President Muhammadu Buhari Heads The First Masses Government In Nigeria – By Nurudeen Dauda


buhari in london

I stand to be corrected, but if the truth be told, President Muhammadu Buhari, is the first popular politician to assume power. The poor masses have installed their “first government” ever. The history of leadership in this country is that, the “Ruling Elite” always install leaders for the “Masses”. Nigeria had never had a genuinely elected leader who was duly elected by the “Masses” of this country before the General Election of March 28, 2015. Before the election of President Muhammadu Buhari the June 12, 1993 General Election was adjudged to be the freest as well as the fairest election ever conducted in the country. The “presumed winner” of that election the late Chief M.K.O Abiola was voted massively by the Nigerian “Masses” cross board. However, what makes the March 28, 2015 General election “Dwarfed” the June 12, 1993 election as being the freest as well as the fairest election ever conducted in the country, is the fact that, Abiola’s Victory was never officially announced talk less of being sworn in as the President of the country.

For the first time, our votes count and were equally counted and announced against all odds. For the first time, we have a leader who was voted by the “Masses” . For the first time, we have a leader who is “prepared” to lead the country. Of all our successive leaders in this country, all of them came to “Power” either un-prepared or by “Accident” or by being “Drafted” to or by circumstances of “Death” or by Military coups which they were never part of or by ambition not vision.

The consequences of having “unprepared Leaders” is that they come to Power without Blue-Print or Road-map or mission or vision or set target.

Many people before now argued that: Muhammadu Buhari will never become the leader of this country again there reasons being that President Muhammadu Buhari is only loved by the “Masses”. They further argued that, Muhammadu Buhari lacks the support of “Ruling Elite”, Military Elite, Traditional Rulers, and “Business Moguls”. These people including religious clerics have forgotten that power belongs the Almighty.

Those people probable based their argument on the fact that, all the successive leaders of this country were “Accidental Leaders” or what one may describe as “Un-prepared Leaders”. The Elite of this country from the Balewa’s Government to date were decided by the “Ruling Elite”.

If one travels through the historical antecedents of the ascension to power of our leaders past one will, but acknowledge the fact that, all our leaders past are products of “elites fronting” or manipulation or anointment whether Military or Civilians.

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa- Prime Minister from 1960-1966:

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa the fist and the only Prime Minister that our country ever had, was never prepared to be the Prime Minister (or to be polite was not supposed to be the Prime Minister ) This does not suggest that the man was not competent, not at all. But going by the doctrine of parliamentary system of government, the leader of the party with “majority seats” in the parliament after elections automatically becomes the Prime Minister. The late Sir, Ahmadu Bello was the leader (or president) of the then Northern People’s Congress, NPC not Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. The late Sir Ahmadu Bello preferred to remain as the Premier of Northern Region when his counterparts; namely, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe left his position of Premier of Eastern Region to become the Ceremonial President while Chief Obafemi Awolawo also left his position as the Premier of Western Region and became the national leader of the opposition party as was the requirement under the parliamentary system of government.

General Thomas Aguyi Ironsi Head of state- from 16th January, 1966-29th July, 1966:

The General was never prepared to become the Head of state, more so, he knew nothing about the Coup that brought him to power, in fact, he was among the officers to be arrested in that “Black Night” only for him to be away for a “Night party” as destiny would have it; although some people argued that he was missed deliberately due to nepotism by the coup plotter who were his Kinsmen. However, what is relevant here was the fact that, the “Coup” that brought him to power was planned and executed by the “Five Majors” Major Patrick Chukwuma Nzeowu, Kaduna; Major Emmanuel Ifejuna; Major Donatus Okafor, Major Emmanuel Anuforo; Major Adewale Ademuyiga and their co-travelers on the 15th day of January,1966.

General Yakubu Gowon Head of state- from 2nd August,1966-29th July,1975:

General Gowon was never prepared to become the Head of state, in addition, he knew nothing about the coup that brought him to power; upon receiving information about the coup through in subordinate he even tried to avert the coup by trying to reach General Ironsi, but as destiny would have it he could not reach him. The Coup was masterminded by Lt. Col. (Later General) Murtala Ramat Mohammed, Major (Later General) TY Danjuma and Capt. (Later General) Martins Adamu though the coup was unanimously planned and executed by Northern Soldiers as a counter coup to the January 15, 1966.


General Murtala Ramat Mohammed- Head of state from 29th July, 1975-13th February, 1976:

General Murtala was not directly involved in the coup that brought him to power; although, he was contacted by Col. Joseph Nanven Garba, Col. Abdullah Mohammed, and Lt. Col. Shehu Musa yar’adua  who were the major planners and executors of the coup. General Murtala thought was contacted did not partake in the coup that brought him to power.

General Olusengun Obasanjo-Head of state from 14th February, 1976-1st October, 1979:

General Olusengun Obasanjo was never prepared to become the Head of state; in similarly, he knew nothing about the coup that brought him to power, in fact, he was part of the major targets of the coup plotters, but as destiny would have it the coup plotters missed him and General TY Danjuma who was the then Chief of Army Staff. Nevertheless, General Obasanjo was adamant to assume the leadership of the country not until when he was said to have been threatened by some soldiers that, if he refused to assume the leadership of the country they would call on Lt. Col Buka Suka Dimka one of the leading coup plotters to take over. General Illiya Bisallah was the highest ranking Military officer in the coup.

Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari- President- from 1st October, 1979-31st December,1983:

President Shehu Shagari never canvassed to become the president of Nigeria in the Second Republic. Shagari wanted to go to the Senate. The candidates that canvassed to be president then under NPN top among them were Dr Yusuf Maitama Sule, Danmasanin Kano, and Malam Adamu Ciroma, Former Minister of Finance among others. President Shehu Shagari then was drafted by the elite to be the NPN presidential flag bearer and later become the president.

General Mohammadu Buhari-Head of state from 31st December, 1983-27th August, 1985:

General Buhari never knew anything about the coup that brought him to power; in fact, he was in far away Jos as GOC 3rd Division while the coup took place in Lagos then seat of government.The major actors of that coup were Brigadier (later general) Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Brigadier Ibrahim Bako who died in cross fire while the coup was ongoing and Col. Aliyu Mohammed Gusau who was said to have financed the coup. General Gusau was said to have made so much money from his import license and other Businesses which he used in financing the coup.

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida the first Military president-from 27th August, 1985-26th August, 1993:

General IBB was the only leader among the successive heads of states that was prepared or driven by his ambition and who later became the president; although, with the death of Brigadier Ibrahim Bako his co-sponsor of the Shagari’s coup had he prepared (or wanted it then) he would have become the head of state then not General Buhari. On the other hand, it was said that, what actually happened was not that General Babangida did not want it, but General Buhari was selected so as to appease to (or to gain general acceptance from members of the public) giving his clean records then in the Army and in view of the fact that, he was from his fresh battle victories along lake Chad border following the Chadian attack against our soldiers.

It was argued that, the retirement of his Siamese twins (or conjoined twins) Col. (general) Aliyu Mohammed Gusau from the Nigerian Army by Buhari government over the issue of “contracts passing” was the major trigger of the Babangia’s coup against Buhari; general IBB became very jittery and suspicious with the Buhari’s government, not knowing whether he would be the next victim or not. Col. (later General) Aliyu Mohammed Gusau retiment was immediately reversed after IBB’s coup because it was not gazette.

Chief Ernest Shonekan- Head of Interim National Government from 27th August, 1993-17th November, 1993:

Chief Ernest Shonekan was brought in by General IBB’s government having annulled the June 12, election of 1993, which was described as the freest and fairest in the history of Nigeria. Shonekan was brought in to assuage or pacify the “Yoruba ethnic group” feelings. The Yorubas felt shortchanged by the annulment of June 12 election, even thought Chief MKO Abiola was voted by all Nigerians, in fact, he won in Kano state where Alhaji Basher Tofa comes from.  Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to be made the Head of interim National Government but was not made by IBB’s government instead; Chief Ernest Shonekan who did not canvass for it was made the Head.

General Sani Abacha- president from 17th November, 1993-8th June,1998:

General Sani   Abacha May have been planted by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida’s Government, this is in view of the fact that, General IBB was supposed to have retired (or stepped aside) with General   Sani Abacha, but he left General Sani Abacha behind. General Sani Abacha who participated actively in the coups against president Shagari and General Buhari,in fact, he was the one that made the two broadcasts for the appointments of Generals Buhari and IBB as heads of states. General Sani Abacha couple with his civil war experience and being parts of the successive Military regimes, it was only natural that he would later take over.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar president-8th June,1998-29th May,1999:

It was widely reported that, General Abubakar Abdulsalami was penciled down for retirement by 1st October, 1998 by General Abacha’s governmrnt. But soon after the death of Abacha there were so many intrigues that took place. By virtue of Rank Lt. General J. Husseini and Lt. General Ishaya Bamaiyi were ahead of Major General ( later General) Abubakar Abdulsami but because General Husseini was the last person that interacted with his lifelong friend. General Husseni became a suspect according to Major Hamza Al- Mustapha’s account in his prisons note after Abacha’s death. As Major Hamza Al- Mustapha said in the said prisons note there was high level of intrigues before the emergence of General Abdulsami Abubakar as president.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-president from 29th May, 1999- 29th May, 2007:

The second coming of President Olusegun Obasanjo was singlehandedly masterminded by General IBB and supported to some extent by General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau and General TY Danjuma. The Government of General Abdulsalami was seen as the “Surrogate government” of General IBB. General Abdulsalami and General IBB entered primary school same day and same class, they are also from same state. Also, General IBB played a major role in the emergence of General Abdulsalam as president.

General IBB was up to clear his name from the annulment of June 12, election. Following the June 12 saga there was the emergence of National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, and Odua Peoples’ Congress, OPC, whose activities gave the late General Abacha’s Government top times. To appease the “Yoruba ethnic group” whose son, the late MKO Abiola was widely believed to have won the June 12, 1993 election which was annulled by IBB’s Government they selected General Obasanjo in relation to his role in Shagari’s presidency in 1979; by the virtue of our 1979 constitution the election was supposed to go for “Run off” Election between the candidate with the highest vote (then President Shehu Shagari) and the “Runner up”( then Chief Obafemi Awolawo). The 1979 constitution said for a candidate to be declared as winner, he was supposed to score two-third majority votes of the 19 states of the federation then. President Shagari of National Party of Nigeria, NPC, won seven (7) states; late Chief Obafemi Awolawo of Unity Party of Nigeria, UPN, won five(5) states; late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigerian People’s Party, NPP, won three (3) states; late Malam Aminu Kano of People’s Redemptions Party, PRP, won two(2) states and late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim of the Great Nigerians People’s Party, GNPP, won two(2) states in the 1979 General Election which was conducted under General Olusegun Obasanjo Military Government.

General Obasanjo became a “Hero” to the Northern elite for not hesitating to swear in President Shehu Shagari. President Obasanjo, on the other hand, became an outcast among his “Yoruba Kinsmen” by that singular act. In view of said role played by Obasanjo in 1979 he was brought out by the afore-mentioned elite from “Yola prisons” to contest the election of 1999 the rest is history as say.

President Umar Musa Yar’adua-from 29th May, 2007-5th May, 2010:

Late President Umar Musa yar’adua did not aspire to become the president of Nigeria in 2007. Those who aspire to the presidency among others were former president Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, General Buba Marwa, Dr Peter Odilli, Alh. Ahmed Adamu Ma’azu, and Senator Ahmed Makarfi among others.

President Obasanjo having served two terms in office, he wanted “third term” although he has repeatedly denied plotting the agenda. Malam Nasir El-Rufa’I who was a member of Obasanjo’s Kitchen cabinet as FCT Minister in his Book  “Accidental Public Servant” confirmed the “third term agenda” he, further, said that, president Obasanjo once told them that, “No term third, No Nigeria.” President Obasanjo having lost the “third term bid” he decided to offend all. Everyone including his “benefactors” who showed keen interest to succeed him in office.The late President Umar Musa Yar’adua a brother to President Obasanjo’s second in command between 1976-1979 became president Obasanjo’s anointed candidate singlehandedly.

President Good luck Ebele Jonathan-from 6th May, 2010-29th May, 2015.

President Good Luck Jonathan just as late President Yar’adua was anointed singlehandedly by president Obasanjo. President Umar Musa Yar’adua died on the 5th of May, 2010 and he was sworn in as the substantive president on the 6th day of May, 2010. In 2011 there was heated debate over the PDP’s zoning formula which had it been it was upheld it would have zoned him out. President Obasanjo played a major role in the emergence of president Good Luck Jonathan.  President Obasanjo used his network and convinced the Northern Governors of which most of them were brought to power by him; the understanding then was that he would do only “one term “ and support one of them to be the next president come 2015 though President Good Luck Jonathan denied that, but his “benefactor” President Obasanjo confirmed that in his  open letter to president Jonathan.

The truth is that, even during the “First Republic”, 1960-1966, where things were relatively fair there were pockets of “Elections Rigging”. For instance, in Northern Region the “Masses” adored the late Malam Aminu Kano of Northern Element Progressive Union (NEPU) while the Traditional Institution and the Business class adored the late revered Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna of Sokoto. The late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was very popular among the “Masses” of the then Western Region. He tried to strike a deal with the Minority ethnic groups from the North but he couldn’t make it. Also, the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe was very popular among his “Kinsmen”. No popular politician had ever won election in Nigeria before the March 28, 2015 election.

Conclusively, the question that comes to mind is that with the high level expectation towards the in-coming administration be made? With the first masses government serve them? Only time will tell. I wish Baba the Best of Luck certainly not Good-luck. Sai Baba!

Nurudeen Dauda a Political commentator wrote this piece

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