Buhari’s appointments, Seiyefa and DSS
When posterity reflects on this dark political epoch whose principal actor is President Muhammadu Buhari, it would be racked by the disappointment that some people were so swayed by self-interest or naivety that they made him their number one citizen.
Perhaps, it would be dissuaded from unleashing a harsh judgement on its forbears after the realisation that the emergence of Buhari as the president has eternally served to demystify him. Stripped bare of his much-trumpeted integrity as cases of official sleaze cascade around him, he has irrevocably rendered himself unfit for the pantheon of statesmen.
The searing verdict is reserved for Buhari who even after three years since he became president, unflaggingly whines about how unconscionable pillage by his predecessor has hobbled his translation of his noble intentions into reality. But we must appreciate the fact that Buhari has ceaselessly been provided with opportunities to reinvent himself and prove that he has the capacity to meet the demands of good governance. The tragedy is that at every potentially redemptive moment for demonstrating that he has come to power on the back of altruism that has previously eluded past governments, Buhari has invariably failed.
The recent developments at the Department of State Services (DSS) have reinforced this. In a bout of lunacy that the DSS under Buhari is no stranger to, having held the mortifying record of nocturnally raiding judges’ homes, it overreached itself by invading the National Assembly. Outraged at this brazen threat to democracy, the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo sacked Mamman Daura, the Director General of the DSS.
The exemplary decisiveness of Osinbajo should have redounded to the credibility of the administration of Buhari that is known for dithering. But no time was allowed the citizens to contemplate this salutary interlude before the government shifted their attention to the tardiness with which Buhari would have reacted to this travesty of executive power by the DSS. There was the suspicion that the DSS might have sought the approval of the president before the attack and that if Buhari were at Aso Rock and not in London receiving medical attention, Daura’s violation of the necessity for the separation of powers for the stability of democracy would not have rightfully provoked baleful consequences.
There were speculations that Daura would soon be given back his job and that the reorganisation and redeployment that the new DSS Director General Matthew Seiyefa had done would soon be repudiated. There was also the speculation that he would soon be sacked and replaced with a northerner. Seiyefa tried to douse tension by declaring through his office that there was no acrimony between the presidency and the DSS. But the cynics were soon to be proved right. Seiyefa was forced by the presidency to recall DSS operatives from wherever he had redeployed them. Worse still, he was sacked last week and replaced by a northern Muslim from Kano, Yusuf Magaji Bichi.
To be sure, with the appointment of Bichi, Buhari has done nothing out of character. He has only once again demonstrated that he cannot be cured of his pandering to his ethno-religious fixations. If a defence of Buhari’s lopsided security appointments had been that the security chiefs who are all northerners but one were the next in line for promotion, it is now far from tenable. Seiyefa was the most senior person at the time that Daura was sacked. Naturally, he should be the one to succeed Daura. And if Buhari did not want Seiyefa, he had to choose from another person in the top hierarchy. But Buhari did not only sack Seiyefa, he also sacked the next six senior persons who are from the southern part of the country in order to pave the way for Bichi who is a northerner.
If Seiyefa had known what would befall him, he probably would not have spent his time and other resources trying to appease Aso Rock hegemons by saying that the DSS enjoyed the support of Buhari and that it was just the enemies of the country who were trying to make it seem to be on the warpath with the presidency. Rather, he would have immediately disavowed his name. Buhari cannot endure a head of a national security agency who bears Matthew. If he had adopted an Islamic name, Buhari would probably have tolerated his not being from the north and allowed him to finish his career before retiring to the Niger Delta.
Maybe, Seiyefa now rues his not praying against the prolongation of Buhari’s stay in London. After all, the same fate that would have earlier befallen Walter Onnoghen was averted due to Buhari’s continued stay in London for medical treatment. Buhari refused to confirm him as the chief justice of Nigeria simply because he is from the south-south. He was only confirmed by Osinbajo while Buhari was away in London. Indeed, Buhari’s divisiveness and incompetence are often thrown into sharp relief when he is away in London for his medical treatment. His absence from Aso Rock often conduces to a sense of national cohesiveness.
To ensure that Buhari gives expression to his nepotistic tendencies, he does not mind pulling down state institutions. Or why would he bring an outsider who has retired from the DSS to head it? How would there be fidelity to the demands of national service and patriotism when the operatives of the DSS and other federal agencies who are not from the northern part of the country work with the consciousness that their performance, no matter how good it is, would not be appreciated?
Buhari has shown that as long as he remains in office, he is a veritable threat to national unity. He has again widened national fissures. He did not care that the citizens have been clamouring for the security apparatus to reflect a national character. If Buhari had a pan-Nigerian vision as he often espouses, this would have been an opportunity for him to show critics that he did not mind working with a southerner, especially one from Bayelsa where his predecessor comes from.
But while Buhari could not endure the thought of a southerner from Bayelsa being the head of the DSS, he finds it comfortable using the oil resources of Seiyefa’s part of the country to sustain his government and rebuild the north-east devastated by his type of ethno-religious bigotry. If Buhari thinks that Nigerians who are not from his northern part of the country cannot hold federal positions, what idea of oneness can Buhari truly espouse?
Buhari is blithely blind to the overarching need for national unity because he feels that the citizens, especially those who are not from his northern part of the country are helpless. He thinks that the rest of the country can do nothing even if he fills every vacant federal office with a northern Muslim. It is the same attitude he has demonstrated by his handling of the herdsmen’s crisis. The herdsmen can keep on killing, destroying farms and other property. As long as the casualties are not northerners, they can continue their rampage and terrorism forever. It can no longer be doubted that Buhari deliberately created a security apparatus that is a redoubt for prosecuting a macabre northern agenda.
Thus, the Theophilus Danjumas of the country can complain about the complicity of the military with the killer-herdsmen, the Buhari government would always exonerate the military from culpability.
If the nation remains one entity after the expiration of Buhari’s divisive government on May 29, 2019, it is in spite of his ruinous, provincial and ethno-religious tyranny. It is definitely not because he has demonstrated any stellar acumen in cobbling together a much-stressed nation under him but simply because the people have decided to forge ahead despite his nepotism, tribalism and religious bigotry.
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