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The alternative Buhari “Democracy Day” speech

29 May is “Democracy Day” in Nigeria.  It marks the day civilian rule returned to the country in 1999 after being interrupted by 16 years of military rule.  It also marks the second anniversary of the swearing-in of President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which ended 16 years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rule.

Buhari who should have been in Nigeria addressing his fellow citizens on a day like this, is otherwise engaged in the UK battling with a mystery illness that he continues to fail to disclose its nature to the people who are footing the bill for his treatment.  Vice President Yemi Osinbajo read a “Democracy Day” speech to Nigerians this morning with the usual platitudes and hollow claims about achievements.  But if Nigeria was truly a democracy in the right sense of the term, this is the message Buhari should have sent from his sick bed in London.

Dear Nigerians, I greet you from the new Nigerian capital of London.  

I spent 49 days here from January to March, when my officials kept lying that I was “hale and hearty” and on “medical vacation”.  But as you can see, I am back in London again needing further treatment that has kept me here for over three weeks.

My officials have argued that my health is a private matter and I am the only one with the right to disclose what is wrong with me.  As I want my health to remain a private matter, I have handed in my resignation as president so that I can continue as a private citizen to face my health issues.

My resignation is my gift to Nigerian democracy.  It should strengthen our journey in constitutional rule by showing that the country does not belong to me to do as I please.  Nigeria belongs to all of us. No one person or group of persons is more important or more entitled than the other in this space that we all call home. It is abundantly clear from the amount of time I have spent abroad on treatment and “working from home” that I am incapable of continuing with the strenuous task of leading Nigeria.

As I leave office, I also want to take this opportunity to come clean with Nigerians.  We campaigned on a platform of “change” and anti-corruption, and Nigerians invested their trust in us because of this.  A founding member of the APC, Prince Tony Momoh said then that Nigerians should stone us if we fail after two years.  I have decided to step down before anyone casts the first stone.  The only Nigerians that can argue that they are better off today than two years ago are me, my ministers, politicians, and people in our circle.  The only “change” we delivered was to make a bad situation worse.

Nigerians also trusted me to fight corruption.  But they can now see that some of the most corrupt Nigerians are my allies and are in my cabinet, and there is nothing I am willing to do about it.  Some of these people funded my campaign with stolen funds.  Let me go now than rely on them again to fund my reelection.

Incidentally, one of those very corrupt Nigerians and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, warned people about me in 2003, as was revealed by Wikileaks.  He was quoted as saying then: “Moreover, Obasanjo is the only
candidate who stands a chance of blocking his rival, General Muhammadu Buhari, whose ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria”s national unity. Buhari and his ilk are agents of destabilization who would be far worse than Obasanjo”.

We can all see very clearly that Tinubu’s words have proven to be prophetic.  I have turned out far worse than Obasanjo.  My clear bias in favour of Fulani herdsmen has destabilised the country as they have killed many Nigerians.  My comments and hostility towards the people I termed 5% have fuelled separatist movements in southeast Nigeria.  My callous disregard for non-Fulani life has been seen in the crimes against humanity committed by the army against Shia Muslims in Zaria and the killing of pro-Biafra protesters.  Many Nigerians have also complained about how my appointees usually come from my side of the fence.  I have indeed proved to be a very destabilising influence, with threats to Nigeria’s existence coming from many fronts since I took over.  

In March last year, Professor Ben Nwabueze said that I lacked the intellectual capacity to govern Nigeria.  I think only my most deluded supporters would disagree with this assessment.  Even my ally and former president Olusegun Obasanjo said I was not sound on the economy and foreign affairs.  We have witnessed our first recession in over 20 years under my watch with acute poverty on the rise, as starvation has become a permanent fixture in IDP camps.  I also became an international embarrassment when I said in Germany, in the presence of Chancellor Angela Merkel (whom I had earlier called “President Michelle of West Germany), that my wife belonged in the kitchen.

Even my wife, Aisha, threatened to not back me for reelection if I continued along the same path of handing over the governing of the country to my nephew Mamman Daura.  But what can I do?  I am clearly out of my depth and it is a lot easier to ask Mamman to deal with the issues, while I relax and drink fura da nono.

So fellow Nigerians, I have decided to be honest.  The job was too much for me even if I was 100% fit.  My health issues made it worse.  The reality is that I just wanted to be president but I never knew what I would do with the position.  I have achieved that ambition and it is time for me to go and spend more time with my cows, health willing.  

I congratulate all of you on today’s commemoration of this important day in the democratic calendar of our country and my resignation is my gift to mark this day.  I am sure the majority of you would be glad to see the back of me.  I am also as pleased to relieve myself of Nigeria’s problems that I had no idea how to address.  

I thank you all for the trust you placed in me and I apologise for not living up to your thoughtless expectations.  You really should have known better.

May Allah bless you all, and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.




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