Why Mohammadu Buhari CAN NEVER BE President of The Federal Republic Of Nigeria – By Femi Aribisala

On Friday, 23rd August, 1985, the military government of Major-General Mohammadu Buhari decided to place me under arrest. My crime was that I wrote, among others, an article entitled “Counter-trading Nigeria’s Future” in the National Concord, exposing the government’s scam of diverting public funds into private coffers through barter-trade with Brazil.


A man by the name of Benson Norman was sent from the State Security Services (SSS) to my office to get me. Not finding me, he left a note that I must present myself unfailingly at the SSS office at 15 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi Lagos the next Monday morning.

However, on Sunday, 25th August, 1985, Lateef Aminu came first thing in the morning to my house to inform me that the government of Buhari/Idiagbon had been overthrown. For this reason, I am fond of telling people that God brought about a change of government in Nigeria just because of me.


Under the Buhari/Idiagbon regime, once you ended up at 15 Awolowo Road, you may never be heard of again. Decree Number 2 of 1984 empowered Tunde Idiagbon to arrest and detain anybody indefinitely without trial and without legal reprieve. After Buhari was overthrown, Mohammadu Gambo opened the prison doors of 15 Awolowo Road on public television, revealing people in various stages of undress and malnutrition that had been kept in the dungeons without trial by Buhari’s hound-dogs.

As self-imposed Head of State, Buhari had no regard for human rights. Immediately he seized power, he announced that he would “tamper with” the press. Soon, the infamous Decree Number 4 was promulgated which made even the publication of the truth a punishable offence. Under this cover, Buhari jailed innocent journalists, including Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabo. He abolished civil liberties, promulgated retroactive decrees enabling him to kill Nigerians through jungle justice, proscribed civil society organizations and professional groups and exercised “absolute” power.

This same Buhari would now have us believe that he has gone through some metamorphosis and has become a democrat. I am sure you will forgive me if people like me don’t believe him. Buhari is not, has never been, and will never be, a democrat. Only in Nigeria would a man with his track record, who came to power through a military coup that illegally overthrew a democratic government, now be acclaimed as a democrat. It is on record that Buhari’s military regime is the only one in Nigeria’s history that failed to promulgate a programme for return to civilian rule.

Facts and fiction

So what exactly qualifies Buhari as a democrat today? Precious little! There is nothing democratic about forming and joining political parties just in order to be the presidential candidate. Little wonder then that Buhari’s parties have a short shelf-life. Buhari would like to be Nigeria’s head of state once again. He can no longer achieve this through the barrel of a gun. The only route now open to him is through the democratic process. That is the reason he now conveniently fashions himself as a democrat. It is merely a means to an end; no more, no less.

Buhari’s reputation as an anti-corruption crusader is also a myth. As head of state, he did not make any dent in Nigerian corruption. All we got was a cosmetic “war against indiscipline.” The counter-trade scam happened under his watch. Rather than deal with it, he sent his hound-dogs after nonentities like me who dared to expose it. That scam was no different, in scope and scale, from the petroleum subsidy and other corruption scandals that have since plagued Nigeria. The Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) that Buhari headed under Abacha was also a citadel of corruption. While Buhari himself might not have enriched himself, his cronies and those who worked under him did so handsomely.

On three different occasions, Buhari has run for the presidency. On three different occasions he has failed. That should really be enough. If, as seems likely, he were to run for the presidency a fourth time in 2015, there is no question that he would fail yet again. Try as he might again and again, Mohammadu Buhari can never be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Buhari’s sectarianism

There is a fundamental reason behind this. Buhari is a bad politician. He is an unbending former military dictator and not a democratic consensus-builder. Like his new ally, Bola Tinubu, Buhari is a regional, sectional politician. Such politicians are practically impossible to package and market nationally in the ethnically-delicate Nigeria of today.

Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Malam Nasir El’Rufai, one of those Northerners who deserve to be serious contenders for the presidency of Nigeria, observed that Buhari remains “perpetually unelectable” as a result of his “insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus.” This is an elegant way of saying that politically, Buhari has an uncanny tendency to put his foot in his mouth. He talks before thinking of the political implications of his words. He shoots from the hip.

The strength of Obasanjo, which enabled him to capture the presidency on two different occasions, was that he was perceived as a broadminded politician, not overly partial to his people in the South-West. As a matter of fact, in his first election, his people did not want him. The strength of Goodluck Jonathan, which propelled him to win the presidency, was that he was able to string together a coalition that stretched both north and south of the Niger. The weakness of Buhari is that he is totally unacceptable to people outside his region.

Buhari is a Northern regional champion. As head of state in the 1980s, his government was unapologetically Northern. No attempt was made to balance the ticket at the top. It was the only regime in Nigeria’s history headed by two Northerners. When he seized power, Buhari put Shagari, the Northern head of state he overthrew, under house arrest. But then he jailed Alex Ekwueme, the Southern vice-president. You may well ask what makes Shagari less culpable for the misdeeds of the Second Republic than his number-two man. The simple fact was that Buhari was Fulani as was Shagari; but Ekwueme was Igbo.

Impolitic words

At the height of the Sharia debate during the Obasanjo administration, Buhari declared that Muslims should vote only for fellow Muslims. This was politically suicidal for a man seeking national office. He became an advocate for implementation of Sharia all over Nigeria. He protested to the Oyo State governor, in the context of a dispute between Fulani herdsmen and indigenous farmers in the state, that “your people are killing my people.” This turned out to be unfounded and perhaps the reverse.

His threats during the campaign for the 2011 elections incited widespread violence in the North after he lost. His supporters went on a rampage; looting and killing; in spite of the fact that, by all accounts, the elections were adjudged the most free and fair in the history of Nigeria’s current democratic experiment. By the time the mayhem had subsided, over 1000 people had been slaughtered in cold blood and some 65,000 displaced.

Forgetting that a statement made in Hausa would readily be translated into English, Buhari later declared unapologetically in a BBC interview: “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.” These are the tokens of an irresponsible politician, whose ambitions for power supersede the national interest. Who then are the dogs and baboons that Buhari has in mind to soak in blood if and when he loses yet again come 2015? Are they his children or are they those of others?

With the Boko Haram insurgency in the north, Buhari played to the Northern gallery yet again, calling the Jonathan government “the biggest Boko Haram.” Wole Olaniyi was a fly in the wall at a meeting in Kano Government House designed to persuade PDP rebel governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso, to decamp to the APC. Assuming that only Northerners were present, Buhari declared the Boko Haram was a “strategic plan” by the government of Goodluck Jonathan to “destroy the North.” When Jonathan declared a state of emergency in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, Buhari still saw this with Northern goggles, insinuating that the President is waging war on the North.

President of the North

Without a doubt, Buhari has massive support in the North. Indeed, he is the most popular Northern politician in the North today. But that precisely remains his undoing at the centre. The more he has been identified as a Northern champion, the less attractive he has become as a national choice. Even in the North, his support base is limited to the Muslim population. He does not appeal to Northern Christians. Then there is the added factor of the opposition of his implacable opponents among the Northern elite. Men like Babangida and Atiku would rather die than allow Buhari get to Aso Rock.

One thing is certain, the South-South and the South-East will not vote for Buhari in 2015. Not only that; there are no buyers for Buhari’s sectarian politics in the South-West. No matter what Tinubu might be telling him, the people of the South-West will not vote for Buhari in 2015. We already had the template in 2011, when Buhari tried to sell himself, first by balancing his ticket with a Yoruba man; and then by making sure the Yoruba man is a Christian; a pastor no less. But it just did not wash. It will not work in 2015.
The worst thing that can happen to Northern presidential aspirations in 2015 is for Buhari to be on the APC ballot. That is a sure guarantee that the North will not be providing the next president. Buhari would be a shoo-in in an election for president of Northern Nigeria. But in an election encompassing the entire country, the best he can envisage is to be a kingmaker. He cannot be king. The nearest Buhari will get to Aso Rock in 2015 is by attending the Council of State meetings.

Source: Vanguard


  1. Who make Femi Aribisala the voice of the South-West. We don’t know you and we can never know you. I told you the other time you wrote about FFK’s father that i will tell the next generation coming that you are a betrayal of Yoruba race, unforgiven idiot. Who cares what you know or where Buhari put you. Femi, Yoruba disown you. Odua disown you and your children will live to see how you have destroy your name and integrity because of your stupid madness.

  2. From all indication you are more of a criminal than a journalist,becouse every person arrested during Buhari was found to have committed one henious crime or the other,infact they were all bunch of criminals just like you.
    Buhari upto today is the only individual who has nigeria at heart,immediately nigeria is handed over to him you will be surprise how he will correct all this mess we found ourselve by that time we expect criminals like you will run away. We believe Allah gives power to whom he wills not your gaddam,unintelligent,unwisely done mouth smelling write up.

    pack your cloth before the time because 2015 is around the corner.

  3. hey c’mon pple listen 2 d chronicle writen, do nt say it is to rusbish buhari. all u shud ask ur sef is …are these fact true nd ril ?? he rili do not hv the interest of nigeria he is too sectarian.pls be reasonable in ur judgemnt . just bcos he wrote about him does nt min he hate him he is just saying why he cant be the president….so den what is ur opinion after reading this ?? is Buhari rili worth it or not ??

  4. Buhari is not a good leader, buhari has evil agenda against dis. Country. I was in the not
    during buhari last campaign in the the north. It was nothing but but bloodshadding. Dat man should neva be given the chance to rule

  5. Buhari is not a leader and can never be. i witnessed his campaign during the 2011 election. He will islamise Nigeria if given the opportunity. in short that is the reason he want come back to Aso rock. Let us resist him vehemently.

  6. infact dis man call femo is a disgrace to nigerian entirely……..and who so ever u are representing shall be put to shame coming election cause oir eyes don open wode and nigerians knw whom to vote for……not imbecile president but sharp one that will clear ppl like u and kip u to where u blong…..

  7. Allah!
    This Buhari is morethan a criminal, nomatter he’s my brother but many nothners will not vote for him because he’s deeply one of the sponsors of Boko-haram, he hv killed many of our brothers and families, so, hw can we vote for him after killing of his own people?
    I pray that Allah will judge him bcos of those innocet blood he shede.
    Stupid Brother!

  8. The writer i have hard you, you said Buhari is the Major sponsor of Boko Haram please can you establish a facts can you give us a concrete evidence that link Buhari with Boko haram? i want a physical evidence not a plane writing because accusation without confirmation is meaningless. remember my last comment i refer you to Allah but if you are not satisfy with that my statement then if up to you.

  9. Okey let me call you a donkey femi as how you look person like (GMB) you try to call him a bad leader so from all indication you want badluck again re-elect as a president impossible let me remind you something may be you don’t know if today God say Buhari he is person can rule this our fathers land no any arrogant or stupid can say we because we are in south or west we cant agree him so what i understand here this that your speaking totologie my advice to my follow please to avoid this stupid man.

  10. I agree with this writer. I am APC supporter but will never vote for Buhari. He is an Islamist fanatics,a hater of other religions. When he headed PTF, can anybody show us what and what he did for the easterners? While he was busy using our common wealth to build mosques and palaces for Emirs. He is not a good politician as said above. He only talks of violence and bloodshed. He has no room from different views from his. Most southerners will not vote for Buhari. Wait ooo, are you even saying its going to be Buhari/Tunubu ticket? So where are the Igbos? Well we de look ooo!

  11. indeed buhari is a religious fanatic.if not how can a presidential candidate say dat muslim shuld vote muslim and christain shuld vote christain. Remember thesame buhari say dat if he did win, there wil blood shared. Was there nt boko haram after he lost. This alone is a enough reason dat buhari wil never be nigeria president. Is nt about our religion or ethnic but nigeria. Be wise. A word is enough for the wise.

  12. As u all know that a bad man like femi can tell thier people true becouse he is a bad fruit in 9ja.with regard of boko haram isue that a line buhari with,did he have any evidance if he does not have so this quelifed him to be a mokey.AS ALL NIGERIAN KNOW ONLY GIVE A SOMETHING TO SOME KNOW WE PREY FOR ALLAH TO GIVE THIS MAN ASOCOROCK.buhari for ever.A NEXT NIGERIAN PREDOOR INSHA ALLAHU.

  13. I wonder when in this country Nigeria people will be in their senses and stop accessing people based on their religion or tribe. 54 years of independent yet busy abusing each other while some countries are busy innovating what will benefit the world.