He is bamboo-rod straight, his body frame is slenderized, he is of a meager weight, he is fair and in terms of height, he towers as one of the tallest of Nigerian leaders, if not the tallest. His milky voice evokes no fear but do not be deceived, his uncompromising stance on issues stands him out. MILLIONS of Nigerians adore and practically worship him as the only Saviour of the Nation, while millions despise him and see him as nothing but a reincarnation of the Devil. This man is held in great esteem by a vast swathe of the Nigerian population while some others seethe with scary bitterness and violent hatred at the mere mention of his name. But hate him or love him, you will agree that Major-General MUHAMMADU ‘Leko’ BUHARI, Dogo Dan Daura, is the strictest Nigerian leader.
His regime was one of an unprecedented clampdown on indiscipline, corruption and corrupt people. Even his sworn foes agree he has an extremely inflexible stand and an incorrigible will against corruption – which ironically led to his overthrow. Today, Abiyamo’s lenses will zoom in on the life of this Daura-born Fulani general, a man many love with fanatical zeal, many hate with unspeakable fervour while many are not too sure whether to spew caustic hatred on him or shower him with benevolent adoration. Ladies and Gentlemen, General Muhammadu ‘Leko’ Buhari, GCFR.
BIRTH AND EARLY DAYS
He was born on a Thursday, the 17th of December, 1942, (that MAKES him 70 years even though he doesn’t look it). Unlike many other northerners who were born into aristocratic backgrounds and climbed up using the prestige of their families and the influence of their fathers, Buhari was born into a humble family, what we call pako in my area. He lost his father at a very tender age (he was just four), both parents pampered him like a pet as he was their last child but he had about 20 other siblings whom his father sired with other women in previous marriages. His mum had given birth to a set of twins before Buhari but they both died shortly after birth. That explains one of his nicknames ‘Leko’ which means ‘someone born after twins who died’, something like ‘Idowu’ in Yorubaland.
His father was Alhaji Hardo Adamu and Hajiya Zulhatu (nee Musa) was his mother, the daughter of the Sarkin Dogarai, what can be translated as the head of the infantry who was in turn the son of the Kauran Daura Lawal, head of the Daura military forces. His paternal grandfather was a typical Fulani who lived the nomadic life but later settled for a life of farming in Daura, Katsina State. His mother would later die on the 14th of December, 1988, a few days to his birthday. Buhari, who had just been released from prison, got to Daura a few hours after the burial of his mother. He was not fortunate enough to witness her being interred. Please note that Buhari’s mother was not Fulani but Hausa (Habe) and she was already a widow with seven children when she married Buhari’s father who was the Fulani chief of the Dumurkol Village, near Daura.
As a child, he played round the dusty roads of the town and remembers clearly, the time he fell off a horse during one of his recreational periods.
GROWING UP AND EDUCATION
A proper Katsina boy, he attended the Katsina Middle School (Daura & Maidua, 1948-1952) and later proceeded to the Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College, Katsina) for his high EDUCATION from 1956-1961. From there, he went off to start his military education, like many boys of the north at that time.
Muhammadu Buhari Secondary School Certificate Katsina Old Photo With Classmates
The high school Buhari attended.
IN THE MILITARY
In becoming a soldier, he attended the FOLLOWING institutions:
-Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC), 1962
-Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, United Kingdom (1962-1963). Generals Sani Abacha (read about him HERE and Obasanjo also attended this academy). In Aldershot, Buhari was described as ‘an only pebble in the beach, a star in his calm and calculating disposition.’
-Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), Wellington, Tamil Nadu, India (1973), Obasanjo also attended this college
-US Army War College (1979-1980) where he was described as “a gentleman, a soft-spoken soldier, who preserved the ethics of the profession almost as a Quarter-Master-General. He would touch the tip of his cap in greeting for a lady, would never enter a room with his beret on. Always careful with his language, would smile at every joke and would never do anything to rock the boat.”
In the year 1962, he joined the Nigerian Army and rose steadily through the ranks.
Buhari the soldier:
-Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 1963
-Platoon Commander, United Nations Peacekeeping Force, Congo, early 1960s.
-Platoon Commander, 2nd Infantry Battalion, Abeokuta, Ogun State, 1963.
-Mechanical Transport Officer, Lagos Garrison, 1964 – 1965.
-Transport Company Commander, 2nd Infantry Brigade 1965 – 1966.
-Battalion Adjutant / Commander, 2nd Infantry Brigade/Battalion 1966 – 1967 (during the Nigerian Civil War).
-Appointed Brigade Major, 2 Sector, 1st Infantry Division, April -July 1967.
Brigade Major, 3rd Infantry Brigade, August 1967 – October 1968;
Acting Commander, 4th Sector, 1st Division November 1968 – February 1970;
Commander, 31st Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, February 1970 – June 1971;
Assistant Adjutant-General, 1st Infantry Division Hqrs., July 1971 – Dec. 1972;
Colonel, General Staff, 3rd Infantry Div. Hqrs. Jan. 1974 – Sept. 1974.
Acting Director, Supply and Transport, Nigeria Army Corps of Supply and Transport, September 1974 – July 1975;
Military Governor, North Eastern State of Nigeria, August 1975 – March 1976;
Federal Commissioner for Petroleum Resources, March 1976 to June 1978;
Chairman, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, June 1978 – July 1978;
Military Secretary, Army Headquarters July 1978 – June 1979;
MEMBERSupreme Military Council, March 1976 – June 1979;
General Officer Commanding, 4th Infantry Division, Aug. 1980 – Jan. 1981;
General Officer Commanding, 2nd Mechanised Infantry Division, Jan. 1981 – October 1981;
General Officer Commanding 3rd Armed Division Nigerian Army, October 1981 – December 1983.
Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, December 1983 – August 1985
The Life Biography Family Photos General Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria Strictest Leader3
From July 1975 to February 1976, he served as the Governor of the newly-created North-Eastern State under the regime of the late General Murtala Muhammed. The North-Eastern State is what we now know as Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba States. Mehn, that’s huge! See the picture below.
Later, after the assassination of Murtala Muhammed, he served as the Federal Commissioner (now Minister) for Petroleum, Energy and Natural Resources under General Olusegun Obasanjo. He was appointed to that post in 1976 and was there till 1978.
Muhammadu Buhari Back In The Days
On the 1st of April, 1977, the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel and the Nigerian National Oil Corporation were both merged together to form what is now the ultimate ATM machine for Nigerian leaders -the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Buhari was appointed as the head of the NNPC in 1978 and was there till 1979. Under Buhari, who wasthe Pioneer Chairman of the NNPC, great achievements were recorded: 20 depots of oil involving over 3,200 kilometres of pipeline were constructed all over the nation, in addition to the construction of petroleum refineries in Kaduna and Warri (subsequent governments have wrecked these refineries and there is obviously no plan in their skulls to build new ones, I do not know of any other oil-producing nation and OPEC member that buys refined fuel from others. The largest refinery in the world is in India, a country that produces no CRUDE OIL. I see our importing refined petroleum as one of the most glaring stupidities of the Nigerian nation, the supposed giant of Africa).
(The NNPC states that it’s vision is to become a world-class oil and gas company driven by shared commitment to excellence while its mission as an integrated Oil and Gas Company is to be engaged in adding value to the nation’s hydrocarbon resources for the BENEFIT of all Nigerians and other STAKEHOLDERS. I think that ‘all Nigerians’ should be rewritten as ‘some Nigerians’ while the ‘other stakeholders’ should be edited and become ‘the cabal’. As an ‘ordinary Nigerian’, ayam yet to feel the full benefit o. Sorry for the ‘digreson’, e dey pain me for body ni, we were on Buhari shey….lol! )
THE COUP & BECOMING HEAD OF STATE
The Life Biography Family Photos General Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria Strictest Leader 7
On the last day of the year 1983, a coup was in operation to overthrow the democratically-elected government of President Shehu Shagari. The most interesting thing about the coup was that even though it was neatly orchestrated by middle-cadre and top brass in the military, Buhari was not initially the PERSON to become the Head of State. The person that was expected to become the new HOS after the coup was Brigadier Ibrahim Bako. Bako and his boys stormed the President’s residence to overthrow him. Shagari was woken up by his security team and alerted that Bako and his men were on their way to the State House to arrest him.
The Life Biography Family Photos General Muhammadu Buhari Nigeria Strictest Leader 8
QUICKLY President Shagari was evacuated to a safer location and the stage was set for one of the most dramatic gunfights in Nigeria’s political history. To guard, protect and defend the Nigerian President then was the Brigade of Guards, headed by Captain Augustine A. Anyogo, an elite presidential bodyguard made up of some of the best-trained hands in the Armed Forces. They fought to the last and in the ensuing battle and under circumstances that are still not very clear, Bako, who was supposed to be the new Head of State was hit (IBB denies that Bako was to be the new HOS but agreed he was a chief plotter). He died. On Bako’s death, IBB would later say that maybe it was due to an accidental discharge. Hear him:
Question:“…What really happened to General Bako?”
Babangida: “..….when they went to Abuja for that operation, ….this thing happened in the night… you see, from the experiences we had from the civil war, we found out that soldiers sometimes panic and when they panic, there are dire consequences. So, it was in the night and there was what you could call accidental discharge and the first reaction of the soldiers was that they were being attacked and in situations like that, you could shoot anyway. It happened to us I remember, during the civil war. You get shot at in the front and the sound reverberates behind so the soldiers at the back believes that the PERSON shooting is right there then they forgot that some 500 meters away are what we refer to as own troops, your own forces. Because of no adequate training, a soldier would just cock his rifle and start shooting only to discover that he is shooting his own people. During the civil war, we sustained lots of casualties as a result of this situation. So, my suspicion is that a similar situation must have played out during that operation in Abuja and a bullet hit the late Ibrahim (Bako).”
Question: “So, claims that General Tunde Ogbeha may have pulled the trigger on Bako are not correct after all?”
Babangida: “I would not like to say he did it, no. It was the situation they found themselves; it was dark and everybody was shooting anyhow.”
In short, no one really knows exactly how Bako died.
As at the time of the coup and following Bako’s death, General Buhari was commanding the Third Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army in Jos, Plateau State and he was far from the center of ACTION in Lagos State. An agreement was reached and Buhari was selected to become the head. A jet was on to Jos to later bring Buhari who was not in the meeting. But during one of the meetings to choose him, a mild drama played itself out.
Some of the military officers wanted to select IBB as the new head of state but in a fit of fury, Mustapha Jokolo drew out his gun and said no one would leave that place alive if Buhari was not crowned the head of state, that IBB would become the Head of State over his dead body. Jokolo would later become the aide-de-camp (ADC) of Buhari and later the EMIR of Gwandu in Kebbi State before he was deposed and banished from his own kingdom (Jokolo and Colonel Sabo Aliyu, who was heading the Brigade of Guard were captured the day Buhari was overthrown and were beaten to a state of stupor, the beating was so intense that rumours initially flew out that Jokolo was dead).
To cut long story short…lol, Buhari was ‘elected’ as the Head of State and the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces and his appointment was formalized on the 1st of January, 1984. It would last until the 27th of August, 1985 when Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and his cohorts like Abacha dem took over. The Supreme Military Council (SMC) was formed (see the full cabinet list below).
HISTORY: BUHARI’S FIRST SPEECH AFTER THE MILITARY COUP OF 31ST DECEMBER 1983
In pursuance of the primary objective of saving our great nation from total collapse, I, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari of the Nigerian army have, after due consultation amongst the services of the armed forces, been formally INVESTED WITH the authority of the Head of the Federal Military Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is with humility and a deep sense of responsibility that I accept this challenge and call to national duty.
As you must have heard in the previous announcement, the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1979) has been suspended, except those sections of it which are exempted in the constitution. The change became necessary in order to put an end to the serious economic predicament and the crisis of confidence now afflicting our nation. Consequently, the Nigerian armed forces have constituted themselves into a Federal Military Government comprising of a Supreme Military Council, a National Council of States, a Federal Executive Council at the centre and State Executive Councils to be presided over by military governors in each of the states of the federation. Members of these councils will be announced soon. The last Federal Military Government drew up a programme with the aim of handing over political power to the civilians in 1979. This programme as you all know, was implemented to the letter. The 1979 constitution was promulgated.
However, little did the military realise that the political leadership of the second republic will circumvent most of the checks and balances in the constitution and bring the present state of general insecurity. The premium on political power became so exceedingly high that political contestants regarded victory at elections as a matter of life and death struggle and were determined to capture or retain power by all means. It is true that there is a worldwide economic recession.
However, in the case of Nigeria, its impact was aggravated by mismanagement. We believe the appropriate government agencies have good advice but the leadership disregarded their advice. The situation could have been avoided if the legislators were alive to their constitutional responsibilities; Instead, the legislators were preoccupied with determining their salary scales, fringe benefit and unnecessary foreign travels, et al, which took no account of the state of the economy and the welfare of the people they represented.
As a result of our inability to cultivate financial discipline and prudent management of the economy, we have come to depend largely on internal and external borrowing to execute government projects with attendant domestic pressure and soaring external debts, thus aggravating the propensity of the outgoing civilian administration to mismanaged our financial resources. Nigeria was already condemned perpetually with the twin problem of heavy budget deficits and weak balance of payments position, with the prospect of building a virile and viable economy.
The last general election was anything but free and fair. The only political parties that could complain of election rigging are those parties that lacked the resources to rig. There is ample evidence that rigging and thuggery were relative to the resources available to the parties. This conclusively proved to us that the parties have not developed confidence in the presidential system of government on which the nation invested so much material and human resources. While corruption and indiscipline have been associated with our state of under-development, these two evils in our body politics have attained unprecedented height in the past few years. The corrupt, inept and insensitive leadership in the last four years has been the source of immorality and impropriety in our society.
Since what happens in any society is largely a reflection of the leadership of that society, we deplore corruption in all its facets. This government will not tolerate kick-backs, inflation of contracts and over-invoicing of imports etc. Nor will it condone forgery, fraud, embezzlement, misuse and abuse of office and illegal dealings in foreign exchange and smuggling. Arson has been used to cover up fraudulent acts in public institutions. I am referring to the fire incidents that gutted the P&T buildings in Lagos, the Anambra State Broadcasting Corporation, the Republic Building at Marina, the Federal Ministry of Education, the Federal Capital Development Authority Accounts at Abuja and the NET Building. Most of these fire incidents occurred at a time when Nigerians were being apprehensive of the frequency of fraud scandals and the government incapacity to deal with them. Corruption has become so pervasive and intractable that a whole ministry has been created to stem it.
Fellow Nigerians, this indeed is the moment of truth. My colleagues and I – the Supreme Military Council, must be frank enough to acknowledge the fact that at the moment, an accurate picture of the financial position is yet to be determined. We have no doubt that the situation is bad enough. In spite of all this, every effort will be made to ensure that the difficult and degrading conditions under which we are living are eliminated. Let no one however be deceived that workers who have not received their salaries in the past eight or so months will receive such salaries within today or tomorrow or that hospitals which have been without drugs for months will be provided with enough immediately. We are determined that with the help of God we shall do our best to settle genuine PAYMENTS to which government is committed, including backlog of workers’ salaries after scrutiny.
We are confident and we assure you that even in the face of the global recession, and the seemingly gloomy FINANCIAL FUTURE, given prudent management of Nigeria’s existing financial resources and our determination to substantially reduce and eventually nail down rises in budgetary deficits and weak balance of payments position. The Federal Military Government will reappraise policies with a view to paying greater attention to the following areas: The economy will be given a new impetus and better sense of direction. Corrupt officials and their agents will be brought to book.
In view of the drought that affected most parts of the country, the federal government will, with the available resources, import food stuffs to supplement the shortfalls suffered in the last harvest. Our foreign policy will both be dynamic and realistic. Africa will of course CONTINUE to be the centre piece of our foreign policy. The morale and combat readiness of the armed forces will be given high priority. Officers and men with high personal and professional integrity will have nothing to fear.
The Chief Justice of Nigeria and all other holders of judiciary appointments within the federation can CONTINUE in their appointments and the judiciary shall continue to function under existing laws subject to such exceptions as may be decreed from time to time by the Federal Military Government. All holders of appointments in the civil service, the police and the National Security Organisation shall continue to exercise their functions in the normal way subject to changes that may be introduced by the Federal Military Government.
All those chairmen and members of statutory corporations, parastatals and other executive departments are hereby relieved of their appointments with immediate EFFECT.
The Federal Military Government will maintain and strengthen existing diplomatic RELATIONS with other states and with international organisations and institutions such as the Organisation of African Unity, the United Nations and its organs, Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, ECOWAS and the Commonwealth etc. The Federal Military Government will honour and respect all treaties and obligations entered into by the previous government and we hope that such nations and bodies will reciprocate this gesture by respecting our country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Fellow Nigerians, FINALLY, we have dutifully intervened to save this nation from imminent collapse. We therefore expect all Nigerians, including those who participated directly or indirectly in bringing the nation to this present predicament, to cooperate with us. This generation of Nigerians, and indeed future generations, have no country other than Nigeria. We shall remain here and salvage it together. May God bless us all. Good morning.
Upon coming to office, Buhari suspended some parts of the 1979 Constitution. That was not all o. All the democratic institutions like the Presidency, National Assembly and State Houses of Asembly were all dissolved like salt in water.
-The Buhari/Idiagbon regime maintained cordial relationship with various nations across the globe. One of these included the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in February 1984, the Saudi Oil Minister, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani was on a visit to Lagos, and not long after that, the Buhari regime reciprocated with Idiagbon visiting the Saudi King in Riyadh on a three-day official visit with a special message from General Buhari. This relationship would later work in Nigeria’s favour when the nation was seeking to increase its petroleum PRODUCTION quota in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), of which Saudi Arabia was the most influential member. Idiagbon was received by the Saudi King, the Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister, Prince Saud Al-Faisal and the Saudi Petroleum and Minerals Minister, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani.
-With Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, the Buhari regime had a tenuous relationship. In 1984, the EMIR of Kano, Alhaji Dr. Ado Abdullahi Bayero and the Ooni of Ife, Alayeluwa Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II (both are very good friends) where both banned by the Buhari government from travelling out of their royal domains. Why? They travelled to Israel on business without government approval, and at that time, the Nigerian government was yet to restore diplomatic ties with Israel. Professor Wole Soyinka cites this as one of the ‘crimes’ of the Buhari regime.
CHIEF OF AIR STAFF: Air Marshal IBRAHIM MAHMUD ALFA (Born in Garkida, Adamawa, he was the first NAF officer to attain the rank of an Air Marshal. He was retained by IBB).
MUHAMMADU BUHARI’S CABINET
Head of State and Commander-in-Chief – GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI
Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters (de facto Vice President) – MAJOR-GENERAL TUNDE IDIAGBON, also known for his stern attitude, the Ilorin-born General died in March 1999.
Minister of Defence – GENERAL DOMKAT YAH BALI
Agriculture Minister – DR. BUKAR SHUAIB
Abuja (Federal Capital Territory) – MAJOR-GENERAL MAMMAN JIYA VATSA
TRADE – MAHMUD TUKUR
Communications – BRIGADIER-GENERAL AHMED ABOKI ABDULLAHI
EDUCATION – YARIMA IBRAHIM ABDULLAHI
FINANCE – ONAOLAPO SOLEYE
Health – EMMANUEL NSAN, Vice Admiral PATRICK SEBO KOSHONI
Internal Affairs – MOHAMMED MAGORO
Foreign Affairs (External Affairs)– IBRAHIM AGBOOLA GAMBARI
INFORMATION – SAMSON EMEKA OMERUAH
Transportation – ABDULLAHI IBRAHIM
Petroleum and Energy – PROFESSOR TAMUNOEMI SOKARI DAVID-WEST
Justice – CHIKE OFFODILE
National Security Organization (NSO) – ALHAJI LAWAL RAFINDADI
CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF: General IBRAHIM BADAMASI BABANGIDA
CHIEF OF NAVAL STAFF: Rear Admiral AUGUSTUS AKHABUE AIKHOMU (He was retained and PROMOTED by IBB).
EVENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS AS HEAD OF STATE
Major General Muhammadu Buhari on an official visit to the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro on the 18th of March 1985 2
Major General Muhammadu Buhari on an official visit to the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro on the 18th of March 1985.
Major General Muhammadu Buhari on an official visit to the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro on the 18th of March 1985 3 Major General Muhammadu Buhari on an official visit to the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro on the 18th of March 1985 4 Major General Muhammadu Buhari on an official visit to the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro on the 18th of March 1985
-Buhari made it very clear he would not be doing any business with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and had no need of their bogey loans which are in reality, booby traps (IBB would later gladly take them). Buhari instead, advocated for barter and direct countertrade with Brazil and other nations of the Third World. He was more INTERESTED IN bartering oil for technology, spare parts and raw materials. Naturally, that pitched him against the West even if that meant good news for the economy of the world’s most populous black nation. However, this move was severely criticized by people like General Olusegun Obasanjo and Major-General James Oluleye.
-Clamping down on the press: It was not funny at all for journalists during the Buhari regime. Decrees upon decrees ensured that if your pen danced too much, you will go and sing the rest of your Awilo in jail. The Guardian, which was one of the most liberal newspapers at that time had many of their writers imprisoned. Some of the decrees (like the obnoxious Decree 4 of 1984, called the Public Officials (Protection Against False Accusation Decree)) were quite ridiculous in the sense that you will go to jail if you write and publish a story that was embarrassing to the government, even if that story was true, as it was in the case of Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor of The Guardian when they wrote article about military officers sent to diplomatic posts overseas. For me, that is excessive, you don’t need to put stew on jollof rice na…lol!
Victor Ndoma Egba welcoming Buhari to Cross River State.
-Restriction of freedom and deprivation of fundamental human rights: According to the Decree NUMBER 2 (1984), the State Security (Detention of PERSONS) Decree, the Chief of Staff (Idiagbon) had the power to detain, without formal charges, anyone deemed to be a security risk for up to three months. Ha! When we are not living in Pyongyang…lol! But please note that this decree has been existing since the time of Ironsi. Using the instrumentality of this decree, journalists were hounded and jailed while about a dozen press houses were closed down (Beko Ransome-Kuti, Tai Solarin and Haroun Adamu were all jailed under this decree).
The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) were proscribed. Lobatan! Also, industrial ACTIONS were banned, demonstrations were not allowed and if you organize public protests, you will sing ohun oju mi ri l’Alagbon more than Orlando Owoh. But how was the dictatorial regime of Buhari able to do this? There was the National Security Organization (NSO), Nigeria’s first secret police SERVICE, which was on hand to intimidate, harass, detain, punish protesters/demonstrators, students, lecturers, critics, activists and civil servants who dared embark on strikes. It was so bad that by October 1984, about 200,000 civil servants had been retrenched.
-Corrupt civilian governors and ministers under the Shagari government were all rounded up by Buhari and jailed but without trial. IBB would later release them in droves…lol! Funny kontiri. President Shagari himself and his vice, Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme were slammed with corruption charges.
-Expulsion of foreigners: About 700,000 foreigners, especially from Ghana and other West African nations were expelled from Nigeria FOLLOWING an announcement on the 15th of April 1985. The Internal Affairs Minister dropped the bombshell and illegal immigrants had to scurry to meet the deadline of 10th May. The exodus was massive but it was not the first time it would occur.
-Death sentence for drug mules: The Buhari regime is also notorious for sentencing to death those convicted of drug trafficking with Decree 20. However, nothing caused more uproar than the retroactive APPLICATION of the laws even though this has been disputed. Bartholomew Owoh, Bernard Ogedengbe and Lawal Ojulope were made to face the firing squad. Some argue that Owoh was the only one arrested BEFORE the promulgation of the decree. In April 1985, six Nigerians were convicted by a Special Military Tribunal headed by Justice Adebayo Adesalu and condemned to death for drug trafficking: Mrs. Sidikatu Tairi, Miss Sola Oguntayo, Oladele Omosebi, Lasunkanmi Awolola, Jimi Adebayo and Gladys Iyamah
I remember clearly one of the women fainting upon hearing the death sentence and prison officials had to come to her rescue. Gladys Iyamah, locked up at the Federal Maximum Security Prisons in Kirikiri, Lagos, was a crippled mother of two and was the first woman in the history of Nigeria to be sentenced to death. The Federal Military Government knew the implication of executing a paralysed mother of two and the sentence was secretly approved. But thankfully, it was never carried out.
-War Against Indiscipline (WAI): On the 20th of March 1984, the Buhari/Idiagbon regime launched this programme that many Nigerians will remember biting their fingers and desperately preventing a tear from dropping ….lmao! Not a few will forget the koboko (horse whip) lashes that lacerated their backs when they became unruly at bus-stops or littered the environment. And if you fail to do the environmental sanitation activities at that time, you don enter one chance be dat. Just pray that a miracle will occur and Idiagbon’s WAI Brigades (set up in each state under the Ministry of Information and Culture) do not catch you.
The essence of WAI was to instill discipline and order in a society that has now all but broken down as far as morality and etiquette were concerned. Today, indiscipline and entropy reign in the Nigerian society. Even while outside the country, quite a lot of Nigerians are thoroughly indisciplined, shouting at airports, making noise inside the aircraft (or refusing to switch off phones or use seat belts), fighting over things that will leave you smh..ing, not obeying simple instructions in their host countries and all sorts of abanilojuje behaviour.
Nigeria surely needs a new version of WAI, with vigorous implementation from the Presidency downwards because the level of entropy today is alarming. Soldiers beat up policemen, civilians are regularly harassed by uniformed men to the point that many ‘bloody civilians’ think it is a normal thing…and so on, and so on. WAI was first launched in Kano by the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon.
As far as the Buhari regime was concerned, indiscipline was the major obstacle to Nigeria’s social, political and economic development and that if national development was to be made, then Nigerians must (whether they like it or not) accept discipline as a way of life ‘at a personal, government, corporate and institutional levels’. Even if they made some mistakes, they were right about that one, and today, our society still stinks to the high heavens with indiscipline. Yes, and a megadose of corruption. The WAI programme was executed under five phases:
-Queue culture (it really annoys me when I get to an ATM and we cannot form just a single line. We just crowd round the whole machine and start saying ‘Ehs, Aunty, Ayudilastpesinondilayn? Please ayam at your back‘ then you go sit down or hang somewhere and have yeye gist with a friend, wasting precious time of national productivity. I am yet to get to an ATM and see Nigerians queue up neatly in a line, not to talk of campus bus-stops, iyen tie worse or filling stations. So much chaos everywhere).
-Work ethic (unless you threaten civil servants with query and sack, many will not arrive punctually or prefer to sell all sorts of things in the office, from Tianshi herbal tea to GNLD vitamins. But honestly, can you really blame them?)
-Nationalism and patriotism (for where? Nbo? Pa kini? Kilonjebe?) If a slave ship berths today at Apapa and the sailor calls that it is a slave ship going to America, it will be full in less than 30 minutes.
-Corruption and economic sabotage (dat one na one a per-second basis)
-Environmental sanitation (go and tell that one to Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji, the Ochendu Ibeku, the Ohazurume of Abia South and the Utuagbaigwe of Ngwaland (our leaders and megalomania of pathological proportions sha). Just make sure that tourists do not see those mountains of dirt and refuse in Aba. Ariaria ‘International’ Market nko? Make I no talk sef). Same goes for Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State. This one that they haff opened Soprait and many pipu will go and do som sopin, I just hope that the Mount Kilimanjaro of refuse in Ibadan do not become an Everest overnight. Ajumodoti o kin shey inkan toda o…lol! #JustSaying…lol! Not that other states are extremely neat too o…lol!
Buhari and Idiagbon focused on these five areas with their WAI policy. They no doubt had good intentions to instil a cultural revolution and value reorientation into the psyche of the Nigerian but it was not to be. And it remains so, as you read this.
-Also, General Buhari dealt mercilessly with religious fundamentalists during his era. In February and March 1984, the Maitatsine sect under the leadership of Musa Makaniki unleashed terror on the populace in Yola, Adamawa State and about 1,000 lives were lost. Buhari had to send in federal troops to crush the extremists. A similar event would occur in 1985 under Buhari.
-On the 3rd of February, 1984, members of the National Security Organization (NSO) arrested an American businesswoman, Mrs. Marie McBroom at gunpoint. The lady was on Nigerian soil during the December coup and decided to stay behind and finish her business deals involving food material and petroleum for her import-export enterprise that she just opened. She was not the only one arrested, there was another female tycoon, Dorothy Davies and both of them were accused of trying to buy crude oil without getting a licence for export. Both were bundled to an interrogation unit at the NSO headquarters before being flung into the Kirikiri Maximum Security Prisons. Davies spent 40 days and 40 nights…lol in jail before she was released while the American woman languished in jail for nine good months before she was arraigned before a military panel made up of four members on the 30th of November, 1984. Probably more than any other body in the nation, the NSO was granted incredibly wide powers of arrest and detention and decrees were handed out to back this.
There was the State Security (Detention of Persons) Decree Number 2 of 1984, under which the NSO could detain anyone they feel is a security risk. Under this obnoxious and tyrannical decree, one can be detained for three straight months in two tranches which could be renewed. There was also the authoritarian Decree 4 under which it was a punishable offence for anyone to publish any material that was deemed as embarrassing to any government official. On the 11th of April, 1984, operatives of the NSO arrested two journalists: Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor, of the Guardian newspaper and before you could spell KAI, they were brought before a Special Military Tribunal led by Justice Olalere Ayinde and accused of falsely accusing public officials even if what the journalists wrote was on point. on the 2nd of June, 1984, a summon from the tribunal was sent to the accused and it read:
Form 2 Public Officers (Protection Against False Accusation) Decree No. 4 of 1984 summon to accused. “That you Tunde Thompson and Nduka Iraboh of The Guardian Newspaper, Limited, Rutam House, Isolo on April 1, 1984 at Rutam House, Isolo in Lagos, did publish “False statement contrary to section 1(1) of the Decree No. 4 of 1984. You are therefore summoned to appear before the Tribunal mentioned above sitting at Federal High Court on the 4th day of June at the hour of 9.00 a.m in the forenoon to answer the said complaint”. Their EMPLOYER, Guardian Newspapers Limited was also accused.
-The Umaru Dikko Affair: On the 5th of July, 1984, a team of Nigerian security operatives (led by Major Mohammed Yusufu) and Israeli katsas (field intelligence officers from the MOSSAD, Israel’s national intelligence agency, also called the world’s most efficient killing machine) were on hand to kidnap and bundle back to Nigeria, a former minister of transportation during the Shagari era (as Shagari’s in-law, he also had extreme influence in the government). His name is Alhaji Umar Dikko. After Shagari was overthrown, Dikko vanished into the thin air only to resurface in the United Kingdom where he stayed in exile. Dikko is shown in photos below:
MUHAMMADU-BUHARI-UMARU-DIKKO MUHAMMADU-BUHARI-UMARU-DIKKO 2
Then came Buhari and his anti-corruption goons, and they were bent on getting their hands on people like Dikko, who was accused of stealing $1 billion before negotiating with his legs. Thus, he was drugged, put into a crate and labelled as ‘Diplomatic Baggage’. An empty Nigerian Airways Boeing 707 plane was already waiting at the Stansted Airport waiting for him to be ‘extradited’ back to Nigeria (I laugh so hard each time I remember this story, sounds like a comedy-filled drama). Just at the last moment, one of the eagle-eyed British officers at the airport noticed some unusual ACTIVITY and demanded a thorough search. The Nigerian team of ‘kidnappers’ had rented an apartment and actually posed as refugees seeking asylum from Buhari’s regime while the Israeli guys disguised as anti-apartheid activists and tourists from Africa…lol!
Later on, the team combed all the high-brow areas of London, sifted through THE REGISTRIES but saw no trace of Dikko until one day when one of the Israelis sighted him while driving. He parked and trailed Dikko to his home. The Director of MOSSAD, Nahum Admoni was immediately contacted and an Israeli consultant anaesthetist was hired to administer anaesthetic agents to Dikko and fit in an endotracheal tube to prevent him from choking to death in his own saliva.
The next day, Dikko was abducted right in front of his home and put in a van driven by Yusufu. And off to the airport, where he was passed off as ‘diplomatic luggage’ from the Nigerian embassy. Dikko said in an interview with the BBC in 1985:
“I remember the very violent way in which I was grabbed and hurled into a van, with a huge fellow sitting on my head – and the way in which they immediately put on me handcuffs and chains on my legs.”
Unfortunately for them, Dikko’s secretary, Elizabeth Hayes, had witnessed the abduction and she alerted the authorities thinking it was an act by criminals, even the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was informed. And again, they failed to actually label the crate as diplomatic baggage and as the airport officials were clearing the ‘cargo’, a list arrived alerting them of a kidnap. That was how the plan was foiled. The crate was opened just minutes before the plane was to take off and inside it was Dikko, without shoes, socks or shirt but with a heart monitor placed on his chest and handcuffs on his ankles, lying on his back and the Israeli doctor, who was inside with his kit of anaesthetics to ensure that the poor dude does not die in flight. The cargo manager, narrated that the cargo was not labelled and did not have the proper documentation and they had to opened and do the accreditation in the presence of a Nigerian diplomat, who was already present, he said to the BBC:
…the cargo manager, hit the lid on the bottom and lifted it. And as he lifted it, the Nigerian diplomat, who was standing next to me, took off like a startled rabbit across the tarmac,” Mr Morrow said.
“You have to remember we are on an airfield which is square miles of nothing. He ran about five yards (4.5m), realised no-one was chasing him and then stopped.
“Peter looked into the crate and said: ‘There’s bodies inside!’
Even after that, the kidnappers insisted that Dikko was the biggest crook in the world…lol!
If not, Dikko would have opened his eyes only to meet himself under the bright shiny sun of Ikeja and he go do him like dream……e for sweet die….lolololol! He was later taken to a clinic and he sustained no injuries and later lived in Britain for more than 10 years before returning to Nigeria. In an interview in November 2012 with the BBC, Dikko said he has not forgiven his kidnappers:
”Those that orchestrated my kidnapping are still alive; it was just wickedness and blatant lies against me. They are still alive and why would I forgive them? Why would I forgive such inhuman and barbaric act against human being, without them asking for forgiveness? This is the lies we face in Nigeria and the truth is clear, I haven’t forgiven them, it is just propaganda that they used through the media. Have they repented? Before you forgive a PERSON, he must repent and say it is a mistake or intentional, but have they repented? This is my stand, if some agreed that they made a mistake then you forgive them; but they have not and I haven’t forgiven them. What have they found after all these plots?
Nigeria, the land of very funny people…lmao!
Diplomatic relations between Britain was broken off for two years and even when a formal APPLICATION was made to the British government by Buhari’s junta, it was turned down. Omo, e no funny o…lol! The drama did not end there.
The Nigerian Airways crew was detained (Buhari also responded by ordering a British Caledonian plane that was already in the air flying from Lagos to London via Kano be returned back to Lagos where it was also detained by the Nigerian authorities. Immediately the United Kingdom released the Nigerian Airways crew, Buhari also freed the British plane to fly to London…lol) and total of 17 men were arrested and four of them were later sentenced to 10-14 years, these included the anaesthestist, two MOSSAD agents who hid in the second crate and Yusufu. All of them were released after spending 6-8.5 years in jail and were silently deported. Nigeria retaliated too BUY promptly picking up two British engineers (for stealing aircraft….rotflmao!!!) in Nigeria and slamming 14-year prison sentences on them. Do me I do you, man no go vex…lol!
Interestingly, both the Nigerian and Israeli governments denied any responsibility in the saga. However, Nigerians were overwhelmingly in support of Buhari at this time and even called for diplomatic relationship with Britain severed. Even the Academic Staff Union of UNIVERSITIES (ASUU) commended Buhari for the way he handled the affair.
NB: I must state that this operation was covert and was carried out despite the fact that both countries were yet to normalize diplomatic RELATIONS. Israel was still getting a huge chunk of her oil from Nigeria while Israel was a major supplier of arms to Nigeria. Both nations still had underground relations. Even till today, Israeli forces are involved in providing security for the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
-His regime also managed to reduce inflation, rejected all IMF’s conditionalities, such as the devaluing the naira, sharply reduced unnecessary imports, minimized oil bunkering and when bunkered oil was seized, he used it to get relevant commodities, equipment and machinery using the counter TRADE policy. The latter measure ensured that Nigeria was exporting even above the OPEC quota. Today, what happens? An entire tanker full of bunkered oil disappears right under the nose of the Nigerian Navy…lol!
-There was also a sudden creation of new notes to halt currency smuggling and there was considerable refinancing of TRADE debt arrears.
LOVE, ROMANCE AND MARRIAGE
General Buhari’s first wife was the late Hajiya Safinatu (nee Yusuf) Buhari. He courted her when she was fourteen and married her at the age of eighteen. A very shy and conservative Muslim woman, she was not too visible on the social radar. They married in 1971 and the marriage was blessed with four children, all girls (Zulaiha Magajiya (the first daughter, and she was named after Buhari’s mother) Fatima, Hadizatu Nana, and Safinatu Lami). Buhari was so focused on salvaging Nigeria that he preferred to remain single throughout the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) and it was not until the war ended that he got married to his sweetheart, Safinatu. Although he was so passionate about his JOB that he was said to have being ‘married to the Army’, he always called his wife on the phone on a regular basis. As the First Lady of Nigeria, Hajiya Safinatu was not in the spotlight. Actually, she avoided the limelight for religious and cultural reasons, and coupled with the fact that her husband led a life free of ostentation, Nigerians do not know much about her.
Conclusively,I Obalola can go further but i rest my case for now,Buhari is not to be cheaply Criticised,Wailers………Meshionu
(WRITTEN BY: OBALOLA)