Nigerians voted massively for President Muhammadu Buhari. They did so because they believed he was incorruptible. And so the international community believed. When Buhari announced that there wouldn’t be any hiding place for those who corruptly enriched themselves in Nigeria, the whole world quickly believed him.
Unfortunately, he underestimated how powerfully organised those he wanted to fight have become over the years. So, these sworn enemies wasted no time in reorganising themselves in their fight to ensure he never succeeded.
Being helped to power by some corrupt politicians and business leaders is posing serious credibility questions.
In short, while his enemies were better armed and ready for the battle, Buhari’s foot soldiers seemed not only disorganized, they were truly not ready. Reason also was because most of these foot soldiers had participated in defrauding Nigeria at some point should be shooting themselves in the foot should they fight their former partners in crime.
Little wonder what his war against corruption pronouncement did was to quickly force these enemies of state to quickly go back to work and did so aggressively while Buhari and his foot soldiers seemed to be taking their time.
When these enemies of the state discovered that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC could not give them the needed quick free pass, they wasted no time in using the judicial system they have always controlled.
Aware that theirs were high profile cases, in such a highest bidder system, senior lawyers were brought together in their defense, whereas cheap and inexperienced lawyers were those government could afford.
Soon, their powerful lawyers who happen to be equally close friends of the country’s judiciary began to roll out technicalities to keep these cases prolonged for years enough for them to return to power possibly in 2019.
But, that is not all. They also came together to bring up how they will make Nigeria ungovernable and its unity threatened, so that when Buhari is so distracted, he will be forced to reach out to the same enemies of the state in his attempt to save the country from being dismembered.
That’s why, in these efforts to keep Nigeria one, the now desperate president has easily played into these criminals’ hands who he needed on his side in fighting insurgencies across the country and the increasing threats to the country’s unity.
This forced the president to quickly compromise, including soft peddling on prosecuting many of these high profile cases, as he has no option than to co-opt them into the fight to keeping Nigeria one and stable.
Discovering how the world is in disbelief of the kind of human rights abuses taking place in his administration, strategies to reach out and neutralise the possible oppositions to his government were rolled out.
One of the best and easiest ways to achieve that was using our oil card by handing international oil companies (IOCs) led ExxonMobil and Chevron owned by the ever powerful Rockefellers and Shell controlled by Queen Elizabeth lucrative oilfields.
The oil card achieved exactly that, to the extent that during the UN General Assembly meeting in New York in September 2017, rather than international community questioning Nigerian government’s human rights abuses, the US and EU went as far as praising his leadership.
Unaware of how Nigeria has recently used its oil card to neutralize the perceived undemocratic activities of this government, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, was crying foul of being excluded from important NNPC decisions, forgetting that being a mere minister of state, constitutionally, his office is nonexistent and that such important geopolitical decisions shouldn’t have to have him involved.
Leaving nothing to chance, the same powerful elite thieves who are behind the endless nationwide political and economic instability too have to be bribed with some marginal oil fields so that they should distance themselves from these so-called anti-government protests and separatist activities. The reason why as soon as they got these oil bribes they began to reverse their earlier positions.
From these, it is obvious that they are not only winners, but in fact they have won both the battle and the war. Buhari administration not only lost this war, but lost big. Having lost the fight against corruption, economy and possibly in politics, Buhari administration may not have what it takes to be reelected in 2019.
Already, unknown to Buhari a coup has been successfully staged against him within APC. That he will come to know in few months’ time when he will be presenting himself as his party’s candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
That day will be the day of payback, the day the president will come to discover how having distanced his government from most of those who worked hard to make sure he unseated incumbent president, they have come together and have agreed on how to deny him not even access to winning the national presidential election but access to winning the party’s candidacy.
When Akande spoke recently he was only letting the president know ahead of time the danger he should be expecting. The game plan so far is that Southern states along with Northcentral states — the now christened Middle Belt states — will overwhelmingly vote against Buhari’s candidature.
The southern states will be joined by northeastern states of Adamawa, Taraba and Bauchi. Even Northwestern states like Kano and Kaduna will slit their votes between Buhari and the candidate chosen by the Tinubu faction, which is expected to be behind the Atiku/Tinubu Presidency.
But should Buhari try to impose himself on the party, the powerful Atiku/Tinubu faction will pull out of APC to possibly join PDP, which powerful leaders of PDP are publicly welcoming, even though it would be difficult for PDP to allow southwest to produce both PDP national chairman and vice president at the same time.
Notwithstanding this, this Plan B has not only since been accepted by PDP in principle, but in fact, has also been overwhelmingly approved by the nation’s political class across board who are increasingly frightened by what they now call Buhari’s divisive presidency that even northern power brokers can no longer rally behind him at a time the whole south has unanimously agreed on no restructuring no 2019 elections.
Also the poorly managed military invasion of the Southeast to dislodge the Independent people of Biafra, IPOB protesters, which, rather than being settled through negotiations was done through a show of military force in the name Python Dance II, which further strained the fragile north-south relationship.
But what seem to recently confirm Buhari’s narrow chances in 2019 are the NNPC scandalous stories still rocking the presidency with conflicting stories about who really approved the so-called $25billion (N9 trillion) NNPC contracts and loans that exposed the massive corrupt in a government that came to power with the agenda to dismantle corruption in Nigeria. This has since forced most Nigerians to now wonder which of the two parties should be classified as more corrupt — PDP or APC!
Another is the bombshell by the President of the World Bank who just revealed that as part of his northernization agenda, the World Bank was directed by the president to focus all its projects in Nigeria on north. This has since forced southerners — including Middle Belters — to conclude that his government is exclusively for promoting the interest of the core north.
These allegations are so weighty for the president to come out unhurt. Making it difficult for him to exonerate himself was his infamous public announcement where he insisted that those who gave him 97% of votes and those who gave him 5% shouldn’t expect equal treatment from his administration.
Odilim Enwegbara, a Abuja-based public commentator, is the chief executive, Pan Africa Development Corporation.