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Buhari, War against Corruption and Matters Arising

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Arthur NwankwoThe Christian Holy writ, the Bible has been described as a Divine manual for social engineering. A read through the Bible will confirm this. I had this privilege on

account of my ecclesiastical background. In one of the proverbs of King Solomon, while he was bemoaning the spiritual, socio-economic and political rot that became the lot of the state of Israel at that time, he said “if the foundation be destroyed what can the righteous do?”


What King Solomon was actually saying was this: if the foundation upon which a just society would be anchored is destroyed by bad leadership, gleeful shading of blood of the innocent, corruption, Etc. what can the committed patriot do? Kings Solomon must have had the Nigerian state in mind when he gave this proverb – for indeed Nigeria’s foundation appeared doomed from the womb on its creation.

The trajectory of Nigeria’s emergence into statehood is very clear to any serious student of Nigeria’s political history, even though certain persons have been trying so hard to concoct their own versions of Nigerian history especially from the point of amalgamation.

Truth is that the Northern protectorate was not amalgamated with the southern protectorate in 1914 – because the word “with” suggests some degree of equality and level playing ground. The actual thing is that Harcourt who was the British exchequer at that time summed it up succinctly thus “the well-behaved southern lady of means has been joined in marriage to the north to release the northern protectorate from the leading strings of the British treasury. The marriage will be consummated by Lord Lugard”.

The basic fact here is that the south was goaded into this ill-marriage by British colonialism on the understanding that the wealth of the south would be used to sustain the feudal northern establishment, which was draining the British resources. This parasitic relationship has been sustained by sheer force of arms, blackmail and ethnic cleansing. To give institutional and structural teeth to this debauchery, the British unilaterally gave 50 percent of the country’s parliament to the north, manipulated the census figures to suggest that the north is more populous that the south.

The biggest casualty of this colonial debauchery has been the Igbo of the south-east; easily the most populous ethnic group in Nigeria comparable only to the Nile valley with a population density of 1324 person per square km as against that of 874 persons per sq. km in places like Kano and Kaduna in Northern Nigeria.

Ndigbo are adventurous, willing to test untested waters, outgoing and would always ask questions. These are the same qualities which defined British civilization and they feared that if Ndigbo were given the mantle of leadership at the point of political independence, Britain would have lost Nigeria permanently primarily because the Igbos have the acumen, creativity and ingenuity to inaugurate an authentic economic and political development  of the new nation.

Buhari is not the messiah, he lacks the will, the

capacity and vision to take Nigeria to the next level,

he lacks the sophistication and intellectual prowess

needed to address the structural imbalance in Nigeria

It was this British Igbo-phobia that compelled the BBC Hausa service to define the January 1966 military coup in Nigeria as an “Igbo coup”, even when Nigerians excitedly welcomed the change; more so when it was very obvious that the coup was purely a military affair without any tacit support by the Igbo leadership. The poisonous seed by the BBC of an Igbo coup soon spread like prairie fire and thus began a wave of well-organized genocidal pogrom against Ndigbo in all parts of Northern Nigeria.

In officiating the “arrange” marriage that birthed Nigeria, Britain inadvertently sowed the seeds of its divorce. Seeing his people trooping back in droves, bruised, battered and beaten, with Nigerian offering no hope for our people, the late Ikemba Nnewi, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu sought a divorce by declaring the state of Biafra. The Nigerian government came down in a murderous rage and the 30 months civil was that ensued is not history.

But history is not just a documentation of past and distant events. History in reality is the conscience and consciousness of human existence. Apart from telling men’s hearts of hearts of men centuries dead, history has a way of shaping society. Every history creates a critical juncture and such critical juncture defines social existence.

Hence, irrespective of how anybody may want to explain or discuss the Biafran agitation, it is a critical juncture that will continue to haunt Nigeria basically because it was a critical juncture that produced Muhammadu Buhari as a jihadist of the Nigerian army with a mandate to crush and terminate the Igbo race.

The North’s resolve to present Buhari in the last presidential election is not so much about his much talked about integrity – because he has none – but rather because he belongs to the last of the Mohicans who still symbolize the vision of the feudal North. I wonder when people talk about Buhari as a Messiah; I get amused by such venal pontifications. No doubt Nigeria needs a messiah but one thing I know for sure is that Buhari is not the messiah.

How can Buhari be the messiah when he is one of those who prosecuted the “final solution to the Igbo problem” by tacitly supporting the pogrom against the Igbos? How can Buhari be the messiah, when as governor of Old Kastina, his major achievement was the revocation of certificate of occupancies granted to Igbo businessmen in his state? How can Buhari be the messiah when as chairman of PTF, he carried out no meaningful project in Igboland? If he did, let him name one!

How can he be our messiah when he is part and parcel of the faux pas committed in Nigeria; when he as part of the military cabal that ran Nigerian aground in a relay-like manner, when the aggregate jail terms of Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Sam Mbakwe, Papa Akisin was over one thousand years, while Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Tahir, etc. were under house arrests in their cosy homes under the pretense of house arrest.

How can he be the messiah when he has not purged himself of the feudal tendency of his forebear; when he still thinks he is under military dictatorship? Is it not worrisome that three months after swearing in, Buhari is running the government without a federal cabinet, in the 30 appointments he has made so far, no Igbo man is considered fit for appointment; that he presides over a national executive council that excludes Dr. Ekwueme (a former democratically elected V.P. of Nigeria), but admits a man who headed a contraption called ING for just three months?

No! Buhari is not the messiah, he lacks the will, the capacity and vision to take Nigeria to the next level, he lacks the sophistication and intellectual prowess needed to address the structural imbalance in Nigeria; to confront the crisis in the Niger Delta, the alienation of Ndigbo, the raging insurgency in his home state etc. yet the ingredients have been provided for him to prove otherwise. Those ingredients are contained in the reports and recommendations of the National Political Reform Conference (NPRC) of 2005 and the just concluded conference conducted by the immediate past Jonathan administration.

Pontificating about corruption and the trials of “culprits” may appear populist but would not address the structural problem in this country, the media blitz would not help either; neither would selective application of war against corruption work. The most urgent matter, as far as many Nigerians are concerned relates to a total restructuring of the country. In it lies the solution to the challenges of corruption and ethnic irredentism.

Dr. Arthur Nwankwo

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