By Oga Emmanuel
The Catholic Archbishop Emeritus, Anthony Okogie, on Sunday urged Nigerians not to expect too much from the president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, saying change is a gradual process.
“Nigeria seems to be on a collision course with destiny and the hopes of many are hanging in the balance. I can understand the sense of urgency and expediency in the expectations of Nigerians,” he said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
“Yet sincerely, I think we are expecting too much too soon. Change will come but it will be gradual but surely.
“It will amount to putting the cart before the horse to expect radical revolution from the General.
“We must exercise patience and give him chance to deliver on his promises. What he needs more than anything is our support, cooperation, collaboration and goodwill,” he said.
The cleric urged Mr. Buhari to focus on providing quality governance on assuming office, and pay less attention to distractions.
He advised the President-elect to adhere to the blueprint and road-map of his party that had brought about growth and development in the states where they had been implemented.
“It is heartening to know that he has made anti-corruption campaign the meter of his administration.
“In order for this not to run out of steam, he must build institutions, both formal and informal, that will fight corruption and ensure Nigeria becomes a society of law abiding citizens.
“His transition team and board of advisers should shun the temptation to secure their selfish interest and come up with pragmatic action plan that will help the president-elect realise his goal,” he said.
The cleric said that the task ahead of the President-elect was enormous and appealed to him to explore available economic and social opportunities in rebuilding the nation.
“More than anything, the Gen. Buhari-led government must run an inclusive government of credible people with requisite competence that will ensure that no part of the country is left behind,’’ he said.
According to him, Buhari must do so bearing in mind the fact that he will preside over a nation that comprises people who voted for him, people who did not vote for him and people who did not vote at all.
“He must ensure that no group, class, gender or religion is discriminated against politically, economically, socially and infrastructurally.
“This is the watershed moment to break the walls of ethnicity, elitism and religious bigotry that has continued to polarise the fragile unity of our nation.
“He has a duty to turn the nation into a bridge in which every person, irrespective of his background and orientation, would see the state as a collaborator and an ally through which his dreams and ambitions can be realised,” he said.
The cleric assured the President-elect of continuous prayers and support where necessary.
“I reassure the President- elect of our prayers and spiritual solicitude, we look forward to seeing a President that will be the Nelson Mandela and the Le Kuan Yew of Nigeria.
“A President that will deliver the dividends of democracy, a President that will respect the rule of law and follow due processes in prosecuting his agenda.
“A President that will be a father to all Nigerians, irrespective of their colour, tongue, tribe, class or political party; a president who will be a statesman to the core.
“A President that will be a comfort of the afflicted, hope of the despondent and the symbol of unity of the divergent Nigeria. That is the President that Nigeria needs and deserves,’’ he said.