How General Buhari Who Jailed My Father Can Offer Nigeria A Fresh Start - Poet

Date: 01-02-2015 7:16 am (8 years ago) | Author: Mister Jay Wonder
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- at 1-02-2015 07:16 AM (8 years ago)
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Possibly the worst year of my life was 1984. I was 10 years old and blissfully unaware of the changing face of Nigeria’s political landscape. And a rather unyielding face it was – that of Muhammadu Buhari who had recently overthrown Shehu Shagari, a democratically elected president. For Buhari, this was a necessary coup d’etat because Nigeria was being overrun by corrupt politicians. However, his regime would have a devastating impact on my family’s fortunes.

For the first time, at the close of the school term in Edinburgh, my father wasn’t there to pick us up. My older brother, aged 15, took charge and we made our way to Heathrow. Touching down in Nigeria, it was my mother who met us at the airport. She didn’t smile, perhaps couldn’t; her mouth was turned down at the corners like she was being flattened by existence. Something was wrong, clearly. I waited until we were settled in the car and piped up: “Where’s Daddy?” Without turning to glance at me, my mother answered: “He’s in jail.” She always had an aversion to bullsh*t but even, for her, that was pretty cold. For the rest of the journey, I thought about my Daddy who returned the cash to the phone company when our account was credited with thousands of naira; Daddy who, born into abject poverty, personified what it meant to work really hard and make your own dreams come true, in a hopefully new meritocratic Nigeria.

On getting home, one of my older brothers explained that Buhari’s deputy, the uncompromising, much-feared Colonel Tunde Idiagbon, had commanded that all government contractors in Ogun state had received a notice to appear before a special committee. My dad honoured the invitation and presented all the papers to show that it was in fact the government that owed his company money. He was given two options: to pay a large amount (that no one quite understood how they arrived at) or go to jail. On principle, my dad said he wasn’t going to pay money that he didn’t owe. He was not alone. I have a group of friends with whom I am forever bound by this shared ordeal of seeing our fathers treated like criminals. And as it was for many, this period signified the beginning of financial ruin.

My father spent six months in jail and came out a different man. For one, he started clapping at our solemn family devotion in the mornings, something we never did. He explained that that was what they did in prison. He was never a big talker but seeing him work at adjusting to normal life was painful for everyone around him.

Before his release, the two giant crushers and all the machinery and equipment that belonged to his civil engineering firm were liquidated. As children, our lives changed too. We were placed in state schools and said goodbye to our privileged lifestyles.

My dad is 87 now and he’s an active member of the local advisory board of the All Progressive party, the opposition party that has recently adopted Buhari as the presidential flag-bearer, 30 years after his first outing as a military head of state. Like many Nigerians, my father was saddened when he heard President Goodluck Jonathan claim that “stealing is not corruption”. With 24% unemployment, there are limited opportunities for young people, making them easy fodder for militants in the southernmost parts of the country and dreaded religious fundamentalists in the north. People clamour for leadership.

For the last three weeks, I have been travelling with the presidential campaign team and I have had the opportunity to listen to people and interview them. I have also had a personal need to understand this man Buhari who has run for the highest office a record three times. At the beginning, I admit I had doubts and misgivings. It’s hard not to when you’ve been stung before. But after several conversations with him, I have come to understand what the mass hysteria is all about and why Nigerians would vote for this soft-spoken but highly principled 72-year-old.

It’s quite simple and, having worked as a schoolteacher for years, I can use a school setting in my analogy. Kids like a teacher to whom they can give the runaround but when it’s crunch time, they favour an environment where the teacher is firm, one where clear boundaries have been set. Having a president who is widely described as “clueless” may have seemed to many like an opportunity, but the goodwill that Jonathan enjoyed in 2011 has been frittered away. These days, governors in the opposition parties are starved of funds and harassed when they don’t do the bidding of a first lady who campaigns for her personal candidates. Many Nigerians believe that it is time to return to one of the few faces of anti-corruption in Nigeria’s political history. Even my wrongly-imprisoned Dad would recognise that Buhari’s ambition was to stem corruption.

Unlike many Nigerian past presidents, Major-General Buhari does not have a huge mansion. You won’t hear about him owning a bank or sitting on the board of banks. Neither does he own expansive farmland. In fact, he wrote to the minister of finance requesting that he only receive 10% of the allowance that all past presidents receive on a monthly basis. Overwhelmingly, his lack of greed and personal venality means people trust him. Within a democratic dispensation, whatever excesses Buhari’s singlemindedness at tackling corruption might have shown 30 years ago can and will be curbed.

He has surrounded himself with a brilliant, savvy team of young Nigerians and I much enjoy the passion with which he talks about his three main priorities: unemployment, insecurity and education. For some Nigerians, he might not be an ideal candidate but for many more, people want anything but Jonathan. And even better it’s someone that they feel they can believe in.




Lola Shoneyi is a Nigerian novelist and poet.














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Posted: at 1-02-2015 07:16 AM (8 years ago) | Addicted Hero
- paulohking at 1-02-2015 07:51 AM (8 years ago)
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.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 07:51 AM (8 years ago) | Hero
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- palwithtunde at 1-02-2015 08:05 AM (8 years ago)
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Nice 1 lola . . Understandin and forgiveness.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 08:05 AM (8 years ago) | Upcoming
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- beneno at 1-02-2015 08:09 AM (8 years ago)
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 Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
Posted: at 1-02-2015 08:09 AM (8 years ago) | Addicted Hero
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- beneno at 1-02-2015 08:15 AM (8 years ago)
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this Buhari take style commit when him dey power ooooh,this ones wey we dey fit hear so ni the ones wey him do to the rich and influential men,the ones wey him do to poor and ordinary men we no go fit hear those ones because their children go just dey cry for nothing and nobody go listen or publish the story out   Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
Posted: at 1-02-2015 08:15 AM (8 years ago) | Addicted Hero
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- lakman at 1-02-2015 08:31 AM (8 years ago)
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to hell with you and buhari. jonathan must rule or no nigeria. buhari overthrown democratic elected government and today some one will be calling such a person a saint to come and rule in the same country.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 08:31 AM (8 years ago) | Upcoming
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- Lateef67 at 1-02-2015 08:50 AM (8 years ago)
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Ppl r only say buhari Is it only hm in power dat time
Posted: at 1-02-2015 08:50 AM (8 years ago) | Gistmaniac
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- ayo4great at 1-02-2015 08:50 AM (8 years ago)
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Thank you for sharing this...the truth is bitter they say. You have understood that the good interest of the nation is more than family sentiments. Many support the present system bcos they enjoy from its shortcoming. Foolish managers guide their seats even if the company is sinking..
God will not spare those who profit from Nigeria's misfortunes
Posted: at 1-02-2015 08:50 AM (8 years ago) | Newbie
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- Ritabrenice at 1-02-2015 09:01 AM (8 years ago)
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Ok
Posted: at 1-02-2015 09:01 AM (8 years ago) | Gistmaniac
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- charlesomo at 1-02-2015 09:09 AM (8 years ago)
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Because buhari never stay long in the thrown now he will show us pelpel wen he enter naija go see something.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 09:09 AM (8 years ago) | Newbie
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- Imoking at 1-02-2015 09:23 AM (8 years ago)
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Quote from: Ayo Samson on  1-02-2015 08:50 AM
Thank you for sharing this...the truth is bitter they say. You have understood that the good interest of the nation is more than family sentiments. Many support the present system bcos they enjoy from its shortcoming. Foolish managers guide their seats even if the company is sinking..
God will not spare those who profit from Nigeria's misfortunes
Posted: at 1-02-2015 09:23 AM (8 years ago) | Upcoming
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- joromy at 1-02-2015 11:03 AM (8 years ago)
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BUHARI TRY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE TO SEND ALL CRIMINALS AND CURUPT NIGERIA TO PRISON BUT NIGERIA DID NOT GIVE HIM THAT CHANCE TO DO WHAT HE INTEND TO DO, HE WAS OVERTROL BY IBB. NOW THIS NIGERIA CHANCE TO VOTE BUHARI AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA. SO THAT ALL THOSE THAT HAS LOOTED NIGERIA MONEY WE BE SEND TO PRISON.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 11:03 AM (8 years ago) | Gistmaniac
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- bamilok2008 at 1-02-2015 12:05 PM (8 years ago)
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It is d time for corrupt leaders to be jailed this people have wasted our resources . Sai Buhari we r all behind you. This is not Ethnicity issue all we need is CHANGE
Posted: at 1-02-2015 12:05 PM (8 years ago) | Upcoming
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- cornelus at 1-02-2015 12:14 PM (8 years ago)
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Honestly I really need a change in Nigeria "REAL CHANGE imean, it baffles me 'as in' why and how nigerians thinks that buhari are the change the country needed now.and the more I think of it the more confused I am. Buhari of all people, buhari that refused to tell us why he jailed Fela and fails to jail any body for the 53 suitcases, (Yet he wants to fight corruption) five suspects were supposed to face the firering squad but was (unbelievably) reduced to three men, the other (hausa) two Huh?? Buhari never explain why  "motor get accident im leave driver (shagari) go arrest conductor (ekwueme) . Although I was a kid when those things happened but till now no body has given any explanations to those questions. Jonathan did not performed as expected, but please don't tell me buhari are amoung the options.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 12:14 PM (8 years ago) | Upcoming
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- femjay at 1-02-2015 12:21 PM (8 years ago)
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The truth is bitter ...... Tanks for sharing this ! Its show ur manner of integrity , ...... I will give you kudos for that .............
 Keep it up  Lola ...

The major problem of Nigeria is corruption ... Until when put an end to it ...... that we are going to ve a BETTER NIGERIA ......if anyone of you  has the  oppurtunity  of travelling abroad   you shall  see that Corruption ruin Nigerian and ve nt make our country moved forward .... I don't say there  is no corruption in abroad  but it is minimize.... nt like our  country that we make  it as our daily blood tonic ... 

The only person that can make the CHANGE is BUHARI ... .... By God grace the change is gonna occur  soon becos I witness wot happen in GMB Admistration in the military era . .... We shall all enjoy it and live a better life ... Rather than a  President telling NIgerians "STEALING IS NOT CORRUPT " and  encourage corrupt men and women in his Administration... ( which means he has no vision to drive Nigeria to the promised land at all )

The problem of  some people supporting GEJ is becos    they are gullible .... (i.e  they are  tricked to be fool ..... )

May God help us ! 

Posted: at 1-02-2015 12:21 PM (8 years ago) | Gistmaniac
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- blakman1 at 1-02-2015 12:39 PM (8 years ago)
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To be a good leader,you must step on toes to my understanding.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 12:39 PM (8 years ago) | Upcoming
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- dickman2 at 1-02-2015 12:40 PM (8 years ago)
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buhari na dog from north..and dog will never rule naija again never..
Posted: at 1-02-2015 12:40 PM (8 years ago) | Addicted Hero
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- femjay at 1-02-2015 12:46 PM (8 years ago)
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Quote from: dickman2 on  1-02-2015 12:40 PM
buhari na dog from north..and dog will never rule naija again never..

You always sound mudane , stale and clumsy....
 
Posted: at 1-02-2015 12:46 PM (8 years ago) | Gistmaniac
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- 07062637414 at 1-02-2015 01:35 PM (8 years ago)
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Let's all vote 4 d change n we all we benefit from it.
Posted: at 1-02-2015 01:35 PM (8 years ago) | Newbie
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- dickman2 at 1-02-2015 02:52 PM (8 years ago)
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i hope buhari die before the vote ...useless man.
we dont need this kind of idiot as a leader..
who is buhari..a mad dog from the north...he won rule nigeria..na lie...
a dead man..
Posted: at 1-02-2015 02:52 PM (8 years ago) | Addicted Hero
Reply
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