Guardian News | Houston, TX
There are ambiguities over a speculated secret collaboration of Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, with unspecified major Muslim leaders to make Nigeria a major Islamist state. International Guardian sources reveal that Buhari’s 2011 and a part of 2014 presidential run were actually sponsored by some radical Muslim leaders who were guaranteed of Buhari’s victory and promised that Nigeria would be delivered to their fraternity in his tenure.
An aide who recently defected from the All Progressive Congress, and who worked directly with some Muslim leaders in Africa and Middle East to negotiate support of Buhari’s campaign told our newsroom on strict anonymity that he was deceived into such mission, and that he was not briefed properly. “My impression was to raise fund – only to find out later that there were other deals made behind closed doors that I cannot just talk about now.”
It may be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s first practical foreign diplomatic move after his inauguration in April 2015 was to grant a visa to a fleeing ‘ISIS Emir’, and a Lebanese fugitive, Ahmad al-Assir who was later arrested at the airport. He had changed his appearance by shaving his beards, and was trying to escape to Nigeria through Cairo with fake Palestinian travel document that had a valid visa, according to the Lebanese authorities. His arranged Nigeria’s escape swiftly raised questions about a possible collaboration of Assir with the Nigeria’s new regime.
Furthermore, in November, President Buhari had visited Iran to attend the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), but according to the defected aide, it was actually an appreciation visit as well as a brainstorming meeting on how both countries could collaborate on similar sectarian structures. Guardian gathered that Iran’s former President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who left office in 2013 was the one who initiated Buhari’s support in 2011 in a race that claimed hundreds of lives in sectarian violence following Buhari’s loss.
Buhari’s romance with Iran unfortunately hit a major snag when he accepted the invitation of the King, Salman Bin-Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia and that of the Ruler of Qatar, Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, both who allegedly supported his race against Jonathan. He secretly enrolled Nigeria in Saudi’s led coalition of Muslim countries against terrorism, denying such engagement. Months later, he finally admitted joining the partnership in an interview with Aljazeera, claiming “We are part of it because we have got terrorists in Nigeria that everybody knows, which claims that they are Islamic.”
Arab countries such as Qatar and the UAE indicated interests in the coalition, as well as Middle Eastern, Asian and African states including Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia and Nigeria. Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran and its allies Syria and Iraq were excluded from the alliance, despite the states sharing a common enemy in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group.
Islamic Revolution Leader Ayatollah Khamenei also lost interest with Buhari after the Nigerian military launched an attack on a Shia Muslim group in one of the country’s northern city, killing numerous members, and brutally arresting the spiritual leader Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife. Iran quickly issued a strong warning to Nigeria to release Shi’ite cleric and leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zazaky. Iran was at the time involved in a diplomatic brawl with Saudi Arabia following the execution of another renowned Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr,
Our newsroom reliably gathered that some Muslim countries which initially indicated interest in working with president Buhari are now slowing down to weigh options over Buhari’s inconsistency with foreign policy. “I believe they are still weighing his loyalty. He is not focused, and don’t seem to understand what foreign relations is all about. Muslim countries are a different politics, and trust is the key. He doesn’t seem to be trusted,” a former diplomat with the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
One of the Muslim countries solidly behind Buhari’s campaign is Morocco. “I know that some representatives from the campaign had a meeting with the regime during election, but I cannot speak on that issue,” an aide had confirmed to the Guardian during then election period in 2015. It may be recalled that the Moroccan monarch, King Mohammed VI rejected a request from the then President Goodluck Jonathan for a telephone conversation, saying it was an “inappropriate” move by the Nigerian leader to curry electoral favor just weeks before a crucial poll. A row thus erupted between both countries and resulted to Morocco’s recall of its ambassador to Nigeria.
After Buhari’s inauguration, however, the Moroccan Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Mostafa Bouh met with Buhari assuring that his country was ready for a renewed relationship with Nigeria. “The new relations is for the good of both Morocco and Nigeria. I am here to give the President- elect a message from the King of Morocco. The message is for greetings and best wishes from Moroccan people.”