For a couple of years before now, there have been speculations trailing the personality of Muhammadu Buhari. Those who had reached the age of cognition at the time and could give account of his dictatorship between the 31st of December 1983 and the 27th of August 1985 at a point were left wondering whether the man presently occupying our seat of power, is still the maximum ruler they saw 30 years earlier. Things started going so wrong, so early and so fast, that an appreciable percentage of Nigerians began entertaining the feeling and the doubt that our hitherto iron-fisted general has lost grip of the country. This feeling was, once upon a time, corroborated by no less a person than Aisha, the wife of the president, who lamented that some political hawks, who played no significant roles in the emergence of her husband and his subsequent ascendancy to power, had suddenly emerged from the blues to hijack the administration.
The speculations further received such an incredible boost, when the leader of the Indeginous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, added a twist to the narrative, when he came up with the claim, that the Katsina-born general and Nigeria’s dictator of the early eighties, had died in a London hospital during one of his numerous medical safari to that city of Nigeria’s former colonial masters and that the country is presently being ruled by an impostor, imported from some East African country.
Since Mr Kanu came up with that claim, a lot has gone south in the country overtime that seemed to lay credence to that allegation. While some Nigerians took Kanu’s words for it, many however dismissed the claim as spurious and were of the position that we only have a case of a rather senile henchman who has lost grip of his government and has ended up as a dejure commander-in-chief; a mere ceremonial head.
With two recent events in the country, Muhammadu Buhari seems to have tried his level best, albeit inadvertently, to put paid to that debate:
Threat to Agitators
President Buhari’s strong words and clear threats, to hand a particular section of the country, another dose of the bitter pill they swallowed for 30 months, some 53 years ago, came fully in the character of the stone- hearted and mindless dictator who bestrode the country’s political space like a colossus for 20 gruelling months, wearing military gears. “We would speak to them in the language they understand…” Those were the words of a man who “was in the field” and who apparently had seen enough blood spillage that it now amounts to nothing in his eyes. That’s a typical Muhammadu Buhari.
Ban on Twitter operations in Nigeria
As if those threats he voiced during that meeting with the INEC national chairman was not enough, he went ahead to drop similar words too on his Twitter handle, perhaps to drive the message further home, for the interest of those who may either have missed his first threats, or may have thought he was speaking tongue-in-cheek. Now, the managers of that microblogging platform couldn’t contain such invectives from a president of a very diverse country who should be voicing more of unifying messages than exclusionary ones. They had that unfortunate tweet deleted almost immediately.
Now, quite characteristic of the Buhari we have known, the strong man would have none of it. His reaction? To ban the operations of Twitter in the country, an action quite reminiscent of his issuance of Decree 4 in 1984, with which such journalists like Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor were either killed or imprisoned, for no crime except for being journalists.
So, for the interest of some of us who all along had thought that the man occupying our seat of power presently is totally disconnected from all the shenanigans of the present administration, President Buhari has offered us some help in these two recent actions of his. And those words and actions don’t also look or sound like that of an impostor.