Saturday, February 28, 2015

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - BUHARI’S CHATHAM HOUSE CHARADE: NOT A STATESMANLIKE PRESENTATION AND NOT A STATESMANLIKE EXIT!


 
Ola Kassim,
 
I did not give an account of Buhari's speech at Chatham House, I quoted it extensively and EXPRESSED AN OPINION about it! The FACT of the speech is not in doubt, except if you think my transcription (account) is not the things he said as I said he said them. But having the fact of a speech is one thing and having an interpretation of it is another. Your interpretation is your view of the speech and that is allowed. I obviously don't agree with Buhari and all I have done there is to show that disagreement with his talk and thoughts as expressed in that speech. What is too difficult to understand in that, Dr Kassim?
 
I don't know where you got the proof that Boko Haram tried to assassinate Buhari. At least, Boko Haram never claimed responsibility for any attack on Buhari as they're wont to do and there are people who believe Buhari and his cohorts stage-managed the Kaduna attack to give the impression he is a target of the insurgents. The truth as at today, we do not know. So, do not impose your version of what you think is truth, because there is no proof for your version. Nonetheless, Nigerians can read between the lines. His visit to Borno tells some of us all we need to know about his relationship with Boko Haram. He and them will fail!
 
As for your comment about almost puking, I really wish you had actually puked, so as to get it all out of your system. Your pathetic brain probably would have spluttered to life with that act. But as it is, you are still as dead upstairs like a dodo! Or maybe you're just too hungry to puke anything, but your nasty intestines. On second thought, I suppose we should be grateful to God that you did not actually spew out your empty guts. Mumu like you! Rubbish elenu run-run!
 
 
..


From: olakassimmd via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Sent: Sunday, 1 March 2015, 1:34
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - BUHARI'S CHATHAM HOUSE CHARADE: NOT A STATESMANLIKE PRESENTATION AND NOT A STATESMANLIKE EXIT!

Shola:

I couldn't agree with you more.

Kennedy Emetulu's account of Buhari's speech at Chathan House is
not only a mere form of fiction, it belongs to more complicated genre of written work.
It is a mumbo-jumbo of lies and innuendos that are superimposed upon real life scenarios for effect.
I'll like to submit that even if Buhari had not shown up in London to deliver a speech, Kennedy Emetulu's conclusions would not have been any different. Buhari's speech at Chatham House only served as the canvass
for his hateful propaganda.

He accuses Buhari as being the main sponsor of the Boko Haram yet he fails to explain why the same
Boko Haram has attempted to assassinate him, not only once but twice.


Integrity has truly taken flight from Nigeria and Nigerians.
Far too many Nigerians stake their positions on issues then proceed to manufacture lies to justify those positions however untenable the positions may be and how far fetched the lies are.

"Buhari should have seized the opportunity to come, stand on the porch of Chatham House and address Nigerians who were outside, sell himself and his programme and show them that he's serious about leading Nigeria to better days. Instead, he was smuggled out in a police van and booed by the same people he wants their votes. Not a statesmanlike exit that!"---Kennedy Emetulu



Really? 

I almost puked when I read the above paragraph in which Kennedy Emetulu regretted that
Buhari did not step out of the door to address the marauding rented crowd of transplanted area boys who were there for no other reason but to protest against his candidacy in the Nigerian Presidential elections and to prevent him from delivering  his address at Chatham House. And how statesman-like would that interaction with a hostile audience possibly be? How more facetious can a human being get? And for what purpose?

Can you imagine Buhari appearing at the door steps of Chatham House to address the protesters? Were they there to listen to Buhari speak in the first instance?

Kennedy Emetulu even managed to notice that Buhari spotted a boil on his jaw (hope that is not cancer of the jaw) which he cited as another proof that Buhari is not healthy. I guess we can add the boil to the growing list of ailments that should disqualify Buhari from contesting for elections on March 28. 

It was okay for Dasuki (NSA)  to use the opportunity of his recent lecture at Chatham House to inform Nigerians
that the 2015 elections were about to be postponed but it was sacrilege for Buhari to speak ill of the GEJ government at the same venue.

Meanwhile Mr Emetulu neglected to tell his readers about the landmark achievements of the GEJ government
that should merit his being reelected to serve for another four years. Me thinks, this should be the main focus of the GEJ supporters. 

Reuben Abati, Femi Fani-Kayode Doyin Okupe, Kennedy Emetulu and their ilk are birds of the same feather. They write to posture themselves for personal gain; not necessarily to inform. 

They belong to the cadre Obj has aptly described as hungry young men looking for opportunities:

'Give him (them) some food and he (they) will sing for you.' -OBJ once wrote about one of his former young protege FFK. 

Bye,

Ola


Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 28, 2015, at 6:27 AM, Shola Adenekan <sholaadenekan@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Kennedy,

You'll make a decent fiction writer!  Please stick to it as news reporting is definitely not your calling!

Ire o!
Shola

On 28 February 2015 at 09:31, 'Kennedy Emetulu' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> wrote:





BUHARI'S CHATHAM HOUSE CHARADE: NOT A STATESMANLIKE PRESENTATION AND NOT A STATESMANLIKE EXIT!








I enjoyed the outing at Chatham House. Though the Chatham House people had obviously organised this as a hush-hush affair to sell General Muhammadu Buhari, the tyrant who ran the most unfriendly Nigerian government to the UK as a convert to democracy who now champions its values in Africa nay Nigeria, the whole thing fell flat on its face. 

First, they ensured that only Buhari supporters and a few members of the APC's foreign captive audience were there in the room to give it a dash of foreign colour and listen to a drab speech for about twenty-five minutes. Typically, Buhari was made only to deliver a speech with no room for genuine questions and participation from a genuine audience, except the fits of clapping by claques well-schooled in celebrating poop flakes carried by hot air. When the  APC bigwigs appeared outside after the sham Buhari talk inside, they met a wall of Nigerians chanting "Buhari-Ole (thief)! Tinubu-Ole! Atiku-Barawo! Amaechi-Ony'oshi! El Rufai-Ole!" I loved the chant and even did a little jig to it on the street of St James's Square! Of course, the APC posse attempted a copycat version of this, but again, it didn't resonate. Their frustration got the better of them as they began accusing every Goodluck Jonathan supporter in sight of collecting money to support the president. Meanwhile they were the lot caught sharing money in the Square.

In the meantime, having witnessed what they considered intense hostility from the outside, the bigwigs who only got as far as the doorway retreated inside and for over two hours, they scratched their heads and wringed their fingers, wondering how to take Buhari out of the building without facing the wrath of Nigerians outside. A group of us had got wind that they were going to smuggle him out through a side door, so we went and acted sentinels there. It was tough as the PDP and APC and the Goodluck Jonathan supporters like myself fought turf wars around the premises. Though outside, it was mostly good-natured political bantering by the supporters of both parties and both leading candidates; inside, they knew the mood was not right for Buhari to step out. In the end, Buhari had to be smuggled out of the place furtively in a police van with Rotimi Amaechi in tow as Nigerians booed loudly at what was considered a cowardly show. 

My own main takeaway from the situation is that Buhari has again lost an opportunity to market himself better to Nigerians, even as everything was laid out for him. Chatham House had to shoehorn him into their programme when he was not scheduled to be there. I mean, spotting a boil on the left side of his jaw, Buhari is evidently in London primarily for some other reason and not for a talk (and that is okay, because of his age and the toll the campaign must have taken on his frail body), but they presented it as a "working visit". Yet, every programme organised as part of that working visit in London, he couldn't attend! To save face, Chatham House was conscripted into a conspiracy to keep its door open for Buhari, his followers and his foreign supporters while this same door was shut firmly against other Nigerians as they ran the charade of Buhari of all people talking the prospects of democracy in Nigeria! Expectedly, there was nothing inspiring or memorable in the speech. It was just a show to indicate Buhari is alive and well and not in an hospital bed. But it fooled no one!

Buhari should have seized the opportunity to come, stand on the porch of Chatham House and address Nigerians who were outside, sell himself and his programme and show them that he's serious about leading Nigeria to better days. Instead, he was smuggled out in a police van and booed by the same people he wants their votes. Not a statesmanlike exit that!

Now, having done with the light drama, let's attend to the tragedy. It happened on several fronts in the speech. He started by apologising for having to take his beloved country to the cleaners on a foreign soil where ordinarily he had happily played its "public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists" in the past. He urged the foreign eyes ogling this new phantom Nigeria of today to keep looking. "So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria's landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated". 

Yes, Buhari, the new darling of the West is calling on his friends and sponsors to play the vultures and pick up the carrion that is Nigeria once any form of extension is proposed "under whatever guise", because this would be "unconstitutional". Is it not a surprise that with so many SANs jostling for a seat at Buhari's table (and one of them his running mate), none could tell him that there is still room for the postponement of the election by INEC lawfully and constitutionally if need be? He has to create the impression that the postponement was the handiwork of Goodluck Jonathan and his people and not by INEC as a result of its clear state of unpreparedness. Buhari must blame Jonathan and the PDP, because that is his default position.

It's such hypocrisy that took Buhari's speech to the next level of farce as he began talking as though he was not the democracy-killing tyrant of late 1983 who made the nation one huge prison as he tortured his fellow citizens mercilessly in the name of fighting indiscipline and corruption. He reeled out statistics of the democratic heartbeat of the continent throughout the eighties, the nineties and after and then concluded: "It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach". The clapping claques at this point were going joyously bonkers! A Lincoln has come to judgment, they farted out loudly! When he turned to prosecute Nigeria, his self-serving proclamation was that peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times and that the prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria. Hmm….

Buhari is particularly invested in the world focusing on Nigeria, because "the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa's most populous country and largest economy". Buhari, who with his military chums massacred Nigerians in the name of fighting a civil war took the opportunity of addressing an audience in a London that was horrified by the images of kwashiokor children to say that apart from the civil war era, no other time has Nigeria been this insecure.

"Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.

"You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.

"Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram's financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism".


Well, well, well, now that is a powerful sales pitch by a hound auditioning for the post of Protector-General of the hares! I mean, since when is an attack on Boko Haram no longer an attack on the North? Since when did Muhammadu Buhari, the Commandant-General of Boko Haram and who is their biggest political defender and supporter convert to their shooter? Or is this not the same man that attacked the Nigerian Army for killing Boko Haram? Is this not the man whose supporters celebrate every Boko Haram attack as a victory against Jonathan? Is this not the same Buhari that was chosen by Boko Haram as their representative in a proposed negotiation in Saudi Arabia? Is this not the same Buhari that told the world that the Boko Haram boys should be treated like the Niger-Delta militants by being rewarded with money and positions? Is he now going to start killing them instead of commissioning them into the Nigerian Army? Where was Buhari's voice when more than twice the number so far lost to Boko Haram lost their lives to assassinations, government sponsored genocide, communal, ethnic and Sharia-induced violence under the rulership of his friend, Olusegun Obasanjo and that only in his first term as president? Who is zooming who? 

Buhari accused the government of not applying a multidimensional response to the problem. This is so dreadfully untrue that it could only have come from a fellow who in his highfalutin speech didn't consider education as a weapon against a group committed to killing education. His continued undermining of the necessity of the help we are getting from our neighbours as part of the multinational force against the insurgency is as vacuous and self-serving as the boasts of a clay-footed giant. There is no shame in having a multinational force against an internationalised Islamist militancy. Boko Haram is not only a Nigeria problem; it is a regional and world problem and the fact that the world and sub-region are waking up to this reality late is not an indictment of Nigeria or her leadership. Better late than never! There is more to fighting an internationalised insurgency than just deploying men and arms. There is diplomacy of the subtlest kind and the delicate navigation of regional sensibilities and historical fears. Enough of this ignorant rhetoric from this relic of a general!

One thing is for sure, Buhari is aiming to win for Boko Haram through the ballot what they are fighting for with bullets. Both he and Boko Haram think they're holding Nigeria hostage to a total Sharia future. Or what else has Boko Haram and Buhari asked for jointly that if granted will put a stop to all the killings? Yes, you guessed it - total Sharia in Nigeria! Please, those who want to dumbly argue that this is not possible in a democracy should please not waste their time here, because I myself have no time to waste holding them by the hands through the pages of Nigeria's modern history. I've never been a fan of mental and civic laziness and wouldn't start now.

The Buhari speech's treatment of the economy was a slapdash jumble of questionable but still irrelevant statistics and what he said some unnamed development economist said. "A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country's development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?" Suffice it to say Buhari discussing poverty, unemployment and inequality is like a fox commiserating with the sheep for lack of grass to eat.

But while Buhari's views on all the above issues are interesting and not in a good way, I found his views expressed in the concluding part of the speech hilarious and not in a good way  too. Here is my transcription from watching and listening to the video:


"On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we plug the hole in the budgetary processes. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) and Custom and Exercise (sic) will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference. But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption must not be misconstrued as settling all the scores or a witch-hunt. I'm running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity, not adversity. 

"In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party's social investment programmes in education, health, safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youths and pensions from the elderly. As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people, thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy, but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youth. In short, we will run a functional economy driven by our worldview that sees growth, not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigerians have a decision to make, to vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.

"In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point, we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead and deprive those who want to scuttle it the benefit of draining our fledging democracy. That way, we all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools of solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as end in themselves. 

"Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers, including the well-regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch. I cannot change the past, but I can change the present and the future. So, before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic election for the fourth time. You may ask why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And there is my humble answer, because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians would be proud of. Thank you very much".

Buhari says on corruption, there is no confusion as to where he stands, but from his speech at Chatham House, there is a lot of it. Not only is there confusion, there is an obvious lack of understanding of the breadth and depth of the problem. This could be contrived or real ignorance. But here it is: What he calls "the hole in the budgetary process" will always be there. These holes are not plugged by adding or deleting whatever is recorded and rerecorded on paper, but by astute and honest implementation. So, how would he achieve this? Oh, he would never appoint corrupt people in his administration! Now, isn't he having a laugh here? Here is the man who came before the nation to declare with a straight face that Sani Abacha, his soulmate and fellow tyrant was not corrupt. Here is a man whose list or presumed list of sponsors include the following persons: Bola Tinubu, reputed to be one of the most corrupt public persons in Nigeria following eight years as Governor of Lagos State and his continued economic colonization of the APC-controlled states in the South-West; Rotimi Amaechi, who is the Governor of Rivers State and who in desperation has almost bankrupted that state in funding Buhari's campaign; Abubakar Atiku, former Vice President and another byword for political corruption in Nigeria; Senator Bukola Saraki, another byword  for corruption; James Ibori, a former Governor of Delta State in prison in the United Kingdom for corruption and who has it in for Jonathan for supposedly causing his woes; Olusegun Obasanjo, a corrupt former president who stupidly thinks his hypocrisy is well hidden from everyone; all the other governors of APC-controlled states who showed their hands in fully supporting him during the APC presidential party primaries. I mean, the list of corrupt public officials or people in the public eye supporting him is endless. Is this man telling us that he would not appoint these persons to positions in his administration? A man who farmed out the choice of his vice presidential candidate to Bola Tinubu and got in return Tinubu's Man Friday would not farm out the choices for his ministers and parastatal heads to these same people? Did we just hear this man who ran the PTF aground with a corrupt crew headed by his in-law Ahmad Salihijo without one single audit in four years just promise that under him our revenue producing entities would publicly disclose their revenues and be regularly audited? He must think he's talking to garden gnomes!  

Again, talking about revenue generating agencies having one set of books only indicates the mind of an ancient bookkeeper totally clueless about the mechanics of modern financial management. How do organisations involved in multiple independent businesses keep one book? Who will create a financial dictatorship within a democracy in the name of fighting corruption? Does he not realise that such financial centralisation makes stealing easier for the simple reason that accountability is limited as many actors get lost inside the cracks in the name of fitting everything into that 'Financial Book of Life'? Let's face it, the problem is not with multiple accounts within one organisation, that is a necessity; the problem is with the implementation of the rules governing the operations of these accounts and third party interests.

The idea of giving institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference is reinventing the wheel and doing so contradictorily. Here is Buhari who has repeatedly stated that if he comes to office, he will draw a line on corruption cases by only continuing with those in the courts while not prosecuting anyone presumed corrupt before then, but only those committing fresh offences during his tenure. So, how does such a policy give the institutions fighting corruption independence and prosecutorial authority without interference when such a policy itself is actually taking away independence and prosecutorial authority ab initio? It's like giving a man a horse to ride in freedom only after cutting off the horse's legs! How does this help the fight against corruption? What moral right does Buhari have to attack the PDP government for corruption if the overall effect of his anti-corruption policy is to incubate corruption and only prosecute scapegoats? What message does he think he's sending Nigerians who believe he's the honest one (Mai Gaskiya) if he is only committed to fighting corruption selectively? Wouldn't he have been better served with a policy that says there will be no sacred cows and that the state would prosecute anybody in or out of government it believes have corruptly enriched himself or herself as a way of sending the message to Nigerians that corruption does not pay and that no statute of limitation applies to such cases? Of course, telling us that his war on corruption must not be misconstrued as settling all the scores or a witch hunt is a death sentence on the much-vaunted anti-corruption fight, because what he is saying by other means is that people like Tinubu, Amaechi, Atiku, Saraki and all the corrupt carrot heads around him are not going to be prosecuted for corruption simply because doing so would mean settling all the scores or a witch hunt, because whatever they might have done before while in office is in the past. Of course, their continuing corruption, like Tinubu's continuing draining of Lagos State coffers with the help of Yemi Osibajo, his fellow board member at Alpha Beta are just smart business transactions! Yeah, these are the people with whom he wants to work to bring prosperity and not adversity to Nigerians. President Jonathan might be on to something with that yam and goats analogy.

The worst part of that talk on corruption is his idea about what to do with its proceeds and the blocking of his mythical leakages. Looking at the long list of what he wants to achieve with the pie-in-the-sky money he is looking to save from his corruption dragnet, one sighs in disappointment. I mean, does Buhari understand how much would be involved in the school children feeding programme alone, even at one meal a day? How much is he hoping to get from proceeds recovered from corruption to put here? Not only that, this seemingly gargantuan fund recovered from criminals would further fund his party's "social investment programmes in education, health, safety nets…emergency public works for unemployed youths and pensions for the elderly". Has anyone amongst the potato heads his party touts as young, vibrant advisers ever sat to do any kind of rudimentary costing of the promises he makes or question the logic of some of his theories on public finance and deliverables? Of course, this is the case of an ant versed in building anthills thinking it can build a zillion skyscrapers! How much mound of debris can he throw up to achieve that? In taking hyperbole literally to the stratosphere, Buhari is not only assuming that the proceeds of corruption is sitting pretty cooly somewhere he'd go on day one of assuming office, pick it up and use it to address his massive laundry list, he actually knows how much it is and how much it will cover. The trouble is even if corruption swallows up the entire budget of the last twenty years and Buhari suddenly rips its belly open and recovers this whole money wholesale, it still won't be enough to address this aspect of his programmes he's mentioned here. We've heard of voodoo economics, here comes voodoo governance courtesy of General Buhari and the APC!

Buhari, the man who is the new darling of Western predatory economic interests and his APC want to run a private sector led economy functionally driven by their worldview "that sees growth, not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike". Don't ask how he's going to do this, because he has never said, not in this Chatham speech nor in any other speech during this campaign. You also won't find it in any party document. Yes, the man whose whole economic policy as military Head of State centred around counter-trade and the cultic control of import licenses and selective distribution of "essenco" wants to run our economy in the 21st century just after Jonathan has done the yeoman's job of making Nigeria the biggest economy in Africa with the best Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) ever and with a better diversified base capable of withstanding the shock that followed the collapse of the oil price. Don't we now get this sense that the changes we want is already here, while Buhari and his cohorts are itching to take us back to the cage? Yes, on March 28, Nigerians will indeed choose wisely.

Buhari's funny semantics took a full tumble when he talked of Nigeria having the prospect of triggering a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. First, he needs to understand that democratic consolidation never happens in a wave precisely because of its very nature. It is consolidation, so it's built on stability nurtured and sustained over the years. Democratic consolidation does not come with threatening an incumbent administration with fire and brimstone nor does it come by accusing a party that's been in government for sixteen years of democratic rule of wanting to scuttle our fledgling democracy. Buhari should quickly look at the mirror and tell us who, even as he was speaking at the Chatham House, was having his media people make releases threatening to undermine the Abuja Peace Accord for no reason beyond the fact that he is itching to show his true violent nature, something he has showed throughout the time he's been contesting for the presidency. Buhari does not have the democratic temperament to run a democratic government and everyday he proves it, no matter how many speeches they choreograph for him. 

Again, we see this tendency clearly in the Chatham House speech and it was the part that almost had him chuckling to his own sick joke. Buhari objected to  "many respected British newspapers, including the well-regarded Economist" calling him "a former dictator". The Economist is of course not a newspaper, but a magazine which has endorsed Buhari ahead of Jonathan. But even that sham and senseless endorsement is not enough for a vain Buhari, he had to correct the impression he was a former dictator. From now on, he wants them to know that "dictatorship goes with military rule". So, "former military ruler" will do thank you very much he told them. Even his full tumble into the Babangidan domain of "I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch" was met with a clapping encore from the doe-eyed audience. The man has never apologised for the atrocities he visited on his fellow countrymen and women in his 20 months of mayhem as military dictator and he was not about to do so here. In fact, he was almost asking poor Nigerians to apologise for stigmatising him, to sympathise with him for "subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic election for the fourth time", because he is ready, able and willing to change the present and the future for them! His only reason for wanting to put himself through such terrible suffering on our behalf is, according to him, because he still believes that change is possible, this time through the ballot and most importantly, because he still has the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations, a Nigeria that all Nigerians would be proud of. Yes, the same Buhari that made Nigeria a pariah nation with his attempted kidnap of Dr Umaru Dikko in the land of Chatham House on Thursday 5th of July, 1984 wants to make Nigeria great! Now, someone please pass me the bucket….


Below is an excerpt from my piece, Buharists And Their Stockholm Syndrome dealing with the implication of the Umaru Dikko kidnap affair after I had given a detailed narration of the plot:



"The reason I have detailed the affair here is for people to understand exactly what happened and to analyze the implications today when we look at Buhari and think he's some democrat prepared to bring glory to Nigeria. This incident clearly questions his mental capacity to understand what leadership is about. I mean, if he had a great case against Umaru Dikko and against corruption in Nigeria, why did he not use international law to make that case? Why did he not ask for Umaru Dikko to be extradited instead of attempting to kidnap him and bring him in a crate? Why expend such huge resources hiring charlatans and pretending they are members of Mossad? Of course, if there were any Mossad collaboration and involvement, it wouldn't have been that ineptly organized. Would a Mossad operative get a message right there in London indicating that the police are on the matter and still carry on with the plan? Would a Mossad operative talk like Barak? Who has ever heard of a Mossad field operative granting interviews to the press over a successful or botched operation or after serving jail time? Would a Mossad operation leave room for an operative to decide he would go in a crate when he'd clearly been told to vanish at a point before getting to the airport? Would a Mossad operation have taken the decision to crate Dikko directly to Nigeria, knowing he was a wanted man there and that international security attention would be on that route? No, it was not a Mossad operation. It was an operation conceived by Buhari and Rafindadi using Cohen whom they've known for sometime and who has deceived them with his tales of being part of Israeli intelligence. It was a silly way to carry out such a mission and no, the mission was unnecessary, because if Buhari and his cohorts had anything on Dikko, it was an opportunity to show it to the world and lawfully ask for his extradition back to Nigeria. Buhari did not take that route, because he knew they had nothing. Buhari himself had had deep hatred for Umaru Dikko when the civilians were in power and when he had to report Dikko directly to President Shagari, because he believed Dikko was monitoring him. Dikko returned to Nigeria during the Abacha era and Buhari, despite his powerful influence at the time, never raised a voice against him. At the Oputa Panel in 2001 Dikko appeared and challenged anyone with a case of corruption against him to prove it, Buhari did not appear. He shunned the Panel's invite and couldn't even come to defend charges leveled against him over his time as Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) Chairman.
 
"Another telling thing was what happened after the whole show, which led to a two-year suspension of diplomatic relations between Britain and Nigeria. It meant no extradition requests were ever granted and the so-called war on corruption became a damp squib, because we simply had no international credibility anymore. With the regime equally inept economically, we couldn't even rely on Britain or any country in the West to help. In fact, when the Buhari government asked for our debt to be rescheduled, British Prime Minister at the time, Margaret Thatcher threatened to release the names of prominent Nigerians, civilians and military, whose account balances were enough to pay off all our national debt.  That shut up the Buhari government, because they knew that a release of such names would have exposed the sham that was anti-corruption fight on the side of the regime as many elements of the regime and their supporters had these accounts.
 
"In fact, nothing exemplifies the hypocrisy of the Buhari regime better than what happened with Lawal Rafindadi after the regime was overthrown. Contrary to the law that he himself had supposedly been enforcing against others, even without evidence, Rafindadi was exposed as having at least eight foreign accounts in five countries in various fictitious names with fake passports to match. The accounts discovered had a cumulative balance of £1,777,984.36 as at 1985. But because he was a bold establishment thief who knew what they were all involved in was a charade, he refused to go quietly when this was found to be diverted security funds that should be paid back to the state. Up until his death in November 2007, he was still fighting for the money to be returned to him, because he strongly felt he was not the only thief in the Buhari government!"


Yeah, that is Buhari, the man Chatham House is repackaging for unsuspecting westerners. After March 28, 2015, we look forward to Chatham House inviting him to discuss the topic: "The Prospects for Peace In Retirement In Daura After Defeat In a Free and Fair Election". One thing I can guarantee them is that there will be no protest.



Kennedy Emetulu,

London

….
 

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Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: BUHARI’S CHATHAM HOUSE CHARADE: NOT A STATESMANLIKE PRESENTATION AND NOT A STATESMANLIKE EXIT!

"I guess it's cultural, your many crude expressions, your distasteful distortions, your many blows below the belt and just in case you don't know any better, let me tell you, that's enough to alienate any impartial observers you may be addressing." -- Cornelius Himelberg

Dear Cornelius Himelberg,

Would you please clarify what is "cultural" and the alleged "crude expressions ... distasteful distortions," etc?

Thank you in advance for your clarification.

Ugo

G. Ugo Nwokeji
Director, Center for African Studies
Associate Professor of African American Studies
University of California, Berkeley
686 Barrows Hall #2572
Berkeley, CA 94720
Tel. (510) 542-8140
Fax (510) 642-0318
Twitter: @UgoNwokeji

On Sat, Feb 28, 2015 at 12:27 PM, Cornelius Hamelberg <corneliushamelberg@gmail.com> wrote:
Corrected:

Kennedy Emetlulu:

I guess it's cultural. Gog and Magog. Dog (you) and underdog (Goodluck Jonathan) the incumbent, but when you so systematically vilify Muhammadu Buhari, he becomes the underdog (to an Englishman at least) and you remain the crude human being of the former colony, the only compensation for the Ministry of Overseas Development/ International Development being that like Robinson Crusoe's Man Friday you too now know how to speak Her Majesty's English and to be understood  or misunderstood by her.

That's how you want to sell Muhammadu Buhari: as wholly unworthy?  A wholly unworthy Nigerian? Are you more worthy than he is? That's what we always ask the guy with the Napoleonic complex or the guy who thinks he's Jesus of Nazareth or the Messiah: Where are your disciples? And that brings him back to earth.

I guess it's cultural, your many crude expressions, your distasteful distortions, your many blows below the belt and just in case you don't know any better, let me tell you, that's enough to alienate any impartial observers you may be addressing. One more thing and I know that you're not a poet, but short of your discourse being couched in the form of an epic poem, you ought not to tax your readers' patience or goodwill with such an extended boring political diatribe. Readers too have their rights you know, even illiterate readers.

So, who do you expect to be happy with you?

Let me take up some - just some - of your poorly written idiosyncrasies.  Be patient. I'll deal with some of the others a little later.

Today, Nigeria is one country, one people, the same people : Nigerians.

Try to bear that in mind in your future discourse.

Nigeria: oil, the economy

As you well know, the task facing anyone who wants to be an effective leader of Nigerians is nothing less than Herculean. Don't downplay this and in any of your future long, long write-ups, please try to avoid your old tendency of downplaying this and pretending that but for Boko Haram terrorism in the land, Nigerians are living in Heaven under the inspiring leadership of Azikiwe Ebele Goodluck Jonathan.

Apart from being so heavily one-sided and therefore out of balance even when standing on both legs or running around and playing the hooligan outside Chatham House, your other greater weakness is that you're still stuck on - mesmerised it appears, by the 1984-85 Buhari even though you know that Mr. Buhari has moved on, so has the world, so have you, so have I, and I was there from 31st December till late in August 1984  when I returned to Stockholm  and  was also quite a different person then, from what I am now, I assure you.

We will never know how things would have been if the INEC had decided that it was all OK and they had gone ahead with the elections.  For starters, you and the Goodluck Jonathan supporters would most probably not have been doing outside Chatham House, what you report, in your own words:  

"It was tough as the PDP and APC and the Goodluck Jonathan supporters like myself fought turf wars around the premises."

I shut one eye and what do I see? I see the scuffles: Goodluck Jonathan supporters like yourself behaving like hooligans. I guess that someone else – a non-partisan person unlike yourself will probably soon be reporting about running street battles between your lot and the peaceful APC supporters who had only shown up to pay homage to their man, whereas your people had only turned up to make trouble, maybe make a scene and hope that it gets reported with some bloody footage on BBC world news, for everyone to acknowledge your displeasure at Mr. Buhari being invited to speak in the UK, in peace. I understand the hooliganistic tendencies. Frustration often precedes the propensity to violence...

Since we are talking about democratic fare lets emphasise this one point: of the 180 million Nigerians, Mr. Buhari is the APC choice of presidential candidate, sufficiently popular to make you worried – the reason why you betook yourself to outside the premises of Chatham House– and that's the beauty of the democratic process you know - it's the people and not just you, the geniocracy or the noocracy who decide. As an earlier Mr Buhari made clear ten years ago:

"I think education will unchain our people from all their prejudices, whether it is ethnic, religious or whatever. And here, unusually, I have to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the elite. It is not the number of degrees each ethnic group holds that matter, although that matters; what does is continuous education in politics, the economy and security."

And that includes the Boko Haram people too.

Let me correct a few misapprehensions that you are so keen to foster:

It was not "a hush-hush affair "nor was it meant to be – you and your crowd were there because it was well advertised, especially by the Nigerian media - albeit it was going to be just one meeting in the middle of many other important meetings taking place in London on any given day.

You have yet to qualify your statement that Nigeria briefly under Buhari more than thirty years ago was "the most unfriendly Nigerian government to the UK" - the Umaru Dikko debacle aside, what are your other reasons for saying so - and more importantly were you more deeply bruised than Her Majesty's government - the ones who granted him a visa?

You can't have it both ways. Was it a hush-hush affair or was it not? You say that, "First, they ensured that only Buhari supporters and a few members of the APC's foreign captive audience were there in the room to give it a dash of foreign colour." It would have been foolhardy of the organisers, don't you think, if they had allowed the Chatham House auditorium where Mr. Buhari was making his pitch, to be filled by the PDP rabble, the noise-makers that were only there to cause trouble?

About corruption, Mr. Buhari's words – of truth – are echoed here, earlier, by Sierra Leone's APC leader, currently President, Ernest Bai Koroma on CNN – as a result of "a serious fight against corruption", he said, "I'm sure the leakages that are responsible for the poor delivery services in the social sector, like education, health and employment situation will be turned around."

About the aforementioned endemic corruption, we know that the old PDP brigade is fighting tooth and nail and its is feared may even try their best by hook and even by crook to ensure that they do not lose this election for fear that by (presidential decree?) President Buhari might arraign them all before the corruption courts for trial and refund of looted assets.

"Why doesn't Buhari promises to let bygone be bygones and that he will only go after new cases of corruption?"  asked my Swedish politician brother. Apparently that is what Mr.Buhari is saying although it's difficult for the old brigade to feel safe or to believe that he won't go after them , after all corruption is corruption is corruption and the ill gotten goods, the fruits and kickbacks of old corruption are crimes that should be punished.

We know that you don't wish Muhammadu Buhari with him as president, well - and that's why this is your silliest statement of all:

 "Buhari should have seized the opportunity to come, stand on the porch of Chatham House and address Nigerians who were outside, sell himself and his programme and show them that he's serious about leading Nigeria to better days" –

i.e. that Mr. Buhari should have repeated what he said inside to the violent rabble foaming at the mouth, outside - who knows put himself in line – as a target for fire by some assassin's bullet and blame it all on lack of adequate British Security.

 As promised, I'll return to take up some of the other delinquencies but for now this is something that I wasn't aware of before, but it's now bothering me: Is James Ibori one of Mr. Buhari's supporters?  How do you explain that?  Maybe he has repented, turned another leaf? The leopard doesn't change his spots?

You realise of course that some of Nigeria's money that could lawfully be turned to the state treasury will have to go to refurbishing the military which is now in a state of dilapidation and decay.

I was expecting to see an very charismatic Muhammadu Buhari, smiling like his brother, Colin Powell, not reading so tenaciously from a script all the important things that he had to say (what he said could have been published as an article in the guardian) - but I was expecting a more extempore rendition from Mr. Buhari - and a slightly different speech – with more emphasis on how he intends to take the bull by its horns. It may delight you to know that the first glimpse that I got of Mr. Buhari on the Chatham House TV - I saw all the signs that Lord Anunoby has been talking about so much, I saw entitlement and long- shuffering stamped on Mr. Buhari's face. He was not shmiling.

The saying is that the patient dog eats the fat, Juicy Bone and concerning the fat juicy bone, it should be good to hear more of "God Bless Nigeria!" from the presidential candidates.

From my winter corner,

Cornelius

We Sweden

 

 

 



On Saturday, 28 February 2015 11:03:03 UTC+1, Kennedy Emetulu wrote:





BUHARI'S CHATHAM HOUSE CHARADE: NOT A STATESMANLIKE PRESENTATION AND NOT A STATESMANLIKE EXIT!








I enjoyed the outing at Chatham House. Though the Chatham House people had obviously organised this as a hush-hush affair to sell General Muhammadu Buhari, the tyrant who ran the most unfriendly Nigerian government to the UK as a convert to democracy who now champions its values in Africa nay Nigeria, the whole thing fell flat on its face. 

First, they ensured that only Buhari supporters and a few members of the APC's foreign captive audience were there in the room to give it a dash of foreign colour and listen to a drab speech for about twenty-five minutes. Typically, Buhari was made only to deliver a speech with no room for genuine questions and participation from a genuine audience, except the fits of clapping by claques well-schooled in celebrating poop flakes carried by hot air. When the  APC bigwigs appeared outside after the sham Buhari talk inside, they met a wall of Nigerians chanting "Buhari-Ole (thief)! Tinubu-Ole! Atiku-Barawo! Amaechi-Ony'oshi! El Rufai-Ole!" I loved the chant and even did a little jig to it on the street of St James's Square! Of course, the APC posse attempted a copycat version of this, but again, it didn't resonate. Their frustration got the better of them as they began accusing every Goodluck Jonathan supporter in sight of collecting money to support the president. Meanwhile they were the lot caught sharing money in the Square.

In the meantime, having witnessed what they considered intense hostility from the outside, the bigwigs who only got as far as the doorway retreated inside and for over two hours, they scratched their heads and wringed their fingers, wondering how to take Buhari out of the building without facing the wrath of Nigerians outside. A group of us had got wind that they were going to smuggle him out through a side door, so we went and acted sentinels there. It was tough as the PDP and APC and the Goodluck Jonathan supporters like myself fought turf wars around the premises. Though outside, it was mostly good-natured political bantering by the supporters of both parties and both leading candidates; inside, they knew the mood was not right for Buhari to step out. In the end, Buhari had to be smuggled out of the place furtively in a police van with Rotimi Amaechi in tow as Nigerians booed loudly at what was considered a cowardly show. 

My own main takeaway from the situation is that Buhari has again lost an opportunity to market himself better to Nigerians, even as everything was laid out for him. Chatham House had to shoehorn him into their programme when he was not scheduled to be there. I mean, spotting a boil on the left side of his jaw, Buhari is evidently in London primarily for some other reason and not for a talk (and that is okay, because of his age and the toll the campaign must have taken on his frail body), but they presented it as a "working visit". Yet, every programme organised as part of that working visit in London, he couldn't attend! To save face, Chatham House was conscripted into a conspiracy to keep its door open for Buhari, his followers and his foreign supporters while this same door was shut firmly against other Nigerians as they ran the charade of Buhari of all people talking the prospects of democracy in Nigeria! Expectedly, there was nothing inspiring or memorable in the speech. It was just a show to indicate Buhari is alive and well and not in an hospital bed. But it fooled no one!

Buhari should have seized the opportunity to come, stand on the porch of Chatham House and address Nigerians who were outside, sell himself and his programme and show them that he's serious about leading Nigeria to better days. Instead, he was smuggled out in a police van and booed by the same people he wants their votes. Not a statesmanlike exit that!

Now, having done with the light drama, let's attend to the tragedy. It happened on several fronts in the speech. He started by apologising for having to take his beloved country to the cleaners on a foreign soil where ordinarily he had happily played its "public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists" in the past. He urged the foreign eyes ogling this new phantom Nigeria of today to keep looking. "So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria's landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated". 

Yes, Buhari, the new darling of the West is calling on his friends and sponsors to play the vultures and pick up the carrion that is Nigeria once any form of extension is proposed "under whatever guise", because this would be "unconstitutional". Is it not a surprise that with so many SANs jostling for a seat at Buhari's table (and one of them his running mate), none could tell him that there is still room for the postponement of the election by INEC lawfully and constitutionally if need be? He has to create the impression that the postponement was the handiwork of Goodluck Jonathan and his people and not by INEC as a result of its clear state of unpreparedness. Buhari must blame Jonathan and the PDP, because that is his default position.

It's such hypocrisy that took Buhari's speech to the next level of farce as he began talking as though he was not the democracy-killing tyrant of late 1983 who made the nation one huge prison as he tortured his fellow citizens mercilessly in the name of fighting indiscipline and corruption. He reeled out statistics of the democratic heartbeat of the continent throughout the eighties, the nineties and after and then concluded: "It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach". The clapping claques at this point were going joyously bonkers! A Lincoln has come to judgment, they farted out loudly! When he turned to prosecute Nigeria, his self-serving proclamation was that peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times and that the prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria. Hmm….

Buhari is particularly invested in the world focusing on Nigeria, because "the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa's most populous country and largest economy". Buhari, who with his military chums massacred Nigerians in the name of fighting a civil war took the opportunity of addressing an audience in a London that was horrified by the images of kwashiokor children to say that apart from the civil war era, no other time has Nigeria been this insecure.

"Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.

"You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.

"Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram's financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism".


Well, well, well, now that is a powerful sales pitch by a hound auditioning for the post of Protector-General of the hares! I mean, since when is an attack on Boko Haram no longer an attack on the North? Since when did Muhammadu Buhari, the Commandant-General of Boko Haram and who is their biggest political defender and supporter convert to their shooter? Or is this not the same man that attacked the Nigerian Army for killing Boko Haram? Is this not the man whose supporters celebrate every Boko Haram attack as a victory against Jonathan? Is this not the same Buhari that was chosen by Boko Haram as their representative in a proposed negotiation in Saudi Arabia? Is this not the same Buhari that told the world that the Boko Haram boys should be treated like the Niger-Delta militants by being rewarded with money and positions? Is he now going to start killing them instead of commissioning them into the Nigerian Army? Where was Buhari's voice when more than twice the number so far lost to Boko Haram lost their lives to assassinations, government sponsored genocide, communal, ethnic and Sharia-induced violence under the rulership of his friend, Olusegun Obasanjo and that only in his first term as president? Who is zooming who? 

Buhari accused the government of not applying a multidimensional response to the problem. This is so dreadfully untrue that it could only have come from a fellow who in his highfalutin speech didn't consider education as a weapon against a group committed to killing education. His continued undermining of the necessity of the help we are getting from our neighbours as part of the multinational force against the insurgency is as vacuous and self-serving as the boasts of a clay-footed giant. There is no shame in having a multinational force against an internationalised Islamist militancy. Boko Haram is not only a Nigeria problem; it is a regional and world problem and the fact that the world and sub-region are waking up to this reality late is not an indictment of Nigeria or her leadership. Better late than never! There is more to fighting an internationalised insurgency than just deploying men and arms. There is diplomacy of the subtlest kind and the delicate navigation of regional sensibilities and historical fears. Enough of this ignorant rhetoric from this relic of a general!

One thing is for sure, Buhari is aiming to win for Boko Haram through the ballot what they are fighting for with bullets. Both he and Boko Haram think they're holding Nigeria hostage to a total Sharia future. Or what else has Boko Haram and Buhari asked for jointly that if granted will put a stop to all the killings? Yes, you guessed it - total Sharia in Nigeria! Please, those who want to dumbly argue that this is not possible in a democracy should please not waste their time here, because I myself have no time to waste holding them by the hands through the pages of Nigeria's modern history. I've never been a fan of mental and civic laziness and wouldn't start now.

The Buhari speech's treatment of the economy was a slapdash jumble of questionable but still irrelevant statistics and what he said some unnamed development economist said. "A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country's development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?" Suffice it to say Buhari discussing poverty, unemployment and inequality is like a fox commiserating with the sheep for lack of grass to eat.

But while Buhari's views on all the above issues are interesting and not in a good way, I found his views expressed in the concluding part of the speech hilarious and not in a good way  too. Here is my transcription from watching and listening to the video:


"On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we plug the hole in the budgetary processes. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation) and Custom and Exercise (sic) will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference. But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption must not be misconstrued as settling all the scores or a witch-hunt. I'm running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity, not adversity. 

"In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party's social investment programmes in education, health, safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youths and pensions from the elderly. As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people, thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy, but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youth. In short, we will run a functional economy driven by our worldview that sees growth, not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigerians have a decision to make, to vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.

"In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point, we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead and deprive those who want to scuttle it the benefit of draining our fledging democracy. That way, we all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools of solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as end in themselves. 

"Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers, including the well-regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch. I cannot change the past, but I can change the present and the future. So, before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic election for the fourth time. You may ask why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And there is my humble answer, because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians would be proud of. Thank you very much".

Buhari says on corruption, there is no confusion as to where he stands, but from his speech at Chatham House, there is a lot of it. Not only is there confusion, there is an obvious lack of understanding of the breadth and depth of the problem. This could be contrived or real ignorance. But here it is: What he calls "the hole in the budgetary process" will always be there. These holes are not plugged by adding or deleting whatever is recorded and rerecorded on paper, but by astute and honest implementation. So, how would he achieve this? Oh, he would never appoint corrupt people in his administration! Now, isn't he having a laugh here? Here is the man who came before the nation to declare with a straight face that Sani Abacha, his soulmate and fellow tyrant was not corrupt. Here is a man whose list or presumed list of sponsors include the following persons: Bola Tinubu, reputed to be one of the most corrupt public persons in Nigeria following eight years as Governor of Lagos State and his continued economic colonization of the APC-controlled states in the South-West; Rotimi Amaechi, who is the Governor of Rivers State and who in desperation has almost bankrupted that state in funding Buhari's campaign; Abubakar Atiku, former Vice President and another byword for political corruption in Nigeria; Senator Bukola Saraki, another byword  for corruption; James Ibori, a former Governor of Delta State in prison in the United Kingdom for corruption and who has it in for Jonathan for supposedly causing his woes; Olusegun Obasanjo, a corrupt former president who stupidly thinks his hypocrisy is well hidden from everyone; all the other governors of APC-controlled states who showed their hands in fully supporting him during the APC presidential party primaries. I mean, the list of corrupt public officials or people in the public eye supporting him is endless. Is this man telling us that he would not appoint these persons to positions in his administration? A man who farmed out the choice of his vice presidential candidate to Bola Tinubu and got in return Tinubu's Man Friday would not farm out the choices for his ministers and parastatal heads to these same people? Did we just hear this man who ran the PTF aground with a corrupt crew headed by his in-law Ahmad Salihijo without one single audit in four years just promise that under him our revenue producing entities would publicly disclose their revenues and be regularly audited? He must think he's talking to garden gnomes!  

Again, talking about revenue generating agencies having one set of books only indicates the mind of an ancient bookkeeper totally clueless about the mechanics of modern financial management. How do organisations involved in multiple independent businesses keep one book? Who will create a financial dictatorship within a democracy in the name of fighting corruption? Does he not realise that such financial centralisation makes stealing easier for the simple reason that accountability is limited as many actors get lost inside the cracks in the name of fitting everything into that 'Financial Book of Life'? Let's face it, the problem is not with multiple accounts within one organisation, that is a necessity; the problem is with the implementation of the rules governing the operations of these accounts and third party interests.

The idea of giving institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference is reinventing the wheel and doing so contradictorily. Here is Buhari who has repeatedly stated that if he comes to office, he will draw a line on corruption cases by only continuing with those in the courts while not prosecuting anyone presumed corrupt before then, but only those committing fresh offences during his tenure. So, how does such a policy give the institutions fighting corruption independence and prosecutorial authority without interference when such a policy itself is actually taking away independence and prosecutorial authority ab initio? It's like giving a man a horse to ride in freedom only after cutting off the horse's legs! How does this help the fight against corruption? What moral right does Buhari have to attack the PDP government for corruption if the overall effect of his anti-corruption policy is to incubate corruption and only prosecute scapegoats? What message does he think he's sending Nigerians who believe he's the honest one (Mai Gaskiya) if he is only committed to fighting corruption selectively? Wouldn't he have been better served with a policy that says there will be no sacred cows and that the state would prosecute anybody in or out of government it believes have corruptly enriched himself or herself as a way of sending the message to Nigerians that corruption does not pay and that no statute of limitation applies to such cases? Of course, telling us that his war on corruption must not be misconstrued as settling all the scores or a witch hunt is a death sentence on the much-vaunted anti-corruption fight, because what he is saying by other means is that people like Tinubu, Amaechi, Atiku, Saraki and all the corrupt carrot heads around him are not going to be prosecuted for corruption simply because doing so would mean settling all the scores or a witch hunt, because whatever they might have done before while in office is in the past. Of course, their continuing corruption, like Tinubu's continuing draining of Lagos State coffers with the help of Yemi Osibajo, his fellow board member at Alpha Beta are just smart business transactions! Yeah, these are the people with whom he wants to work to bring prosperity and not adversity to Nigerians. President Jonathan might be on to something with that yam and goats analogy.

The worst part of that talk on corruption is his idea about what to do with its proceeds and the blocking of his mythical leakages. Looking at the long list of what he wants to achieve with the pie-in-the-sky money he is looking to save from his corruption dragnet, one sighs in disappointment. I mean, does Buhari understand how much would be involved in the school children feeding programme alone, even at one meal a day? How much is he hoping to get from proceeds recovered from corruption to put here? Not only that, this seemingly gargantuan fund recovered from criminals would further fund his party's "social investment programmes in education, health, safety nets…emergency public works for unemployed youths and pensions for the elderly". Has anyone amongst the potato heads his party touts as young, vibrant advisers ever sat to do any kind of rudimentary costing of the promises he makes or question the logic of some of his theories on public finance and deliverables? Of course, this is the case of an ant versed in building anthills thinking it can build a zillion skyscrapers! How much mound of debris can he throw up to achieve that? In taking hyperbole literally to the stratosphere, Buhari is not only assuming that the proceeds of corruption is sitting pretty cooly somewhere he'd go on day one of assuming office, pick it up and use it to address his massive laundry list, he actually knows how much it is and how much it will cover. The trouble is even if corruption swallows up the entire budget of the last twenty years and Buhari suddenly rips its belly open and recovers this whole money wholesale, it still won't be enough to address this aspect of his programmes he's mentioned here. We've heard of voodoo economics, here comes voodoo governance courtesy of General Buhari and the APC!

Buhari, the man who is the new darling of Western predatory economic interests and his APC want to run a private sector led economy functionally driven by their worldview "that sees growth, not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike". Don't ask how he's going to do this, because he has never said, not in this Chatham speech nor in any other speech during this campaign. You also won't find it in any party document. Yes, the man whose whole economic policy as military Head of State centred around counter-trade and the cultic control of import licenses and selective distribution of "essenco" wants to run our economy in the 21st century just after Jonathan has done the yeoman's job of making Nigeria the biggest economy in Africa with the best Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) ever and with a better diversified base capable of withstanding the shock that followed the collapse of the oil price. Don't we now get this sense that the changes we want is already here, while Buhari and
...

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