My encounter with Captain Buhari BY F. O. ONYEBUEKE

Buhari (1)

The Nigerian Civil War ended on January 15, 1970. Naturally, Nige­rian soldiers occupied every part of Igbo land and used school premises as their make-shift barracks. Less mal­nourished young men were sus­pected to be defunct Biafran soldiers and some ladies suf­fered at the hands of the ram­paging soldiers.

My village, Umueleke, in Ehime Mbano of Imo State, was one of the communities occupied by the Nigerian soldiers with their natural provocative utterances. The village shares a common boundary with Mbaise in Imo State, where we assumed to be the operational headquarters of the Nigerian soldiers within our area during that period.

On a certain day in March 1970, one of our brothers that fled Lagos to Biafra with his new car, but could not use same during the war for fear of being confis­cated by Biafran Soldiers, per­fectly concealed same throughout the period of the Civil War. He brought out the car in March of the same year and drove same to our market square where the sol­diers were stationed.

Unfortunately, the soldiers harassed him out of the car and confiscated same, luckily for him there was a divine intervention as the crowd of onlookers saw a con­voy coming from the Mbaise axis of our community and suddenly a young and slim officer alighted from the military jeep. He en­quired why the crowd gathered and why the man was weeping; the man informed him of how the soldiers had beaten him up and confiscated his car.

The slim officer was a captain with his name-tag Buhari. The officer reminded the people that the war had ended and such thing should not happen. He quickly ordered for the release of the car and also reprimanded the soldiers and as a result, our community enjoyed the usual freedom.

When he became the Head of State, I discovered from his facial appearance that it was the same Buhari that showed human con­cern to our brother.

But since Buhari indicated in­terest in ruling the country once again, I have read many commen­taries on the pages of newspapers and electronic media that are very uncomplimentary about his life and I wonder whether it is the same Buhari I met in 1970 who was full of passion for people.

However, from my encounter with GMB then, I came to the conclusion that he is not only hu­mane, but a stickler for justice as demonstrated by his insistence that my brother’s car is returned immediately and which the sol­diers did. That he ordered that the car be returned and the soldiers involved in such act be detained for stepping beyond their bounds depicted Buhari as a compassion­ate man and a disciplinarian who abhors maltreating innocent civil­ians. After all, Buhari could have joined forces with his men to con­fiscate the car, but he did not be­cause he believed that the war had ended and people should be set free form bondage and discrimi­nation. But he said “mbanau ooo!”

Of course, the lessons learnt from the above are: that a leader must stand for justice at all times; that a leader must take a decision when necessary; that a leader must instil discipline in his lieu­tenants; that not all Northern sol­diers were wicked after the war and that GMB is misrepresented by many Nigerians who see him as evil and tribalistic.

Indeed, from the lessons, one can deduce that GMB is far bet­ter than our South-South brothers who confiscated our property im­mediately after the war and nick­named it ‘abondoned property’ particularly in Rivers and Bayel­sa. Many Igbos died while in pur­suit of their legitimate rights over their property. My family mem­bers were victims and I nearly lost my life.. Again, I think some Igbos are still at war with Buhari, 45 years after the war ended. So, if by divine act, Buhari wins, what will be the fate of Igbos.?



  1. This is a very good write up. A lot of people in the country are not well informed and have not taken time to do their own investigations about the candidates and then make informed decisions about the elections. It just a sad state of affairs in this country.

  2. Godbless you for your dispassionate confession of your encounter with GMB.Many of those who peddle negative things about GMB know that he is a good and disciplined man. You nailed it when you said our brothers from the East are yet to let go of their prejudices of the civil war. They should forgive themselves and let go; rather than be on the negative side of history.

  3. This election is not about Buhari but about Jonathan .The question everyone needs to answer before voting is “has Jonathan done enough in the past 6 years to deserve another chance ” . For me the answer is no and that’s why i’ll vote for buhari.It’s time the electorate show that they will not accept bad governance anymore

  4. How I wished the soldiers GMB reprimanded then were alive to buttress this write up. Even if it was same BUHARI then,this BUHARI would earn my vote. I thought GEJ knew what he was saying about him not having shoes and I voted for him back then which many Nigerians are biting their fingers now,I won’t repeat such mistake again.GEJ said if he could not fix electricity in four years,then he had no biz being president of the nation and now electricity is yet to improve in many parts of the country and for that alone I won’t vote PDP. Essence of democracy is you vote who will better your life not who will worsen it. Bros you never try,make anoda person come do am.GMB all the way.

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