rule den human race should be cleared or what.( No wonder these suspicious xteristics give an impression of connection wit d BH Sect) dis is dat ur so called ‘mai gaskiya.’ d righteous should be xterised by 4giveness, love,etc. We should learn 2 portray a good image of our religion by our words, thaughts and action. Femi, advice maigaskiya 2 retire and let us have new people entirely on power. What did buhari leave at d villa 2 go back and pack by hook or by crook? Let us stop insinuating and find a better option 4 a better Nigeria.

  22. Once upon a time….story! story!!. story!!!.The innocent blood that has been wasted in this country will surely judge,simple.

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