PRESIDENT BUHARI PROFILE – SHORT LIFE HISTORY OF BUHARI FROM BIRTH TILL 2017
President Buhari Early life
President Buhari is from the northern part of Nigeria called Katsina. He belongs to the ethnic group in Nigeria referred to as Fulani. His parents are Adamu his father and Zulaihat his mother. He was born on 17 December 1942 in Daura, Katsina State. Sadly, his father died when he was four years old, hence his hard working mother Zulaihat trained him into the man he is today.
Education is not something very popular in Northern Nigeria especially during the time he was born, however, Muhammadu Buhari had formal education. It appears he had his primary education at different places and schools. He went to primary school at Daura and Mai’adua. Later concluded is primary education at Katsina Model School in 1953. President Buhari did his secondary education at Katsina Provincial Secondary School which is now known as Government College Katsina from 1956 to 1961.
President Buhari Wives and Children
Safinatu Buhari is the name of his first wife. He married her in 1971. She was the First Lady when Muhammadu Buhari became the military president of Nigeria from 1983 to 1985. She had five children for President Buhari, four girls and one boy. The name of their children are, Zulaihat, Fatima, Must, Hadiza and Safinatu. Buhari divorce Safinatu in 1988 after he came out from political detention.
The second and current wife of President Buhari is Aisha Buhari (nee Halilu). They were blessed with five children together also – a boy and four girls. The name of the children are Aisha, Halima, Yusuf, Zahra and Amina.
Muhammadu Buhari Life in the Nigerian Army
President Buhari later in life became interested in joining the Nigerian Army. To actualize his desire and dream, he enrolled in the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) which was later renamed the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1961. President Buhari continued his military education at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, England for one year (1962 – 1963).
After his military education, he got the rank of a second lieutenant and appointed Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta, Nigeria in January 1963. In order to upgrade in his military capabilities, Muhammadu Buhari attended the Platoon Commanders’ Course at the Nigerian Military Training College located in Kaduna. This took place from November 1963 to January 1964. In 1964, he travelled back to the United Kingdom to upgrade his military knowledge by studying the Mechanical Transport Officer’s Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden.
He served as commander of the Second Infantry Battalion when he returned from the UK from 1965 to 1967. Later President Buhari became Brigade Major, Second Sector, First Infantry Division in April 1967 to July 1967.
Muhammadu Buhari and Military Coup in Nigeria
President Buhari was among the Nigerian army that took part in the July 1966 Counter – Coup. The Counter Coup was led by Lt-Col Murtala Muhammed. It was a very bloody coup. It lead to the murder of mostly Igbo officers like General Aguiyi Ironsi. Colonel Adekunle Fajuyi, the military governor of the Western Region was also killed in the coup.
The Nigerian civil war was fought from 6 July 1967 to 15 January 1970. During the Nigerian civil war, President Buhari was with the 1st Division of the Nigerian army. At the time, this was under the command of Lt. Col Muhammed Shuwa. The 1st Division is made up of what is termed Sectors and Battalions. He was the Adjutant and Company Commader 2 Battalion unit, Second Infantry of the 1st Division. The Battalion of President Buhari was one of the units that took part in the first actions of the civil war. His unit captured Ogoja in a heated fight that lasted for a week. Ogoja was strategic in the sense that they saw it as a good location to launch an attack on Enugu, the capital of Biafra. Before his troops which he commanded could advance to Enugu, he got a transfer to Nsukka as Brigade Major of the 3rd Infantry Brigade which was under the charge of Joshua Gin and later, Isa Bukar. Buhari’s stay here was for a few months. In 1968, he was transferred to Awka to the 4 Sector. This Sector fought within the Awka-Abagana-Onitsha region. Their aim was to capture Onitsha. This region where Buhari’s unit was operating was very important to the Biafrans. The reason was that food supply to the Biafrans and their forces passes through that route. Being a life-line for the Biafrans, they were ready to die than allow Buhari’s unit pose a big trouble to them there. As a result, as written by Momoh in his book, “The Nigerian Civil War, 1967 – 1970: history and reminiscences”, The group of President Buhari suffered a lot of casualties trying to prevent food supply to the Biafran army and their people along Oji River and Abagana.
President Buhari and July 1975 Military Coup
The 1975 military coup was targeted to remove General Yakubu Gowon from the seat of power as the military president of Nigeria. It was led by Colonels Ibrahim Taiwo, Joseph Garba, Abdulahi Muhammed, Anthony Ochefu, Lieutenant Colonels Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, Ibrahim Babangida and Alfred Aduloju. Muhammadu Buhari was among the military officers who executed the coup and succeeded.
Muhammadu Buhari as Governor of North Eastern State
Muahmmadu Buhari has had his fair share of leadership role in Nigeria. He became governor of the North-Eastern State from 1 August 1975 to 3 February 1976. He was also appointed by General Murtala Mohammed for a short time as governor of Borno state from 3 February 1976 to 15 March 1976.
Muhammadu Buhari Federal Commissioner Petroleum and Natural Resources
General Olusegun Obasanjo, the president of Nigeria at the time, appointed Muhammadu Buhari as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources. This took place in March 1976. He was also appointed the chairman of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation from 1977 to 1978. It was during his time as the Chairman of NNPC that 2.8 billion Naira went missing from the accounts of NNPC. Jedrzej Georg Frynas wrote in “Oil in Nigeria (Politics and Economics in Africa)” about the missing money. According to him, “This followed evidence from an US accountancy firm that some 2.8 billion Naira (roughly US $4billion) had not been accounted for by the bank records of the NNPC. The Irikefe Tribunal, which investigated the matter, even failed to summon Generals Buhari and Obasanjo who were responsible for supervising the NNPC and controlled oil sales during the period in question.” Another writer, Uko Ndaeyo in december 2003 in “Romancing the Gun: The Press as Promoter of Military Rule”, wrote, “Buhari’s Decree 4, which led to his overthrow, was seen by Nigerians as an attempt to prevent the press from digging into a scandal which he was supposed to have known something about: the mysterious disappearance of the huge sum of N2.8 billion from the NNPC while it was under his supervision.” What happened to the money ? Up to this very moment no one can tell. Hopefully someday the truth will come out.
It is worth mentioning that there was a Justice Ayo Irikefe Crude Oil Sales Tribunal of Inquiry set up to investigate the allegation of the N2.8 billion misappropriation from the NNPC account. Like many other political tribunals in Nigeria, the tribunal did not indict anybody. It also found no truth in the allegations. However, this is where the thing gets confusing. The tribunal recognizes some lapses in the NNPC accounts. The question that have not been answered is, “who stole the money ?” . Somebody was in charge during the period. If the mess is to be investigated properly without prejudice, somebody could be caught. But who is ready to do that ?
When Buhari was the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, he built about 21 petroleum storage depots in different place in the country. He constructed a pipeline network which connected Bonny terminal and the Port Harcourt refinery to the depots. He signed the contract to construct a refinery in Kaduna. During is tenure also, a contract to construct an oil pipeline that would connect the Escravos oil terminal to Warri Refinery and the proposed Kaduna refinery was signed.
Muhammadu Buhari Chadian Military Affair
The Chadian military forces invaded Borno State, which is part of Nigeria in 1983. It was Buhari and the forces which he commanded that chased the Chadian forces out of Nigeria.
Muhammadu Buhari and December 1983 Military Coup
President Shehu Shagari, a democratically elected president, was overthrown by a military coup in 1983. Major General Buhari took part in this coup. As a result of this coup, Nigeria’s 2nd Republic came to an abrupt end. President Buhari became the Military president of Nigeria. Tunde Idiagbon became the Chief of General Staff who was the number two man in Buhari’s administration. The reason President Buhari gave for the coup was that the civilian government was corrupt. He said he took power to correct the economic decline of Nigeria. If he succeeded in improving the Nigerian economy is a question that one can ask without a positive answer. When Buhari became the Military ruler, like most Military rulers who took power through coup, he suspended Nigeria’s 1979 constitution. Military governments rule by decree not by constitution. President Buhari was the military head of state from 1983 – 1985.
Economic Policy of Muhammadu Buhari as Military President of Nigeria.
One of the reasons President Buhari gave for ousting out of power the democratically elected government of Shehu Shagari was that the economy of the country was not being well-managed. When he (Buhari) became the military head of state, he developed and implemented some economic policies. The economic policies were as follows:
i. Removing or cutting back the excesses in national expenditure.
ii. Fighting against corruption
iii. Emphasising self employment as against public sector employment.
iv. Encouraged import substitution industrialisation.
v. Encouraged the use of local materials.
vi. He tightened importation of materials which caused some company to suffer from shortage of raw materials. Hence many companies operated below capacity. Many jobs were loss and many businesses closed down.
vii. He broke ties with IMF because they wanted him to devalue the Naira by 60%.
viii. Currency Change.
ix. He announced 1984 budget with series of complementary measures:-
a.) A temporary ban on recruiting federal public sector workers
b.) Raising of interest rates
c.) Halting capital projects
d.) Prohibition of borrowing by State governments
e.) 15% cut from Shagari’s 1983 budget.
f.) Realignment of import duties.
g.) Reducing the balance of payment deficit by cutting imports.
h.) It also gave priority to the importation of raw material and spare parts that were needed for agriculture and industry.
Despite his economic policies, inflation went up and food prices rose as well.
Buhari ‘s Foreign Policy as Military Head of State
Muhammadu Buhari did not change the foreign policy he inherited from his predecessor, Shehu Shagari. He maintained Nigeria’s diplomatic relations with all countries that Nigeria had international relationship with. Also, he maintained the diplomatic relationship Nigerian had with international organisations like OAU, UN, OPEC, ECOWAS and the Commonwealth of Nations. He promised to honour all treaty and agreements signed by the previous governments. He also had a good international relationship with Africa countries especially those that have same border with Nigeria.
Buhari’s War on Corruption as Millitary Head of State
His regime as the military head of state has its notable signature. That is his fight against corruption. While he was in office for 20 months, as obtained in Wikipedia, about 500 politicians, officials and businessmen were jailed for corruption. Those who were arrested were released after forfeiting the money they stole to the government and agreeing to meet certain conditions.
A popular story about his fight against corrupt politicians is the story of Umaru Dikko. Umaru Dikko was a former Minister of Transportation under Shagari administration. Buhari’s administration accused him of stealing $1 billion in oil profits. His administration chased him to London where he was in hiding, and wanted to smuggle him out of London to Nigeria in a plastic bag hidden inside a crate labeled as, “Diplomatic Baggage”. Umaru Dikko was fortunate to survive that “official kidnapping” due to the intervention of the British airport officers.
In his fight against corruption, Buhari enacted three decrees to investigate corruption and control foreign exchange. They are:
i. The Banking Decree of 1984.
The banking decree of 1984 gave the government power to freeze bank accounts of people who are suspected to be fraudsters.
ii. The Recovery of Public Property decree.
This allowed the government to investigate assets of public officials who are linked with corruption. A military tribunal is created to try such persons.
iii. The Exchange Control Decree.
This decree states penalties against those who violated foreign exchange laws.
Muhammadu Buhari War Against Indiscipline (WAI)
Buhari’s war against indiscipline was launched 20 March 1984. It was aimed at improving the way people do things in the society. This is targeted at the general society due to lack of public morality and civic responsibility of the Nigerian society. At the bus stops, people were expected to form queues and not rush and fight to get into the bus. Civil servants were expected to be early to work if they don’t want to be subjected to the humiliating punishment of doing frog jump. Students above 17 years caught in examination malpractice would spend 21 years in jail. Death penalty are unleashed to those who commit crimes like counterfeiting and arson.
These for sure are very hash rules. It is good to instill discipline in the society. It is good to have punishment for those who break the laws of the country and those who commit one crime and the other. However, the punish given should not be more than the crime committed. Virtue they say is in the middle.
53 Suitcases Saga
In 10 June, 1984, the Emir of Gwandu brought in 53 suitcases into the country from Saudi Arabia. Up to this very day, the contents of the suitcases are not known because he went through the Nigerian customs without inspection. Why ? His son was Buhari’s aide-de-camp. This is an issue of the rules does not apply to everyone. Buhari’s government preached war against indiscipline. However, some people seemed to be given special treatment by the government. They appeared to be above the law because of their closeness to the government.
Human rights under Buhari’s military rule
In 1984, Buhari enacted a Decree which gave power to the state security and the chief of staff to detain without charges anyone believed to be a security risk to the state. The persons could be detained for up to three months. Strikes and demonstrations were not allowed.
Critics of the government were jailed. Fela Kuti a popular Nigerian music artist was a victim to this. Fela Kuti under Decree Number 2, was arrested on 4 September 1984 at the airport when he was preparing to fly out of the country for his American music tour. He was accused of illegally exporting foreign currency. As a result, he was sentenced to five years in prison. Fela Kuti was released later after spending 18 months in jail. He was only released because Buhari was no longer in power. His government was overthrew by another military coup headed by Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda.
The Protection Against False Accusations Decree was enacted by Buhari in 1984. This is the popular Decree known as Decree Number 4. This was regarded as the most repressive press law ever in Nigeria. Section 1 states, “Any person who publishes in any form, whether written or otherwise, any message, rumour, report or statement which is false in any material particular or which brings or is calculated to bring the Federal Military Government or the Government of a state or public officer to ridicule or disrepute, shall be guilty of an offense under this Decree.” Journalists and publishers who go against this decree are tried in an open military tribunal. The ruling of the tribunal is final and cannot be appealed in any court. Those who at the end of the trial were found guilt were to pay a fine not less and N10,000 and a jail sentence of up to two years. Unfortunate two Nigerian journalist working for The Guardian Newspaper, Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor suffered the blunt of this decree.
Buhari was very tough on crimes. He was ready to bend the law to favor his execution of those he believes have committed grievous crimes. At 11.00am on Wednesday April 10 , 1985, Buhari ordered the execution of three young men, Bartholomew Owoh (26) (Brother of Nkem Owoh Nollywood artist), Lawal Akanni Ojulope (30) and Bernard Ogedegbe (29). They were executed by firing squad at Kirikiri prison, Lagos. These men and one other woman by name Gladys Caroline Inyama, were convicted by Justice Adebayo Desalu military tribunal for breaking the law of Decree Number 20 of Buhari. Section 3 (2) (k) of this decree states that, “any person who, without lawful authority deals in, sells, smokes or inhales the drug know as cocaine or other similar drugs, shall be guilty under section 6 (3) (K) of an offence and liable on conviction to suffer death sentence by firing squad.” The problem in the case of the three young men was that this decree was applied wrongly to them retroactively. They were caught before the decree was promulgated. No body is supporting what they did. But it was not right for the decree to be used against them.
In 1985, Muhammadu Buhari expelled about 700,000 foreign expatriates from Nigeria. Most of them are from neighboring African countries like Ghana, Niger, Chad and Cameroun. They came into Nigeria for a better life. They were attracted to Nigeria due to the oil boom in the 1970’s. Buhari expelled them from Nigeria because he believes they were the cause of the economic problem Nigeria was facing then. And he believes they were the involved in the rising rate of crimes in the society. How true this is cannot be proved. However, somebody not the government must take the blame for what Nigeria was going through at the time. The easiest escape goat are the foreigners. So Buhari expelled them with little money to take away. As reported by The New York Times at the time, “Reporters at the western border with Benin today said Nigerian customs officials were searching the departing foreigners closely and refusing to let them carry out more than the 20 Naira, or $17.65, allowed by law. ” The New York Times stated also that the reason some came to Nigeria was, “… to escape drought and the threat of famine in their home countries.”
Muhammadu Buhari 1985 Coup and Detention
Buhari was ousted from power by a military coup led by General Ibrahim Babangida and other members of the ruling Supreme Military Council. Babangida claimed that the reason for the coup was that Buhari failed to solve the country’s economic problems. According to him, the country’s problem was due to Buhari’s mismanagement and corruption.
General Ibrahim Babangida, now the military president of Nigeria, detained Buhari in a small guarded bungalow in Benin, Nigeria for three years. He was released 1988. While in prison, he had access to television that showed only two channels. He had access to the members of his family also. However his family were allowed to see him only when Babangida authorized them.
Muhammadu Buhari Civilian Life After Detention
Life in Katsina
After he was released from detention in December 1988, he went into farming. He married a new wife, Aisha Halilu and divorced his first wife. He also became the pioneer chairman of Katsina Foundation that founded to encourage social and economic development in Katsina State.
Buhari as Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF)
General Sani Abacha, a military president of Nigeria made Buhari the chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund in March 21, 1995. The PTF was created by Sani Abacha to save excess revenue from sales of Petroleum which will be used for social and infrastructural projects. The Fund started with an initial capital of about N60 billion Naira in 1996. Its mandates were to rehabilitate roads and waterways, educational and health institutions, providing textbooks and stationary, procuring essential drugs and vaccines, providing water supply systems, reviving crumbling agricultural sectors, connecting outlying areas to the national electricity grid, extending railways and telecommunications and ensuring consistent food supply.
Jason Pini in a report he wrote titled, “Developtment: PTF –Shining in the Gloom,” praised the PTF under Buhari for its transparency, calling it a rare “success story”.
Presidential Campaigns and Elections
1. Buhari was the presidential candidate for ANPP (All Nigeria People’s Party) in 2003. He and other presidential nominees for other parties ran against the incumbent president, Olusegun Obasanjo. They all lost to Obasanjo. Buhari came second behind Obasanjo trailing him behind by a margin of more than 11 million votes. Buhari contested the election in the Election Tribunal up to the Supreme Court of Nigeria. However, the courts ruled against him.
2. In 2007, Buhari re-contested for the presidential election. He lost to the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Umaru Yar’Adua who came from the same town and ethnic group with him. He lost again in this election. Yar’Adua won the election. And like the last election, he contested the election to the Election Tribunal and up to the Supreme Court and lost every case. When his part, ANPP agreed to join the PDP government of Yar’Adua, Buhari denounced the agreement.
3. In 2011, he ran again for the presidential election. However, this time he was the presidential candidate for Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) party. He left ANPP and with some other persons founded CPC. In this election, he ran against people like President Goodluck Jonathan the incumbent president and candidate for People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and Ibrahim Shekarau of ANPP. He lost to Goodluck Jonathan of PDP. Goodluck Jonathan had 22,495,187 vote while Buhari had 12,214,853 votes. He also contested the votes. He was very angry that he lost and was quoted to state that, “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood”.
4. Buhari contested the 2015 presidential election. He is not giving up in trying to be president. The incumbent president and the candidate for PDP, the ruling party was President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. This time he ran for the new formed party All Progressive Congress (APC). APC was an amalgamation of many other smaller parties like CPC, ANPP, part of APGA and so on to match the power of incumbency and wide spread political connections of PDP. PDP had a very a strong political base all over the country and no other smaller party can equal or challenge them for this. So the sensible thing was for the smaller parties to merge. This was the motivating factor for the formation of APC. The prominent figures for the amalgamation was Muhammadu Buhari and Bola Tinubu among others.
Buhari this time won the election. Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent president and the presidential candidate for PDP called him and congratulated him for his victory. It was a first ever in the history of Nigeria for an incumbent president to lose an election and concede to his opponent. Many Nigerians thanked Jonathan for being humble and setting a good precedence in Nigeria’s political history. Buhari was sworn in as the new president of Nigeria 29 May 2015.
Buhari as Nigeria’s Democratically Elected President
Buhari’s presidency was welcomed by economic down turn in Nigeria. Not long after he became president, Nigeria went into recession. Before he came into office, there were already signs that the economy of the country was going down. The reason was the sharp decline of the price of Crude Oil from above $100 a barrel to as low below $40 per barrel. Since Nigeria’s economy is mainly dependent on the money from crude oil, it is inevitable that this would impact on the country economically. Oil and gas account for more than 90% of Nigeria’s export revenues and Nigeria relies on them for 70% of her fiscal revenues as reported by the Financial Times.
Though the decline of the economy may not be blamed on Buhari, his government policies made matter worse. Martin Patience, a BBC Nigeria correspondent wrote, “The slump in global oil prices has hit Nigeria hard. The government depends on oil sales for about 70% of its revenues. But critics say government policies made a bad situation even worse.”
Muhammadu Buhari’s government was met by a chronic shortage of dollar. Since the price of Crude oil plummet uncontrollably, it is inevitable that the consequence for the Nigerian economy is shortage of Forex. Due to the shortage, Central Bank of Nigeria in 2015 introduced restriction on Forex for the importation of 41 items. The items included rice, Indian incense, foreign bonds, toothpicks, furniture, rubber, soap, private jets, plastics, margarine, palm, meat and meat products.
Others are poultry, eggs, fish, head pans, steel drums, steel pipes, wire rods, wooden doors, wood fibre, enamel, wares, clothes, tiles, textiles woven fabrics and the likes. CBN put this restriction to encourage locally produced products as well as conserve Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
This came with its troubles. According to The Economist, “Factory bosses complain they cannot import raw materials such as chemicals and fret that, if this continues, they may have to shut down. Many have turned to the black market to obtain dollars, and are doubtless smuggling in some of the goods that have been banned.”
Buhari’s presidency experienced decline in the value of the Naira. At a time the Dollar and Naira exchange rate peaked at $1 to N500. First in Nigeria’s history. The Financial Times described the Naira in April 2 2015, as “the third-worst performer in Africa.” There was a gulf between the official exchange rate and the black market exchange rate.
The administration of Buhari and the Central Bank of Nigeria were to blame for this. They did not handle this as they should. They tried to artificially manage the Naira instead of allowing the market determine the currency value naturally. They pegged the official exchange rate at $1 to N197. In January 30, 2016, an article referring to this was published in The Economist. It reads, “Instead of letting the Naira depreciate to reflect the country’s loss of purchasing power, Mr Buhari’s government is trying to keep it aloft.” Paul Wallace in 20 June 2017 writing in Bloomberg draws our attention to the currency peg and its consequence, “A year after Nigeria scrapped a currency peg that sent foreign investors fleeing, it’s still battling to entice them back.”
Buhari’s regime experienced the spike of inflation in Nigeria. To help you understand this immense rise within about two years, the inflation of Nigeria in 2014 ranged between 7% to 8% in average. The Guardian online news reported in 14 January, 2015, “Analysis of figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBC) all through 2014, indicated that in February, the rate of inflation stood at 7.7% down from 8.0% in January, whereas in March, it jumped slightly higher to 7.8%.”
Buhari became president in early 2015. A year after he became president, Nigeria experienced over 90% rise in inflation. According to BBC in 31 August 2016, “Nigeria, which vies with South Africa for the mantle of Africa’s biggest economy, is also battling an inflation rate at an 11 year high of 17.1% in July. ”
The first two years during Buhari’s presidency was not good news for Nigeria’s economy. During the time of President Goodluck Jonathan his predecissor, Nigeria became the largest economy in Africa overtaking South Africa that was number one initially. BBC in 6 April 2014 confirmed this good news, “Nigeria has ‘rebased’ its gross domestic product (GDP) data, which has pushed it above South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy.”
It was sad news to Nigerians after Buhari took power, Nigeria lost this number one position. BBC also wrote about it in 11 August 2016, “South Africa has regained the title of Africa’s largest economy, two years after Nigeria rebased its GDP to claim the spot, according to IMF data.”
Anti – corruption
Buhari’s administration is very strong in tackling the scorge of corruption in the country. When he came into power, EFCC (Economic and Financial Crime Commission) that seems to be dormant during Goodluck Jonathan regime came alive. Past corrupt government ministers were arrested and tried in court. For instance, former defence minister Bello Haliru Mohammed who served under Jonathan and his Son, Bello Abba Mohammed , was charged with money laundering and criminal breach of trust over 300 million Naira (£1 million pound). It was alleged they diverted funds meant for the procurement of arms through the office of the National Security Adviser in March 2015.
In 21 December 2016, the government’s Federal Ministry of Finance introduced a whistle-blowing policy with a 2.5% – 5% reward. The reason this was introduced was to obtain relevant data or information regarding:
i. The violation of financial regulations
ii. The mismanagement of public funds and assets
iii. Financial malpractice
Niger Delta – Niger Delta Avengers
Buhari’s regime was met with the rise of a militant group in the Niger Delta. The name of the group is Niger Delta Avengers. They frequently attacked oil facilities by blowing them up. Their action had huge negative impact in Nigeria’s oil production. It slashed Nigeria’s oil production by as much as half. Nigeria lost about $4.8 billion and more.
It is believed this group rose for a greater economic and political autonomy of the Niger Deltans. However, some saw it that they came out because Muhammadu stopped paying the ex-militants in the region what was agreed upon in the past when there were many Niger Delta militants in the Creek blowing up pipe lines. Osinbanjo, the Vice President of Nigeria had series of meetings and negotiations with the group and elders of the Niger Delta. It was a success because the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers stopped.
Boko Haram and Chibok girls
Before Muhammadu Buhari became Nigeria’s president, Boko Haram had captured and seized many Nigerian territories in the North East. Boko Haram is an Islamist extremist terrorist group. They displaced about 2 million people from their homes. Some young girls known as the Chibok girls were kidnapped and taken into hiding by the group while they were in school. The group slaughtered anyone who does not agree with their ideology.
When Buhari came into power, all the captured territories were taken from the extremist group. After the capture of Sambisa Forest, the main fortress of the group, Buhari announced that Boko Haram has been technically defeated. In October 2016, the government negotiated with the terrorist group which lead to the release of 21 Chibok girls. Furthermore, in 6 May 2017, the government secured the release of more 82 out of the 276 girls kidnapped in 2014. These girls were exchanged for five Boko Haram leaders. And in 7 May, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari met with the 82 released girls.
Buhari Health Problem
Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency for the past two years since he was inaugurated as the president of Nigeria has experienced serious distraction due to his poor health. His poor health has not allowed him to be effective as he should be and I believe as he would like to. It is unfortunate. Poor health is not something anyone would wish for oneself. Sadly, poor health I think most of the times is not something we choose but comes to us without permission.
In May 2016, President Buhari was supposed to pay a two days visit to Lagos to inaugurate projects in the state, however he could not go due to his poor health. He sent the Vice President, Osinbanjo to represent him. We were told he could not go because he had an “ear infection.”
Femi Adesina, the president’s Spokesman boasted in June that President Buhari is “as fit as a fiddle” as well as “hale and hearty.” He also said anyone who said the President is sick is a liar. 24 hours after he made this statement to the press, specifically on 6 June, 2016, it was announced that the President will begin a 10-day vacation to the United Kingdom. He will seek medical attention for a “persistent ear infection” while in UK.
In February 5, 2017, Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the National Assembly for an extension of his sick leave in the UK. Before this, he was due to return to the country (Nigeria) after he had been away for two weeks for his medical check up. This letter deepened suspicion that the health of the president is far worse than publicly admitted by the presidency. He was absent from office for about 51 days. When he was away, Vice President Femi Osinbanjo took over constitutionally as the Acting President. Though he was the Acting President, for sure it will be hard for him to make certain decisions knowing that the real President will be back anytime soon. Nigeria is the one that suffers.
After President Buhari returned from England, he missed some major official and public appearances. He was absent from the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. He was absent from the worker’s day event held at the Eagle Square in Abuja on May Day 2017.
President Buhari travelled to England again for a health check-up in London on 7 May 2017. This time he was away for three months. He returned 19 August, 2017. Before he returned there were speculation that he was in life support in London. Some people said he was dead. Few days before he returned, there was a protest in Abuja led by the controversial Charly Boy calling for the President to “Resume or Resign.” This protest started by Charly Boy also inspired another protest in London by Nigerians, who went to the house where Muhammadu Buhari was staying to as him to “Resume or Resign.” Some people believe that this London protest must have put pressure on him to return to the country after staying away for three months. He mentioned the London protest fews days after his returning while he met the Governors of the different states in Nigeria.
Controversies and Inconsistencies of Muhammadu Buhari
The terrorist group, Book Haram neamed President Buhari in 2012 as one of the persons in the North they will trust to speak with if the government wants to negotiate with them. This actually raised the hatred and suspicion of Muhammadu Buhari in the South as a Muslim fundamentalist. The question here is why would Boko Haram like to associate with him ? It is worth noting here that Buhari declined to mediate between the government and Boko Haram.
His statement in June 2013 during a Sunday Liberty Radio programme made it look as if he was in support of Boko Haram. Buhari was quoted to have said by Point Blank News that the Federal Government of Goodluck Jonathan should stop the killing of Boko Haram insurgents. He compared Boko Haram to Niger Delta militants who were fighting against injustice. He said the federal government of Nigeria gave the Niger Delta militants amnesty and put them on a federal pay roll. But in the case of Boko Haram, they were being killed and the properties belonging to them being destroyed.
Though he made the statements above, in May 2014, after the Chibok girls were kidnapped, Muhammadu Buhari strongly denounced the Boko Haram insurgency. He called on Nigerians to put aside religion, politics and all other divisions to crush the insurgency. According to him as headlined in Vanguard newspaper, May 8, 2014, Muhammadu Buhari referred to Boko Haram as “bigots masquerading as Muslims.” The question here is why is he speaking against them here and in 2013, he appeared to be supporting them. Is he speaking from the two sides of his mouth ?
In his inaugural speech made 29 May, 2015, President Buhari said, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.” This is a unifying statement to be made by the President of Nigeria considering the many different ethnic groups that consist the entity Nigeria. After his speech people felt he will carry everyone along irrespective of where you are from or the party you belong to. However, some of his statements and political appointments shows something different. He has been accused of a lopsided government appointments. Most of the government appointments are given to people from the North. Premium times reported this in August 28, 2015 in an article titled, “Outrage grows across Nigeria as Buhari’s lopsided appointments continue.” Naij.com also referred to this in an article in the online news media titled, “Buhari Under Fire Over Recent Appointments.” Premium Times reported that only 25% of Buhari’s appointments are from the south while an overwhelming 75% are from the north.
Some of his critics also accused him of favouring the North in his appointments. Ikechukwu Amaechi, a former editor of Daily Independent and Editor-In-Chief of the Niche wrote in a post in his Facebook page, “Buhari is the most provincial leader Nigeria has ever had. He is not fit to be President of Nigeria. How can he continue appointing top officials of government from the north? Customs, Immigration bosses, SGF, Chief of Staff all from the North.” Sunday Akoji, a public affairs commentator said about Muhammadu Buhari, “If I am President Muhammadu Buhari, I would have appointed a South Easterner as SGF.”
These comments are not just made because those who made them are just mere political opposition critics. They were made due to the reality that was in place in Buhari’s presidency.
Awards received by President Buhari
Muhammadu Buhari has received several awards and medals. They are:
i. Congo Medal (CM)
ii. Defence Service Medal (DSM)
iii. General Service Medal (GSM)
iv. Global Seal of Integrity (GSOI)
v. Gran Collar De La Orden De La Independencia translated as Grand Collar of the Order of the Independence was conferred on President Buhari By President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea at the Presidential Palace on 14 March 2016.
vi. Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR)
vii. Loyal Service and Good Conduct Medal (LSGCM)
viii. National Service Medal (NSM
President Buhari Military Offices
i. Brigade Major/Commandant, Thirty-first Infantry Brigade form 1970 – 1971.
ii. Assistant Adjutant-General, First Infantry Division Headquarters from 1971 – 1972.
iii. Acting Director of Transport and Supply at Nigerian Army Corps of Supply and Transport Headquarters from 1974 to 1975.
iv. Military Secretary at the Nigerian Army Headquarters 1978 – 1979.
v. A member of the Supreme Military Council 1978 – 1979.
vi. General Officer Commanding, 4th Infantry Division, August 1980 – January 1981.
vii. General Officer Commanding, 2nd Mechanised Infantry Division, January 1981 – October 1981.
viii. General Officer Commanding, 3rd Armed Division Nigerian Army, October 1981 – December 1983.
President Buhari Military Schools and Training
i. President Buhari went to the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC) in 1961 renamed later in 1964 as the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).
ii. From 1962 to 1963, President Buhari underwent officer cadet training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in England.
iii. From November 1963 to January 1964, President Buhari attended the Platoon Commanders’ Course at the Nigerian Military Training College, Kaduna.
iv. In 1964, President Buhari attended the Mechanical Transport Officer’s Course at the Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, United Kingdom.
v. President Buhari went to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India in 1973.
vi. President Buhari attended the Us Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States where he was awarded a Masters Degree in Strategic Studies 1979 – 1980.
The history of Buhari the president of Nigeria is very rich. His personality is filled with controversies. Controversy of his school certificate. Controversy of him being a Muslim fundamentalist. Controversy of him not respecting human right of oppositions. Controversy of him favouring only the north in his appointments. However one thing annoying with him is that he does not care. Despite all these controversies, he remains quiet. He is not interested in refuting any. He is a man of few words. This is the reason why the history of Buhari is very interesting and important.
1. Momoh, H.B (2000). The Nigerian Civil War, 1967–1970: history and reminiscences. Ibadan: Sam Bookman Publishers.
2. Advocate, Voice of the defenceless, “Buhari and the Ogedengbe, Owoh and Ojulope killings.” (2015). Retrieved 31st August 2017 from “http://advocateng.com/buhari-and-the-ogedengbe-owoh-and-ojulope-killings/”
3. The New York Times, “Expelled foreigners Pouring Out Of Nigeria .“ (May 5, 1985). Retrieved 31 August 2017 from “http://www.nytimes.com/1985/05/05/world/expelled-foreigners-pouring-out-of-nigeria-by-the-associated-press.html?mcubz=0”
4. Jason, P. African Business, “Development: PTF – Shining in the Gloom”. (June 1998). Retrieved 31 August 2017 from https://www.questia.com/read/1G1-62556379/development-ptf-shining-in-the-gloom.
5. Financial Times, “Nigeria’s economy in charts: Buhari’s challenge.” (April 2, 2015). Retrieved 1 September 2017 from https://www.ft.com/content/37f8d542-d86c-11e4-8a68-00144feab7de.
6. The Economist, “Hope the Naira falls.” (Jan 30 2016). Retrieved 1 September 2017 from https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21689544-president-muhammadu-buhari-repeating-economic-error-he-made-dictator-30-years-ago-hope.
7. Bloomberg, “Nigeria’s Half-Measures on Currency Are Only Half-Working”. (20 June 2017). Retrieved 1 September 2017 from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-19/nigeria-s-half-measures-on-currency-regime-are-only-half-working.
8. BBC, “Nigeria becomes Africa’s biggest economy”. (6 April 2014). Retrieved 2 September 2017 from http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26913497.
9. BBC, “South Africa regains Africa’s ‘biggest economy’ title from Nigeria”. (11 August 2016). Retrieved 2 September 2017 from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37045276.
10. Point Blank News, “Stop Killing Boko Haram Members – Buhari Tells FG”. (June 2, 2013). Retrieved 2 September 2017 from http://pointblanknews.com/pbn/exclusive/stop-killing-boko-haram-members-buhari-tells-fg/.