Friday, February 4, 2011

How $2.8bn Disappered from Midland Bank When Gen. Buhari was Petroleum Minister in 1977

All our military heads of state were largely insensitive, corrupt, almost illiterate, self-appointed tyrants who seized their stripes of honour (dishonour is probably more appropriate) through coups rather than the rigours of formal training, experience or war. Each one of the military heads of state simply got up from bed one chosen morning, pistle on the hip, jackboots on the ready to besmear our constitution to loot our treasury to their hearts content. Of course, they soon made up on the job for their lack of proper war or soldiering experience by detaining, tear gassing, shooting and bombing citizens protesting against their high-handedness and misrule. Everyone of our coup Generals aspired to be the richest lazy fool in the world sitting like an over-fed baboon atop the tallest tree in our devastated and rotting vineyard, savouring their exploits amidst squalor, hunger and decaying corpses. General Muhammadu Buhari was one of such military heads of state.

Shagari’s regime (1979-1983), incurred Buhari’s wrath when it decided to investigate the US$2.8 billion that disappeared from the Midland Bank, London account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, (NNPC), during General Obasanjo’s era as military head of state that preceded Shagari’s. Dr. Olusola Saraki, Turaki of Ilorin, was the majority party leader of the Senate at the time and he headed the Senate Committee set up to trace the stolen money after some three years of clamour for such an investigation by members of the civil society. The money was traced to the Midland Bank London branch fixed account of Obasanjo’s appointee as military head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company. The Committee’s report was presented to the Senate during the tail end of Shagari’s regime in 1983, so the House decided to deal with the matter and expose the rogue military head of the NNPC soon after the 1983 general elections. The attempt at civilian-to-civilian transition provided the fillip for mayhem at the time. The elections were marred by massive rigging because incumbent political office holders were refusing to slacken their stranglehold on Nigeria Plc., mortgaged as the leaders private property.

On the 31st December, 1983, Buhari struck under the cover of the political commotion that trailed the presidential election results. Buhari generally had no agenda for leadership but vendetta against those he called critics and rabble-rousers. Buhari did not see any moral wrong in his conversion of our oil money into his personal use. Rather he railed at the press and what he described as the self-righteous sections of the country for making a big deal out of the issue. He locked up without trial, politicians and critics including Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, notorious for clamouring for the exposure of the oil money rogue. Satire saved my neck at the time. Vera Ifudu, who was an NTA reporter then, was sacked through his prodding as military ruler, for reporting what Dr. Olusola Saraki had told her in an interview about how the missing money was traced to Buhari’s account at a Midland Bank London branch. Vera eventually won her case of wrongful dismissal in court against the NTA and was financially compensated.Buhari’s ‘War Against Indiscipline’ was obviously a swathe to camouflage his moral decadence. He did not see anything wrong with the over 50 suitcases an Emir smuggled through the Murtala International Airport without routine checks. And as a master of selective justice, he refused to convict Shagari, claiming not to find direct evidence against him but making a mountain out of a molehill on the indulgencies of Shagari’s lieutenants. His regime’s masterstroke to divert attention from his moral ineptitude was exemplified by his crating of Umaru Dikko to airfreight back to Nigeria from London. Despite his moral degeneracy and his high handedness and intolerance of dissent, his regime was not a total disaster. He maintained a vibrant foreign policy with Africa as its principal focus. Nigeria was already a failed state economically when he seized government from Shagari. We had a staggering foreign debt load of US$18 billion, so Buhari stopped all further borrowing, and in defiance of the IMF and World Bank, provided a homegrown alternative to the IMF’s SAP and pegged the exchange rate of the naira at one to the US$1.50. He stopped all further borrowing from abroad; instituted counter trade for essential or desperately needed commodities and put a ceiling (or an upper limit) on the amount of foreign exchange earnings to be used in servicing foreign debts. After sorting out and rejecting all the dubious and unverifiable foreign debts in our portfolio, he paid off nearly 50% of the genuine debts by the end of his regime in 1985. Even Britain was already scheming to enter into counter trade agreement with Nigeria when Babangida was sponsored in 1986 by the West to sack Buhari in a military coup that reversed our limited economic gains.Not much is known about Buhari’s family background. Not a great deal has been heard about his educational qualifications either. As head of state, he was a recluse to the core. At least, that was the image he portrayed. His deputy, the late Gen. Idiagbon, was considered by most Nigerians to be the star of Buhari’s regime. It is to Idiagbon that any credit due to that regime is generally attributed. Idiagbon was the defacto head of state. He was honest, upright, disciplined, and like Murtala Muhammed before him, he succeeded briefly in introducing order and sanity to our lives.

After consigning the vexatious matters that brought him to power, to administrative oblivion with the help of Shinkafi, his Secret Service guru, Buhari announced his readiness to quit office. Idiagbon, as Buhari’s lieutenant, naturally insisted on taking over as head of state from his apparently prematurely retiring boss. Babangida, who was Chief of Army Staff at the time and a member of the Supreme Military Council, insisted it was his turn to rule because he had been involved in virtually every military coup up to that time. The quarrel split the Supreme Military Council members almost equally behind the two principal combatants and eventually led to the overthrow of Buhari’s regime by Babangida. America, Britain and the other leading western nations hailed Babangida’s coup and immediately sent emissaries to strategize with him. President Reagan went out of his way to send him gifts including books such as Niccolo Machiavelli’s: the Prince, advocating the destruction of civil freedom to strengthen despotism.The June 12 annulment provided Buhari with the opportunity to publicly wear a messianic toga while quietly pursuing private vendetta against someone he considered his enemy. He attended meetings at Ota to join with others to condemn Babangida’s decision and as soon as the decision was reached to ask Babangida to step down, he stopped attending further meetings. He had achieved his revenge.

Abacha rehabilitated Buhari with the chairmanship of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) before he (Abacha) died in 1998. When Obasanjo returned to power in May 1999 as civilian president, he found that over 2.5 billion naira had not been properly accounted for in the PTF and that there was not much on the ground to show for the colossal expenditure the agency was claiming. On the day Obasanjo announced the scrapping of the PTF, a non-staff brother-in-law of the boss, allegedly serving as his conduit on some PTF projects, died suddenly from what appeared to be heart failure. Most of what he was able to achieve in the PTF, was focused in his backyard. Haruna Adamu, who was appointed by Obasanjo to investigate the PTF before finally consigning it to the dung heap, quickly pocketed one hundred million naira of PTF’s money before operating table could be set up for him, thus forcing Obasanjo to hurriedly close the place down without further investigations. Buhari has been trying desperately since to return to power, perhaps to get a chance to shred the PTF documents?

Buhari is a tribal and religious bigot. When he lost the presidential election in April 2003, he threatened the nation with mass action and refused to go to court. He organized a rally in Abuja, as one in a series of such civil acts of disobedience to protest what he described as the massive rigging of the election that brought Obasanjo to power the second time.

He almost succeeded in launching his Jihad. The alleged taped sermon of an unnamed pastor at an unidentified church in Adamawa claiming that: “Whether Muslims like it or not, Obasanjo must continue” and that “any Muslim who does not want that, can die or move to Niger” was obviously a blatant forgery. It was very likely to be the handiwork of the ‘Crater of Dikko brigade. For a start, the language of the sermon was too brash to be true, especially coming as it was claimed, from a Christian minority likely to bear the brunt of the consequences of the offensive sermon in a predominantly Muslim state. The Christian minority would have had to be mad to the last man, to call for their own annihilation in such a careless and irresponsible manner.

It is not logical that the Christian cleric would send hundreds of his suicide sermon tapes, not to Christians, but to Muslim clerics and the media around the country. Someone who desperately wanted to kill Nigeria must think we are all morons and I suggest we look for him at the backyard of our current number one Jihadist. Where else to look when Buhari was threatening he must occupy the Presidency whether he won the election or not. We begged him to go to the Electoral Tribunal to settle the matter but he insisted that he would rather clubber us to death, with religion than subject himself to the in indignity of being judged by another man. That is how badly he cares about our welfare and survival.

One is not always sure if he is truly a Nigerian because let’s face it; no true Nigerian would hate Nigeria so much as to threaten her with a Jihad. May be the problem is of a mental nature considering the gutter snipes often credited to the supposed statesman on the Hausa service of the BBC and other foreign media about his fatherland. He seems to love to speak before he thinks. There is something definitely troubling about the mind of this crater genius because it is probably not just Nigerians that he hates but life itself in its totality. In other words, we are probably all trapped in the vicious grip of a cool and calculating sadist. In fact, I am told that no one has ever seen him smile or laugh.

Sam Omatseye, writing about Buhari in the Sun newspaper at the time said: “He (Buhari) uses Sharia to justify his worldview; to justify a certain selfish view of the world that serves his interest at a particular time. He played that card in the presidential election in order to secure a base for himself. But he needed more than his northern base to become president. You must be flexible to pull non-sharia base with you and the man has no flexibility in his bones so when he tries to play the chameleon, he fails. He tries to carry a veneer of a man of principles but falls short when selfish interest is involved.”Buhari has no respect for democracy. Under his behest, the ANPP humiliated five highly respected South-Eastern Presidential aspirants at their primary for the 2003 presidential election despite having Dr. Okadigbo as Buhari’s running mate. After rigging his party’s primary to become its presidential candidate, Buhari then felt he stood on moral grounds to preach election morals to the world. Buhari ignored the South-West completely, as if it did not exist and offered the South-South, the unattractive, legally diminished constitutional option on derivation. To rob salt into injury, he threatened to swap NDDC with PTF. If he wasn’t playing with words, he betrayed his selfish ethnic agenda because we all know what happened in his PTF. It concentrated its activities in the North.

Buhari definitely was not a sellable presidential candidate across Nigeria. What happened was that the incumbent ANPP governors needed a Buhari to help them hold on to their states on religious grounds. Even in the area of public debate, Buhari was not articulate or detribalized and he lacked charisma. He ignored all entreaties to explain his programmes to the ‘bloody civilians.’ Arrogant and condescending, he was unable to climb down from his high horse as a former military dictator. Infused with the moribund myth that Nigerian leadership was the sole property of his ethnic group, he assumed he could cow the rest of us with a jihad. If that failed, some said, military coup was a possibility because a kaferi must not continue to rule. He concentrated his campaign (if it could be called that, because he said very little at every stop), in the North-East and North-West of the country. The little he said, was only in the Hausa language to titillate the warrior nerves of his jihadist gang.

With 19 states in the North, he was convinced he could, at least, force a re-run in the elections, forgetting that the North Central states are already a little weary of jihad. Even the core North itself has some 30% Christian population. Awolowo and Zik exposed the fallacy of the monolithic north by winning elections all over the place during their time. Abiola proved that religion is not the cocoon the Buharis think it is in modern Nigerian politics.

He prostitutes his political ambition by moving from party to party, with the sole aim of becoming the presidential candidate of any party he joins. He is not prepared to serve under anyone else, definitely not under a southern candidate. On seeing that he would not be able to realize his selfish ambition in the mega party he initially joined with others to form, he hurriedly formed a break away party where no one would challenge him as presidential candidate. Since there is no hope of his legitimately ever becoming the Nigerian president or head of state again, Nigerians need to be preparing now for a possible jihad led by this man in the not too distant future.

NAIWU OSAHON, Hon. Khu Mkuu (Leader) World Pan-African Movement); Ameer Spiritual (Spiritual Prince) of the African race; MSc. (Salford); Dip.M.S; G.I.P.M; Dip.I.A (Liv.); D. Inst. M; G. Inst. M; G.I.W.M; A.M.N.I.M. Poet, Author of the magnum opus: ‘The end of knowledge’. One of the world’s leading authors of children’s books; Awarded; key to the city of Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Honourary Councilmanship, Memphis City Council; Honourary Citizenship, County of Shelby; Honourary Commissionership, County of Shelby, Tennessee; and a silver shield trophy by Morehouse College, USA, for activities to unite and uplift the African race.Naiwu Osahon, renowned author, philosopher of science, mystique, leader of the world Pan-African Movement.


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