How Buhari is already rigging the 2023 elections, By SKC Ogbonnia

The abduction of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and the recent terrorist attack on the leader of the movement for Odudua Nation, Adeniyi Adeyemo (aka Sunday Igboho), by President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime did not come as a surprise.

In a recent piece, calling for the removal of the president from office, I had alerted the world that, “Anyone thinking that Muhammadu Buhari will hand over power at the end of his tenure is daydreaming. The incorrigible dictator cannot and must not be trusted. This is a man who assumed power, preaching integrity, virtue, and righteousness, only to gain the power to embrace the worst form of corruption, utter disregard for the rule of law, and gross abuse of office as a way of governance. There is no way Buhari can be entertaining the thoughts of a peaceful transition of power, while at the same time waging war against some sections of the country.”

Therefore, the abduction of Kanu and the terrorist attack on Ighoho constitute the plum plot to plunge the country into deeper crisis to elongate Buhari’s tenure in office. Nothing more!

The reason is not far-fetched. The despot is in a desperate need of more time to deepen his evil policies. Buhari cannot, and understandably so, imagine any of the civilians currently being touted as his successor —whether from the North or South—who will be naïve to prolong his policies or protect him once out of power without risking a full-blown war. Even Governor Nasir el-Rufai, the twin terrorist brain of Buhari, knows not to try. Besides his pestilent personality, which irritates both friends and foes, el-Rufai remains on Global Terrorist Watchlist for threatening to slaughter foreign election watchers during the 2019 Nigerian polls.

Forget the recent statement from the Southern governors demanding power shift to their region in 2023! Such a demand is sadly laughable and lame. If these self-serving governors could not stand up against Buhari’s terrorist activities in their different states, where citizens are maimed and murdered on daily basis, one wonders how they can muster the courage to question his choice of successor. If Buhari cannot deem a Southerner, including his deputy, worthy of participation in any strategic decision-making throughout his regime, one wonders how he would suddenly make a u-turn and surrender the reins of the entire government to the same South.

Therefore, having failed in his clandestine bid to influence the senate leadership to elongate his tenure, one may not rule out a palace coup, especially considering Buhari’s fast-fading health. In this scenario, the dictator would step aside while his military loyalist takes over. The scheme is similar to how Ibrahim Babangida paved the way for Sani Abacha. The army boys did not trust MKO Abiola as a potential successor. They wanted and got one of their own in Abacha who not only protected the military oligarchy but also helped to tighten their grip on the Nigerian state.

The plot to elongate Buhari’s tenure by fanning the embers of crisis did not start today. It began earlier in his regime when he attempted to rekindle the zeitgeist of the Biafran war with the hope of regaining any semblance of popularity, using the Igbo as the escape goat. Upon assumption of office, Buhari quickly disavowed his oath of office by deploying the worst form of political vendetta against the Eastern Region for the simple reason that the people voted en masse for their native son, Goodluck Jonathan, in the 2015 election–similar to the electoral gestures accorded to Buhari himself by his native Northern Region in the 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019 electoral cycles.

Buhari followed by ensuring that virtually all segments of the national security architecture—from land, sea, and air—are firmly under the control of the militant cadre of his ethnic group.

Worst still, the president made certain that his personal army, the “foreign” Fulani Herdsmen—an organisation stamped worldwide as a terrorist group since 2014—are fully armed and strategically dispersed to all nooks and crannies of the Nigerian space.

Yet, the president did not leave anyone in doubt that his target was the Igbo.

There and then, the IPOB–which had remained laylow–vaulted and said enough is enough. But they had fallen into the trap. Buhari capitalized and hastily turned the native Igbo cities in South-east and South-South regions into a semi-war zone.

Unfortunately, the dictator is a lowbrow, a dumbo. Buhari did not—and is not expected to—realize that the world has turned.

The Igbo have become more sophisticated and know not to fall to the cruel antics of a dullard. The Nigerian people, too, have become wiser. They know that the problem is neither the Igbo nor those that voted for Jonathan. They know the problem has nothing to do with Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. The world knows that the problem is brazen dictatorship in the land, and the solution is justice.

Enter Omoyele Sowore, Nigeria’s foremost anti-corruption crusader, democracy activist, and a presidential candidate in the country’s 2019 election, who is also known never to turn a blind eye to injustice. In an attempt to use his #RevolutionNow movement to protest the gross misrule in the land, Sowore was arrested and detained by General Buhari.

In the piece, “IPOB, Sowore, and the Audacity of a Primitive Dictator”, I warned that the continued detention of Sowore was a recipe for disaster: “Only a poon ignores the potential of the heavily funded but regional IPOB, with a worldwide membership, fusing with a broad-based national outfit like #RevolutionNow.”

But Buhari knew what he was doing. He craves crisis. However, with Sowore in the struggle, and constantly being harassed and tortured by the terrorist regime, a nationwide crisis was imminent.

Today, there is a crisis in the Northeast. There is a crisis in the Northwest. The people of the Middle Belt are being slaughtered daily by Buhari’s personal army. Today, secession from Nigeria is no longer an Eastern or Igbo palaver. The Yoruba, under the leadership of Igboho, also want to leave the union.

“To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.” Yes! “The unity of Nigeria must take precedence over the 2023 elections.” After all, “Nigeria’s call obey.” But I have bad news for Muhammadu Buhari: Nigerian masses, home and abroad, are ready. We are prepared to defeat the despot!

SKC Ogbonnia, 2019 APC Presidential Aspirant, writes from Houston, Texas

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