By Uche Mbah
The Presidential ambition of Buhari, geared towards his second term is fast turning into a do or die affair between him and the four musketeers bent on seeing his back out of Aso Rock come 2019. The four retired generals are his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo, former Chief of Army staff, Theophilus Danjuma, his former Junior officer who overthrew him, Ibrahim Babangida and Babangida’s Boy and beneficiary of the death of Sanni Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar. It appears that the generals have gone back to the trenches to unseat him.
Despite their differences in ranking-in the army seniority is everything-these were jolly good friends when the going was still good. Old pictures of them playing draught together has been circulating for a while, and it appears that they are not yet done with their games.
There appears to be a tacit agreement that retired military officers should stick together and always present their own as presidential candidates even in a democratic dispensation.
Since the end of the Civil war, there has only been one coup d’etat in the country-the Dimka coup. Others were changes of guards to maintain the new elite and power brokers in power. The next brake was the June 12 election, won by a military ally, Moshood Abiola, who was known to have had a hand in almost all post civil war change of government, and had benefited immensely from the fallouts. Thus it was common knowledge that humongous amounts of money-generally pegged at N45 billion when the exchange rate was $1 to 67 kobo-was owed him by the Nigerian government via the notorious International Telephone and Telecommunications, ITT, contract awards. The controversy surrounding the contract was what prompted Fella to sing his infamous International Thief -Thief song. The heat generated by the annulment of his election by Ibrahim Babangida brought back Obasanjo to pwer as a civilian president. On leaving the stage, he installed the brother to one of their fallen compatriots, Shehu Musa Yar’Adua as Civilian president, and he was followed by Good luck Jonathan, one that destiny thrust back on Nigeria from the backyard.
It became imperative to remove him, and they all went back to their constituency and supported Muhammadu buhari. But it became glaring that he was repeating history in a retrogressive sort of way by reviving all the reasons that made his colleagues throw him out in 1985. After initial support and making all efforts to prop up his regime, they became fed up and decided to take up arms-in a manner of speaking-against him.
There is no gainsaying that these retired officers still have loyalists within the army, and are in contact with them. This was apparently foreseen by Buhari, who took precaution by putting relatives in security position-the greatest insurance against betrayal. The first salvo was fired by Obasanjo, who maintained his hurricane move to unseat him through a democratic process. Danjuma outburst that the Buhari Army is complicit in the killings of people of middle belt was a jolt to Buhari, and thai magazine was reliably informed that he had to seek a private audience to tell Danjuma to publicly revoke his statement but Danjuma refused. Instead, he took off with Tarraba governor to the United states to address the government of America on the genocide being perpetuated against Christians by the Buhari government. This has forced him-Buhari-to go back to Asiwaju Tinubu, a man he used and dumped, with mouth watering promises-a situation analysts believe did not impress Tinubu, who had to accept the terms because he knew the consequences of unleashing security agencies on him.
The statge was now set for Obasanjo to be first demonized and then humiliated. Buhari immediately dangled corruption charges before him, resurrecting the power contracts under Obasanjo. But he realised he will not go far, since he worked under Obasanjo, who is known to be a meticulous record keeper, and may bring about more damaging facts on him. They were all partners in crime, so to say. Obasanjo immediately capitalized on it to cry persecution, and that he is penciled for elimination.
In his determination to unseat Buhari, Obasanjo started what is generally known as the third force, which seems to have little impact on the polity. He also has his old school mate and pre eminent rival, professor Wole Soyinka, to contend with. But he is undaunted. He had to swallow his pride and went for personal reconciliation with a PDP chieftain, Bode George. He fell out with Bode George in the circumstances that resulted in the later going to Prison. He has been consulting with Yoruba leaders, with the belief that he will break the south west votes that will eventually kill Buhari ambition.
Like a warlord that he is, Babangida appears to have been working behind the scene.
With the scenario on ground, the APC convention was not only marred by violence, but was also followed by the Plateau Massacre. Buhari insisted it is political, which may not be altogether wrong, though the Mietta Allah claims responsibility.
Coming days will decide who will blink first.