A Lagos-based lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegoruwa has threatened legal action against President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari for his decision to drop the General title from his name from May 29.
Recall that his Media Director, Mallam Garba Shehu, had issued a statement saying that: “From May 29, 2015, the President-elect and Vice-President-elect are to be respectively known and addressed as Muhammadu Buhari, President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
Adegboruwa described Buhari’s decision as shocking and unacceptable adding that by virtue of Buhari’s membership of the Nigerian Army, he became Head of State, and earned salaries and benefits even when he contested elections in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
Read his letter below:
EBUN-OLU ADEGBORUWA & CO
Barristers, Solicitors, Consultants
PRESS RELEASE ON BUHARI’S STATUS
MAJOR-GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI (Retd.), AN ARMY GENERAL FOR LIFE
I have read the press statement of the President-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), indicating that as from May 29, 2015, he would like to be addressed simply as Muhammadu Buhari, without reflecting his official designation as a retired officer in the Nigerian Army.
This is totally shocking, and rather unacceptable. I therefore humbly urge all Nigerians to disregard this appeal from the President-elect, as it is illegal and immoral, upon the following reasons.
1. Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.) is the official and legal status, title, designation and appellation of our dear President-elect. He has no choice in the matter but to continue to carry this cross, for life.
2. The military in Nigeria and the world over, is a dignified professional institution, built upon the solid foundations of discipline, selflessness, courage, dignity, loyalty and patriotism. It is an institution that everyone should be proud of, except those of them who were trained and equipped by this noble institution, but chose to capture civilian power, through coup detat.
3. Under and by virtue of the Armed Forces Act, (s.25) a retired army officer, such as the President-elect, is forever a part and parcel of the Nigerian Army.
4. Under and by virtue of Paragraph 1(1) of the 1st Schedule of the Armed Forces Pensions Act, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), is entitled to and has indeed been receiving and benefiting from pension, as an officer who held a regular commission, before his retirement.
5. Major-General Mohammadu Buhari (Retd.) illegally seized power in Nigeria from an elected President, on December 31, 1983 and forcefully crowned himself as Head of State. He forcefully held on to power for 1 year, 239 days, before he was also deposed on August 27, 1985, by General Ibrahim Babangida (Retd.). He is thus a retired commissioned officer of the Nigerian Army and he remains so for as long as he lives.
6. Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.) attends the Council of State meeting as former Head of State, which office he held in his capacity as a Major-General.
7. Under and by virtue of section 1 of the Remuneration of Former Presidents and Heads of State Act No. 32 of 1999, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), is entitled to a very fat salary as pension, for life. He is also entitled to the following benefits:
(i) Chief Administrative Officer of not less than Grade Level 12;
(ii) Personal Secretary of not less than Grade Level 12;
(iii) Four armed policemen as his private security;
(iv) A top ranking State Security Service officer as his Aide De Camp;
(v) Three official vehicles to be changed every four years;
(vi) Three drivers to be paid by Federal Government;
(vii) Diplomatic Passport for life;
(viii) Free medical treatment in Nigeria for himself and members of his family;
(ix) Free medical treatment abroad for himself and members of his family;
(x) Thirty days annual leave;
(xi) Well equipped and well furnished office accommodation;
(x) Well equipped and well furnished living apartment, not less than five bedroom duplex;
(xi) Free telephone, etc.
(8) The President-elect became entitled to all the above, by virtue of his membership of the Nigerian Army; he became Head of State, by virtue of his commission as an officer of the Nigerian Army and he has earned these salaries and benefits as such, over the years, even when he contested elections in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
(9) The moral question, involved in the President-elect’s sudden change of status, is in the fact that he contested election and canvassed for votes, from Nigerians and he was so voted for, as a retired military general. He should continue to bear and carry that honourable title of Major-General, for as long as he lives.
10. Thus, so long as Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), is earning his pensions from the Nigerian Army, so long as Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), is earning all his benefits as a former military Head of State and so long as Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), has not changed his name and status in the way recognised by law, the good people of Nigeria, in particular the Nigerian Army, are well urged to continue to address him as a retired Major-General.
From all the foregoing, I therefore humbly appeal to the President-elect, to continue to bear his official name and status, by which he once climbed to power. I do sincerely sympathise with the President-elect, on the very sad and distasteful memories, that this title attracts to him, but it is his cross to carry. Nigerians voted for him, in spite of his past and that should be enough encouragement for him, to strive to erase any negative impression, that it may have occasioned.
The best option for the President-elect, to erase those memories from our hearts, is not by seeking to deny his past, but rather to use his present position, to address the fundamental issues of corruption, epileptic power supply, unemployment, insecurity, infrastructure development and such other issues, that were the subject of his campaign promises.
Should the President-elect ignore this appeal, by insisting on denying his past, whilst he continues to earn salaries and benefits through the same rank that he seeks to jettison, I shall file a suit before the Federal High Court, to seek an injunction to restrain the President-elect from denying his official and legal titles, or alternatively, to give up, pay back and restore, all the pensions, salaries and benefits that he has so far earned, either a commissioned officer of the Nigerian Army, or as a former military Head of State.
The problem facing Nigerians presently is not about designation, titles or status, but rather that of fulfilment of all the promises made during the campaigns. WE WANT REAL CHANGE, NOW, NOW, NOW!
Thank you all. God bless Nigeria.