Bola Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, once described General Muhammadu Buhari as an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country, according to a Wikileaks transcript of a conversation between Tinubu and the US consul-general in 2003.
Tinubu disclosed this to the United States spy posing as the consul general – in a 2003 conversation- that Buhari should not be trusted due to his bigot tendencies. He pointed to Buhari’s tribalistic nature as potentially dangerous to the unity of Nigeria. In Tinubu’s summation, he stated: ‘Buhari and his ilk are agents of destabilization who would be far worse than Obasanjo.’ The conversation was recorded by the US Consul General and wired back to Washington DC for analysis. Of which, Wikileaks got a hold of the recorded transcripts and published the conversation.
Section 6 (C) reads “Turning to the presidential contest, Tinubu disclosed that he does not like President Obasanjo because he contributed to the end of democracy in Nigeria during his tenure as a military president and is now benefiting from that history. That said, Tinubu admitted that he and his party, the Alliance for Democracy, must support Obasanjo. Southwest Nigeria is Yoruba land and the President is Yoruba. Tinubu’s party had no choice since it has not fielded a presidential candidate. Moreover, Obasanjo is the only candidate who stands a chance of blocking his rival, General Muhammadu Buhari, whose ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity. Buhari and his ilk are agents of destabilization who would be far worse than Obasanjo. Tinubu and many other governors are therefore implementing a strategy to re-elect Obasanjo, partly in an effort to prevent Sharia from spreading. Tinubu predicted that the President will follow his own course, if re-elected, since he will not need as many friends the second time around.”
However, barely 11 years after, Tinubu and Buhari have forged an alliance to upstage the PDP government. The curious marriage between both men has got many tongues wagging. While some see the new Tinubu-Buhari liaison as a marriage of convenience just to undo the PDP, others expressed suspicion at the intent of Tinubu to sell Buhari to Nigerians this time round, barely one decade after he dismissed the leadership credentials of the former military dictator.
During his reign as Head of State, Buhari introduced a notorious decree to restrict press freedom, under which two journalists were jailed. He ruled with iron fist and was unable to reflate a sagging economy.
His attempts to rebalance public finances by curbing imports led to the closure of businesses and many job losses. The economy took a downturn as prices of goods rose, while living standards fell, leading to a palace coup by Gen Ibrahim Babangida on 27 August 1985.