20180701

Obasanjo, Other Ex-Generals Begin Moves To Sack Buhari In 2019

Some retired generals may have formed a strong coalition to defeat President Muhammadu Buhari in the highly anticipated 2019 Presidential election. 

Why are those who helped Buhari become president, after he tried on his own three times and failed, now turning against him?

The Nation's Sunday Oguntola reports on the inside details of the plot.

Investination has shown that some ex-generals, led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, are perfecting plans to stop the reelection bid of President Buhari.

It was learnt that because of their disagreements with some key policies (and obvious failures) of Buhari administration, the ex-generals have formed what a source called “a strong coalition against Buhari’s second term ambition in 2019.”

The army of opposition 
Some of the prominent ex-generals presently associated to the coalition, according to our findings, include Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma, former Military President Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State Abdulsalam Abubakar, General Zamani Lekwot and General Joshua Dongoyaro, among others.

It was learnt that though the ex-generals also have personal issues among themselves leading to mutual suspicion, they may have decided to jettison them for the purpose of fighting a cause they consider fundamental to the survival of Nigeria and Nigerians.

All the prominent ex-generals so far linked to the coalition reportedly have personal axes to grind with the current administration over several issues; it was learnt, leaving them no option than to unite against Buhari, who they see as (incompetent).

The plot, according to sources, is spearheaded by Obasanjo, who on January 23 wrote Buhari to put his reelection bid on hold, accusing him of non-performance.

The letter, sources confided, was carefully scripted and timed to rally other ex-generals who were skeptical over the workability of the plans.

Once the letter became public knowledge, many of them reportedly became more relaxed and comfortable with the group, pledging to work with other good Nigerians to ensure the defeat of Buhari at the 2019 poll.

It was gathered that the ex-generals, some of whom served under Obasanjo in the military, have been holding meetings for over a year on how to stop Buhari.

Investigations revealed several of the meetings held in Abuja while a few elements in the coalition have also met overseas to perfect strategies.

Aiming for the spine 
Obasanjo, who has accepted the daunting task of being the brain-box and face of the coalition, has been harping on the economic performances of the current administration, declaring them as appalling.

In his January 23 letter, the former President had stated: “I knew President Buhari before he became President and said that he is weak in the knowledge and understanding of the economy but I thought that he could make use of good Nigerians in that area that could help.

“Although, I know that you cannot give what you don’t have and that economy does not obey military order. You have to give it what it takes in the short-, medium- and long-term. Then, it would move.

“I know his weakness in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector and again, there are many Nigerians that could be used in that area as well. They have knowledge and experience that could be deployed for the good of Nigeria.”

The insecurity challenge, especially the herdsmen attacks, also offers the coalition a massive outlet to bark at the administration. Again, Obasanjo touched on this in his letter.

He had stated: “The herdsmen/crop farmers issue is being wittingly or unwittingly allowed to turn sour and messy. It is no credit to the Federal Government that the herdsmen rampage continues with careless abandon and without finding an effective solution to it.

“And it is a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness that some governors, a day after 73 victims were being buried in a mass grave in Benue State without condolence, were jubilantly endorsing President Buhari for a second term! The timing was most unfortunate.

“The issue of herdsmen/crop farmers’ dichotomy should not be left on the political platform of blame game; the Federal Government must take the lead in bringing about solution that protects life and properties of herdsmen and crop farmers alike and for them to live amicably in the same community.”

The allegation of collusion by the military in the recent killings across the nation by Danjuma last March also exposed the current administration to public outcry.

Danjuma’s outburst on alleged ethnic cleansing sat well with many in the northcentral who respects his position on political and security affairs.

It was gathered that the coalition has compiled a list of weaknesses or drawbacks of the current administration, which would be highlighted at different fora from time to time.

A source said they will also work with pressure groups, civil society organisations and human rights bodies, whose primary role would be to organise protests and demonstrations across the nation.

Battle for global acceptance 
There are indications that the civil society organisations are currently being mobilised by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) with a history of good working relationship and vast networks with the bodies.

It was gathered during the week that very soon, the civil society groups will start unleashing statements and position papers, which would be followed up with peaceful protests across the nation to expose the needs for Nigerians to reject Buhari at the poll.

Another plank of the well-articulated ploy is to mount a campaign against the administration at the international scene to sell to world powers the idea of defeating Buhari.

This strategy is allegedly directly coordinated by Obasanjo using his vast network and connections in the international scene.

Politics of ex-generals 
Also coordinated directly by Obasanjo, the political strategy has taken off with the adoption of African Democratic Congress (ADC) as the platform for the former President’s Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM).

ADC, which is working towards the fusion of other parties like the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Peoples Democratic Movement, as well as 23 smaller ones, has reportedly started building consensus on a northern presidential candidate to stop Buhari.

The ex-generals are reportedly working on the theory that a strong northern candidate will share votes from the region with Buhari while getting support from the northcentral, south-south and southeast. This permutation, it was learnt, is why they are considering a vice presidential candidate from the southeast or southwest.

Some of the ex-generals are said to be toying with the idea of backing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should it present an “acceptable” presidential candidate they could work with in 2019.

But it was learnt many have serious misgivings about supporting PDP because of its perception challenges, making the ADC option a more reasonable path for the ex-generals.

The Nation gathered last week that Buhari is however not unawares of the plot against him by some members of his former constituency.

A presidential aide, who spoke under strict conditions of anonymity, told our correspondent: “These things are there to see. We know what they are up to..."