[OPINION] Outgoing President as serial betrayer – Dele Sobowale


“If I served God as diligently as I have served the King [Henry VIII], he would not have given me over [betrayed me] in my grey hairs! This is my just reward” – Cardinal Woolsey, 1475-1530.

Like Cardinal Woolsey, who served King Henry V111 as his long term closest subordinate, faithfully, made several enemies along the way, and was ridiculed privately and publicly, several known top members of the All Progressives Congress, APC, are now wishing they were closer to God than the outgoing President of Nigeria.

When shortly after he was pronounced winner of the 2015 presidential election he announced that “I am for everybody”, they should have been on their guards. They should have known that the majority of members were being lured to sleep; while the incoming President drew up his list of the inner caucus.

Those would be the beneficiaries of his government. The rest of us will be classified into second and third class. Most Nigerians would get nothing. My attitude was different. “Blessed are those who expect nothing; for they can never be disappointed.” I expected nothing but grief from Buhari’s government. The beneficiaries would be almost all northerners, from Katsina, particularly Daura, in-laws, former lawyers and friends. Merit had nothing to do with it.

Unknown to most Nigerians, the ingratitude and betrayal of major benefactors started from there. The three major financial contributors to Buhari’s success in 2015 (not in order of contributions made) were Rotimi Amaechi, Atiku and Tinubu. Asiwaju was also a co-founder of the APC and he was anointed National Leader. Jagaban and Atiku discovered how little Buhari appreciated their support very quickly. None was consulted when all the major appointments were made. They became aware of the appointments like other Nigerians – they heard about it on television or read about them in newspapers.

Morning frequently shows the day. The two leaders should have known that they were not dealing with a beneficiary reputed for demonstrating gratitude. Atiku was the first to learn. Tinubu, meanwhile, was stuck. There was a secret turn-by-turn agreement between him and Buhari – unknown to others in the party. Buhari would go first; Tinubu would follow into Aso Rock. Well, Buhari went first; he is now starting his eighth year in office. Instead of automatically using his veto power to nominate Tinubu, he made the poor fellow work for his ticket and to spend huge sums of money – which would have become unnecessary if Buhari had fulfilled his own side of the 2014-5 bargain. Tinubu has learnt so late what Buhari’s military colleagues knew when they kicked him out in 1985.


“Charity begins at home” was the lesson we were taught from youth. Somehow, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, in his eagerness to please Buhari and the Daura mafia, thought he had developed an infallible strategy which would secure him the APC presidential ticket. The ex-Minister of Transportation established a university in Katsina State. The university is not yet finished; but the Chinese working on our unfinished rail lines are financing it.

Amaechi, who was turbaned after starting his charity work in Daura, must certainly have assumed that he would receive the presidential nod. He, too, was forced to visit traditional rulers after paying N100 million for the privilege of being dribbled by Buhari. Now, Wike is after him; and Buhari ignores him.


“Vice presidency is the most insignificant office ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived” – John Adams, 1735-1826, US 1st Vice-President.

Although Adams eventually became the second President of the US after George Washington, 1732-1799, it was by God’s grace. Few American VPs become presidents; and fewer still worldwide – irrespective of their known abilities.

In fact, almost half of them end up in jail or the graveyard – courtesy of the President they serve diligently. Thus when Nigerian know-nothings started the age-long deception of Professor Osinbajo, promoting him as the next President, I felt compelled to warn him in an article in April this year titled TINUBU AND OSINBAJO: TWO BALD MEN FIGHTING OVER A COMB. I knew the Nigerian VP would follow others before him and end in grief. He would have saved himself at least N100 million; plus a lot of pains by listening to me instead of those who were bent on separating him from his naira. I would have told Osinbajo that Presidents who want their VPs to succeed them (extremely few) would not allow any other candidate in the party to contest.

Buhari tipped his hands, to me, when he opened the floodgates to all comers. And, whereas, a lot of people felt that the VP is more presidential than his boss, those qualities were precisely what made him unacceptable to Buhari. Showing everybody that your boss is incompetent is the surest way of not getting his nod as his successor. The VP forgot that line by William Shakespeare, 1564-1616 (VBQ p 276): “So wise, so young, they say, do never live long [actually or politically].” The incompetent people in Aso Rock hate his guts. He had no chance. That was why Buhari handed over to him only once. The VP made the President look incompetent.


Lawan, Umahi, Amosun, Fayemi, Okorocha

“A clown is like a man sitting on a throne of ice; wondering when it will all melt away” – Red Skelton, USA comedian, VBQ p 29.

Buhari brought out the jester in some people hitherto considered intelligent, experienced and well advanced in strategic studies. Apparently, they are in fact intelligent but not wise. Presidential contest, under normal circumstances, is a long marathon; not a sprint. Candidates start two or three years before the elections to build campaign structures, to develop their agenda and to mobilize funds. Invariably they never wait to be drafted into the race by self-seeking individuals at the last hour. Tinubu and Atiku won their contests because they started very early and were sharply focused with regard to their mission. The rest, especially those named above, were at best ill-prepared; or at worst opportunists. They went to Buhari, who bestowed a bewitching smile on them, which they interpreted as endorsement. I knew they were going to get clobbered and N100 million lighter. That amount represents the new national record for political folly.

Come to think of it. If a man so carelessly threw away his own money, only God knows how many billions of public funds he washed down the toilet as Senate President or Governor. But, the source of all their grief was Buhari’s seeming endorsement of their bid and final betrayal. Lawan was a double loser. No presidency and no return to the Senate next year. It’s enough to make a man cry.


“Conscience is a wound; only truth can heal it.”

In the first part of this series, one point was made for those who can attempt to have an open mind. Those whose minds are closed for Atiku, Tinubu and Obi can go and read something else. Two criteria were put forward, last week for deciding who should receive our votes – APC governments’ performance in office and power rotation.

Obviously, if you honestly think that Buhari-led APC government performed woefully, then you can only consider Obi and Atiku – who were not part of that government. If you want power rotation, then you have to consider Tinubu and Obi. At this point, we have two points for Obi, one each for Atiku and Tinubu.


“Old men running for the presidency… are often like old men who take young brides. It’s exciting for a while; but, it seldom works” – James Reston, 1909-1995, THE NEW YORK TIMES, JAN 26, 1979.

“Scotty” as Reston was known, was one of the longest and most revered columnists in US history. Reading him every time his column appeared was a must for me. He wrote the column just as one of America’s oldest contestants for presidency, Ronald Reagan, 1911-2004, was challenging a younger man, Jimmy Carter, for the office. Americans ignored Reston; Reagan served eight years without trouble; and ended as one of the most liked American Presidents.

Still, if age matters to you; and, if you have pegged the acceptable age of your President at 70, then you have only one choice – Peter Obi.

To be continued…


“Exchange rate hit N615 (per dollar) – Report June 29, 2022.

On January 1, 2022, in an article written for SATURDAY VANGUARD, I predicted that the exchange rate, which was N560/US$1, will rise to N6OO/US$1. We surpassed that in May. Now, we are heading towards N670-700/US$1.

Another betrayal by Buhari administration has now been recorded.

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