A crack appeared in President Muhammadu Buhari’s camp yesterday with key supporters of the President complaining publicly that he had abandoned them.
Led by the Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali, the aggrieved supporters of the President said that many of them who had worked to bring Buhari to power were abandoned while he chose to give appointments to people who did not believe in his vision.
Col. Ali, who spoke at a gathering of the supporters yesterday, said that the Buhari government had not been able to move forward or fulfill its campaign promises to Nigerians because most of the people calling the shots in his government were never a part of his vision.
Ali’s views were corroborated by Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, who said that governors were not happy with President Buhari for making his appointments without consulting them.
Speaking at the commissioning of the office complex of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) in Abuja, Col Ali, who is the National Coordinator of the Organisation, said that more than 50 per cent of the appointments in the Buhari government were handed over to members of the PDP who had fought against the actualisation of the Buhari presidency.
Others at the gathering yesterday include Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar; Kogi State governor, Yahaya Bello; the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello, who stood in for the Vice President; Defence Minister, Mansur Dan Ali and Niger Delta Minister, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani.
Others were Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Aisha Abubakar; Senator Olorunibe Mamora; Managing Director of Nigeria Film Corporation, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe; Director General of National Directorate for Employment, Dr. Nasiru Mohammed Ladan Argungu and Barrister Festus Keyamo, among others.
Lamenting the fate of members of the organisation, who he said made serious sacrifices to ensure that Buhari became President, the Customs boss predicted that when the chips are down, those who were not part of the Buhari vision and are currently in government will abandon the ship while members of the organisation who sought the votes of Nigerians would be called to account for the failure of the government.
He said: “We must agree that we cannot finish our four years without delivering and leaving something to be remembered for in this country for a long time to come.
“We have no problem with our President because he is on course. But I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey, and these people are the ones that call the shots today. That is why we are derailing.
“If we had the right people who had the vision and have been there in and out, I believe that we will not be going the way we are going today.
“It is my belief that those of us who have been in the trenches all these years to get good governance will surely be sleeping with belly ache every day, especially in the recent past. Every day when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiver.
“We cannot, as a people who have fought and committed everything we had to bring this government to being, sit back and allow things to happen the way they are happening.
“At the end of the day, the fingers will point at us because we were the ones who went to people and asked them to give us their votes.
“These people that are calling the shots today were not there, and when the chips are down, they will disappear and melt within the system. We are the ones that will be asked to account for what happened.
“Are we willing to face Nigerians and tell them that we have failed? I think this is the time for us to come together, create a system that is very robust enough to fight back and take back government in our hands and ensure that we deliver.
“We believe that if you want to change the system, it will happen. Let me say that in the course of the jihad of the Prophet Mohammad, anytime they went out for a battle, they would come back with loots, but these loots, as far as my own research told me, was not distribute to everybody, but to those who took the sword and faced the enemies.
“Today, with all sense of responsibility, I want to say that we have 50 per cent of PDP in our government. How can we move forward with this load? How can we achieve our target with this load? It is a spoilt system. So, when you come in, you shake off everybody and bring in your own. That is what democracy is all about.
“Today, we have members of PDP calling the shots. That is what we will begin to fight for. We will fight for our right position, our vision and our mission for this government.
“I am sorry to deviate into politics. But it is very essential because we are a political organisation. It is time for us to wake up from slumber and chat a course for this great nation, and I believe that we can do it. May God help us and see us through.”
He charged the BSO members to go back to the study room, saying: “This is a commission, but it is also the beginning of the fight for good governance. We must get back to the trenches, draw our own battle plan and battle line. I enjoined you that the same commitment we had in 2015, I implore you to bear with us and commit yourself to a better future for Nigeria.
“We will be calling on you from now on and we will be working day and night. We must do so because we want to save our name at the end of the day and the name of the President for what he is doing.
“Our President is on course and all we need is to ensure that we support him. What do we do? For those of us who believe in God, we must know that God is the first port of call.”
While commending members of the BSO for keeping hope alive, he described the organisation as “a gathering to rekindle what we started in 2015 and what we used as a vehicle to fight in the trenches, out of the torches, along the routes and in so many difficult terrains to see to the success of our vision and mission. Our vision then was to install a government that will bring about change in this country. Our motto and expression then was that we want change.”
Ali commended Nigerians for sharing the same vision with BSO, saying that they decided to vote the Jonathan government out and voted Buhari in because of the vision of change.
He said: “It is good to take us back on the memory lane. Some of us started this journey in 2011. There are those who started as far back as 2003 and are still in the trenches. I am sure that the 2007 veterans are still here, while some of us joined the train in 2011, while many others joined in 2015.
“Why did we then sacrifice everything that we need and want? A lot of us have lost their jobs, others have lost their businesses. A lot of us sitting here today have nothing to do because they committed their time and resources working for the success of a change for a better Nigeria.
“We did this not because of ourselves or any individual but because of our love for this great nation. Many of you can remember that we went through this because we are committed to a course and that whatever we eventually install will be something that we are committed to.
“But let me say here without fear of being contradicted that I think half way through the journey, we are losing our core values. We are losing our vision and mission, and I think that the idea of our being here today is to look critically at what we need to do to get back on track.
“There is no doubt that we have derailed because we are not doing what we say we want to do. Why is it so? We need to find an answer to that. If we do find an answer, then what should we do to get us all back on track.
“We owe this great nation and the 180 million Nigerians the duty to give good governance. Good governance is what they voted for and good governance is what they expect to get and they deserve that.
“We, therefore, as BSO have a great task ahead of us. My dear comrades, the battle and the job starts now. We have won one battle by taking over power. But what we make of this power is very essential to us and to humanity.
“Therefore, I want to take this opportunity to tell my colleagues here that we have to change the narratives. When we were there Working and jumping on the street and reaching every corner, we were shouting change, change for a better Nigeria. Now, the key word is good governance for Nigerians.”
Also speaking, Governor Lalong, who shared the sentiments of the Customs boss, lamented that appointments into government positions are made without recourse to the governors, adding that those who do not have the capacity to defend the actions of the President have been the ones benefiting from federal government t appointments.
The governor said the government must be made aware that things are not working the way they should, saying: “If things are wrong, they are wrong. If they are right, they are right. But it requires very courageous people to come out and say these things are wrong or they are right.
“Let Mr. President be aware that this is the time to do it, because even as governors, we are also complaining in our various states. We complain in our states that we sit down and we hear appointments made and then people start asking you as the governor where is this man coming from? But when we turn right and turn left, we don’t know where such a person is coming from.
“Many people have complained. I’m sure governors have complained that we should be able to know who and who will protect Mr. President and his administration.
“When I heard that BSO is coming back again, I said is it not too late? Because if you allow people to grumble too much, you will see fight in several states and some of them are for a just course.
“Somebody suffered for the party, the person is not rewarded, and you wake up to see another man who even fought you. The man who made you to lose your job is now being appointed and the one who suffered is sitting down. Sometimes he will be looking for tears to cry and the tears will not be there because they are dry.
“Like our chairman said to me, it is not too late. This is the time to start because this is the time you will hear a lot of things coming. People who have not serve will come back and say I had served this way, I had serve that way.
“But the records are there. The records cannot lie.”
Contacted for his reaction yesterday, President Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, declined comments, saying that it was not a matter for the Presidency.
He also told our correspondent that members of the Buhari Support Group were at the Presidential Villa to see Buhari yesterday.
The National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, also declined comments, saying it was not a party issue but that of the government.
“We don’t make appointments at the party level,” he said.
Efforts made to get the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed’s reaction yesterday yielded no result.
It was speculated that the minister might not want to react to the story because of the calibre of President Buhari’s associates involved.