In the last eight months, four outspoken critics of President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration have died.
Dr Junaid Mohammed, a 2nd Republic lawmaker and popular government critic, died on February 18, 2021.
Mohammed, a medical doctor by training, began to challenge Buhari’s government in 2015.
He accused the President in 2016 of running a government based solely on nepotism rather than merit.
Junaid Mohammed’s formal name is Junaid Mohammed.
The deceased was one of the first Nigerians to publicly declare that the President’s nephew, Mamman Daura, had become Nigeria’s most powerful man.
He stated, “The most influential person in the Presidency today is one Mamman Daura, who is, as you know, the President’s nephew.” Buhari’s father was his elder brother.
“In addition, Mamman Daura was the sole source of information about Abba Kyari, the current Chief of Staff to the President. Abba Kyari, in fact, knows Mamman Daura better than his own father.
“Next, Buhari’s Personal Assistant is Mamman Daura’s son, followed by SCOP, State Chief of Protocol, who is also Mamman Daura’s son-in-law because he is married to Mamman Daura’s daughter. Next, the minister they appointed unilaterally, against the wishes of the party and the people of Sokoto, is the daughter of Mamman Daura’s wife’s younger sister. They are both the daughters of Sultan Dasuki, who was deposed by General Abacha.
“We have Colonel Abubakar, the Aide De Camp to Buhari himself. He is married to one of Buhari’s elder sisters’ grand daughter. Next, we have the woman who represents Kaduna in the Federal Executive Council; she is Nasir el-cousin. Rufai’s El-Rufai is well-known for being one of Muhammadu Buhari’s closest governors.
“The Minister for the Federal Capital Territory is up next. Musa Bello, the Minister of the FCT, was previously the Managing Director of the Northern Nigeria Development Corporation, which was the largest holding company that belonged to all of the northern states. His only qualification for the position of FCT minister is that his father has long been a friend of Buhari.
“Now, there is a young man named Sabiu Yusuf, who is known as Tunde – most likely after the late General Tunde Idiagbon. He is another of President Buhari’s personal assistants. He is also the grandson of Buhari’s other sister. This is enough to demonstrate that this is the most blatant form of nepotism in Nigerian government history. In fact, in my 67th year, I can confidently assert that I have never witnessed a level of nepotism equal to or greater than this in the history of Africa.
“Another thing I want you to know is that Amina Zakari, who was and still is a national commissioner in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing the entire seven states in the North-West, claims that Buhari was unaware of her appointment (before he became President); this is a lie.
“When President Goodluck Jonathan was reorganizing INEC and bringing in Prof. Attahiru Jega, he reached out to Buhari and asked Buhari to nominate someone from the North-West to be a national commissioner. Buhari chose to nominate his own niece, Amina Zakari, the daughter of his elder sister, out of all the people in the North-West. She has been there; when Jega left, Buhari was determined to make her chairman;
it was the massive backlash that caused him to abandon the plan like hot potatoes. As we speak, that lady is a national commissioner, which means she is one of the main election umpires. Throughout my reading of history, political science, and social sciences in general, I have never heard of a dictator or tyrant under any system of government, totalitarian or fascist, appointing his own niece to conduct elections in which he was either a party to or was about to be a party to; Buhari has done just that. Amina Zakari’s younger brother is the Minister for Water Resources in the same Buhari administration, representing Jigawa State.
“Moreover, despite the fact that they are from Kazaure, Kazaure is adjacent to Daura. Their eldest sister is now the Commissioner for Education in Jigawa State’s All Progressives Congress (APC) government. If this isn’t nepotism, I don’t know what is, and anyone who has the guts, the brutal arrogance, to appoint these relations without regard for public opinion, a sense of justice, or competence, has a very serious question to answer. There are two unsolved cases.”
Yinka Odumakin, a human rights activist and critic of the Buhari-led government, died a few months later, on April 3.
Odumakin was a key member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which fought General Sani Abacha’s regime following the annulment of the June 12, 1993 election.
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He was also a spokesperson for the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders’ Forum (SMBLF), an organization that represents ethnic nationalities from the South-West, South-South, South-East, and Middle Belt.
Odumakin, who was married to another activist, Dr Joe Odumakin, was a vocal critic of the current administration.
He has consistently chastised the Buhari administration for alleged bias and favoritism in appointments to various positions.
His voice was also very loud in condemning the activities of Yoruba killer herdsmen.
Shortly before his death, he warned the Nigerian government not to arrest a Yoruba Nation activist, Sunday Igboho, for issuing a quit notice to Fulani herders in Ibarapa, Oyo State, and then evicting the Sarkin Fulani in Igangan.
Barrister Olusegun Bamgbose, National Coordinator, Concerned Advocates for Good Governance (CAGG), another outspoken critic of the current administration, died on September 18.
In one of his final statements before his death, Bamgbose urged President Buhari to stop sleeping and hold midnight meetings to address the nation’s deteriorating security situation.
In reference to the recent attack on the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), which occurred around 1 a.m., he stated that it was obvious that bandits do not sleep, and questioned why Nigerian leaders should sleep comfortably while the country is on fire.
He claimed that the bandit attack on the NDA, one of Nigeria’s most powerful security units, demonstrated that the criminals have no respect or fear for the Nigerian military.
The senior lawyer went on to say that as a result of his constant warnings with no follow-up action, the bandits have lost all respect for the President.
In April 2021, the deceased also questioned Buhari’s morality in remaining at the Presidential Villa.
Bamgbose claimed Nigerians made a huge mistake by electing Buhari in 2015, but those who made the same mistake again in 2019 cannot be forgiven.
Dr Obadiah Mailafia
The former deputy governor, who ran for President of the African Democratic Congress in 2019, was a well-known government critic who advocated for public-sector and exchange-rate reforms.
During a radio interview, Mailafia claimed that repentant Boko Haram members revealed to him that a serving Northern governor was a commander of the terrorist group.
Early in September, he described the alleged ‘fulanisation’ of Nigeria as real, while also revealing that Buhari’s administration was plotting to impose an alleged Fulani and Islamic agenda on Nigerians.
“The kind of Islam that is coming from Sahara is dangerous,” Mailafia said. They want to enslave you and take over your land. Christians must rise up to defend it. They want to enslave you and take over your land.
“Over 3,000 churches have been destroyed in the North East alone, and over 400 priests and pastors have been killed.” Even after a ransom was paid, Adamawa’s CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) chairman was beheaded last year. We’ve been told that they’re so-called bandits, but they shouldn’t be called that because bandits don’t shoot down military planes.
“No bandit is capable of bringing down military aircraft. No bandit has the ability to attack the Nigeria Defence Academy, the premier institution for armed forces training. Only terrorists have the ability to do so; no bandit has that capability.
“We’ve been told that these terrorists are part of the insurgency because they carried out these kidnappings to raise funds for the insurgency.”
Mailafia was born on December 24, 1956, in Kaduna State’s Sanga Local Government Area.
In 1978, he graduated first in his class from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria with a B.Sc.
Mailafia was appointed deputy governor of the CBN in 2005 after serving as the chief economist responsible for Strategic Planning and Corporate Reporting at the African Development Bank (AfDB).