By Farooq Kperogi
My friend Moses Ochonu asked his Facebook friends to share when they had an epiphany that Buhari was a down-the-line incompetent fraud. He said for him it was when Buhari took 6 months to assemble the most colorless cabinet in Nigeria’s history, which he surpassed with the current unprecedentedly lusterless one.
For me, it was when Buhari refused to publicly declare his assets, as he said he would, after he was sworn in. That means it took me less than a month to write Buhari off. Recall that he said he’d publicly declare his assets and encourage everyone who served him to do so before his 100th day in office.
When I still cherished the illusion that Buhari was halfway decent, I reached out to many people in the president’s inner circle with whom I had a personal relationship and begged them to prevail upon him to publicly declare his assets without pressure from the public.
When they weren’t forthcoming, I wrote a column on June 13, 2015 titled “Mishandling of Asset Declaration May Doom Buhari’s Presidency.” I republished it weeks later.
This is the first paragraph of the column: “Although many of us still nourish the hope that President Buhari’s administration will represent a substantive departure from the blight of the past, Buhari has so far done little to inspire confidence that he will live up to the hopes we have invested in him. Perhaps the biggest germinal error he has made, which might haunt his administration, is his seeming reluctance to publicly declare his assets, contrary to the promise he made during his campaigns.”
After the column was published a second time, one close aide of the president told me in confidence that Buhari would NEVER publicly declare his assets because it would demystify him. I asked why and he said it’s because the man is way wealthier than his base in the North and his supporters down South believe.
He said Buhari declared close to a billion naira in his asset declaration form and had choice property all over the country worth billions of naira. What was worse, he said, Buhari didn’t even officially declare everything. That was when it dawned on me that Buhari was a thoroughly sanitized and carefully packaged scammer. Read more in the article I’ll share in the comments.