There is no comparable fortunate retired General in the world, who got such breathtaking state hampers as oil field, and exploded in wealth without consumerate drop of sweat.
Talking about why headsmen and farmers are in murderous encounter over depleting resource, the state’s art of parceling out of common national patrimony to very few tiny elites, account for one of the remote causes of the widening and terrific conflicts in which the toxic contradiction of peoples ever growing needs meets with shrinking opportunities.
Danjuma at a convocation ceremony of Taraba State University lashed out the army, which President Muhammadu Buhari is the current Commander-in-Chief as criminally colluding with murderous marauders to attack helpless communities, decimating their population and pillaging their properties. He calls on Nigerians not to place their security in the constituted authority of a government they freely elected but to rise in self-defence against maunders and their military backers.
Coming soon after the copious letter of former President and retired army General Olusegun Obasanjo, who owns billions of naira worth of private university and presidential library, in which he accused the government of incompetence and feeble anti-corruption war, followed by half-hearted and unsolicited counsel of former president, Ibrahim Babangida to President Buhari to forfeit any second term ambition, the impression cannot be lost in any discerning and fairly intelligible quarter, that the inordinate tantrums the retired soldiers dressed up as patriotic outrage is more than what meets the eye. When did they actually began to care or is Nigeria’s characteristic periodic and exponential upheavals, for which they have been collectively and even privately privy to, a new phenomenon? Is the state of affairs of a weak state and dysfunctional institutions, toiled to perpetuate influence peddling and power-grab not the crucible of a prebendal polity and socio-economic system, benefiting men of power, money influence, even when they have exited formal state apparatus? Has the edifice of a rigged structure designed to be manipulated from outside under threat and has the influence peddling maneuvers of retired General, on state authority under threat.
If President Buhari is eventually disrupting and dismantling paternalistic structure of the state, in which a tiny elite exercise a disproportionate suzerainty over it, to its benefit and allied surrogates to the exclusion of the majority of Nigerians, then a backlash of coordinated outbursts is only to be expected and is even welcome.
Both presidents Obasanjo and Babagida helped entrench fragile state structure, and weak public institutions, reinforced by elite impunity, lawlessness and corruption that is at the root of contemporary Nigeria’s challenge.
Having established the corrosive network through which the state is rendered hollow and vulnerable to insidious manipulations by handful of elites, from where they thrive and enjoy questionable appellations of “statesmen”, any prospective disruption of the informal network of state control would naturally draw the ire of the “big men” who have enjoyed the status of a state within state.
The open revolt of Nigeria’s rich retired army Generals whose personal fortunes are way beyond the imaginations of their peers around world, calls for sober reflection within intelligible quarters and not the mere partisan roars of many commentators.
Against their own records in office, what is the current government doing so incompetently that could draw their irate backlash? Former President Obasanjo enjoyed rare goodwill of a national consensus that followed the anger of General Babaginda’s questionable and endless transition to civil rule. Basking in the rare national unanimity of an elected civil administration, former President Obasanjo has the unique privilege to turn such goodwill into credible institutional process of state building. He bucked the party that brought him into office, grossly undermined state institutions and fostered surrogacy through planting minions accountable only to him and to not formal institutions of state. He oversaw the largest turnover of the leadership of National Assembly, as he cherry picked the most malleable and pliable. President Buhari even against the prodding of his party and associates rejected meddling in the leadership of National Assembly, allowing the institution to sort out its leadership question. Ganging up against the current administration with open incitement to rebellion against it, the Generals are on a dangerous adventure. General Danjuma’s charge of a security breakdown which he alleged that the military colludes with criminal marauders to perpetuate murder and pillage against Nigerians is hot air and a mere smokescreen to hide deeper antipathy. For President Obasanjo, the latest outburst of an incompetence and even Babangida feeble attempt to put the Buhari regime to a corner are willful orchestrated outrage designed to bring the regime to an informal negotiating table of keeping alive the informal back channel through which Nigeria has been run aground that paved the way for its numerous crises. President Buhari must refuse to oblige them.
The Buhari administrations have undoubtedly numerous self-inflicted problems, but the wolf-cry of Obasanjo, Danjuma and Babangida are national distractions, that the country cannot afford. But President Buhari must be alive to his responsibility especially in drawing the line where free speech begins and outright incitement to anarchy begins and not mistake one for another, before it is too late.
Former French President Nicholas Sarkozy has just answered questions about his possible infractions of the law, while in office, and his Nigerian counterparts should not be held no less accountable.
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