“U.S., Kukah responsible for Buhari’s inability to end Boko Haram” – Garba Shehu

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu has said a United States (US) National Intelligence Council paper in 2015, titled: “Mapping sub-Saharan Africa’s Future”, floated the idea that there could be a military coup in Nigeria.

He said at that time this was hardly an earth-shattering prediction, given that 2005 was only six years after the return of civilian democratic rule and just over a decade since the Abacha military coup of 1993 – the final of seven coups since the country’s independence.

Consequently, the presidential spokesman, in an issued statement yesterday, said that for the last 29 years – close to a generation – there have been none.

He noted that since the return of democracy in 1999, there have been six general elections, four elected presidents, four transfers of power – including one in 2015 between the winning opposition candidate and the losing incumbent president seeking re-election. Yet despite all the evidence to the contrary, he said the collapse predictors keep doubling down on their bets.

According to the statement, most recently retired former US Ambassador to Nigeria between 2004-200d7, John Campbell, has updated his book, of which the first edition stated: “While Nigerians often claim they are masters of dancing on the brink without falling off, the disastrous administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the radical Islamic insurrection Boko Haram, and escalating violence in the delta and the north may finally provide the impetus that pushes it into the abyss of state failure.”.

According to Shehu, “It didn’t, of course; quite the opposite. Jonathan was defeated at the 2015 general election, with power peacefully transferring to the victor, President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Yet the people of Nigeria – the majority of which were born after the last coup of 1993 – and who have known nothing their whole lives except democracy and elected government, are the living proof that democracy is here to stay.

“Though often negative, Campbell does however consistently express an important view that it is in the interests of the US to encourage democracy and security in Nigeria. The government of Nigeria concurs. It is a pity, therefore, that US policy and support towards our country, including during the Buhari administration, has been so inconsistent.

“It is all very well to claim it is in the United States’ interests to help Nigeria become an even-better democracy and stable country. It is quite another to forever avoid mentioning the last coup was 29 years ago, and that since 1999 Nigeria has enjoyed 23 unbroken years of democratically-elected governments and peaceful transition between them.

“It is also inconsistent to preach the need for stability but needlessly delay sharing military equipment in the form of jets – not least when it is now proven they would have helped Nigeria much earlier defeat the terrorists who threaten our country.

“Hopefully, the United States and Nigeria are going to forge ahead with our continuing partnership in fighting terrorism in and out of the sub-region.

“The dream of our founding fathers of a strong, united and prosperous Nigeria remains very much intact”, he affirmed.

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