Saturday, March 21, 2015

Electing Buhari as president, disaster for Africa –Ex US envoy


A former spokesman for four United States Ambassadors to the United Nations, Richard Grenell, has said that if former military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, emerges as the next president of Nigeria in next Saturday’s elections, it would be a disaster for the entire African continent.

Grenell, who made the declaration in a piece titled: Nigeria on the brink, and which was published in the Washington Times, a US based publication, of Thursday, March 19, 2015, described Buhari as working tirelessly to enthrone Sharia law across the country, which he said would further pose a major challenge to the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and the continent at large.
He said, “Western foreign policy observers pre-occupied with the rise of ISIS in the Middle East should wake up to the reality unfolding in Nigeria. Opposition candidate General Buhari wants Sharia law throughout Nigeria. In fact, he wants it everywhere.
“Is this an indication that Buhari supports violence because the end goal of the terrorist attacks throughout Nigeria and Africa is an Islamic state? It is a legitimate question that should be asked by leaders of the Obama administration.
“Boko Haram has pledged its allegiance and support to ISIS. The Northern Nigerian based Islamic terrorist group wants Sharia law throughout the country and beyond. They are also actively terrorising Chad, Niger and Cameroon with their goal of an Islamic state.
“Buhari has also spoken sympathetically about members of the terrorist group Boko Haram, has cautioned against a rush to judgement on its members and has personally been selected by the terrorist group to lead its negotiations with the Government of Nigeria.
“Buhari’s election as Nigeria’s head of state would be a disaster for Africa. It would also signal trouble for the West’s fight against ISIS and terrorism throughout the Middle East.”
According to Grenell, incumbent president and Buhari’s main rival at next Saturday’s election, Goodluck Jonathan has made commendable inroads in strangling Boko Haram to submission in recent weeks and so deserves the support of the Barack Obama led United States administration and the rest of the world.
“The Nigerian economy has been growing faster than South Africa’s. Imagine what Nigeria could do for Africa if it was also free of Boko Haram’s violence. The Obama Administration should be doing more to ensure Africa’s most populous country doesn’t slip away,” he said.
Speaking further, Grenell said that with the election in Israel over, the West must quickly turn its attention to Nigeria where the outcome of next Saturday’s presidential elections could have a profound impact on the future of Africa.
“Islamic radicals have Africa on their target list and young Nigerians are reported to be interested in ISIS’ messages. Nigeria is at a tipping point. The West, and specifically the Obama Administration, needs to wake up to the growing problem,” he said.
In October 2014 during an interview with TheCable, an online news platform, Buhari had said that he was not a religious fundamentalist or extremist as his opponents had alleged and that all those trying to hang such malicious tag on him were merely attempting to demonise and tarnish his image.
“Nigerians will always uncover impossible room for manoeuvre for politicians. In 2003, I chose Chuba Okadigbo as my running mate. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. In 2007, I picked Edwin Ume-Ezeoke. He was a Roman Catholic. He was an Igbo. And in 2010, I chose even a pastor, Pastor Tunde Bakare.
“Honestly, what do Nigerians want me to do? If they don’t believe I’m not a fundamentalist, what else can I do? The era of short-changing people in the name of religion should stop,” he had said.

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