The analysts, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, said the offer had put Buhari in a political dilemma but that the former presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change took the better of the two options he had.
A senior political science lecturer at the University of Abuja, Prof. Dauda Saleh, said Buhari’s rejection of the offer to serve as mediator was the right thing to do, but noted that it was a tough political choice he made.
“It was really a dilemma. On one hand, if he had accepted the offer, there was the possibility that he would have been linked to the group and that would have been a serious liability and could have ended his political career. This is more so because some people seem to have the impression that he is an Islamic fundamentalist, who had a religious agenda.
“But on the other hand, rejecting the offer, some people would say he turned down an opportunity to help solve a major national problem. So, both options had the potential of hurting his political career one way or another. But, I think he made the right choice.”
Similarly, the Head of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Lagos, Prof. Solomon Akinboye, said Buhari’s decision could have been acceptance or rejection, with uncertain political implications.
He said, “The man (Buhari) said he does not know them (Boko Haram), so, he cannot mediate for them. It was his decision to make and I think he was right in taking that decision. Whether his decision would affect his political career is another issue.
“However, if he had accepted and was able to help curb the insecurity in the country, it would have been a plus for him. It was really a political dilemma. Now, some people might see him as running away from an important national service.”
In the same vein, the National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Yerima Shettima, said Buhari’s rejection of the offer was a welcome development.
Shettima said the proposed peace talk was likely to fail, adding that the nomination of Buhari might be a trap to discredit him.
He said, “Buhari’s rejection of the offer of the mediatory role is a welcome development and that is because I don’t see anything coming out of the so-called dialogue.
“I believe there are still sign that the whole negotiation will not hold water and it is not proper for Buhari, with the reputation he has built over the years, to get involved in such activity.
“Buhari said he did not know these people called Boko Haram and you cannot expect him to stand for people he has not met. They should have chosen clerics or some other prominent people in the North, not Buhari who is leading an opposition party. Whether you like it or not, this move has a political undertone. It is either a booby trap set by the government of the day to mess Buhari up, or those people behind Boko Haram want to mess him up.”
Shettima added that Buhari’s rejection of the offer had also shown that the insurgency had nothing to do with Buhari’s loss at the 2011 presidential election or the North’s ambition to regain power at the centre.
“No real northerner is happy with what is happening, because we are losing more,” he said.