Buhari under fire over threat of bloodshed

The Presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party on Tuesday responded hotly to the threat by a former military dicator, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, that there would be bloodbath in 2015 if the general elections of that year were not transparent.
While the Presidency said the statement by Buhari was ‘saddening’, the PDP said it portrayed the ex-Head of State as a blood-thirsty person who lacked democratic credentials.
Buhari on Tuesday however insisted that what he said was not different from what other had said and that the PDP was talking balderdash.
The ex-Head of State who was the Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change in the 2011 poll, while addressing members of the party from Niger State, had warned that the 2015 general elections would be bloody if the polls were not transparent.
 “God willing, by 2015, something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 (alleged rigging) should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood,’’ Buhari reportedly told the party members who paid him a courtesy visit in Kaduna on Monday.

Statement not befitting a statesman
The Presidency, in a statement by presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, said it found it very sad that an elder statesman who once presided over the whole of Nigeria could reduce himself to a regional leader who spoke for only a part of the country.
Abati said with Buhari’s utterances, Jonathan  now understood what his protégé and former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el’Rufai, meant when he wrote in a public letter in October 2010, telling Nigerians that Buhari remained “perpetually unelectable” and that Buhari’s  “insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus are already well-known.”
He said nobody could know the former head of state better than his own political associate.
He alleged that ahead of the 2011 elections, Buhari never bothered to campaign in the southern part of the country and consistently played up the North-South divide to the chagrin of patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians.

Jonathan not Boko Haram
 The statement by the Presidency reads, “The Federal Government led by President Jonathan is not Boko Haram. Boko Haram means ‘Western Education is sin.’ That being the case, one wonders how a government that devoted the largest sectoral allocation in the 2012 budget to education could be said to be Boko Haram.
“Between 1983, when Buhari forcefully seized power from the democratically elected administration of President Shehu Usman Shagari, and 2012, no other administration has committed the same quantum of resources as the Jonathan administration to education in the part of Nigeria that has witnessed the most Boko Haram-related insecurity.
“Only on April 10, 2012, President Jonathan inaugurated the first of 400 Federal Government Model Almajiri Schools, equipped with modern facilities such as a Language Laboratory, Qur’an Recitation Hall, classrooms and dormitories as well as a clinic, vocational workshop, dining hall and quarters for the Mallams.
“As Nigerians read this, more of such schools have been completed. We now challenge Major-General Buhari (retd) to tell Nigerians what he has done, whether in his capacity as the head of a military junta or in his private capacity, to bring education to vulnerable children. If he cannot live up to this challenge, perhaps he has to reassess who really is Boko Haram.
“Buhari claims that the Federal Government does not listen. Such an accusation ought not to emanate from a man overthrown by his own hand-picked colleagues in the military for refusing to listen to advice and behaving as if he had a monopoly of knowledge.
“It is on record that the Federal Government led by President Jonathan is a listening administration hence its decision to pursue all means of resolving the Boko Haram insurgency including through dialogue.”
 The Presidency noted that Buhari’s claim that “if what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood,” confirmed him as the person who never listened.
It said the statement showed that the former military leader had refused to listen to Nigerians, the European Union, the Commonwealth Monitoring Group, the African Union and a multitude of independent electoral monitors who testified that the 2011 elections were free and fair and the best elections since Nigeria returned to civil rule.
“Indeed, such a reaction from Buhari is not totally unexpected since he has become a serial election loser who has never taken his past election defeats graciously even when such elections were generally acknowledged to be free and fair.
“Still on the issue of Boko Haram, we wonder what locus a man whose party’s Secretary General, Buba Galadima, told the British Broadcasting Corporation in December, 2010, that the Federal Government is underestimating the support base of Boko Haram, has to accuse a government that has been threatened on camera by the leaders of Boko Haram of itself being Boko Haram?
“Major General Buhari (retd.) also boasts of his knowledge of the Petroleum Industry because of his time as Federal Commissioner for Petroleum. We wonder why he did not boast of (sic) the infamous scandal that occurred in that ministry where under his watch billions of naira (in the 1970s) were reported stolen, a matter which led to the setting up of the Justice Ayo Irikefe panel.

Combat   withdrawal syndrome
The PDP asked the Federal Government to give Buhari the task of leading the ECOWAS military contingent to Mali or Guinea Bissau in order to “exorcise the bloodletting   demons apparently   haunting him.”  
The party said this at a press conference it held to reply Buhari who threatened that blood would flow in 2015 if there was no transparency in the general elections billed for then.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, at the briefing, said,“It is unfortunate that at this time of grave security challenge while Nigerians are burying their dead and counting their losses, (Gen. Muhammadu) Buhari, who wants to rule them, is further inflaming the orgy of violence. What a bloodthirsty leader in Buhari!”
“If the retired general was suffering from combat   withdrawal syndrome, then the Federal Government should allow him to lead the ECOWAS military contingent to Mali or Guinea Bissau to enable him an opportunity to exorcise the bloodletting   demons apparently haunting him.”  
But Metuh said that it was unfortunate that Buhari could threaten as such at a time that Nigeria was facing security challenges.
He said, “Gentlemen, we need to remind ourselves that on April 21, 2012, Buhari was reported in the media as predicting a bloody revolution in 2015.
“The reports in the national dailies today quoting the same retired General as repeating that blood will flow in 2015 is another build-up to Buhari’s relish of funeral train.

‘Buhari not a democrat’
“We appreciate Buhari’s frustration and antagonism towards the PDP. He has lost three times at the polls.
“But is Buhari really a democrat? Why is the blood of innocent Nigerians the only thing sufficient to quench his thirst for power?
“The utterances of General Buhari, a former military Head of State is truly, undemocratic, unpatriotic and un-statesmanly.
“It is on record that Nigeria has yet to recover from the huge losses it suffered due to such reckless and provocative remarks by Buhari before the 2011 general elections which led to a spate of bloody post-election violence across six states of the federation.”
Metuh, who was flanked by two other officials of the party, said the 22-man panel of enquiry set up by the Federal Government to probe the 2011 mayhem confirmed that “Buhari’s provocative remarks played a significant role in the bloody violence.”
He said the panel, which was led by Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, also stated that Buhari’s pre-election utterances were misled by his supporters to engage in the condemnable mayhem that greeted the results of the 2011 presidential election.
The PDP spokesman said there was no truth in Buhari’s claim that PDP government was not interested in transparency and social justice.
Metuh alleged that Buhari only believed that there would be justice when his party wins election in any part of the country.
“To him, justice is only done when his party wins. Where it doesn’t, the PDP’s machinations will be blamed. He has repeatedly cited the Igabi Local Government in Kaduna State as an example of where free and fair election was conducted, simply because CPC won,” he added.
On the issue of corruption, he asked Buhari to prove to Nigerians that only the PDP members were corrupt, adding that Buhari must also know that the various sector probes going on at the National Assembly, most of which he said were initiated by PDP legislators, were enough testimonies that PDP government would not tolerate inefficiency and waste in government operations.

He also said it was time “Buhari confessed to Nigeria the truth about the missing 28 suitcases.”

Bad loser
He described Buhari as a bad loser of elections, adding that the April 16, 2011 presidential election, which he said Buhari was still agonising over, was, according to official results from the Independent National Electoral Commission, won by the PDP’s candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan, with 57 per cent of the votes.
He said all international and domestic observers hailed the presidential election as credible.

‘They are talking baldedash’
But in a swift reaction, Buhari, who spoke through the National Publicity Secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, said there was no difference in what he said and what other Nigerians had been saying on elections in the country.
He said, “They are merely talking balderdash. What General (Muhammadu) Buhari has said is what many Nigerians have expressed.
“Remember Professor Wole Soyinka had said election rigging is violence against people and that they have the right to confront violence with greater violence’’.
Fashakin alleged that the PDP connived with INEC to rig the 2011 general election and opposition parties had said it would not be business as usual in 2015.
He said, “PDP colluded with Professor Atahiru Jega’s INEC to foist Jonathan on us. That’s why we are battling with this clueless government.
“There must be sanctity of votes of Nigerian electorate. What Buhari was trying to say is that, it would not be business as usual. So, only the guilty should be afraid of retribution. It is certain that retribution is coming. So, why should PDP be afraid?”
Nigerians’ll resist rigging in 2015­ –Bisi Akande
The National Chairman, Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Adebisi Akande, has said that Nigerians will resist any attempt by the PDP to rig the 2015 general elections.
Speaking in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Tuesday, Akande said that the ACN did not believe in violence. He explained that Nigerians were tired of the incompetence of the PDP-controlled Federal Government.
 Akande, who spoke through his media aide, Mr. Lani Baderinwa, said, “The ACN doesn’t engage in violence; we preach our people-oriented manifesto, which the people accept.
 “The people would be tired of any government that cannot provide security, electricity, roads, and transport, employment, education and health care services. The people won’t allow such a party or government to perpetuate itself in power.
“Nigerians know what Governor Babatunde Fashola is doing in Lagos; they know what other ACN governors who have barely spent a little over a year in office are doing. Remember, a hungry man is an angry man. The people will resist the PDP in any election because the party has failed the masses.”

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