Yet as hard as the Obama/Clinton/Kerry triumverate may try to cover it up, it appears that the message about the real situation in Buhari’s Nigeria is beginning to get across to the world. As a glaring example of this permit me to share the words of a strong Trump supporter, Republican Congressman Tom Marino, which were contained in a letter that he sent to Secretary of State John Kerry a few days ago.
Nigeria’s Thisday newspaper on 4th September 2016 captured the contents of that letter as follows:
“A member of the United States Congress, Tom Marino, has written a letter to Secretary of State, John Kerry, asking the US government to withhold security assistance to Nigeria until President Muhammadu Buhari demonstrates a “commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech”.
He also asked the State Department to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to Nigeria until President Buhari establishes a track record of working towards inclusion.
In a two-page letter dated September 1, 2016 and addressed to Kerry, a copy of which was exclusively obtained by THISDAY yesterday, Marino, a Republican from Pennsylvania who assumed office on January 3, 2011, said there were a number of warning signs emerging in the Buhari administration that signal “the man who once led Nigeria as a military dictator might be sliding towards former autocratic tendencies”.
The Congressman, who is a member of the Committees on the Judiciary, Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs, and the Chairman, Sub-committee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law, said Nigerian government must “hold accountable those members of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Military complicit in extra-judicial killings and war crimes”.
In the six-paragraph letter to Kerry, Marino also expressed concern over Nigeria’s anti-corruption war, saying “of additional concern is President Buhari’s selective anti-corruption drive, which has focused almost exclusively on members of the opposition party, over-looking corruption amongst some of Buhari’s closest advisors. Politicizing his anti-corruption efforts has only reinforced hostility among southerners”.
His letter to Kerry reads: “Dear Secretary Kerry, I am encouraged by the personal interest you have taken in aiding Nigeria and its administration as it takes on endemic corruption, multiple insurgent movements, and a faltering economy.
However, I believe there are a number of warning signs emerging in the Buhari administration that signal “the man who once led Nigeria as a military dictator might be sliding towards former autocratic tendencies.”
“I would urge the U.S. to withhold its security assistance to the nation until President Buhari demonstrates a commitment to inclusive government and the most basic tenets of democracy: freedom to assemble and freedom of speech.
A logical start towards this commitment is for the Nigerian government to hold accountable those members of the Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Military complicit in extra-judicial killings and war crimes”.
“Human rights groups like Amnesty International have widely documented torture, inhumane treatment, and extra-judicial killings of defenseless Nigerians since President Buhari took office.”
Quoting Amnesty International Report, he wrote, “in the last six months, Nigeria’s military has unlawfully killed at least 350 people and allowed more than 168 people, including babies and children, to die in military detention.”
He further wrote: “The Secretary to the Government of Kaduna State even admitted to burying 347 of those killed in a mass grave. And while President Buhari promised swift condemnation, his words rang empty.
Instead of swift reforms, Buhari chose to reinstate Major General Ahmadu Mohammed, who Amnesty International revealed was in charge of the Nigerian military unit that executed more than 640 unarmed, former detainees.
“Also, in separate incidents concerning the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Nigerian Army has killed at least 36 – the real number is likely higher – people since December 2015 in an attempt to silence opposition and quell attempts by the group to gather publicly.”
Describing President Buhari as a former military dictator whose reign (as military head of state) was cut short by a coup, he stated that the President has continually shunned inclusivity in favour of surrounding himself with advisors and ministers from the north of the country and the region he considers home.
“Of President Buhari’s 122 appointees, 77 are from the north and control many of the key ministries and positions of power. Distrust is already high in Nigeria and favouring Northerners for key appointments has only antagonized the issue.
These appointments are also primarily Muslim in the north and Christian in the south, adding a religious aspect to long-held regional biases.
“Of additional concern is President Buhari’s selective anti-corruption drive, which has focused almost exclusively on members of the opposition party, over-looking corruption amongst some of Buhari’s closest advisors. Politicizing his anti-corruption efforts has only reinforced hostility among southerners,” he claimed in the letter.
He said the Obama Administration would advance justice by urging the Buhari Administration to act decisively to hold accountable members of the police and military.
The congressman said, “This is a logical first step in making a demonstrable, sustained commitment to inclusive democracy, with distributed power in Nigeria. Until President Buhari establishes a track record of working towards inclusion, we ask the State Department to refrain from selling warplanes and other military equipment to the country.
“The State Department should urge President Buhari to form a government that represents the diversity of its citizens and allows dissenting voices to be heard. Democracy can thrive only if people are free to assemble, to express their beliefs, and voice their concerns.”
Congressman Marino ought to be commended. He has spoken the minds of millions of those who really care about what is going on in Nigeria from all over the world.
He has written what the overwhelming majority of Nigeria’s ruling and political elite believe but dare not say publicly out of fear of persecution and reprisals from their own government.
Most importantly Congressman Marino reflects the mind of Mr. Donald Trump, his party’s presidential candidate, on this matter and indeed the views of the majority of deeply concerned American Christians.
This is welcome support for those of us that are fed up with Buhari’s pro-north, pro-Hausa Fulani and pro-Muslim agenda.
Congressman Marino has rightly observed the sad and shameful events that are unfolding in our country.
These are events that many of us warned the Nigerian people would end up happening if they made the mistake of voting Buhari into power during last years presidential election campaign.
Though we were ignored, insulted, humiliated, persecuted, falsely accused and treated with contempt and disdain for speaking the truth, our words have proved to be prophetic. Today we are witnessing those ugly events that we warned about unfolding before our very eyes.
The bottom line is as follows: if we want Nigeria to stop charting this shameless and utterly dangerous course and if we wish to get off the “road to Kigali” we must pray alongside our American friends for Donald Trump to win the presidential election in November.
Permit me to enrich this intervention with an interesting contribution from Mr. Richard Akinwande Olorunbi. After reading Congressmam Morino’s letter he wrote the following on Facebook:
“A foreigner is now speaking for southerners who are under oppression by Islamist Buhari and his terrorist Fulani group. This reminds of a popular quote : ”I freed thousands of slaves, I could have freed thousands more if only they knew they were slaves”. This is sad because a large number of the oppressed are so dumb that they still believe their oppressors and shout “sai Buhari”. One thing is certain though, as the political situation in Nigeria deteriorates day by day, Buhari and his Fulani terrorist murderers are now more likely to end up international criminal court in the Hague”.
How appropiate Mr. Olorunbi’s words are and I say a big “amen” to his prayer.
In conclusion let us consider the words of Mr. Stephen Asake, an excellent writer, a devout Christian and a man who has earned the respect and affection of many over the years.
Mr. Asake is the convenor and administrator of the Christian Information Network (a WhatsApp chat room) and in his latest essay titled “Like Cyrus In The Bible, Like Donald Trump” he wrote, inter alia, the following:
“The debate between the ‘Trumpers’ and ‘Clintoners’ is getting charged up by the day in Nigeria, rivalling the tempo in America.
As a matter of fact, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all other chat platforms and social media discussion groups, are saturated with TRUMP vs CLINTON debates.
I know of not less tha four different Trump vs Clinton WhatsApp chat groups where supporters of both candidates slug it out.
Many talented writers and public affairs commentators have also written articles and public commentaries to make their preferences between the two candidates known.
One of such is no other person than the Cicero of our time, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, the former minister of Aviation and presidential spokeman during the Olusegun Obasanjo presidency.
In one of his articles he revealed his preference for Trump when he quoted the following words by the Republican candidate thus:
“The rise of ISIS is the direct result of policy decisions made by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. We cannot let this evil continue. We will defeat Islamic terrorism just like we’ve defeated every threat before”.
He ended his article by saying that ”How right he is. Let us hope that he wins because if he does the world will be a far safer and better place for believers”.
This thinking is very popular among Nigerian Christians. Though most commentators are of the view that both Trump and Hilary are not known to be committed Christians and so the preference of Trump by Evangelical Christians is misplaced.
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has raised a very crucial issue: the issue of the Christian faith of both candidates. I am a ‘Trumper’ (Trump supporter) too!
Not because I think he is a Christian or not, but because I find in him a man of courage who, in a politically correct world where nobody wants to speak against establishment, Trump will dare to speak it out.
In a world where the persecution, dehumanisation and biased treatment against Christians is most rampant, Trump will dare to call a spade by its stark name.
At a time when in most countries of the world with a muslim majority they continue to commit genocide against Christians and other minorities, Trump dares to cry out for justice.
In an America that was founded on acknowledgement of God and principles of Christianity and where morally bankrupt President Obama is subtly implementing policies that seek to uproot Christianity and America’s cherished Christian heritage, it is only Donald J. Trump that dares to hit the nail, not only on the head but with his head by shouting foul!.
I can go on and on but let me turn to some of Trump’s critics. Many of them have continued to doubt his Christianity, haba! Whom among those is a better Christian? Who among those avowed critics and holier than thou incurables can ”cast the first stone’? Only God knows who his true followers are. Those criticising Trump’s.
To my mind even if Trump is not a church going christian, but openly talks about Christians and christianity in a world where many are either ashamed or afraid to do so, he deserves our prayers and support.
After all, God can use anybody, Christian or not, born again or not to bring deliverance to His people. In fact there are Biblical passages replete with such stories of how God used pagan rulers to save His people from destruction.
In the book of Isa’iah, God used a Persian King by the name of Cyrus for the good of the Jewish people, even though Cyrus was a “pagan” king. Just as Trump is being regarded as non-Christian by his detractors. How in the world could this possibly have happened?”
Mr. Asake has served us a cerebal contribution which can hardly be faulted. Kudos to him.
Permit me to end this contribution by answering the question that he posed in his last sentence. In reference to the rise of Cyrus, the pagan king who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, he asked “how could this possibly havework happened?”
The answer is as follows: it happened because the Holy Spirit is at work and because the Holy Bible tells us that “God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform”. It also says “He uses the foolish things of this world to confirm the wisdom of the wise”.
It follows that the Lord can use anything or anyone, including a loud, rumbustious, colourful and passionate pagan King, to effect His purpose and restore the fortunes of His people.
He did it with the Persian King Cyrus and, by His grace and power, He will also do it with Donald J. Trump.