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Searching for answers in Nigeria Presidential Election – By Collins Nweke

By Collins Nweke | Belgium | Feb. 2, 2015 – It is well-known secret that I have maintained neutrality in matters regarding support for any particular political party in Nigeria till date. And I intend to keep it that way for some time. Those who doubt my neutrality will always point to the close association that I have had with the Government of President Obasanjo and his successors. They also mention the fact that in the capacity of Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Europe from November 2011 to November 2013, I have had to coordinate the input of the Nigerian Diaspora in Europe to national development and leading the global Nigerian Diaspora to the annual Diaspora Day / Science & Technology Conference in July 2013.

 

The fact that the presidents in power during my 10 year engagement with Nigerian Government mainly through Diaspora politics were incidentally from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is readily cited as a sign of my affiliation to PDP. On my part I would also always readily and proudly remind those ready to listen that while all those are true, one of my best moments in service to Nigeria so far was the trade and investment mission that I led to the State of Osun under Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the APC. Essentially, people believe what they want to believe. Does it really matter? No, I don’t think so. Meanwhile from the comfortable sideline, I have been watching and enjoying the political intrigues as they unfold. Some of the politicking are funny; they really make me laugh heartily. For example, the cartoons are fun to read, the discussions around whether Buhari, a former Military president is academically qualified to stand as President in the 2015 election, the woeful failure of Jonathan as President, et cetera.

 

Some of the politicking are sad, very depressing, for example the senseless violence and bloodshed. Yet for some other politicking, you just don’t know what to think. One of such is contained in a passage out of Max Siollun’s book “Soldiers of Fortune: Nigerian Politics from Buhari to Bababgida 1983 – 1993”. I came across the work of Siollun as I deepen my inquiry into this fascinating country called Nigeria, trying to understand it more and better, trying to equip myself to answer the many uncomfortable, sometimes paradoxical questions from my two sons, whose hearts are obviously in that country but nurse deep wounds and disappointments about its many contradictions and missed opportunities. There are more;  as I do random research on two opinion pieces that I have been commissioned to write for a major Nigerian and an international news media on:

  1. The impact of the Greece radical left victory on trade relations with Nigeria; and
  2. The State of the Nigerian Diaspora post 2015 presidential election

It emerged from the random reading that General Muhammadu Buhari has consistently denied his role in the December 1983 coup. But then I got confused when I read the accounts of the late Major Bamidele, which flatly betrays Buhari’s complicity in the said 1983 coup. I gathered that when Bamidele got wind of the coup to oust Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he reported same up the chain of command to his GOC 3rd Armored Division (Major General Buhari) who was allegedly in on the plot. To prevent Bamidele from leaking the plot, Buhari ordered the arrest and detention of Bamidele for 2 weeks. Bamidele wasn’t released until the successful execution of the coup. Learning from this unfortunate experience, Bamidele didn’t report any rumors of the so-called Vatsa coup (between 1985 and 1986) and was executed for it. Bamidele’s words to the Special Military Tribunal that tried and convicted him to death are:

 

“I heard of the 1983 coup planning, told my GOC General Buhari who detained me for two weeks in Lagos. Instead of a pat on the back, I received a stab. How then do you expect me to report this one? This trial marks the eclipse of my brilliant and unblemished career of 19 years. I fought in the civil war with the ability it pleased God to give me. It is unfortunate that I’m being convicted for something which I have had to stop on two occasions. This is not self-adulation but a sincere summary of the qualities inherent in me. It is an irony of fate that the president of the tribunal who in 1964 felt that I was good enough to take training in the UK is now saddled with the duty of showing me the exit from the force and the world”

 

I am seriously hungry for coherent explanation from Buhari on the above incident. But beyond that I am curious to know from my friends and associates, all of whom I hold high, who support the election of Buhari come 14 February 2015 as President of Nigeria, whether they are aware of this incident. I will also be very grateful if they, my friends and associates in support of Buhari, could explain why it does not matter that, if true, a man with such lapsed sense of judgment and inhuman tendencies will make a better alternative to the failed presidency of the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan.

 

Is there anyone out there who’d be able to help me, to provide conclusive answers to this and other hanging questions. I need answers now but also when Buhari makes it back as President or even when Goodluck Jonathan gets re-elected?

 

*Collins Nweke is a currently a two-term Municipal Legislator at Ostend City Council Belgium and former Chief Executive (2004 – 2006) & Chairman (2011 – 2013) of Nigerians in Diaspora Europe.  

by Collins Nweke*
 

It is well-known secret that I have maintained neutrality in matters regarding support for any particular political party in Nigeria till date. And I intend to keep it that way for some time. Those who doubt my neutrality will always point to the close association that I have had with the Government of President Obasanjo and his successors. They also mention the fact that in the capacity of Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Europe from November 2011 to November 2013, I have had to coordinate the input of the Nigerian Diaspora in Europe to national development and leading the global Nigerian Diaspora to the annual Diaspora Day / Science & Technology Conference in July 2013.

 

The fact that the presidents in power during my 10 year engagement with Nigerian Government mainly through Diaspora politics were incidentally from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is readily cited as a sign of my affiliation to PDP. On my part I would also always readily and proudly remind those ready to listen that while all those are true, one of my best moments in service to Nigeria so far was the trade and investment mission that I led to the State of Osun under Governor Rauf Aregbesola of the APC. Essentially, people believe what they want to believe. Does it really matter? No, I don’t think so. Meanwhile from the comfortable sideline, I have been watching and enjoying the political intrigues as they unfold. Some of the politicking are funny; they really make me laugh heartily. For example, the cartoons are fun to read, the discussions around whether Buhari, a former Military president is academically qualified to stand as President in the 2015 election, the woeful failure of Jonathan as President, et cetera.

 

Some of the politicking are sad, very depressing, for example the senseless violence and bloodshed. Yet for some other politicking, you just don’t know what to think. One of such is contained in a passage out of Max Siollun’s book “Soldiers of Fortune: Nigerian Politics from Buhari to Bababgida 1983 – 1993”. I came across the work of Siollun as I deepen my inquiry into this fascinating country called Nigeria, trying to understand it more and better, trying to equip myself to answer the many uncomfortable, sometimes paradoxical questions from my two sons, whose hearts are obviously in that country but nurse deep wounds and disappointments about its many contradictions and missed opportunities. There are more;  as I do random research on two opinion pieces that I have been commissioned to write for a major Nigerian and an international news media on:

  1. The impact of the Greece radical left victory on trade relations with Nigeria; and
  2. The State of the Nigerian Diaspora post 2015 presidential election

It emerged from the random reading that General Muhammadu Buhari has consistently denied his role in the December 1983 coup. But then I got confused when I read the accounts of the late Major Bamidele, which flatly betrays Buhari’s complicity in the said 1983 coup. I gathered that when Bamidele got wind of the coup to oust Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he reported same up the chain of command to his GOC 3rd Armored Division (Major General Buhari) who was allegedly in on the plot. To prevent Bamidele from leaking the plot, Buhari ordered the arrest and detention of Bamidele for 2 weeks. Bamidele wasn’t released until the successful execution of the coup. Learning from this unfortunate experience, Bamidele didn’t report any rumors of the so-called Vatsa coup (between 1985 and 1986) and was executed for it. Bamidele’s words to the Special Military Tribunal that tried and convicted him to death are:

 

“I heard of the 1983 coup planning, told my GOC General Buhari who detained me for two weeks in Lagos. Instead of a pat on the back, I received a stab. How then do you expect me to report this one? This trial marks the eclipse of my brilliant and unblemished career of 19 years. I fought in the civil war with the ability it pleased God to give me. It is unfortunate that I’m being convicted for something which I have had to stop on two occasions. This is not self-adulation but a sincere summary of the qualities inherent in me. It is an irony of fate that the president of the tribunal who in 1964 felt that I was good enough to take training in the UK is now saddled with the duty of showing me the exit from the force and the world”

 

I am seriously hungry for coherent explanation from Buhari on the above incident. But beyond that I am curious to know from my friends and associates, all of whom I hold high, who support the election of Buhari come 14 February 2015 as President of Nigeria, whether they are aware of this incident. I will also be very grateful if they, my friends and associates in support of Buhari, could explain why it does not matter that, if true, a man with such lapsed sense of judgment and inhuman tendencies will make a better alternative to the failed presidency of the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan.

 

Is there anyone out there who’d be able to help me, to provide conclusive answers to this and other hanging questions. I need answers now but also when Buhari makes it back as President or even when Goodluck Jonathan gets re-elected?

 

*Collins Nweke is a currently a two-term Municipal Legislator at Ostend City Council Belgium and former Chief Executive (2004 – 2006) & Chairman (2011 – 2013) of Nigerians in Diaspora Europe.  

 

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