Thursday 5 October 2023

Why GMB Had To Go, By Muhammadu Buhari


October 5, 2023

…Says he woul like to be remembered as President that is constitutionally compliant

Immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, has responded to muted calls by his followers and admirers over the eight years of his leadership that they preferred the old General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) to President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB).

The General had been military head of state between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985, when his administration was removed in a palace coup. 

In the 20 months that the regime lasted, Nigerians knew that a new Sheriff was in town. All forms of indiscipline, corruption and malfeasance were promptly dealt with. With his kindred spirit, Major General Babatunde Idiagbon, the unsmiling duo knocked a lot of sense into the heads of their countrymen and women. And we were fast shaping up. Then the move was truncated.

In his second coming 30 years later, as a democratically elected leader, a lot of people still expected the vestiges of GMB, but found a President that was completely transformed, devoid of all totalitarian tendencies. And there were many people who privately whispered to one another. We prefer GMB to PMB.

Was the President aware of those sentiments? “Yes, I was,” he told this writer with a laugh. He added:

“I was in the military, and rose from 2nd Lieutenant to Major General. When I joined partisan politics, the General had to go. I’ve heard people say they prefer General Buhari to President Buhari. But democracy is different from military rule, with its ruthlessness. Now, the system for decision making is different. We had Supreme Military Council then, but now, you have Federal Executive Council, which is constitutionally backed. I try to allow the system to work. I like to be remembered as a President that was constitutionally compliant.”

And truly constitutionally compliant he was.

The details, and more, are in a forthcoming book, ‘Working With Buhari: Reflections of a Special Adviser, Media and Publicity (2015-2023).’

Even this writer is looking forward to reading the book soon, as it rolls off the press.

*Adesina was Special Adviser to President Buhari, 2015 to 2023

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