Buhari Loves Cows More Than He Loves Nigerians

By Ikenga Chronicles August 26, 2018

Buhari Loves Cows More Than He Loves Nigerians

— By Onyemaechi Ogbunwezeh

President Buhari this weekend, urged the troops of the Nigerian Army, to be in his words, “as ruthless as humanly possible, against cow thieves and armed robbers”.

That statement was greeted with somnolent silence, across a massive swath of a country as amply misgoverned as Nigeria is. It was to be expected. Many Nigerians are beyond caring. The civic apathy is really a contradiction. Like the discussion always turns to the weather, when two Englishmen, meet; it certainly turns to politics, when two Nigerians meet. But it ends as chitchat. The ostrich posture commences immediately after. This contradiction in civic attitude of the Nigerian, requires another expose for a full treatment. I wouldn’t go into it here.

In some other fora, it was taken as being tough on crime. This is most especially, in the president’s home-turf; that is his constituency of supporters, who have been so inured by their manufactured dogma, and seduced by the fictitious myths of integrity they invented, to scaffold their blind worship of the personality cult, they created around this president, as to see anything wrong or perverse in the democratic sense, with this utterance made to fanfare as he addressed troops of the Nigerian army.

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You could read his statements as reported by Premiumtimesng online edition of today.

Sometimes what comes out of the mouth of this president, makes you shudder in disbelief, as to question,

1. Whether he knows anything about democracy?
2. Whether he has any handlers or advisers at all?
3. Whether he knows anything about the sociopolitical sensibility and implications of the words of a president in a fragile embrace like Nigeria?

I never read or heard this president urge the troops, to be ruthless against Boko Haram terrorists; that bloodthirsty, well-financed, fanatical Islamist terror group, which cried “havoc, and let loose the dogs of war” against the Nigerian State and her citizens since 2009.

Buhari never urged the troops to be as ruthless, as humanly possible against these terrorists. Instead, his government has been caught paying ransom in millions of dollars to this bunch of terrorists; which they plough in, to finance their war against the Nigerian State and Nigerian Christians.

I have always known that war is a racket. But something smells very fishy, about a Commander-in-Chief, who holds his fire against terrorists, but unleashes them on unarmed protesters in Umuahia, unarmed women protesting injustice in Owerri, in Civilian spaces in Southeast Nigeria; one of the most peaceful regions of Nigeria; and now lately on armed robbers or cattle rustlers; people, some of whom, his economic policies contributed in pushing to those dire straits of gastronomic emergency, that some resorted to crime to survive.

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With this statement, Buhari has proven again that cows are his true constituency, and that Nigeria can be an Animal Farm for all he cares. I can understand that he is Fulani. And that the dogmas of his cultural mythologies inform and influence his political philosophy, as could be seen in his indirect advocacy for cattle.

That wouldn’t have been a problem.

My sensibilities could have reconciled and accommodated both, if the president’s words and actions have not shown a schizophrenic disparity between his love for cattle and his loathing of some parts of his human constituency. I am always careful and have no respect for anyone, in whom the love of lower animals trumps his or her love for human beings. That person in my view, has a psychological imbalance, that is unhealthy and could be dangerous, when married to power.

In the Fulani creation myth, Doondari was reputed as having created the world from a drop of milk. Cow milk. This mythologization, deifies the centrality of the cattle in the lives and survival of an ancient nomadic culture. It is the ultimate elevation of the animal that has been the passport to their survival in the harsh deserts, to an ontological level. It is the canonization of the vehicle that gave their lives meaning and significance

An advocacy for cattle or any other animal, by the President, should not have been ordinarily wrong, has he been seen to place more premium on the human lives of the Nigerians, who voted for him. I never saw cows voting for him in 2015. So, why should cows have pride of place, in the considerations of a president, whose salaries are not paid by cows, but by Nigerian taxpayers?

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But that has not been the case.

This president wants cow thieves to be literarily lynched by his troops. But the Boko Haram murderers and the buccaneering Fulani herdsmen are treated with kid gloves. No Boko Haram terrorists has ever been ruthlessly dealt with by his government. He has neither ordered that they be ruthlessly dealt with; nor actually done anything to ruthlessly deal with that insurgency. Nothing! Zilch! Nada! Instead some convicted ones, like Kabiru Sokoto, the man implicated in the Madala Christmas day bombing of a Christian church in Madala, Niger State in 2013, that killed 40 people and injured many, was released by this government. This government also granted a quasi-amnesty to captured Boko haram insurgents. Even urging International organizations, to concentrate their development programs, which should be for the whole country, only in the North.

That this president never urged a ruthless approach, or implemented a zero-tolerance policy against terrorism and insurgency from Boko Haram or the Fulani herdsmen; the two most dangerous terror groupings to come out of Africa of recent times according to International rankings; but he was too quick, waxing lyrical in his ruthlessness in sending his army, with tanks and heavy weapons to devastate Afara Ukwu, and kidnap Nnamdi Kanu, a man armed only with a microphone; and his supporters, who were never armed except with flags, speaks volumes.

That this president was quick to proscribe and label IPOB a terrorist group, but has never labelled the Fulani herdsmen a terrorist group speaks volumes.

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IPOB has never killed or murdered anyone. Yet they were proscribed and labelled a terrorist group. But the Fulani herdsmen that have been on a rampage slaughtering thousands of Nigerians, are being feted and further emboldened by the conspiratorial silence of this government. Till date, no Fulani herdsman has ever be prosecuted for killing thousands of Nigerians. The only thing coming from this administration is acting as the propaganda arm of Miyetti Allah. The president told us that those killer herdsmen are not Nigerians. On another occasion, he blamed Gaddaffi.

This double-standard of proscribing an organization that has not used violence in their agitation, but defending the killer herdsmen at each turn, speaks not only to the Igbophobia of this president, the arrogance of his provincialism; or the parochial insularity of his intellectual horizon; but also to his grotesque insensitivity, rank incompetence and an enduring inability to understand the fine art of managing people in a complex society like Nigeria. It shows that Buhari is not intelligent enough to govern a complex society like Nigeria. What he lacks in intelligence, cannot be remedied by the arrogance of power.

The rank provincialism of directing the International community to concentrate their development efforts only in the North, never crossed this president’s mind. After all, he told the world immediately after his election, in a speech in Chatham House in London, that he is a “King in North”, from the North, and for the North”! And to that end, the Easterners that gave him 5 percent of the votes, should not expect anything from his government.

This brings into serious relevance one of my questions above: whether this president has any access to a pool of credible, sound and visionary advisers, who are intellectually sound, broad in their vision, at home with history, and versed in social-psychology of leadership in a complex society, that help to manage not only the optics of his actions, but his utterances and politics.

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I doubt that.

In fact, what this president lacked in abilities could have been remedied by a pool of brilliant advisers, if he had any around him, other than the drooling congress of court jesters, mandarins, fools, court-jesters, wandering minstrels of cants and other vuvuzelas and cheerleaders of mediocrity that he inflicted on himself at this time.

Nigerians should know that this president is being poorly served by his limitations and the dangerous limitations of his advisers. Aisha Buhari, the president’s wife seems to have been proven right, when she ventilated her angst, that this president has been captured, and held hostage, by a clique of medieval-minded power-mongers, in Aso Rock.

This public ventilation of angst did not go down well in Aso Rock. The president in a reaction that has all the signatures of a cabal; rose up before a global audience anchored ironically by Angela Merkel, a female leader of one of the most developed countries on earth, and promptly banished his wife to “da oza room”!

If I am this president, or if he ever reads this, I will fire every adviser around me now, and go hire some of the greatest critics of my administration. They are the ones with such a disinterested perspective on those areas that need serious surgery. Abraham Lincoln chose one of his most caustic critics, Edward Stanton, to be his secretary of war, during the American Civil War. Stanton taunted Lincoln, like no other. But being a great leader, Lincoln saw in Stanton a man of courage and honest convictions. He recognized that behind his caustic critiques, lie an intelligent head, and a patriot, who wanted what was best for America. He saw an opponent in Stanton, and not an enemy. He employed him and gave him a department fitting his character. Go and read Stanton’s oration at Lincoln’s funeral, to see what true greatness is, and how to deploy the visions of your opponents towards attaining the common good that is enduring for your people and nation.

In one swoop, and without firing a single shot, Buhari could have ended Nnamdi Kanu’s agitation, once and for all, if he had co-opted him and given him a ministry charged creating a basis for national unity; those things he railed about. But all he did by sending the army, to kidnap him, was to push the agitation underground, which has been the breweries of revolution and toxic terror since time began.

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He missed a chance of becoming a great leader. He sacrificed leadership at the altar of quick-fixes. He was a soldier. Every problem invites firepower; just like a child getting a hammer and seeing the whole world as nails. This is the infantilism that should never be allowed near power.

He simply postponed Nigeria‘s reckoning with the injustice that was Biafra. And anyone, who thinks that removing Kanu from the scene, removes the cries of injustice from the hearts and minds of Igbos, is a poor student of history. Oppressors and beneficiaries of oppressive systems have short memories. But victims never fo get. The hand the memories of their oppression to their descendants. And when the circumstance ripes, nothing would hold back, stop or eviscerate an idea, whose time has come, as Victor Hugo wrote.

Moreso, a president urging his army to be ruthless to cattle rustlers and armed robbers, betrays a very dangerous ignorance of what democracy and the rule of law means.

With that utterance, he has ultimately pushed the job of Policing in a civil society, to the military; a machine that was designed not for policing but for war; or when used for Policing, only in enemy territory, as an army of occupation. Buhari with those utterances defanged the Police, normalized the deployment of the military against a civilian population, and delineated Zamfara State and environs; veritable parts of Nigeria, as enemy territory to be policed by an army of occupation.

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The legal and jurisprudential implications of those utterances are actually lost on this president. With that utterance, he took a dump on the whole concept and principle of separation of powers. Would anyone be amiss in contending that Buhari is no democrat, but a mind impregnated with dictatorial tendencies and metaphysic?

By asking the army to be ruthless on armed robbers and cattle rustlers, he destroyed the cardinal legal principle, which holds that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. But he has given his army a blank check to function as the prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. Our laws never envisaged housing these functions in one person or one institution. And Buhari has dangerously blurred the lines further.

With that utterance, Buhari converted the Nigerian Army into his lynch squad. Accusations of armed robbery and cattle rustling in this purview, are not subject to judicial review. That is the implication of the president’s words. The army just got a presidential approval, to act on its whims. Who is to save the common man from this government overreach?

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With this utterance, Buhari decapitated the judiciary in the eyes of his khaki boys; telling them that it does not matter what you, in as much as you call them cow thieves or cattle rustlers, you can hang them for all I care. One can only expect such an utterance from a medieval inquisitor, not from the president of a democratic country in the 21st century.

This is a perfect example of what I mean, when I say that the political psychology governing Nigeria is schizophrenic; and the political philosophy governing Nigeria is medieval and inquisitorial.

Till now, no one has done any analysis of the president’s utterances in this regard. No lawmaker. No journalist.

And you think that Nigeria will ever berth on the harbours of development and good governance, powered by such mediocrity of medieval provenance?

I don’t think so!

Gwazia ndi yard unu!

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