A video in which President Muhammadu Buhari said he did not regret ousting President Shehu Shagari through a military coup has resurfaced just as Buhari has flown to Sokoto State to commiserate with Shagari’s family.
In the video, which was an interview with Seun Okinbaloye on Channels TV’s Politics Today programme which was recorded in December 2014, Buhari said he had no regret removing Shagari, adding that a democratic government that is corrupt can be overthrown.
When asked if he was sorry for ousting Shagari’s government, Buhari said, “No. I am not sorry because I mentioned why we did it and we proved our case.”
When reminded of the fact that the coup veered Nigeria off the course of democratic advancement, Buhari said, “So, when you are a democracy, you are entitled to steal the country dry and put our people in a pauperised position and destroying institutions and destroying infrastructure?”
However, when asked if he blames Shagari solely for the corruption, Buhari responded: “Don’t personalise it. I will blame the Second Republic for that.”
The video, which has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter, attracted comments from a wide range of persons.
Expectedly, many persons have tagged Buhari and his media aides to the video.
Reacting to Shagari’s death on Friday, the President said on his official Twitter handle that he would miss the former President who was a man of integrity.
He wrote, “I mourn the departure of a patriot, who served Nigeria with humility, integrity and diligence. Nigerians held him in the highest esteem even when he was out of office, until his demise, and will forever miss his wise counsels.”
However, a former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, said Buhari’s condolence message would be watery without an apology.
Odinkalu said Shagari was a man of peace and forgiveness, adding that as President, he pardoned a former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, who had been on exile after being implicated in the assassination of Gen. Murtala Muhammed.
He noted that Shagari also pardoned Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, the leader of the defunct Biafran Republic who was also on exile.
Odinkalu wrote, “I’m not holding my breath but I’d have thought that the death of President Shagari is a perfect opportunity for the man who toppled a popularly elected govt on Dec 31, 1983 to apologise for that crime. Saying all these nice things now risks being branded insincere or cynical
“President Shagari did four remarkable things to bring the wounds of Nigeria: First he pardoned Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, 1982; he pardoned Yakubu Gowon, 1981; he pardoned Michael Okpara, 1981 and he granted Nigeria’s highest civilian honour, GCFR, to Obafemi Awolowo, 1981.”
Some other Twitter users wondered why Buhari would topple Shagari’s government and put him on house arrest for nearly two years if the latter was a man of honour as claimed by Buhari in his condolence message.
Meanwhile, Buhari has flown to Sokoto State to commiserate with the family of the late President who was buried on Saturday.
In a tweet on Sunday, Buhari’s aide, Bashir Ahmad, posted a picture of his principal boarding the Presidential jet with the caption, “President Buhari leaving Abuja for Sokoto, on a condolence visit to the state government and family of former President, Alhaji Shehu Shagari over his death.”