Electing Muhammadu Buhari as President in 2015, was supposed to bring about a turn in fortune for a country believed to have been ruined by the administration of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan.
Nigerians were promised change, with audacious promises like putting corruption to the sword once and for all, and ending insecurity within six months of coming into power. But first, a cautious population needed to be convinced that this one in four years opportunity of electing a new government, won’t end up becoming a huge mistake.
For this, Nigerians were sold a repentant Buhari dressed up in a black suit with a red bow tie, as a symbol of change. Buhari was so hyped up that Nigerians believed giving him a chance surely won’t be worse than another four years of a Jonathan administration.
However, it didn’t take too long after Buhari’s election, that Nigerians began to bite their fingers. The first six months we had hoped would be enough to end insecurity as promised, were exhausted with the president yet to set up his cabinet.
From there, Nigerians had to endure one excuses after another. By the time the Buhari government would celebrate its second year in power, Nigerians have had enough and began mobilizing to get rid of APC in 2019.
It was more of regression than the progression Nigerians had hoped when they risked their lives to vote in the messiah from Daura. It eventually dawn on them that what they had feared, was what they brought upon themselves as things go from bad to worse.
The insecurity that was supposed to be summounted within six months, soon spiraled out of control so much that even those in power fear for their lives.
Under the Jonathan administration, it was mostly about Boko Haram, but since the advent of APC, ISWAP, bandits, kidnapping, killer herdsmen, unknown gunmen, etc, ensured that Nigerians experience hell on earth.
Lives were lost, communities destroyed, and even the nation’s courageous troops had to flee. It was a sorry situation for a people who had endured so much, but would have to put up with another, not only for four years, but for another four years, albeit against their wish.
However, amidst the gory situation in the country, it appears all of a sudden, that Nigerians have somehow come to unite against a man the Buhari government labeled as a ‘bandit-lover’, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi.
Gumi alongside his team, have tried to play what he described as a ‘mediation’ role in hope to help the Nigerian government overcome the monster it created.
The problem however, is that the majority of the public see Gumi’s intervention as strange, and his pursuit for amnesty for bandits whilst ignoring their crimes, as plain evil and unacceptable.
Here comes the confusion however; Gumi has been a vocal critic of the Buhari government way before he had to play a mediation role between bandits and the Nigerian government.
In his assessment of the Buhari government back in 2017, Gumi said, “Every failure has reasons. When a patient dies in the hospital, there is usually a post mortem examination to determine the direct cause of death. We have symptoms but they may not be the cause of death.
“The widespread suffering in the country is a symptom of an underlying disease afflicting the nation that needs to be tackled. But if the government has been listening all along, it could have alleviated the problem or it could have done more than it is doing.
“I can imagine somebody who has nothing. How is he surviving? How is he paying his children’s school fees? How can he treat his children when they are sick? How can he feed? So, when you look at all these indices, you will know that it is a miracle that we are still existing.”
In another criticism of the Buhari government, Gumi drew contrast between Buhari and Jonathan, whilst accusing Buhari of bloodshed in the country, even as he wondered why the Buhari administration continues to free so called repentant terrorists captured by soldiers who have for years, been putting their lives on the line to fight.
He said, “I blamed Jonathan with bIood in his hand because Boko Haram were putting bombs everywhere and government was not doing enough.”
“Anybody kiIIed under your regime, you are responsible for that bIood. If you have done your best, I can say yes, Allah can forgive you. But if you are relaxed, no; Allah will not forgive you. So it is the same thing now.
“The bIoodshed now is more than, combined together, the bIoodshed during Jonathan’s regime. So now you judge yourselves to be fair. Our religion is a religion of fairness.
“If I am true to myself, as I called for the resignation of Jonathan, I should call for the resignation of President Buhari, and with immediate effect! And government paper should carried it also, if there is truth.
“As bad as Jonathan was, he was more democratic and had given people freedom to speak — even against him. You could see when he saw there was problem, he relinquished power, saying ‘I don’t want bIood to be shed.
“There was nothing I have not said (against Jonathan). He should be impeached, he should resign, he was divisive.
“So now I have one of two options. If I can not tell my own brother what I have told this man, then I should take an aeroplane from Abuja to Jonathan and say please forgive me for castigating you in public.
“I rather seek his apology or castigate the president too. One of the two, there is no three. We have been patient with this government. If it is another, wallahi it would have been more than this.”
From Gumi’s past criticism of the Buhari government, it is clear and in the open, that Gumi is simply using Buhari’s actions to perhaps, expose his hypocrisy.
Back in 2013, Buhari berated the then President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration for attacking Boko Haram instead of treating them the same way his predecessor, late Umaru Yar’adua, treated Niger Delta militants, a situation he described as an act of injustice against the North.
Buhari who at the time spoke on a Liberty Radio programme, Guest of the Week monitored in Kaduna, said, “How did Boko Haram start? We know that their leader, Mohammed Yusuf started his militant and the police couldn’t control them and the army was invited. He was arrested by soldiers and handed over to the police.
“The appropriate thing to do, according to the law, was for the police to carry out investigations and charge him to court for prosecution, but they killed him, his in-law was killed, they went and demolished their houses.
“Because of that, his supporters resorted to what they are doing today. You see in the case of the Niger Delta militants, the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua sent an aeroplane to bring them, he sat down with them and discussed with them, they were cajoled, and they were given money and granted amnesty.
“They were trained in some skills and were given employment, but the ones in the north were being killed and their houses were being demolished. They are different issues, what brought this? It is injustice”.
Buhari at the time was labeled as a ‘terrorist sympathizer’ over his description of attack on Boko Haram as an act of injustice against the North. The same Buhari government years down the line, now label Gumi a ‘bandit lover’ for doing the same thing Buhari did?
After winning election in 2015, Buhari then made it a priority to rehabilitate ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members where they are “trained in some skills” and then reintegrated back to the society or even employed into the military. This was exactly what he accused the Jonathan government of not doing, and described it as an act of ‘injustice against the North.’
In view of this, wouldn’t the current treatment of bandits by the Buhari government, similarly amount to an act of injustice against bandits? Could this be Gumi’s line of thought?
Nigeria is a very fragile country that is currently at a tipping point. If we have the Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC), thanks to the militants, and now the North East Development Commission (NEDC), thanks to Boko Haram, isn’t Gumi right to question why a special commission can’t be created for bandits as well?
At this point, it is irrelevant whether or not Gumi is a ‘bandit lover’. Precedents have already been set, and the possibilities of groups rising to demand for things or bust, are now endless.
It is a bad situation we’re in as a country and who knows, Gumi’s style of intervention could end up becoming a future talking point which if considered, would have addressed a problem with the potential to degenerate into another monster for future governments to use for political gains.
Credit to National Pivot