BMO, a group of Buhari’s supporters, in a statement issued on May 30, claimed that the former president was working with a gang of conspirators operating under the guise of ’eminent persons.’
The former president and the conspirators plan to instigate an uprising to force Buhari’s resignation from office, according to a statement signed by BMO Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke.
The group warned that the plot could drag the country into avoidable constitutional crisis and civil unrest.
Describing the alleged plot as unconstitutional, reckless and anti-Nigeria, BMO said, “Our highly reliable security sources have informed us of the determination of the former President to go ahead with a plan to cause disaffection in the country through a planned conference of so-called eminent Nigerians.
“While the conference ostensibly aims to review the state of the nation, we can authoritatively confirm that it is actually a premeditated plan to create confusion in the polity by calling President Buhari to resign after a supposed vote of no confidence.”
The group added that its security sources revealed that there was an ‘anarchical mindset’ behind the plot, a development which it described as worrisome “especially given the growing resurgence of military putsch in the West African sub-region.”
The pro-Buhari group appealled to Nigerians to be wary of manoeuvres by “elites besotted with power to the point that they are ready to throw the country into a contrived pandemonium to remain relevant.”
The statement did not name the concerned former president leading the alleged plot.
When contacted by The ICIR, the Buhari Media Organisation did not verify the claim that a former civilian President was plotting to overthrow Buhari.
The ICIR‘s correspondent had in a message sent to the BMO, asked the pro-Buhari organisation if it has any proof to back up the allegation.
The centre also asked if the BMO was privy to any security report concerning the claim, and asked the group to disclose the identity of the particular former civilian President that was involved in the plot.
But the BMO failed to respond to any of the questions.
However, The ICIR observed that the two former civilian presidents in Nigeria are Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.
Obasanjo was president from 1999 to 2007, while Jonathan served in the same position from 2010 to 2015.
Buhari took over from Jonathan after defeating him in the presidential election in 2015. Although the Buhari administration has continued to blame the country’s challenges on Jonathan’s government, the two men appear to have a friendly relationship.
On May 28, Jonathan met Buhari in the Presidential Villa over the political crisis in Mali. Jonathan does not openly criticise Buhari, though both are in different political parties.
On the other hand, Buhari and Obasanjo may be described as political enemies.
Obasanjo had supported Buhari of the All Progressives Congress against the incumbent Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 elections.
Buhari went ahead to win the election but Obasanjo, in an open letter before the 2019 election, roundly criticised Buhari’s inability to address insecurity, particularly his administration’s seeming refusal to take action against Fulani herdsmen who were attacking and killing farmers and other defenceless Nigerians in various parts of the country.
“Nigeria is on the precipice and dangerously reaching a tipping point where it may no longer be possible to hold danger at bay,” Obasanjo said in the letter.
Obasanjo went ahead to withdraw his support for Buhari in the 2019 presidential election after accusing the president of incompetence and nepotism, turning around to back the main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, who was his vice president from 1999 to 2007.
But Buhari was re-elected for a second term in office.
Obasanjo has continued to criticise Buhari over perceived poor performance of his administration.
Speaking during a virtual interview with historian Toyin Falola in January 2021, Obasanjo said it was pathetic that despite being the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, banditry still occured at Buhari’s backyard.
Obasanjo said he was disappointed with Buhari’s performance in office, and observed that Buhari had changed from the person he used to know.
“I thought I knew President Buhari because he worked with me. But I used to ask people that is it that I have not read him well or read him adequately or is it that he has changed from the Buhari that I used to know? I am not subscribing to the people who say we have a new Buhari from Sudan and all that nonsense.”
Obasanjo noted that Buhari had failed to live up to expectations that he would do well in security and in fighting corruption.
He added, “I know what I believed was his limitations and I have written about it – he wasn’t strong in economics, not all of us are strong in anything but you need to have sufficient knowledge of it for you to direct the affairs.
“He wasn’t particularly too strong in foreign affairs, but I thought he was strong enough in the military.
“From his performance in his first outing as head of state, I thought he would also do well in fighting corruption.
“I did not know the nepotistic tendencies of President Buhari, maybe because he was not exposed to that sort of situation when he worked with me.”
It is not known whether either of the two former presidents is planning to convene a conference of eminent Nigerians, which is the platform through which the plot disclosed by the BMO is to be executed.
The statement by the BMO is coming on the heels of the alarm raised by the Presidency that the Department of State Services (DSS) had alerted it of a plot to overthrow Buhari’s government.
“Championed by some disgruntled religious and past political leaders, the intention (of the plot) is to eventually throw the country into a tailspin, which would compel a forceful and undemocratic change of leadership,” Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina said of the alleged plot earlier this month.
In response to the alarm raised by the Presidency, the military said it had no intention of taking over power again in Nigeria.
“We shall continue to remain apolitical, subordinate to the civil authority, firmly loyal to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari and the 1999 Constitution as Amended,” Acting Director Defence Information Onyema Nwachukwu said in a statement.
*This report was updated after several attempts to get proof from BMO failed.