Secretary of Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly, Dr Umar Ardo, has observed that people telling President Muhammadu Buhari not to run for a second tenure in office are being kind to him and has, therefore, urged him to listen to them.
He also asserted while speaking to journalists in Abuja on Sunday that the president’s antecedents as a former military dictator are coming back to haunt him.
According to him, “I believe those who advised him not to run are being kind to him and are lovers of this country because they know he has lost the support of majority of Nigerians and if he recontests and wants to use incumbency to force himself back to office, he will only plunge the country into unfathomable crises that will not be in the interest of anyone.
“But since he discountenanced with their advice we will all meet at the polls.”
Speaking against the president’s meeting with United States President Donald Trump which comes up Monday, Ardo called on Trump to ask President Buhari why his military administration jailed an American citizen, Mahmet Ben Chembi, for 95 years in 1984.
Ardo said that the American lady merely came to do legitimate business in Nigeria when she was arrested by the then regime of Buhari.
The Northern leader alleged that the military regime under the leadership of President Buhari jailed her without any evidence against her.
Once a supporter of President Buhari, Ardo now says that since the President is not known to be a Democrat, there is no way he will abide by courts’ pronouncements on issues that have to do with freedom of people.
He said, “There was this case of the wealthy American lady, Mahmet Ben Chembi, who brought in her $17 million from the US to invest in plumbing in the building of Abuja, but was framed of defrauding the Nigerian State and taken to Buhari’s Military Tribunal and jailed for 95 years without a shred of evidence adduced against her by the government.
“On top of it, she was fined N500 million. It was the regime of another military dictator, Ibrahim Babangida that set up a Judicial Review Panel that reviewed the case and released her from jail.
“President Donald Trump should ask his guest, President Muhammadu Buhari, while he did that to his (Trump ) citizen.
“There was also the case of a wealthy Nigerian woman resident in Saudi Arabia who returned to the country and was arrested on arrival at Kano airport, taken to the tribunal and jailed 10 years for being in possession of N600. She had a 5-year old daughter who was sent to jail along with her. ”
He alleged that taking extrajudicial measures to deal with perceived enemies even when there is no evidence against them is therefore not new to the president.
The Adamawa state-born Ardo also questioned the alleged “looters lists” being released by the federal government, saying that the looting in the present administration may be more and will only come to light when it leaves office.
He said: He said: “Having known all these about Buhari and many, many more of such, I came to the inevitable conclusion that a person like that cannot ever make a good leader.
“It is natural therefore for reasonable people to oppose such a leadership and look out for an alternative. This is exactly what is going on in Nigeria today.
“In fact, such frivolous and unfounded accusations inundating Buhari’s past leadership has brought to serious question the current accusations against members of the past regime.
“No one should blame me if I question the truthfulness of the current exercise. After all, it is only after leaving office that the truth of one’s tenure is revealed.”
He regretted that Buhari’s antecedents did not portray him as a leader that can be trusted with another four years in office.
The Northern elder, therefore, advised that Nigerians should begin the search for an alternative leader who according to him, should not have hatred towards the citizens.
While asserting that it will be wrong to assume that the Buhari administration is corruption-free, Ardo said: “For as far as I am concerned, the current so-called looters’ list is nothing more than names of the likes of Ben Chembi. If the man can do it then why can’t he do it now? No wonder, with the absence of kangaroo military tribunals in the current democratic setup, the government is unable to successfully prosecute and convict any of the so-called looters three years after coming to power beyond the pages of newspapers.
“Yes, I know those former leaders have their blames, but the Buhari leadership has the most blame.”