The Oasis Reporters
April 29, 2018
In a nation, despite acrimony, there must be time to show broad mindedness to forgive others and to heal hurts.
The former National Security Adviser to the government of former president Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki has been in detention in much of the administration of current president Muhammadu Buhari, accused of illegally spending money meant to buy arms with. Legal hurdles here and there has not enabled Dasuki to appear in open court for the Nigerian people and the outside world to hear directly from him.
President Buhari and Col. Sambo Dasuki are said to have come a long way. Both of them are former officers of the Nigerian Army. Sambo Dasuki was junior to Buhari. Both of them are fellow tribesmen (from the Fulani ethnic group). Many rumours have flown around that Dasuki played a leading role in the overthrow of his kinsman Buhari as head of state in 1985, which installed General Babangida, an hausa man by tribe, as head of state. And that it was Sambo Dasuki who had the task of leading the arrest of General Buhari and detaining him for much of the period Babangida was in power.
No one can really say if the story is true or not, as both of them seem not fond of reliving that moment before the larger public.
Because of this, analysts have had a field day describing the Fulani as unforgiving who will avenge a hurt even if it took 33 years to accomplish, no matter how. This may not be largely true, as there’s more of individual disposition, rather than group branding.
As ugly as this narrative on character predisposition may be, it is our position that a unique opportunity has presented itself for His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to lay this probable character analysis to rest, as proof that the assertion may well not be true.
The second aspect is that for whatever it is worth, this current administration has about thirteen months to wind down and winning the 2019 election is in nobody’s hands and dynamics can change overnight.
President Nelson Mandela did it when he came out of prison after 27 years. White South Africans had brainwashed their people into believing that the ANC was a terrorist organisation and that they may face vengeance in the hands of black South Africans. Nelson Mandela proved them wrong by becoming a unifying figure, a man without bitterness whatsoever who went on to build a rainbow nation, making South Africans one people with a strong economy.
Such a moment presents itself now, for President Buhari.
What was really the allegation against Col. Sambo Dasuki?
He is accused of using money labelled separately for the purchase of arms for other political purposes. It may well have been his demon that he is facing currently.
Ironically, President Buhari is said to be facing a backlash over the disbursement of funds from the Excess Crude Account without legislative approval to spend on security. A newspaper report says that
“in reaction to the alleged violation of Section 80 of the same 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended by Buhari, wherein he withdrew $496 million from the Excess Crude Account to purchase military helicopters without any approval by the National Assembly”, a motion has been moved by Senator Matthew Urhoghide and seconded by Senator Chukwuka Utazi calling for the impeachment of the president over the $496m Tucano aircraft purchase . The Senate Committee on Judiciary has taken over the investigation.
In another development, Femi Fani-Kayode has written thus :
“Worst of all he did not have the National Assembly’s approval to withdraw $496 million from the Federal Government’s Excess Crude Account which he used to pay for the 12 Super Tucano jets that he purchased from the United States and that are to be supplied to the Nigerian Airforce by 2020.
This makes it an illegal expense which, under our laws, is an impeachable offence. It also makes the whole transaction unlawful”.
This goes to prove that one’s best intentions can easily be viewed very differently by other authorities. Good enough time for His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to show compassion on Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and work out his release to his family, for transient power cannot be relied upon on many issues. Things can change tomorrow, and the prisoner can so easily become the president. Broad mindedness, forgiveness and compassion should be integrated into the national fibre. Nobody knows tomorrow.