By Bayo Bernard
President Muhammadu Buhari has ramp up his effort to fully take control of the political machinery of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC since he came back from the CHOGM meeting in London, the United Kingdom on Monday, April 23.
The development the magazine learned may not be unconnected with his dwindling political fortunes locally and internationally. The president is trying to rally home support for his ambition for a second term in office, considering the feelers he’s getting from international community, sources told the magazine.
For instance, critics believe that the United States of America, USA is one of the countries allies where President Buhari is expecting to get endorsement for his re-election bid.
President Buhari is expected to meet President Donald Trump next month in Washinton DC. But ahead of the bilateral talks with the world most powerful leader, the United States government has released damning report condemning the Buhari administration.
The report may be an indication that the US has turned his back on Buhari, some analysts say.
The report released few days ago carpeted the President Buhari led government human rights record. Apart from this, the report said the fight against corruption has become a lip service under the administration.
Part of the report stated that “Impunity remained widespread at all levels of government. The government did not adequately investigate or prosecute most of the major outstanding allegations of human rights violations by the security forces or the majority of cases of police or military extortion or other abuse of power.”
“Most significant human rights issues included extrajudicial and arbitrary killings; disappearances and arbitrary detentions; torture, particularly in detention facilities, including sexual exploitation and abuse; use of children by some security elements, looting, and destruction of property.
“There were also civilian detentions in military facilities, often based on flimsy evidence; denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and movement.”
Claiming that the fight against graft under President Buhari has failed the report stated that “official corruption; lack of accountability in cases involving violence against women and children, including female genital mutilation/cutting and sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons; early and forced marriages; criminalization of status and same-sex sexual conduct based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and forced and bonded labor.”
The report also gave a damning verdict on the security situation in the country citing killing by Boko Haram, which the government, the report said has failed to address. It says “Boko Haram terror group” has “committed a myriad of human rights violations, killing and torturing and imprisoning women and children and bombing entire villages.
“The groups conducted numerous attacks on government and civilian targets that resulted in thousands of deaths and injuries, widespread destruction, the internal displacement of approximately 1.8 million persons, and external displacement of an estimated 205,000 Nigerian refugees to neighboring countries, principally Cameroon, Chad, and Niger,” the report said.
”Boko Haram’s numerous attacks often targeted civilians. The group, which recruited and forcefully conscripted child soldiers, carried out scores of suicide bombings–many by young women and girls forced into doing so–and other attacks on population centers in the Northeast and in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
“Abductions by Boko Haram continued. The group subjected many abducted women and girls to sexual and gender-based violence, including forced marriages and rape. The government investigated attacks by Boko Haram and ISIS-WA and took some steps to prosecute their members, although the majority of suspected insurgent group supporters were held in military custody without charge,
“In its response to Boko Haram and ISIS-WA attacks, and at times in response to crime and insecurity in general, security service personnel perpetrated extrajudicial killings and engaged in torture, sexual exploitation and abuse, arbitrary detention, mistreatment of detainees, use of children by some security elements, looting, and destruction of property. The country also suffered from ethnic, regional, and religious violence,” the report added.
Apart from the US which has seemingly gave an indication that it’s not likely to support the second term bid of the president, feelers from another major ally, United Kingdom seems to point in the same direction.
United Kingdom Prime Minister, Teressa May had also told President Buhari’s government to review the Anti Gay law passed by the National Assembly in 2014. critics say this is part of the plans to stop Buhari, knowing that this is almost impossible considering a back lash that is likely to follow such action from Nigerians.
Also, the private visit by President Buhari to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, some say is an indication that the West is worried about the capability of President Buhari to solve the many social, economic problems facing the country.
Welby, a major supporter of the president had told him that he’s unhappy with the security situation in the country, particularly the unresolved killings of farmers by Fulani herdsmen in Nigeria’s North Central region.
Bishop Welby had “expressed deep concern about the suffering resulting from raids on Christian communities and villages as far south as Delta State. He said the killings “have led to very many deaths and threaten an escalation of violence,” urging President Buhari to take ”measures to restore confidence in the neutrality of the state.”
He also urged the president to take urgent steps to free Leah Sharibu – the 14-year old Dapchi Christian school girl still held captive by Boko Haram for refusing to convert to Islam – and urged the President to do everything possible to secure her release.”
Buhari who came to office in 2015 has watched his popularity nosedived in the last few months so much so that notable Nigerians are also calling on him not to seek election to the exalted office next year.
Notable Nigerians who have warned Buhari not to run are former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida. Others include Dr Judaid Muhammed , Tanko Yakassai and former Governor of Kaduna state, Balarabe Musa.
From all indications President Buhari seems to have taken the advice, not to run for granted. The Katsina born Army General has recently declared his intension to seek re-election for a fresh four years term.
He disclosed this to National Working Committee, NWC of APC on April 8, barely few hours before traveling to the United Kingdom for the CHOGM meeting.