By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo
President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria just wrote an article for Newsweek magazine. I didn’t know they still publish… anyway, you need to rush and read it before it is taken down. I’m telling you, it is so explosive that enemies of Africa will take it down before you say, “Give me a break.”
I know what you are thinking now. That Buhari did not write an article for Newsweek. And that probably he did not even read it before it was published. My friend, I beg you, go and read the article for yourself. You will be surprised.
In the article Buhari talked about the future of Nigeria, and indeed, Africa, in a post coronavirus world.
It is a fascinating look into Buhari’s brain — No. I’m not talking about the brain inside Buhari’s head, I mean the brain behind Buhari.
First of all, Buhari told the world(you know when he chose to write for Newsweek in the US and not the Newswatch magazine of Lagos, he was only interested in addressing the world not us, poor Africans) that Nigeria is ready to do manufacturing for the world.
He said that Nigeria has put in place “the energy, infrastructure and key natural resources needed to power and supply large-scale manufacturing facilities…”
I bet you can smell the lies from 100 miles. You cannot power large-scale manufacturing with I-better-pass-my-neighbour generators or move the products along that horrible Oshodi –Apapa road to the seaport.
Secondly, he said something else that made me feel you must be alerted.
After boasting about our first private oil refinery and upcoming power plant, he said, “And we can now move forward with road, rail and power station construction — in part, under own resources — thanks to close to a billion dollars of funds stolen from the people of Nigeria under a previous, undemocratic junta in the 1990s that have now been returned to our country from the U.S., U.K. and Switzerland.”
Let us unpack that paragraph full of lies.
Buhari said that in part, we are moving on to building roads and rails and power stations with our own money.
Where did this our money come from? Was he talking about the $3 that we make from selling a barrel of crude oil? Or was it the money that his Attorney General, Mr. Abubakar Malami, called Abacha’s Assets?
Buhari said it was close to a billion dollars stolen from the Nigerian people by a previous undemocratic junta in the 1990s.
For some reason, Buhari did not want to mention Gen. Sani Abacha’s name. Do you know why? Because he was involved in Abacha and with Abacha.
Do you know the second reason why he didn’t mention Abacha? Because Buhari once said that Abacha did not steal.
We haven’t forgotten.
And he hasn’t changed that position.
So think about it.
Before Buhari came into office, Nigeria has recovered over $3.0 billion of Abacha’s loot. Where is the money? Nobody can tell us. Not Gen. Abulsalami, not Gen. Obasanjo, not Pres. Yar’Adua and not Pres. Jonathan. At least, Yar’Adua has an excuse. He is not here anymore.
Since Buhari came into office, we have received over $633 million of Abacha’s loot. The first $322 million that came, Buhari said he used it to feed selected school children and to give N10, 000 to selected traders in tradermoni scheme and to give N5000 to selected poorest of poor Nigerians.
I hope the school, the market and the poor people near you were selected.
Is it the recent $311 million that we just received that he is referring to as the part of our money to be used in building roads and rails and power plants? Is it?
What is $311 million to tens of billions that Buhari has been borrowing up and down?
Today it is the IMF, tomorrow it is the World Bank, and next tomorrow it is the Chinese Bank of Modern Day Slavery (CBMDS). Wonderful bank, by the way.
Anyway, a part of the essay slapped me back and fort.
It is where he wrote: “We hold shared values in democracy, freedoms of speech and religion with the Western world…”
Go tell that to the people in Southern Kaduna massacred on a weekly basis. Go tell that to the journalist, Rotimi Jolayemi, arrested by your minister of information, Lai Mohammed, for reading a love poem he wrote for Lai on the radio.
If you are not a Nigerian, if you are an African, Buhari completely insulted you in the essay.
He wrote: “… Africa is an opportunity for all and a threat to no one. There will be no African armies or aircraft carriers in the future, roaming the sands of faraway lands or the straits of foreign seas. We do not seek to grow our manufacturing capabilities in order to grant ourselves a seat at the table of some new great geopolitical game — but merely to play our part as partners in development.”
What a shame!
No interest in getting a seat at the table? I thought we wanted a veto-wielding permanent seat at the UN General Assembly?
“Africa is an opportunity for all and a threat to no one.” Is that not the classic definition of a prostitute?
Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, if your dream for Africa did not extend to that point when Africa would be a world power with aircraft carriers, just keep it to yourself. Please! African children are building drones, building aircraft, and building power plants. They are not just playing. They do not just want a place at the table. They want to shake the table. They want to build tomorrow’s new great table and invite others to join.
Just so you know, the West will not love you because you told them you are not ambitious. You can swear all you want that you don’t have an interest in taking other people’s land or sea but the world can see how your Fulani herdsmen are daily taking over other people’s lands, killing them, and destroying their crops across West Africa. Or is it your Boko Haram in West Africa, Al Shabab in East Africa, Al Qaeda in North Africa or Al Shabab in Mozambique & South Africa all trying to circle Africa, your Africa, to build a Caliphate? Oh, yeah. They see all that. Yeah. They know where it would end.
More importantly, the West will not respect you, until you are powerful enough to earn their respect.
Buhari, if you have no vision, please don’t define the future of Africa, for our children and our children yet unborn. African children want to see the flag of African countries on the moon and on Mars and on planets yet unknown.
In case you don’t know it, those who went to the moon were not timid men and women. They first dreamt of it, pronounced it, and worked towards it.
Africa, who did this to us?
*Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo is the author of “This American Life Sef.”
*This article was first published by Medium on 5 June