By Musa Ilallah
The Guardian newspaper’s editorial of Tuesday, June 2, 2020 titled ‘Buhari and his federal character virus’, and the open letter to President Buhari titled ‘President Buhari should belong to all of us’ – Col Dangiwa’, both firing bullets unjustly at President Muhammadu Buhari, appeared almost simultaneously.
Is this sheer coincidence or happenstance? I think not. In fact, the Guardian editorial actually referenced retired Col Umar Dangiwa’s letter.
For me, it looks like a conspiracy, malice afore-thought, part of a grand plan by self-centred and myopic elements to discredit PMB in the eyes of his supporters across the length and breadth of the country.
For most Nigerians who know Col Dangiwa and his antecedents very well, it’s not suprising that he has been consistent in attacking President Buhari in recent times. His hatred for Buhari began in 1985 when he led a team of dissident soldiers, under the direction and support of their master, a former military head of state to topple the military government of General Muhammadu Buhari.
Since then, they have continued to gang up and wage relentless war against him. Col. Abubakar Dangiwa Umar is one of the arrowheads of these malefactors. As politicians, they opposed Buhari, denied him victory on many occasions, just as they did to late Chief MKO Abiola.
Over time, Nigerians saw through their misdeeds. A time came when they lost the capacity to deny Buhari victory. As President, he has been unravelling their networks, cutting their illegitimate access to sources of power and wealth.
Now pushed to the wall, they are fighting back by trying to incite the citizens, at a time people are suffering from the fear of COVID-19 and the pains of a protective lockdown. They saw this as a good time to strike and ignite mass dissatisfaction and rebellion against the people’s government.
Most responsible Nigerians see Col Dangiwa and his accomplices as nothing but hate merchants who are, by hook or crook, hell bent on discrediting President Buhari as a person, and his adminstration. Nothing more or less.
In its response to Col Dangiwa, the Buhari Media Organisation, BMO debunked insinuations that President Muhammadu Buhari is a sectional leader, while advising Nigerians to be wary of fake news merchants and mischievous individuals and groups.
In a statement.issued in Abuja, BMO noted that the President has been taking deliberate and necessary steps to achieve regional and ethnic balancing in his appointments since 2015, adding that
“We are surprised that Col Dangiwa had fallen for the antics of purveyors of fake news hell bent on painting the President bad.”
BMO recalled that “these slimy characters are the same people who were part of a scheme cooked up by a British firm Cambridge Analytical, which was confirmed to have been paid £2m by an unnamed billionaire sympathetic to the PDP in the run-up to the 2015 Presidential elections to, among other things, present the then-candidate Muhammadu Buhari as a sectional leader.”
Presidential sources, while reacting to Dangiwa’s letter, which focused on all political appointees, including heads of parastatals and Presidential aides, showed that the North had a 51% share of appointments in MDAs to the South’s 49% while 52.4% of Presidential aides were from the South compared to 47.6% from the North.
It is therefore not in doubt that the Presidency has said times without number that, just like in his first term in office, President Buhari would also be guided by the principles of equity and fairness in his appointments during his second term.This is not just to convince anyone, but to buttress the facts we have always insisted on, but which hate merchants have refused to acknowledge.
If the contents of classified records were anything to go by, the perception that President Muhammadu Buhari’s political appointments have unduly favoured the Northern part of the country is not supported by facts, but mere sentiments.
Classified documents which Daily Trust newspaper of June 1 this year quoted, contain all high profile political appointments made since Buhari came to power in 2015, showing that the appointments have been largely balanced with the President’s North-West zone among the zones holding the shorter end of the stick.
Records also show that South has 52.4% while the North has 47.6% of PMB’s appointments so far. These appointments marginally tilt the balance in favour of the South.
A reliable Presidency source who declined to be named said: “The President has been severely criticised for so-called lopsided appointments in favour of the North, but the facts hardly support this view.”
Fortunately for Nigeria, but unfortunately for the errand boy of coup executors of yore, Nigerians no longer take the views of the Dangiwas, Buba Galadimas, Femi Fani Kayodes, Ango Abdullahis of this world seriously. The elements of sincerity and patriotism, have evaporated into the thin atmospheric air from their utterances of open hatred for PMB.
It is a fact that President Buhari does all that is necessary, and deliberately so, to achieve regional and ethnic balance in his appointments. He does not tilt to his ‘region’.
It is common belief now that Col Dangiwa has been spending too much time digesting fake news infested with false narratives.
As a matter of fact, the double standards that characterise Dangiwa’s life is in sharp contrast to his radical posturing. He is not a radical crusader, but rather an opportunistic noise maker out to seek some relevance.
It is on record that Dangiwa never for once criticized former President Goodluck Jonathan, during his tenure, despite the glaring corruption, ineptitude, nepotism, mis-governance, insecurity, etc that bedevilled his adminstration. Because of pecuniary gains?
Nigerians must resist the narratives of divisiveness such as this. In the words of the BMO, “We are a united people, and the Col Dangiwas of this world must not be allowed to sell their packages of division among us.”
Dangiwa’s open letter to PMB should be dismissed with a wave of the hand simply because it is not well intended to guide the government but to ridicule it unjustly with all its visible intentions.
Quite suprising is the editorial of The Guardian which came down on PMB and his government, further supporting the claim by Dangiwa on appointments in the national government.
According to the paper, which used to be the flagship of Nigerian journalism until recently, ‘the federal system has been bastardised such that most of Buhari’s appointments had no recourse to either equitable distribution or merit’. Nothing can be further from the truth.
The Guardian has totally thrown to the dogs all decency and decorum as provided for in Nigeria’s 1999 constitution (as amended) of being an unbiased umpire to one that had sided with the opposition to cast aspersions on PMB and his government for no reason other than selfish political interests.
For Nigerians, no matter the campaign of calumny and hatred, their love for PMB and his government is unwavering, unshaken. For them its not Buhari and his virus but its The Guardian, Dangiwa and their likes that are the virus afflicting the country.
This hatchet job by Dangiwa, The Guardian and co has hit the rocks again like they have done so in the past and will do so in the future. They better give up on their devilish plans against Nigeria and Nigerians, own up to their crime, and repent.
Musa Ilallah is a commentator and public affairs analyst