• ‘You sell oil and steal part of the money…’ -Buhari
By James Obute
The political atmosphere was charged on Wednesday, 15 October when
former Head of State and National Leader of the opposition All
progressive Congress (APC), General Mohammed Buhari (rtd), formally
declared his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election.
Gen. Buhari’s declaration laid to rest the argument of whether he will
contest the general election in 2015 or not. However, the
unprecedented crowd Gen. Mohammed Buhari popularly called GMB
attracted, has thrown his rivals and political opponents into
confusion as the elections draw nearer. The opposition party has vowed
to stop the decline, corruption, polarization and rescue Nigeria from
the stronghold of the ruling PDP by 2015.
GMB, will contend with several other aspirants, including former Vice
President Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabi’u Kwankwaso of Kano, and the
Publisher of Leadership Newspaper, Sam Nda-Isaiah, in the primary of
Nigeria’s main opposition party, APC, on December 2 before facing PDP
in general election on February 14, 2015. Atiku Abubakar declared his
plan to run for president on the party’s ticket on September 24.
Governor Kwankwaso and Sam Nda-Isaiah will make bid known on October
23 and 28 respectively.
Declaring his intention, Buhari remarked: “I humbly wish to present
myself before you, before all of Nigeria and before God seeking to be
elected as APC’s Presidential candidate,” he said. He said “Since 1999
PDP has presided over our country’s decline. Nigeria in my experience
has never been so divided, so polarized by an unthinking government
hell-bent on ruling and stealing forever whatever befalls the country.
Mr Chairman, we in APC are resolved to stop them in their tracks and
rescue Nigeria from the stranglehold of PDP.”
According to him, apart from the general insecurity in the land, power
outages had taken a frightening dimension while the economy continues
to deteriorate. “Apart from Boko Haram, there is prevalence of armed
robbery, kidnappings and killings, cattle rustling, market and
farmland arson. These outrages have taken a new and a frightening
dimension, disrupting economic and social life across the whole
communities. The economy continues to deteriorate while the Government
continues to announce fantastic growth figures but manufacturing is
down, agriculture is down, commerce is down”, the no nonsense general
He said simply because “you sell oil and steal part of the money does
not entitle you to cook figures and announce phantom economic growth
when all the major indices namely employment, manufacturing, farming
and trading are demonstrably on the decline.”
GMB observed that when the PDP came to power in 1999, Nigeria was
generating about 4,000 M/W of electricity, but that after 15 years and
$20 billion spent it was generating only between 3,000 – 4,000
megawatts, stressing “no failure is more glaring than this.”
Buhari said if elected president by the next general election, his
administration would protect lives and property; pursue economic
policies for shared prosperity and immediate attention on youth
employment, quality education for development, modernity and social
mobility, agricultural productivity for taking millions out of poverty
and ensuring food security.
He said he would revive industry to generate employment; develop solid
minerals exploitation which will substantially attract employment and
revenue for government; restore honour and integrity to public service
by keeping the best and attracting the best; and tackle corruption
which has become blatant and widespread.
“The rest of the world looks at Nigeria as the home of corruption.
Nigeria is a country where stealing is not corruption”, Buhari said.
He also assured that the APC administration would respect the
constitutional separation of powers between the executive, legislature
and judiciary as well as the rights of citizens.
Similarly, the Director General of Gen. Buhari Campaign Organization
and ex-National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Audu Ogbe,
said those calling Buhari a religious fanatic are not being fair to
Nigerians. Chief Ogbe who read the biography of GMB before welcoming
him to the podium to address the mammoth crowd at Eagles Square, Abuja
said Buhari, if he was a fanatic, himself, and Amaechi, Oshiomhole,
Oyegun who are all Christians will have nothing to do with him. He
said God brought everyone together for a reason. He described GMB as a
quiet and rational human who “had power but never abused it.”
Chief Audu Ogbe said Buhari is a man of unusual character who has to
run for office because Nigeria is in serious trouble -Terrorism in the
North East and high level corruption – which is being covered under
propaganda. “We send out greetings and sympathy to the people of the
North East and the parents of the Chibok girls.”We commend the
people behind the #BringBackOurGirls. We understand the government is
planning to take them to court, let the court room be large enough to
accommodate all of us,” Ogbe said. Ogbe said Nigeria is in
extra-ordinary condition that needs an extra-ordinary man like Buhari.
General Buhari was a Federal Commissioner for Petroleum; Chairman,
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; Governor of North-Eastern
State; Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces;
Chairman, Petroleum Trust Fund [PTF]; three-time presidential
candidate [twice for the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, and once for
the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC]. This is his fourth time of
aspiring for president.
Chairman Nigerian Governors Forum and Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi
Amaechi speaking on behalf of other governors said change is in the
air. He said in the past whenever progressives have such gatherings
you hardly see any governor but that “today whenever APC have
gatherings, you see 14 governors, that is why I say change is in the
air,” Amaechi said. ”The other party doesn’t have any candidate like
Buhari, but if they have even half let them show us,” he said.
Amaechi said it was wrong for the PDP and the President to take credit
for the fight against Ebola. “Apart from announcing the number of
casualties, what have they done for us? Kano, Lagos and Rivers are not
in their hands, tell me how they will win. We will give them the Osun
treatment,” he said.
He also called on all APC members to make sure they have their voters
card so that “whoever emerges as our party candidate we will vote for
him.”. He recalled that President Jonathan said in 2013 that he was
the most abused president but that by the following year Nigerians
will dance and praise his name because they will have enough power.
“Are you praising him and do you have power?” Mr. Amaechi asked.
Speaking on behalf of the elders of APC, Senator Olorumimbe Mamora
said there is a wind of change that is blowing and that an idea whose
time has come, no one can stop it. He said there is no doubt that an
APC government will be in place next year. He said the country cannot
afford to continue with insecurity and economic deprivation. “We have
to work to achieve success,” he said.
Speaking, on behalf of lawmakers, former Governor of Benue State and
Senate Minority Leader, Senator George Akume said the National
Assembly had a very exciting session with General Buhari on Tuesday
night and asked Buhari how he will manage the Oil industry, adding
that if his response is relayed to the gathering “you will all weep
for this country”.
Senator Akume said APC is richly endowed with the great human
resources anyone can find in any part of the world. He said his point
is buttressed by the way various aspirants under the APC are
campaigning without recourse to abuses. “Difference without division,
rivalry in fellowship,” he said.
The former Governor of Bayelsa State, Timipre Sylva, while giving the
welcome address, said Nigeria’s economy today needs revamping. He
said security situation is in dire need of resuscitation and that the
over 200 girls from Chibok are still somewhere no one knows. He said
Nigeria’s problems are well known, but that there is good news because
the solution to Nigeria’s problems is at Eagle Square today, General
Muhammadu Buhari. He also said Buhari has occupied almost all cadres
of offices, but is running for office again because of Nigerians and
“We are very happy that he has decided to come out of retirement to
help us stabilise this country, so that the younger ones can carry on
with the development of this nation,” he said. For those who say
Buhari is too old, he said “we are not going to talk about age in this
campaign because we don’t want to be accused of using the inexperience
of our opponent. “Buhari brings experience and integrity to this
campaign. He is a man of the people today and he will be the president
of the People come 14 February 2015,” Mr. Sylva concluded.
Professor Isa Odidi speaking on behalf of APC members in the diaspora
said Nigeria is faced with extra ordinary circumstances and there is
the need for an extra ordinary leader to solve them. He said GMB
epitomises the qualities of an extra ordinary leader and urged “all
Nigerians to take back your country”.