t was his first and comprehensive interview, probably the most exclusive interview he ever granted in 1984 as the new military head of state and throughout his 21-month in office. The 43-year old military strongman had engaged the trio of Yakubu Muhammad, editor of defunct 'National Concord' Newspapers: Ray Ekpu, chairman, editorial board of the Concord Newspapers and the late Dele Giwa, editor of the Sunday Concord on numerous issues and what essentially was the policy thrust of his regime. Toward the tail end of the marathon interview, the late Dele Giwa asked Gen. Muhammadu Buhari: " Gen Buhari, what is your greatest wish as you hold this office as head of state?" Buhari replied: " My greatest wish as head of state is to leave this office in one piece?" We read the interview at one of my late professor's house at the University of Lagos in 1985 which was serialized in the defunct Concord Newspapers Forum and everyone present in the room guffawed at the head of state's statement. " A military general who is afraid to die? That is unthinkable and this man will not last in office," I informed my professor and other friends present that day. My remark was not taken seriously and twenty months later, Gen. Buhari was ousted in a military coup d'état. I was proved right.
On Tuesday August 27, 1985, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida as Buhari's chief of army staff staged a coup and removed his boss from office. Before Babangida staged his coup against Buhari, Ambassador Lawan Muhammad Rafindadi, Buhari's uncle and head of the Nigerian Security Organization (NSO), precursor to the current State Security Services (SSS) came with report to Gen. Buhari that his chief of army staff was planning to move against him. Gen Buhari somehow did nothing. Dr Junaid Muhammad, then Member of the House of Representatives in the Second Republic under the defunct People's Redemption Party-PRP-wrote to Head of State Buhari to retire Gen. Babangida as Army Chief, again somehow Gen. Buhari demurred. As Gen. Buhari was later to confess, he said he knew Gen. Babangida was about to stage a coup against his regime in 1985, yet he didn't do anything about it. For having the impudence to call on Gen Buhari to retire Gen. Ibrahim Babangida as Chief of Army Staff before the coup of August 27, 1985, Babangida as new head of state ordered the arrest of Dr Junaid Muhammad who was kept in military detention for a long time by the Babangida military dictatorship. The rest is not history. Because Gen. Ibrahim Babangida is still much around heaping up more criminal activities and mischief in Nigeria till date. He must not be allowed to get away with his perennial mischief and bad behavior. That we shall come back to presently.
Fast forward to twenty six years later in 2011. We were all waiting at Ambassador Godknows Boladei Igali's office as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources. We were interrupted by news from Igali's secretary that Senator Anyim Pius Anyim was waiting to see Dr Igali. Of course, Dr Igali was the go-to-guy at this epochal moment following President Jonathan's landslide presidential victory in 2011. President Jonathan had told Ambassador Igali who was his classmate and bosom friend that he-Igali-would be his chief of staff. The news was already abroad and typically Dr Igali's office became beehive of activities for office seekers and influence peddlers, including Sen. Anyim who had come to lobby for the position of Secretary to the Federal Government which he eventually got from the Jonathan Administration. A colleague of mine and I both from the United States were in the country to work with Ambassador Igali to shape the Jonathan Administration policy direction since we had the assurances of President Jonathan that his childhood friend and classmate of nearly forty years would be the president's chief of staff. With such iron-clad words from the president, we leaked Ambassador Igali's "appointment ' to the press for maximum telegraph. The very day we were expecting the formal announcement of Igali's appointment, words came from Aso Rock that three individuals who are currently prominent in the Buhari Administration had prevailed on President Jonathan to drop Ambassador Igali and instead chose Mr Mike Oghiadome, former deputy governor of Edo State as chief of staff. President Goodluck Jonathan sheepishly and naively succumbed to pressures and dissed his childhood friend and brain truster. That day, I told Ambassador Igali that President Jonathan would not return as president for a second term. I also warned Igali to steer clear of Aso Rock and most especially he should avoid Mike Oghiadome's office as plans were afoot to poison Igali. My warning later proved credible and I returned back to my base in the United States. I didn't need a job from the Jonathan Administration and didn't ask for any. What Oronto Douglas did and thought he would get away with in 2010 and 2011, I specifically warned him he would not survive the Jonathan Administration and he is dead now. I didn't cause his death but I warned him that whatever a man/woman sows, he/she will definitely reap. Those who are in the know of what exactly happened in the episode that I am disclosing openly for the first time understand what this counter-narrative is all about.
Why did I go into this narrative? Events in the last two weeks of the Buhari Presidency will soon prove a sense of déjà u in the second coming of Buhari this time as an elected president. If President Buhari will not listen to genuine critics and down-to-heart advice, he may repeat the historical mistake he made in 1985. Whereas Gen. Ibrahim Babangida staged a military coup d'état against him in 1985, this new insurrection is a coup de foundre. It is a fact the military cannot rule Nigeria again via a coup d'état, but a non-violent coup d'état can still occur. What happened at the National Assembly penultimate week was a serious security breach. It wasn't politics as usual but more than that and if President Buhari ignores our warning, he will not return for a second term as president. I am not concerned about the individual personalities involved. I am not interested in whether Sen. Bukola Olusola Saraki should be the Senate President or not. That wasn't the import of the whole episode but how a group of senators, of who the arrow head was a former coup plotter, Col and now Sen. David Bonaventure Mark, in company of Sen Andy Emmanuel Ubah and two PDP Governors: Olusegun Rahman Mimiko and Godswill Obot Akpabio could hold nocturnal meeting in Abuja under the nose of the president-elect and hijacked the leadership of the National Assembly was a foreboding nightmarish episode. It simply means President Buhari is not yet in control of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Even though President Buhari has been sworn in as president, he isn't yet the commander-in-chief. How else could one interpret the loyalty of the Nigerian Armed Forces and most especially the SSS that the renegades of the displaced ancien regime could assemble in plain sight in Abuja and carried out a coup de frondre against a newly-elected president in a new administration? The loyalty of the men and women left behind by President Goodluck Jonathan in the Army, Navy and Air Force, including the leadership of the State Security Services-SSS- to the Buhari Administration is suspect. It is time President Muhammad Buhari steps up gallantly and sure footedly to the leadership plate and flush out these men and women.
President Olusegun Obasanjo relieved the service chiefs he inherited from Gen. Abdusalam Abubakar within a week he was sworn in as president on May 29, 1999. Gen Victor Malu was made Chief of Army Staff in May as soon as Obasanjo was sworn in almost immediately. Vice Admiral Victor Ombu from Bayelsa State and Vice Marshal Ibrahim Alfa from Adamawa State were similarly relieved of their positions.
Why the cautious optimism by President Muhammadu Buhari almost three weeks after being sworn in? Why are Gen. Kenneth Tobiah Minimah, Rear Admiral Usman Jibrin and Air Vice Marshal Adesola Nunayon Amosun still being retained? Why is President Buhari still using Mr Ita Ekpeyong as the director general of the State Security Services against the open partisanship of that outfit in the last presidential election? President Goodluck Jonathan himself underscored the importance of loyalty in administration when he told the Cross River State Council of Traditional Rulers that loyalty was his overriding consideration in appointing Mr Ekpeyong as D.G of the SSS. Is President Buhari waiting till October 1, 2015 to replace these security chiefs as he dithered in summer 1985 only for Gen. Ibrahim Babangida to stage his coup? Leadership is about decisions and any one who God wants to use in any leadership position must always stand up for leadership and the responsibility that goes with leadership. It is not enough to be Mr Clean, but be wishy-washy. The Lord God Almighty doesn't give power to those who prevaricate and need to be prodded. Neither will the Sovereign Lord of the universe entrusts power to those that demur, are flaky and indecisive. This was why James 1:5-6 warned that anyone, including leaders that prevaricate on sensitive and urgent fundamental issues are all-weather souls, unstable and double-minded beings whose success in anything will be short lived.
Even the Evil Genius Gen. Ibrahim Babangida who I loathe to quote knows the perils of tergiversation when he once remarked: " A leader must always take a stand and act whether good or bad, but history will be unkind to any leader who refuses to act." This was what Babangida did in August 1985 when he was about to be retired by the Buhari military regime. But 30 years after that unfortunate incident, the men and women that pulled that manafiki are still much around. If President Buhari is still afraid of these agents of retrogression after Nigerians gave him a mandate few months ago, then his statement that he belongs to no one and nobody owns him as he asserted on Inauguration Day was cheap and wasn't sincere. That will be tragic indeed. The only institution that he needs its loyalty now after that ugly episode at NASS is the military and the armed forces. Since the current leaderships of Nigerian Army, the Navy and Air Force including the SSS have failed the Buhari Administration so soon and have continued to demonstrate their allegiances to former President Goodluck Jonathan and his factotums at the National Assembly, President Buhari should have sent them packing 24 hours after the NASS-Gate Affair. Similarly, President Buhari should release the names of his cabinet members immediately. The service chiefs should be replaced by the officers next in seniority to the current service chiefs in the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force. Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd) should be let go and a former service chief who is close to President Buhari should be announced immediately as the nation's new National Security Adviser. A new set of service chiefs should be announced by President Muhammadu Buhari, The new Chief of Army Staff should be from the North East Zone and be the most senior to the original officers to the current cadres of army officers. The same should apply to the Air Force where the new man should be from the North Central or the part of the nation we commonly refer to as the Middle Belt. The new head of the Nigerian Navy should come from the South-South while the new Chief of Defense Staff should come from the South West. President Muhammadu Buhari should use his discretion to either retain or appoint a new Inspector General of Police but I am favorably disposed to a new helmsman for the Nigerian Police Force. It doesn't necessarily mean the incumbent, IG Solomon Ehigator Arase from Sapele in Edo State isn't performing, but former President Jonathan belatedly gave him the job to settle a policy score. You can't tie the security hand of your successor after you have lost an election. In fact, President Buhari should reverse all the appointments made by President Jonathan since February 2015, pointedly all those appointments made after his election defeat in 2015.
As a former head of state and a retired military general whom destiny and fate have brought back to power through the Sovereign Lord God Almighty, President Buhari should re-organize the Nigerian Armed Forces immediately. Professionalism needs to be restored. It was a complete disgrace to the distinguished members of the uniform what we witnessed about the conduct of members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, especially the Nigerian Army how they sided openly with politicians. Those elements must be shown the way out. In addition, the retirement age pegged at 56 years for members of the Nigerian Armed Forces should be reviewed forthwith. Here in America and in the Western World, competent and strong military generals still serve as old as in their seventies. Why is ours different? Not only do we lose the experiences and competences of these able-bodied and knowledgeable uniformed men and women, the nation is losing a lot in financial and other human resources in training these men and women. The Buhari Administration should review this retirement age policy and stop the rate of attrition in the nation's armed forces. Why do university professors, career civil servants, judges and other public servants still serve and keep their jobs up to their sixties while we retire our good, capable and competent armed forces men and women at 56 years of age? How do we intend to win the current war against Boko Haram while sacrificing experience?
Now to the shape of the real things to come in a real Change Buhari Administration. President Buhari can choose between being a politician, a leader or a great leader. These are the three things President Muhammadu Buhari should concentrate on achieving between now and 2019, if he wants to serve two terms in office. These three things will also define President Muhammadu Buhari either as a politician, a leader or a great leader. If he doesn't achieve these three things, he will be a one-term president. The first is stable and uninterrupted electricity in Nigeria. The current abysmal and torrid state of the nation's power supply is not only embarrassing but shameful. As I wrote to former president Goodluck Jonathan in June 2011 immediately he won the 2011 presidential election and was sworn in, we are reiterating the same to Mr Clean. In the Word of Life, the first thing the True Lord God Almighty spoke into existence after He created the heavens and earth was light. According to Genesis 1:1-3:" In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty; darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the water. And God said: 'Let there be light,' and there was light..." Even the war on Boko Haram would be fruitless without stable and guaranteed power supply. Every development strategy in Nigeria will be a mirage also without stable electricity. President Buhari should be under no illusion he can cleanse Nigeria under darkness. The cost of doing business is one of the highest, if not the highest in Black Africa, because of the extra-added costs of doing business. If in four years President Buhari succeeds in ameliorating this shambolic electric supply, he is guaranteed a second term in office. He will move from a leader to a great leader.
The second is the endemic menace of Boko Haram. This misanthropic sect should be routed out and destroyed. But as noted above, the Nigerian Armed Forces must be completely overhauled and professionalism restored. The appointments of new service chiefs should be devoid of politicking. Finally, this lugubrious notion of bygones should be bygones articulated by President Buhari on Inauguration Day doesn't cut it with generality of Nigerians. The Good Lord God Almighty says the wicked shall not go unpunished (Proverbs 11:21). The Good Lord Almighty says too much innocent blood has been shed in Nigeria since 1985 and all those who are living in plain sight that perpetrated such heinous crimes should be punished. Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida must be made to account for all the atrocities and the innocent blood in his hands. President Buhari must not allow Gen. Ibrahim Babangida to go to his grave without answering for the murders of Gloria Okon, Dele Giwa, the Ejigbo Plane Crash and many more. This man must tell Nigerians both at home and abroad what precipitated the June 12, 1993 political debacle, why were the elections annulled, how did MKO Abiola die and what caused the death of Sani Abacha? Why did Gen. Ibrahim Babangida shun the Justice Oputa Panel? President Buhari will be a one-term president, if he refuses or ignores what the Spirit of the True Lord God Almighty is saying.
READERS' LETTERS THIS WEEK
I thank God for your calling and for annointing to do exploit as prophet of the old . I am amazed by the accuracy of your predictions all of which have been confirmed. Please put me on your mailing list in fact I will like to meet you one on one when I come to Chicago next month. Thanks and Peace from Mrs. Esther A.A, Lagos Nigeria.
Dear Dr Moshood Fayemiwo, First, I want to thank God Almighty through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ for His spiritual gifts in your life. Your latest article titled, "Why President Jonathan Lost the 2015 Presidential Election (Part I)" is a must read for all Nigerian citizens who love and want our beloved nation to prosper and become stable politically. Sir, you are a gift to our beloved nation, but this article is my favorite. You are a true servant of God with a unique gift that exposes all the hidden agendas of the wicked and powerful enemies of Nigeria and her people. My prayer for you, your family and ministry is that God's Holy spirit, His glory, mighty power, and anointing will never depart from you forever. Amen. Looking forward to (part II) of this educative and inspiring article. Thanks. Your brother in Christ----Kehinde from Maryland, USA.