Dear General Buhari; I would’ve addressed this letter privately to you, but in the expectation that you may not receive it, I decided to make it an Open Letter, in the hope that you would stumble on it, read it and hopefully feel some of the pains and anguish that have been my lot. Having said that, permit me therefore to proceed with the rest of this missive from the grave of innocents departed.
Last night, while I was at my modest home in Katsina, relaxing and probably half-awake, I heard the voice of my cousin who was killed in the North in April 2011 during the post-election violence instigated by your loss of the presidential election. With bloodshot sad eyes, my cousin, looking apparition-like, was wailing “Gen Buhari, why why”. My cousin’s name is (or was) Mallam Yusuf Danfulani, a bright young lad originally from Katsina State, who was slaughtered in cold blood and set on fire by youths chanting “Sai Buhari”, like they are again now chanting in 2015.
Gen Buhari, in case you have forgotten, Yusuf was slaughtered in your name even though he never did any wrong to you, and even voted for you against Dr Jonathan. He lost his life just because the murderers you encouraged by your many hate speeches believed Yusuf to be from middle belt or southern Nigeria, most probably because of his bulky looks and brave, patriotic attempts to prevent the killing of an innocent Youth Corper, Ukeoma Ikechukwu. Even though he cried out in Hausa and Fulfulde, he was still not believed by those you (Buhari) managed to brainwash to see all non-Fulani Nigerians as conspiring to vote against you. In this very case, Yusuf voted for you but his ‘Sai Buhari’ killers never believed he did. Like you, Gen Buhari, the mob was baying for the blood of innocents.
If not for Yusuf’s best friend who was with him and was himself nearly killed, we would not have recognized his charred body that was burnt beyond recognition. And thanks to the same friend for recounting to us the little he could make out at the last moments of Yusuf’s life, the agony he passed through and the most important words he uttered before he gave up. It is the same words I heard him utter last night from the grave: ‘Gen Buhari, why why’. Yet, to this day, you (Buhari) have not cared to apologize or show any remorse, but you instead offered lame excuses for the bloodletting you had instigated, and still instigate. I now ask you this: Gen Buhari, must you always shade blood, like you started doing from 1983, to rule Nigeria? Do you recall how you killed Brigadier Bako in 1983 just so you could take power by force from Shehu Shagari?
General Buhari, Ukeoma Ikechukwu himself was reported missing that same day Yusuf was murdered by your supporters, and finally confirmed dead the following day when his charred remains was discovered in a hooded area. Apparently, your supporters had dragged him out of the open and tortured him before finally snuffing life out of him. Like my cousin, Yusuf, Ukeoma was very young and an innocent. Unlike Dr. Jonathan, they were not contesting against you. Yet, when they were killed, part of Nigeria was killed with them; the same Nigeria that you are now angrily campaigning to rule.
Yusuf and Ukeoma were not alone. Six other innocent Youth Corpers were also murdered in Bauchi, where you Buhari, polled 1,315,209 votes (almost 82 per cent), defeating Dr Jonathan who scored 258,404 votes and did not even hit the 25 per cent mark. The corps members were reportedly chased to a police station where they sought refuge. But the rioters, who were raving mad with bloodlust and chanting “Sai Buhari”, overran the station and murdered the young Nigerians in cold blood. So, Gen Buhari, as you can see from the Bauchi result and it’s aftermath, your supporters even shade blood when you win; still you have no qualms. Today, you are prancing around the nation, arrogant and angry as usual, behaving like you have already won the election; and thus setting up another bloodletting if you are not announced winner.
The story of Obinna Okpokiri is as heart-wrenching as Yusuf’s. The 27-year-old was butchered and burnt to ashes, in the service of his fatherland. Okpokiri’s own circumstances were as gruesome as they could be. He had run to the Corpers’ Lodge as the rampaging ‘Sai Buhari’ rioters targeted Youth Corper polling officers recruited by INEC for the election. As painful death loomed, the young Nigerians contemplated fleeing to the barracks. But they were not lucky enough. Your ‘Sai Buhari’ supporters caught up with them, slaughtered and set them on fire. Like Yusuf, these innocents are human beings and future leaders on the last laps of fulfilling their national duty before moving on to a bright future. But it was not to be because, in your name, Gen Buhari, they were slaughtered, sliced, soaked in petrol and scorched. Reduced to ashes in minutes and in the most callous fashion by those that are not better citizens or humans than them.
General Buhari, while you are now busy inciting another violence, please bear in mind that in 2011, your supporters turned violent in whole 12 northern states as they burned the homes, vehicles, and properties of innocent Nigerians, some of whom are also Muslims and Northerners like you and my cousin Yusuf. Your ‘Sai Buhari’ supporters also targeted and killed Christians and members of southern Nigerian ethnic groups, who were seen as supporting the PDP, and they burnt churches across the north. One particular attack in Bauchi stood out as most heart-breaking. According to Human Rights Watch, on April 17 in Giade, a rural town in northern Bauchi, ‘Sai Buhari’ mobs attacked youth corps members in the town. The Corpers, who were mostly from Yoruba, ran to the local police station to seek refuge, but the mobs stormed the police station. The mob killed the police officer on duty and burned down the police station. They raped two of the female youth corps members and then hacked them to death with machetes, along with five male youth corps members. In total, rioters killed ten youth corps members in that town alone.
A lecturer at the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria, Kaduna State, described to Human Rights Watch how a mob of Muslims chanting “Change, Sai Buhari” attacked and killed several Christian students, a Christian lecturer and four Muslim students suspected of being PDP sympathizers on April 17: He said “Between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., they entered the school chanting slogans and shouting: “Where are the Christians and Muslims that supported the ruling party?” They had painted their faces black and were shouting that they needed “change”, the Congress for Progressive Change campaign slogan. The mob had all sorts of weapons – machetes, sticks, and clubs. They started breaking the glass on the buildings. The students ran away but the mob pursued them into the staff quarters and they had nowhere to go. The mob beat them to death. The lecturer they killed was Yoruba“.
Finally, Gen Buhari, let me end this letter by asking you this question: When are you going to apologize to me, to Yusuf’s aged parents, to Ukeoma’s parents, to parents of all innocents murdered by your brainwashed supporters, to Nigeria and to mankind? And here is Yusuf again, asking you from the grave: “Gen Buhari, why why”.