Lest We Forget! By Chidia Maduekwe
Mental capacity means a person’s ability to make own choices and decisions. The word Intellectual is an adjective and showcases a person possessing intellect or mental capacity, especially to a high degree.
With above clarification it becomes worrisome how some previously celebrated men of knowledge will chose to go down the road of dirt and mud just to rubbish glaring and sterling qualities which President Buhari built over the years by questioning his intellectual capacity to govern Nigeria .
To understand the intellectual capacity of PMB in the light of the above clarification it becomes critical to remind ourselves that intellectual capacity can only be effectively assessed over period of time of an individual right from the teenage years to the later years of the individual.
Records abound that the intellectual capacity of PMB as teenager studying at the prestigious Kastina Government College was very robust. He served his peers as School head boy, School Prefect and Class room monitor at various points in time. One lacking in intellectual capacity could not have held above positions under the colonial masters known for their strict adherence to intellectual and moralstandards. It is very obvious that someone lacking in intellectual capacity would not have been appointed into the above various positions by the British colonialists who held sway at that time. As a teenager, PMB carried himself above average as most of his living classmates till this day continue to render this testimony.
The fact that the Nigerian Military School is a degree awarding institution implies that every lieutenant in the Nigerian Army is educated at least up to the level of a first degree holder. Military officers also receive a good deal of physical, intellectual, military, moral and practical education. And this begins before induction at a military academy. Special trainings occur and reoccur throughout an officer’s carrier.
The Nigerian Defence Academy was upgraded to a degree awarding institute in 1964, before then when it was known as the Nigerian Military Training College (NMTC), it required its graduates to proceed to the elite Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in England (one of the most prestigious military training institutes in the world) to complete their cadet training prior to commissioning as officers in various territorial armies. It is on record that this institution has produced some of the finest officers and gentlemen you can find anywhere in the world, in intellect, culture, education, nationalism and fine even in combat.
It is this path that our own President Muhammadu Buhari followed into the Nigerian Army and was commissioned a second Lieutenant in 1963 after completing his full training at Mons. To facilitate his training and education as a soldier he proceeded to the Mechanical Transport Officers course at Army Mechanical Transport School in Borden, United Kingdom in 1964 and attended Defence Services Staff College, Wellington in India in 1973.
In about the 20th year of service of military officers, select outstanding ones attend a War College where they learn to manage large operations and think strategically. It is important to note that the curriculum at a War College is not solely concerned with the application of force. Officers learn how military strategies fit into a more inclusive national security strategy and learn how to work with and advise civilian leaders. The War College is intended to prepare war fighters and educate strategists. It melds training and education, and is indeed a peculiar hybrid. They share many characteristics with civilian academic institutions. Training is given in the relationship between military strategy and national resources, economics, political and organizational factors that affect military strategy and decision making dynamics, especially under conditions of uncertainty. One of the college’s important tasks is to take highly successful, disciplined, and focused officers and retool them for “the general”. This involves teaching them to recognize the frailty of firmly held beliefs, the limitations of resources, the fickleness of the political, the role of diplomacy and economics in security strategy; it also involves teaching them to weigh the lessons to be learned both from history and from the latest technology.
Prominent elements of the strategy and policy course are the study of strategists such as Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, Jomini, Corbett, Douhet, Mao and of course Mahan. Special attention is given to the match between military strategy and political objectives, civil military and coalition relationships and the assessment of the results of conflicts. Studies are taken in various aspects of law, including international and military laws. There is a good number of civilian participants with a variety of experiences at this level of military training, just as in Nigeria where military institutions are preferred for training of top management and strategic staff for civilian corporate and public organizations; such institutions include the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies Kuru and the National Defence College in Abuja.
At these institutions students do extensive reading, they prepare briefings, they write papers; they take examinations and they are graded. The best get honours. These institutes are recognized worldwide as academic institutions and are conducted as colleges are conducted. The curriculum is a thinking curriculum and the faculty owns the curriculum. Courses taken are focused on service and total allegiance to the nation. It is important to state here that the overriding altar of worship for the army is service to the nation and its citizens.
It is instructive that one of the most respected Secretary Generals that America has ever had and a renowned international diplomat; General Collin Powel attended the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in the United States in 1976 before being commissioned a Brigadier General and from 1979 to 1980 our dear Muhammadu Buhari followed suit and obtained an equivalent Master’s Degree in Strategic studies with honours from the same institution.
As a military officer, he distinguished himself in all his duty postings. Most of such achievements are already in the public domain. As head of the PTF, the agency achieved very high standards to the extent that World Bank acknowledged that quality roads constructed by PTF were at a cost 70% of the World Bank standards which was unusual in Africa. The economy under the PTF program experienced growth and development, as most moribund pharmaceutical companies and building material companies started roaring back into life under his PTF demand for 65% local content for project execution.
It is very disheartening that an evil trend of highly negative campaigns are being introduced by those whose only grouse is that GEJ failed to win back power in 2015. It is far more interesting to observe that these attacks lack substance but are only characterized by malicious lies that has now become a part of our national life and discourse. Constructive criticisms are welcome as an important component of democracy, negative opinions designed to return the country to her dark days has no place in our current change agenda.
It is unfortunate that some past celebrated men of knowledge are mischievously postulating that fighting corruption in Nigeria is less important than welding over 360 diverse ethnic groups. Such declarations open inadvertently their warped minds. Corruption being systemic in our national polity has remained the basis of tissue rejection in every effort towards welding these diverse ethnic units into one Nigerian nation state. This situation cannot be lost to any honest mind
The past time amongst opposition politicians and their supporters has become sustained and unrelenting verbal and psychological assault on the person and office of the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is now becoming a herculean task sifting facts from substance as all manner of men and women are now engaged in this reprehensible and shocking act. Matters are made worse when these characters who are respected in their various fields expose a triviality that belies their rather exalted positions. Politicians and their ways have by various means thoroughly manipulated the minds of a lot of people that reason, knowledge and clear understanding have become in extreme short supplies in our climes.
In pursuit of their devious and negative agenda and in reaction to a loss of positions and privileges many are wont to sell positions that are not backed by fact and that also run counter to available and verifiable evidence.
It is indeed sad that instead of celebrating our own Mai Gaskiya , some of us are set on doing all that is humanly possible to pull him down. Given the outlined pedigree of President Muhammadu Buhari, it would only take an out rightly senile or unenlightened person to assume that he lacks any capacity of whatever form to govern Nigeria. The content of some of the courses studied at some of the trainings that were undertaken by our President clearly explains the reason why most great leaders of the world have been either serving or former military leaders. It also explains why the only Nigerian military or civilian government that is still being remembered with nostalgia is the government of Major General Muhammad Buhari/Idiagbon . When this fine officer and a gentleman managed our Petroleum Resources Ministry, our country exported refined products and did not import a litre of refined petroleum products, today we are dependent on imported fuel almost wholly.
One of the earliest acts of terrorism in Nigeria led by one Maitasine was degraded under his command. The incursion of Chadian army into Nigerian territory received a decisive bloody nose from him without hesitation until the American government had to call and inform our then dear President Shagari that evidence from their satellite pictures are indicative of Nigerian troops around the periphery of N’djamena, the capital of Chad Republic. Till this date those who know, understand that the fear of Buhari is the beginning of wisdom for terrorists, little wonder then that the once rampant Boko Haram has recently been seriously degraded under his watch. The achievements of the Petroleum Trust Fund remain unsurpassed by any other intervention agency of government in Nigeria. The achievements of our own President Muhammadu Buhari in service to Nigeria cannot be fully enunciated here. His impeccable integrity stands him head and shoulder above other Nigerian Generals similarly trained and educated as he is.
When then barely literate political thugs like the curse of Ekiti who has abandoned governance and taken on full time rascality; question the capacity of the President to govern, they may be pardoned because of their poor level of education and limited understanding of the sciences of life but when men whose names are prefixed with the title “Professor” join this reckless path then note must be taken and proper questions asked.
There is no doubt that the present government has taken our collective feeding bottle out of the mouths of the few “educated” elite who have over several decades applied their education in reverse as there is nothing on ground to suggest that these men and women laying claim to education and having mental capacities can indeed live up to and answer to the challenges that have faced our nation. They have, instead in most cases, been like termites eating up the fabric of our nation. Today, they argue that corruption is not our problem when a higher percentage of our annual budget was being stolen by individuals in a single year, and monies actually appropriated were also not applied to the projects that they were earmarked for, to the extent that now nation is deficient in infrastructure, in real education, in character and was almost turned to an apology in the comity of nations by our “educated elite”.
It needs to be noted that our GDP is actually driven more by the shadow economy operated by resilient Nigerians who have refused to be consumed by the negative antics of our past educated leaders; than by any meaningful strategic path set by our “educated elite”, otherwise there would have been no economy to talk about. Because the so called leaders have been beneficiaries of the various heist that have been going on in the regions, they are quick to lend their support again to the fight back by corruption. A case in point is the south eastern region that has ceased to move forward since the passing on of the great Zik of Africa and Dr. Michael Okpara. All our current professing elder statesmen from this region cannot point to one thing they can be remembered for as younger people who took over from Zik of Africa, who is still looming large in death in terms of his footprints on the stands of time when he bestrode this same Nigeria as a colossus not given to condemnation or pulling down purposeful leadership be it from the north, south, west or east
Most of those who call themselves leaders from this region have clearly been unable to fashion a direction for their people. They have been experts at shouting marginalization when they have been clearly unable to account for the huge resources that have been allocated to that region over several decades. Now aware that their underbellies are about to be exposed, they will stop at nothing, at fighting the government. They agitate for, and attend national conferences where they collect millions of Naira at the expense of the people only to turn around and play the ethnic card again so that another conference is called and more money collected. Despite posturing as tribal champions, when opportunities are offered to their regions, they restrict them to members of their families only. They have failed to see that their counterparts in other countries have turned their nations into Eldorados, yet they have been with us since independence, preaching hate, advocating strife, and feeding on the state. No educated mind supports strife, lawlessness, corruption, incivility, and disrespect to properly constituted authorities, but these ones claiming to be “patriots” fail to see beyond their noses as the focus remains themselves and not the nation. In their conceit and desperation they question the choice of the majority only because such choice will not kowtow to their selfish demands.
Questioning the President’s intellectual capacity to govern is not only uncharitable and mean, it is also an assault on the constitution of the country which has set the standard for those who shall occupy that exalted position. Those making these invidious, reckless and imprudent claims are really the unpatriotic, undemocratic and indeed uncivilized elements in the country even as their claims remain self-serving. Since the facts about Mr. President’s achievement are verifiable and records of his training are available in the institutions he attended, it only amounts to crass irresponsibility to make such provocative and disruptive comments without providing the facts or even stating the basis for these claims.
Lawyers rely on evidence and facts, but when senior lawyers abandon their time tested practice of basing their conclusions on these sacrosanct tenets of relying on facts and evidence then it must be noted that they have completely lost their relevance and should do well to keep quiet instead of steering undiscerning minds into revolt and causing discontent in the land. The days of phantom patriots are over, Nigeria is looking up to real patriots, the new tribe of Nigerians who believe that nigeria has come to stay and are ready to join the president in building a self-reliant economy, in securing our nation, in getting our youth off the streets and cults by gainfully employing them, in making qualitative and functional education available to our children and in rebuilding our infrastructure that was left to collapse by those who claim to know. A new Nigeria that makes accommodation for the poor, that gives equal opportunity to all and that will take its place in the comity of nations is not the kind of Nigeria that they want, so we must ignore and reject them.
The President’s proven training, education, career achievements and successes backed by an impeccable record of personal integrity stands him out as the best man for the job at this very critical stage of our national life. Indeed his coming can be said to be divine. He has equally carefully selected a team of some of Nigeria’s finest experts and technocrats led by another proven and tested judicial reformer in the person of Professor Yemi Osibanjo to help in the governance of the nation. What more can Nigeria ask for? Though buffeted on all sides by the negligence, ineptitude, and profligacy of the past, our nation is set to take back its place in the comity of international nations, the foundations for an enduring, resilient and self-reliant economy is being laid, the reorientation of Nigerians to look inward and be law abiding has commenced, and the drive and commitment to instituting firm democratic practices and institutions is unwavering.
Recall that when Major General Muhammadu Buhari came on board as our Head of State in 1983, he fought corruption and all forms of criminality tenaciously. Corruption fought back and booted him out only to recolonize Nigeria; the result is what we see today. The wayward are at it again, another fight against corruption and all that stand against the good of our nation has commenced and the wicked, the perverts and their hirelings have risen again singing the same old songs but this time we must all rise and resist them. They seek their own interest only, to ignore them would be tantamount to surrendering to evil and would lead only to the disintegration of our nation. The people voted for Muhammadu Buhari to lead them, he is doing an excellent job on his mandate.
Dr CHIDIA MADUEKWE, is a member of the Board of Editors of Buhari Media Support Group
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