Re: The Real Buhari
I had earlier made some preliminary comments on the social network on "The Real Buhari" documentary being discussed all over the place. But while doing that, I had only watched snippets of it. Now, I've watched the whole thing and would like to make a few more observations.
First, I'm proud to say that the documentary borrowed a lot directly from my article "Buharists and their Stockholm Syndrome". Anyone who has read my article and watched and listened to the documentary can be forgiven for thinking a lot of the commentary is actually lifted from my piece. It's true. But I was not consulted before they used it. If they had consulted me, I would have made the final outcome better than what is produced. So, on that count, General Muhammadu Buhari should count himself lucky! Yes, he should be celebrating I was not part of that production. Hehe!
Now, having watched it fully, I wonder why opposition activists are all over the place claiming loudly that the documentary is not factual. True, as expected with such evidently hurriedly put together documentary, certain accounts are not exactly true, but that takes nothing away from the credibility of the documentary, because what is not true accounts for less than two percent of the documentary and that is being generous Here are some of the non-factual comments I found in the piece:
(1) Shehu Kangiwa was not alive by the time Buhari took over. He had died in office as Governor of Sokoto State from a polo accident in November 1981. The man who took over from him was Garba Nadama. He was the one in office when Buhari took over in late 1983.
(2) Yes, there was a general persecution of Christian politicians from the North and South, but Aper Aku was not the only Northern governor or politician, Christian or Muslim, that Buhari arrested and persecuted. He also arrested and locked up Solomon Lar who was a Christian. Though Awwal Ibrahim was found guilty, he was a fellow Fulani with Buhari and his friend. Buhari put him under a supposed official house arrest, but really he was free to come and go. It was General Ibrahim Babangida in 1986 that revisited his case after the overthrow of Buhari and barred him from holding public office for life. Buhari arrested Balarabe Musa, Barkin Zuwo and Abubakar Rimi, but only because these ones represented an anti-conservative strain in Northern politics and had great political relationship with the South.
(3) The 1984 Musa Makaniki Maitatsine-inspired rising was not the beginning of Islamist militancy or insurgency. The main Maitasine riot itself happened earlier during the Shehu Shagari regime at the national level while Rimi was governor in Kano. Having said that, Buhari's claim that he put an end to it is blatantly false, but that is a matter for another time.
(4) And what's all that about presenting the picture of a cheetah as a leopard that cannot change its spots in the concluding part of the documentary? Abi that one too na transformation? Hehe!
But having clarified the issues above, I wonder:
(1) What the hoopla is about Fela not mentioning Buhari in his song about the missing N2.8 billion. Obasanjo was the Head of State at the time and Musa Yar'Adua was his number two. The fact that Fela did not mention Buhari does not change the fact that he was the central figure in the scandal as the Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and the man indicted by the Senate Report during the Second Republic.
(2) What the hoopla is about Buhari's family life and the mention of his personal tragedy with the unfortunate loss of his daughter from sickle cell anemia and the death of his first wife from complications from diabetes. The death of the latter was after her divorce from Buhari, but clearly from neglect. The point is Buhari, despite his stature and standing, wickedly did not look after her after the divorce. To put it simply, her death was avoidable. Her story is well known in military circles.
(3) There is nothing in the documentary that showed anyone gloating over Buhari losing his children or wife, but anyone who has a problem with the discussion of his marriage, divorce and remarriage is a hypocrite. These were mentioned in the documentary in the context of Buhari's policy against women. We all know he wants to ban the office of the First Lady and we know that he has never given his wives any consideration while in public life. The attempt to pretend that he's modern by showcasing his present wife is clearly not his idea, but the idea of those who're giving him an extreme makeover. For instance, we can see how this was a disaster at the Lagos APC presidential campaign when the microphone was rudely yanked off the poor woman before she could even finish greeting the crowd. Anyone who killed women secretly by firing squad, including a crippled mother, should be prepared to have people look into his family life if he chooses to contest for any public office after being a heartless dictator.
(4) In all, the documentary is truthful about the Buhari years as Head of State and later as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under General Sani Abacha. Those of us who lived through the period know this is true. Those who are complaining that this or that television station aired or is airing it need to know that it's a sponsored programme by a group loyal to the PDP and the stations, NTA, Channels and AIT are doing it for commercial purpose. The views expressed therein are not those of the television stations, but of those who put the documentary together and paid for airtime. Where we can complain is if any of the television stations reject material from members of opposing political parties once they are prepared to pay for it. That is not the case here. If the APC feels the documentary is not true, they are free to produce their own to counter it or to profile President Goodluck Jonathan in the same light. Nigerians are wise enough to determine what is true and which party or candidate to support after then. There is no room for crybabies in a political campaign!