Obama finally won one.
In an election that the Washington Post heralded as “historic,” former dictator Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) defeated incumbent Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the presidency in Nigeria.
This election represents the first time since 1999, when Nigeria returned to civilian democracy, that an opposition party has defeated a sitting government party. Jonathan, whose party had never lost an election under civilian democracy, has seen his national popularity and international image plummet over his administration’s struggles to contain Boko Haram as well as his failures on tackling corruption and the economy. There were expectations that Jonathan and his party would not give up power so easily, especially considering that it spent staggering amounts of money for this election, touted as the most expensive in African history.
Wow – so Jonathan lost because of his poor response to Boko Haram – which is partly due to his inability to procure arms and military assistance from the United States.
Help may finally be on the way for Nigerian Christians. Secretary of State John Kerry did hint in January meetings with both Jonathan and Buhari that the Obama administration might allow weapon sales after the election.
Obama’s guy – the former dictator, Muhammadu Buhari – seized power in a December 1983 military coup, before being overthrown 19 months later. This time, with the help of a political consulting group founded by Obama strategist David Axelrod, he won a legitimate election with 54% of the vote.
Nigerians must have short memories:
According to Decree Number 2 of 1984, the state security and the chief of staff were given the power to detain, without charges, individuals deemed to be a security risk to the state for up to three months. Strikes and popular demonstrations were banned and Nigeria’s secret police service, the National Security Organization (NSO) was entrusted with unprecedented powers. The NSO played a wide role in the cracking down of public dissent by intimidating, harassing and jailing individuals who broke the interdiction on strikes. By October 1984, about 200,000 civil servants were retrenched.
Critics of the regime were also thrown in jail, as was the case of Nigeria’s most popular artist and one time presidential contender, afro-beat singer Fela Kuti. He was arrested on September 4, 1984 at the airport as he was about to embark on an American tour.Amnesty International described the charges brought against him for illegally exporting foreign currency as “spurious.” Using the wide powers bestowed upon it by Decree Number 2, the government sentenced Fela to 10 years in prison. He was released after 18 months, when the Buhari government was toppled in a coup d’etat.
In 1984, Buhari passed Decree Number 4, the Protection Against False Accusations Decree, considered by scholars as the most repressive press law ever enacted in Nigeria. Section 1 of the law provided that “Any person who publishes in any form, whether written or otherwise, any message, rumour, report or statement […] which is false in any material particular or which brings or is calculated to bring the Federal Military Government or the Government of a state or public officer to ridicule or disrepute, shall be guilty of an offense under this Decree”. The law further stated that offending journalists and publishers will be tried by an open military tribunal, whose ruling would be final and unappealable in any court and those found guilty would be eligible for a fine not less than 10,000 naira and a jail sentence of up to two years. Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor of The Guardian were among the journalists who were tried under the decree.
Decree 20 on illegal ship bunkering and drug trafficking was another example of Buhari’s tough approach to crime. Section 3 (2) (K) provided that “any person who, without lawful authority deals in, sells, smokes or inhales the drug known as cocaine or other similar drugs, shall be guilty under section 6 (3) (K) of an offence and liable on conviction to suffer death sentence by firing squad.” In the case of Bernard Ogedengebe, the Decree was applied retroactively. He was executed even if at the time of his arrest the crime did not mandate the capital punishment, but had carried a sentence of six months imprisonment.
In another prominent case of April 1985, six Nigerians were condemned to death under the same decree: Sidikatu Tairi, Sola Oguntayo, Oladele Omosebi, Lasunkanmi Awolola, Jimi Adebayo and Gladys Iyamah.
In 1985, prompted by economic uncertainties and a rising crime rate, the government of Buhari opened the borders (closed since April 1984) with Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroon to speed up the expulsion of 700,000 illegal foreigners and illegal migrant workers. Buhari is today known for this crises; there even is a famine in the east of Niger that have been named “El Buhari”.
One of the most enduring legacies of the Buhari government has been the War Against Indiscipline (WAI). Launched on March 20, 1984, the policy tried to address the perceived lack of public morality and civic responsibility of Nigerian society. Unruly Nigerians were ordered to form neat queues at bus stops, under the eyes of whip-wielding soldiers. Civil servants who failed to show up on time at work were humiliated and forced to do “frog jumps”. Minor offences carried long sentences. Any student over the age of 17 caught cheating on an exam would get 21 years in prison. Counterfeiting and arson could lead to the death penalty.
His regime drew the critics of many, including Nigeria’s first Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka, who, in 2007, wrote a piece called “The Crimes of Buhari” which outlined many of the abuses conducted under his military rule.
Two years ago, Buhari asked the Jonathan Government to “stop the clampdown of Boko Haram insurgents.” Because it’s not their fault they’re slaughtering Christians, burning down churches and kidnapping schoolgirls. Or something.
Nigeria’s new president is a also big fan of Sharia Law.
IN 2001 at an Islamic seminar in Kaduna, Buhari was given an opportunity to choose between Nigeria’s secularism and fundamentalist Islam, this is what he said; “I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria”, he then added that; “Allah willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country”.
It’s hard to imagine what Nigerian Christians see in the guy, but since Boko Haram started their murderous rampage, there are fewer Christians around to vote in Nigeria.