By Tiamiyu Musa
No doubt, the rise of Muhammadu Buhari with his rich antecedents as the most loved and naturally accepted popular Northerner threatens institutions and some northern establishments considering his rising and unabated popularity, especially among the downtrodden in the region.
Significantly so threatened could be the highly referenced and most influential seat where the current Sokoto State governor, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal plays the front end role working in close coordination with some senior princes of the Caliphate with the Atiku Campaign Organisation; glaringly, the battle for the soul of the north.
The story is not just starting today and the rivalry between Buhari and the northern elites dates back to years before the principals were conceived. Born 17 December 1942 in the sleepy Hausa-ruled emirate of Daura to a peasant herdsman Fulani family, the future army General and President was destined to be outclassed and looked down upon by his blue blood cousins in Sokoto and Kano. Regardless, Buhari who later rose to become General in the Nigerian Army was still privileged to attend school with the advantaged elite class of Fulanis, including the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua with whom he made it to the military.
However, the foundation of today’s rivalry and bitterness against Buhari which is the hallmark of Sokoto establishment were planted early in the First Republic, a time the elite controlled Northern region metamorphosed into the political-military-business class and the civil servant-teacher classes of Fulanis who went on to lead the North and the country.
For General Buhari who was firmly in the former class, he grew up to have a close relationship with the class of the later – feeling more at home among the Talakawas than the emerging insatiable elites of the North.
Buhari brought this perspective to bear on his new job that in 1983 when he was named Head of State, against machinations of a few heavyweights he struck the first shot against the Sokoto led elites by deposing late Alhaji Shehu Shagari, an illustrious son of the city-state and member of the elite Political-Military-Business class as the Nigerian president. Truly, this action has not been forgotten and Buhari has not been forgiven.
As if not enough, few years later, an army officer and Sokoto prince whose father would later become the Sultan, Lt. Col. Sambo Dasuki, led a group of young army officers to arrest Major General Buhari and was later deposed by an army General of Nupe extraction, Ibrahim Babangida.
This was a clear strike back against a peasant considered an outcast and someone too close to the masses for comfort against their grand strategy of rapacious impoverishment of the North; and to further expand his travails, Buhari was locked up in prison, and was in incarceration when he lost his mother and thereafter suffered irreparable public and private damage in the years that followed licking his wounds as the elites bestrode Nigeria like colossus from 1985 to 1993.
When General Sani Abacha, who became the military leader assumed power in 1994, his government recognised the need for public and international credibility and the imperative of inoculating himself as an outsider to power being a Kanuri; he quickly identified and embraced General Buhari to be naturally fitting to serve as his Chief Infrastructure officer as Head of now defunct Petroleum Trust Fund.
During the time, the elite contractors and businessmen were the biggest losers under PTF because Buhari bypassed them but rather, he encouraged a lot of consultants, start-ups and businesses led by the children of the downtrodden, civil servants, teachers and the low class of the North, as well as wider Nigerian populace to benefit directly from the work of PTF. This too, the elites did not forget and Buhari is not forgiven.
As fate will have it, the once powerful Dasuki needed the help of General Buhari as his father fell out of favour with Abacha. Naturally, the General did not lift a finger as the Sultan was banished. This was a blow too hard for the elitist group. It was said many years later that the poor treatment of General Buhari by the PDP when they seized power in 1999 was closely coordinated by Lt. Col Sambo Dasuki who endured that the General was thoroughly investigated by Obasanjo and successive administrations to not much avail.
As fate will have it, Dasuki later rose to essentially become the most powerful man in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, becoming the National Security Adviser (NSA) and the elite’s man in a government that hardly won much vote in the deep North where the General was becoming more popular. Although Buhari had been maliciously rigged out at three separate instances between 2003 and 2011, yet the ranks of his talakawas supporters kept expanding with successive and progressive under investment and stagnated development of the North by the same elites. The continued pauperization of the poor later set the conducive template for the current rivalry that seem to have permanently changed the status quo of the North with the emergence of Buhari in 2015 as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and later president of Nigeria on May 29 of that year.
Close sources to the Establishment disclosed that between the time the APC was formed by merger, and the new PDP was created, the presence of General Buhari was one of the sticking points for the then House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and his collaborator, Dr. Bukola Saraki in making the move out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join the new party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), until they were literally pushed out by the over confidence of the political managers or “mis-managers” of President Jonathan who did not understand the implication of a second term but third period run for the Presidency against the gentleman agreement reached with the North.
Indeed, for the elitist handlers, their inability to return to their masses with some form of bargain for 2015 forced their marriage of convenience with APC and the ultimate shift of power which led to the emergence of General Buhari.
This however did not prevent them from working hard to prevent the emergence of the General. Indeed, before the primary in Lagos in 2014, a secret meeting between their representatives and APC top chieftain, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was reportedly brokered by Tambuwal. That meeting promised untold sums for the campaign if the Jagagban of Borgu – Tinubu would stop backing Buhari for the APC ticket.
The strategic meeting was said to have the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, personally in attendance. Tinubu being a political colossus and overlord naturally could sense the scheme and smell the schemers as being over-ambitious thus, reportedly asked them to guarantee 12 million votes that General Buhari would naturally deliver for him to change sides. On hearing this, the emissaries departed knowing the herculean demand could never could met either by them together or even through broader conspiracies.
The 2015 elections came and went sadly, the immediate casualty of that battle became Col Sambo Dasuki, whose last minute ‘Hail Mary’ withdrawal of $2.1 billion from the treasury to prosecute the elections against Buhari under the guise of terrorists fight for which he is still being held and standing trial. Again, for demanding account and taking side with the masses, President Buhari’s ‘sins’ has not gone unnoticed by the elites.
For those tracking records, the 2019 elections as such presents to the elites, another opportunity to draw even and ensured it literally took control of Atiku-Saraki’s campaign to dismantle APC from the first day of the Buhari administration. Indeed, Tambuwal singlehandedly installed Yakubu Dogara as Speaker against the wishes unanimously reached by the party to payback Tinubu for his loyalty and support for Buhari. Tinubu’s preferred candidate, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila had been forwarded as the choice of the party.
According to report, the plot was to first take over the depleted PDP which the characters left, but also to co-opt various financiers especially some top level Sokoto Prince in First Bank who has largely been the money launderer for the schemers as learned by our sources.
The primaries of PDP naturally was replete with leading shadowy characters but was actually a cover for more immoral transactions that have since blown up in which the PDP Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus was placed as Director in Atiku’s Intels’ in return for selling the party and winning converts to the anti-Buhari cause for the Caliphate and its feudal lords at Ilorin and Yola.
Indeed, the series of defections from APC in 2018 were coordinated by Governor Tambuwal despite efforts to keep him in the APC because this was a plan from 2015 that was initiated with the takeover of the Senate by Bukola Saraki. As the gale of defections started, it was said that the Sultan secretly met severally with several Princes to arrange top level meeting to incite the people against General Buhari as several pronouncements from the Palace later indicated. Some were subtle, others were aggressive. It took several backdoor contacts to warn the Sultan who was a former military man to back down and pretend as if he was apolitical despite holding grudges that General Buhari was dealing with a Sokoto prince in the person of Dasuki.
As the die for the 2019 elections is cast, it is true that the biggest loser of General Buhari’s win would have to be the Establishment which is already scared stiff of the intense popularity of their nightmare among the masses, a statement that has resonated in comparison with ill-fated final rally of the PDP which was curiously held in Sokoto last week to symbolize the origin, the bank roller and the source of the anti-Buhari conspiracy against the crucial 2019 elections.
It is true that elections come and go, but truly the elites never forget. Will the masses abandon Buhari and make the North and indeed Nigeria, mincemeat for the parasitic elites now in cahoots with the supposed owners of Nigeria from Ilorin to Minna as well as Jalingo and Yola? The choice is for the Nigerian people to make and indeed the only wish any forward-looking and patriotic Nigerian can is for Nigeria to succeed.