Stella Dimoko Korkus.com: President Buhari Turns 74 Today - Peace Shuttle in Birthday Week

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Saturday, 17 December 2016

President Buhari Turns 74 Today - Peace Shuttle in Birthday Week

What a helluva week for a man who turns 74 today. In one day, in his birthday week, he flew from Abuja to Monrovia, from there to Freetown, and then to Banjul, in The Gambia.




 He held meetings lasting many hours, then flew to Freetown, again to Monrovia, and then returned to Abuja by 3.20 a.m. In the afternoon of that same day, when most of those who travelled with him would have given anything to be in slumberland, he presented the 2017 budget proposals to the National Assembly. If I am lucky to live to that age, I don't wish to run such punishing schedule.



But for that reason was Muhammadu Buhari born on December 17, 1942, in Daura, present day Katsina State. For that reason he came to the world. To serve humanity, serve his country, and make a huge difference. He was sent here to show that it is possible to be squeaky clean, play according to the rules, and live for others, not for primitive accumulation. 





The word came out on Monday, a public holiday. We were headed for Gambia the next morning, and we must set forth at dawn. For we were returning to Abuja the same day. By 6 a.m, we were on the way to the airport. A few minutes past 7 a.m, the great bird lifted into the sky. The peace shuttle had begun.


What took President Buhari out at short notice was the developing situation in The Gambia. President, Professor, Dr, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, who had taken power from Sir Dauda Jawara 22 years earlier in a military coup, and who had transmuted to a civilian ruler along the way, had suddenly recanted on an election he lost, and over which he had congratulated the winner. Jammeh said the scales had fallen from his eyes, he had seen the light, and the defeat he had conceded was no longer so. The election was flawed, and there must be a new exercise under a "God-fearing electoral commission."


This was deja vu. Another Gbagbo scenario, as we had seen in Cote D'Ivoire? 



A playback of 1998 Sierra Leone, in which ECOMOG troops, led by Nigeria under Sani Abacha, had flushed out the military junta led by Johnny Paul Koroma, which had ousted President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah from power? Will the President, Professor, Dr, and Alhaji be given the Gbagbo and Koroma treatment? It seemed inevitable. But blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God. Buhari of Nigeria, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, and John Mahama of Ghana, decided to wave the olive branch.


 It was time to try and talk some sense into Jammeh's head. The presence of Mahama in the team was significant, as he had also conceded defeat in the presidential election held in Ghana only a few days earlier.

After a flight of two hours and forty minutes, we landed in Monrovia. We took aboard Johnson-Sirleaf, and some of her aides. A few days earlier, in her capacity as chair of ECOWAS, she had headed for The Gambia. Jammeh did not give her plane permission to land. She had to return home.

Liberia. Land of blood, caused by greed for power. Samuel Doe. Yormie Johnson. Charles Taylor. Many others. They wanted power, and did not mind turning their country to a killing field. Very sad.

After 47 minutes, we landed in Freetown. Some years back, the town had not been free. The same lust for power. Foday Sankoh led what he called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), and his type of revolution was to chop off the hands of innocent people. If he cut it at the wrist, he called it long sleeve. If he butchered at the elbow, he called it short sleeve. Sierra Leone was filled with thousands and thousands of amputees. Sheer madness!


But the day of reckoning came, as it always does. Sankoh was arrested, and put on trial. He fell ill, was wheelchair bound, and eventually died. He escaped the justice of man, but not of God. I was editor of Daily Sun when he died. I remember my headline: 'Foday Sankoh goes to hell.' The Mirror of London went the same way. NEXT STOP:HELL. That was the paper's headline. You can accuse us of being judgmental, playing God. But as far as human beings knew, Foday Sankoh had no other destination. Only hell, to keep a date with his master, Satan.


But I digress too much. We are talking of a peace shuttle in a birthday week. 


Yes, we took on board President Bai Koroma and his aides, and we were on the way. An hour later, we were overflying Banjul. Would we be permitted to land, or given the Johnson-Sirleaf treatment? Happily, the big bird swooped down, and we landed. I was back in Banjul, 12 years after my last visit. Everything seemed the way I had left it. Only Jammeh had changed. From conceding defeat, to calling for another election. 


The three presidents joined John Mahama of Ghana at the Coco Ocean Hotel, a lovely resort by the sea. Would the waters be turned crimson red soon? God forbid. That was why the peacemakers were around. For the next seven hours, they met with Adama Barrow, the victor in the election, the leadership of the electoral commission, a delegation of the coalition that gave Barrow victory, Security Chiefs, and many others. Twice, they met with Jammeh at the State House. Before proceedings began, and after. What were they asking for? Simple. Respect the Constitution of your country. Honour your word, and uphold the results of the election. Vacate power next January, as decency requires.



There was no positive commitment from Jammeh, and the parley continues, as ECOWAS meets in Abuja today. On his 74th birthday, President Buhari, instead of wining and dining, would be hosting leaders of the West African sub-region. For that reason was he born. For that purpose was he sent to Nigeria. To serve the country, serve humanity, and show that things could be done differently.


By 10 p.m Nigerian time (9 p.m Gambian time) we boarded the presidential jet. I remembered a primary school song:"Oh Nigeria, oh my native land, Never again may I roam. I've been to Ghana, I've been to Sierra Leone, I've been to Gambia, I'm going back to my native land, never again may I roam."


It was a day of roaming, but for a good cause. We dropped off the Sierra Leonean contingent first. Freetown, the land of my father. In 1955, my father had sailed from Nigeria to Sierra Leone, in search of the Golden Fleece. He had gone to study at Fourah Bay College, from where he took a degree in Economics, and returned home in 1959. He took to teaching, and retired as a school principal in 1971. He had good stories to tell us about Sierra Leone. That was before the country lost its innocence, erupting in an orgy of killings.



We dropped off the Liberian contingent, and headed for Abuja. If we had gone straight, we needed only two hours and forty minutes. We spent five hours and five minutes. Double that, and we had spent more than 10 hours in the air, all in West Africa. Blessed are the peacemakers...


Yesterday, President Buhari gave out one of his daughters, Zahra, in marriage. Today, he would be with ECOWAS leaders for most of the day. How do you remind him it's his birthday? On Wednesday morning, we had got back to Aso Villa at 4 a.m. By 2 p.m, the President was presenting Budget 2017 to a joint session of the National Assembly. On Thursday, he was in Lagos to commission a ship at the Naval Dockyard. What a helluva birthday week! I repeat. If I am lucky to live till 74, I don't want to run such punishing schedule.

Some people say they used to give them some injections in the military that make them go on and on. True? False? I don't know. We saw the same of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, also a retired General, who worked endless hours. Could the injection theory be true? Somebody, please confirm.

The man the people call Mai Gaskiya (honest man) turns 74 today. I wish him longer life, in good health. The sailing may be rough and tempestuous on the economy front now, and some people are shouting; carest thou not that we perish? We are hungry and dying. But Nigeria will get to halcyon shores. This land will prosper again. Our captain is at the helm. He is tested and trusted. We can then sleep through the storm.


The Writer Femi Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari

82 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. HBD baba go slow. Pls while you are celebrating remba4 that live has become very difficult for the majority.

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    2. Happy birthday Mr President. May God bless and keep you now and always.

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    3. Happy birthday my president.man of integrity and honour. May GOD save u from debt thief jonathan and is partners in crime hand over to u

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    4. By their comments you can detect fish brains.

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    5. The money for that cake fit pay my house rent ITS OWK....

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    6. Happy birthday to our president. Its a great privilege to share today with you. Happy birthday to me too.

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  2. Replies
    1. Buhari why you wan die young nah?only you for dat waka!.Haba Arinka NjabataπŸ™„πŸ™„Mr journey wakaπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ

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    2. Happy birthday Sir, more strength to tackle the myriad of problems facing us. Stay blessed...

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  3. Buhari is 74? They should not even piss me off. I really would love to wish him well but I won't not like I'm important in the schemo of things. He doesn't deserve wishes or a birthday cake when the people he leads are suffering.
    From wedding to birthday next is wedding anniversary.
    With this nonsense write up.

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    Replies
    1. Abiii πŸ‘πŸ‘ on point πŸ‘‰

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  4. Who this epistle help ?
    Metcheeww.........

    Bia femi,you still they learn work where oga Ruben dey

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  5. What's all this nonsense write up about?
    Happy birthday Sir, take. This country out of this mess!!!
    Btw whether you want to travel from slovakia to China in one day, you knew what you were getting yourself into before now!!! Isn't. That why you contested for 12 years?


    Someone on facebook claimed Russia "rigged" US election to favor Donald Trump, how true? Na this kind gist go dey sweet Ndi TB Joshua sha... so they will prove their "daddy" right.

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  6. Happy birthday Sir. God bless you.

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  7. Happy Birthday President Buhari. May God give you the wisdom and Knowledge to rule NIGERIA. Happy birthday Boss

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  8. Happy birthday General.
    Please president us d fruitful n happy ways. Thanks

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  9. Aaaah!!! Mrs Korkus how I go take read all dat long story, anyways Happy Birthday to you Mr President sir, wish u many more years ahead of you with Gud health and prosperity

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  10. Happy birthday Mr. President.
    They can call u old,clueless or any other name, but nobody can call u a thief or a corrupt politician.unlike every other leader we've ever had

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    1. Your point? It still doesn't change the fact that he is the worse thing that has ever happened to this country.. Mtchewwwww.. And who said he ain't corrupt? When amechi and tinubu are his pally. Any where, Happy 84th birthday Mr President

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  11. Shey make I tell am Happy birthday??? anyways happy birthday to u President bubu

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  12. "In one day, in his birthday week, he flew from Abuja to Monrovia, from there to Freetown, and then to Banjul, in The Gambia.
    He held meetings lasting many hours, then flew to Freetown, again to Monrovia, and then returned to Abuja by 3.20 a.m. In the afternoon of that same day, when most of those who travelled with him would have given anything to be in slumberland, he presented the 2017 budget proposals to the National Assembly. If I am lucky to live to that age, I don't wish to run such punishing schedule"

    So that part of the write up is supposed to do what exactly? Show how hard working he is or isn't he doing his job albeit poorly?
    Tell Mr. President that most Nigerians on their birthday do not get food, cake or write ups. Infact, many don't even remember the day because they are busy thinking of where the next meal will come from.
    If he is too old to do the job then he really is too old and shouldn't be there.
    People are suffering ooooooooooooo

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    Replies
    1. God bless you. Who him waka waka don epp?

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  13. Happy birthday @ Bihari
    Age gracefully sir..




    No time to read this long Epistle.

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  14. Mtchewwwwww!
    He's the worse thing that has happened to Nigeria!

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  15. Who gives a fuck????????
    Soo much for a dumb president

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  16. Happy birthday bubu

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  17. Good morning Mrs Korkus nd my fellow Bvs, I thank God for making all of US to be alive and meet each other today in dis our family blog. God bless our hustle and we shall NEVER lack Good things in our lives....... AMEN

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  18. Happy birthday mr president, wishing you many more years. LOVE my. President.

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  19. Happy birthday sir

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  20. Even though we are not enjoying your tenure we have to wish you well,happy birthday mr president

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  21. So this old great grand pa is 74?...
    Hahahahahahahahahaha...
    There is no single truth in Vuharia's dictionary!...
    Oga,if you are really 74,that means I am 10!!..
    He is always 74 every year!..
    Liar!!...

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    Replies
    1. Adanne odikwa egwu. Shebi he celebrated same age last year. No time to read Femi pretence write up. Let him go and learn work from Abati.

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  22. Will he be able to turn things around? Change this country for better........ Does all his trip make any mark on our economy.....

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  23. Happy birthday Mr President. Long live!

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  24. Beautiful write up! Happy birthday Baba

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  25. Happy birthday Mr. President!
    President Buhari is a strong man, he was a military man, so I do not expect less from him.

    I wish him more years of good health of mind and body.

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  26. Nice. Happy birthday Pa Bubu. More fruitful years in good health.

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  27. Happy born day Mr President...LLPN...bless

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  28. HAppy Birthday Mr President. God bless you and keep you.

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  29. Reminds me of the song *ajala travel all over the world*
    Happy birthday sai baba

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  30. Replies
    1. Who wants to read all that? Happy birthday πŸ˜’πŸ˜’πŸ˜’. Release our country from bondage

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  31. Happy baba, long live and prosperity




    *Larry was here*

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  32. Happy birthday to the GCFRN God bless you immensely sir

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  33. Happy birthday Mr. President, I pray God gives him wisdom to move this country to a greater height.
    Happy birthday to pope Francis,I pray for God's grace and wisdom to pilot the Catholic church.
    Happy birthday to my brother,the baby of the house may God bless,prosper and enrich you my darling baby.πŸ»πŸ·πŸΉπŸΊπŸΈπŸŽΆπŸŽ€πŸŽ΅πŸŽΈπŸŽΊπŸŽ·πŸŽ»πŸŽˆπŸŽ‚πŸŽπŸŽ€πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠ
    To those celebrating today also,cheers to life🍻

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  34. Happy birthday My President. Many more blissful years ahead. Cheers

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  35. Bon Anniversaire Monsieur le PrΓ©sident

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  36. Happy birthday sir! God bless you today and always

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  37. This Femi can play with words share.Uncle Femi we're not impressed o,the people are hungry.By the way,who will mind travelling around the whole world in presidential jet? Bros we know you are enjoying it.Anyway, happy birthday our President, death is still far from you o(@least not b4 2019)bcos we're still waiting on u to fulfil all ur promises.God bless Nigeria!

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  38. All I wish the Grand Commander of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on his birthday is the Fulfillment of the sentence "This Land will Prosper Again."

    As hard as it is not to despair, We choose to believe that indeed change is upon us.

    Ummu Kameelah

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  39. Hahahaha I thought it was Stella that wrote this epistle about vuhari until I see that omo kobokobo man.

    Only you flew. Mr. President you be witch wey dey flew anyhow.

    Let me sorry for you and say Happy Birthday grandpa that went to tell his grand son Jammel to leave power for Gambia.

    the queen best friend

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  40. Happy birthday Mr president

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  41. Happy Birthday President Bulgari. May your life be like the economy of Nigeria.Thats my wish for you.

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  42. Wow, Mr President and Nigeria have an uncanny resemblance. Happy Birthday sire

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  43. Buhari d clueless dullard happy 84th birthday.stop reducing ur damn age even a blind man knows u are 74.u even look older than 84 sef.

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    Replies
    1. Read your comment again to see how stupid you sound. Na your type dey take leg wake your papa for sleep.

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  44. This long epistle. I thought its my friend Ruben Abati at it again

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  45. Happy birthday Sir. May the Lord continually strengthen you and keep you in health

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  46. Happy birthday, Mr. Recession! I wish you what you wish yourself & Nigeria as a whole!


    ... Jesus is my worth!

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  47. HBD SIR.. MORE PROTECTION N GUIDANCE FROM ALLAH SWT

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