Portrait Buhari: Now and then

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BY IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH

 

On May 29, 2015, Nigeria will emerge from the dark patches of prolonged leadership of the People Democratic Party (PDP) to embrace a new dawn of a new democracy. Gen. Mohammad Buhari and his host of other executives across the country are expected to assume the mantle of leadership as a new executive president of Nigeria after 16 years
of PDP rule. His triumphant enlistment into authority by Nigerians through free, fair and acceptable presidential election was incontrovertible and the desire of the people and the need for security, total war against corruption, redress of injustice, social value and economic recovery re-echoed.

 

No doubt, all these years of PDP leadership, there have been trials and tasks everywhere in the country as Nigerians have been marching through the mine of perpetual fear, uncertainties, anxiety, corrupt practices in high and low places especially within the government circle where corruption does not seem to be a crime. In fact all these and untidy travails trailed the path of Nigeria’s economic progress which had affected Jonathan’s administration very seriously. Jonathan seems to be a weak leader that allowed his subordinates to spoil his government.

 

These undoubtedly had negative effect on his administration which had consequences on Nigerians that see his government as the most corrupt government in Africa, a situation where the common masses were living in penury, suffering pitilessly because the public treasury was looted badly by the PDP men and women who were found in the corridors of power. When talking of insecurity, Nigerians especially in the North East, were held hostages while in the South East it was the business of kidnapping.

 

There are several Nigerians who saw change as long overdue because the leadership did not satisfy the needs and aspirations of Nigerians who brought the government into being. Governors and chief executives of the states used the opportunity of corruption to misrule and make the public treasury exclusively theirs and their cronies without
reviving the hopes of the common masses. Many who expected esteemed performance said the government was instead saddled with corruption and unhealthy living, nobody cared or bothered to restore the shattered hopes of the
people. The whole situation became the poor get poorer while the rich get richer leaving people with shattered dreams. Nowhere to go and no place to hide.

 

The insecurity situation in Kano and Maiduguri shattered the bid to boost commercial activities. The administration of Jonathan exhibited low level of commitment towards the security of the people especially in the North East until when the election was drawing nearer that he brought the ECOWAS soldiers, something he would have done before
then. The people of Borno, Yobe, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi States did not see his administration as worthy to returning him to power that is connected to the main reason why he failed woefully in these areas. It was clear that his administration did not meet the expectation of the people in terms of security hence his ticket to second term was not guaranteed by the people of the North East. Yet record had it that since 1999 Bauchi, Gombe and Adamawa had been the seat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but because of the growth and development of insecurity in these areas, the people were compelled to revolt against PDP through the ballot box.

 

INEC and the people did not give any opportunity for anybody to have rugged the election, but the people made sure that they protected their votes. The local and international observers commended the Jega led INEC, created history by conducting free, fair and credible elections and installing another government elected by Nigerians. President Goodluck Jonathan admitted that the 2015 elections were free, fair and acceptable as he quickly congratulated General Buhari for his victory. Gen. Muhammad Buhari made his third bid for power in this 2015 general election and this time his admirers used him to bring in a democratic revolution.

 

Despite the controversial perceptions over the stand of Gen. Muhammad Buhari in Nigeria’s politics, the people still see him as the economic messiah that can set Nigeria free from the grip of poverty and corruption. The victory of Buhari echoed in all the nooks and corners of the country last Sunday that the Daura-born General has won the 2015
general election some, if not all, have started thinking that he has been vested with the authority to deliver the country from total economic collapse.

 

The news of his victory raised the hopes and yearnings of the people as high as the sky because they hopelessly and helplessly witnessed how corruption and insecurity have eaten deep into the fabric of the country.  Indeed, the PDP vandalized the economy of the giant of Africa before God brought General Buhari who is expected to work with God-fearing lieutenants that political pundits say may heal the wounds and woes of the past. As the political analysts said Nigerians need iron hand to move the nation forward, believing that he will deal with any Nigerian considered to be a security risk to the nation.

 

Nigerians cannot be in a hurry to forget that Buhari dealt with political actors who were corrupt, tried and jailed many, while some even died in prisons. But that was then even as Nigerians expected President Goodluck Jonathan to take action and fight corruption he could not. The masses were agitating and clamouring for the down fall of PDP control government which March 28th 2015 gave them the opportunity to revolt against the PDP led government. The PDP
lords failed woefully to meet up their exalted expectations and denied Jonathan and his lieutenants the power for continuity.

Because of the failure of President Jonathan to tackle corruption and insecurity in the country, many people became sharp critics and antagonists. Many people began to castigate President Jonathan and his associates because of the killings of innocent people in the North East by the dreaded Boko Haram sect. Toady General Buhari has the last
laugh as Nigerians rejected PDP at the polls because as the ruling party it could not provide maximum protection for the people. Not only the insecurity problem is seriously facing Nigeria and Nigerians but corruption continues to wreck havoc in the already shattered economy, as it becomes a national disaster with its attendant hardships and
calamities, Nigerians began to yearn for a change as the country is falling apart when Jonathan and his lieutenants could not redeem its image.

 

To his admirers, Gen. Buhari and his quest for power and leadership of Nigeria are perceived as a symbol of salvation. In most areas in the South West and North West, the General is an instant hero, collectively idolized because he fits into the bidding of the South West and the North to wrestle power from Jonathan and his PDP
who were put under fire and finally got the shock after piloting the affairs of his country for 16 years.

Gen. Muhammad Buhari got the promise from the common masses this time to give him 100 percent of their votes after his trial to return to power in 2003, on the platform of ANPP, 2007 on the platform of the same party and 2011on the platform of the defunct CPC.

 

Though General Buhari has been the target of vitriolic criticisms from prominent Nigerians especially his kinsmen in the North who conjure up old ghosts to haunt him for allegedly committing a lot of atrocities when he ruled this country as a khaki man between January 1st 1984 and August 29th 1985; though his military regime was very tough but it placed Nigeria under an orderly manner and reduced corruption. They accused him of dethroning a democratically elected government, jailed massively and tortured ousted politicians which his critics said led to the death of some elected politicians. They also accused him of promulgating about 135 decrees among which is the press muzzling Decree 2 of 1984 pinning down the freedom of the press. The same press that criticized Buhari on his promulgation of Decree 2 is now campaigning for his return to power. The press community this time did not see anything wrong if Nigerians voted the General into power even though the Daura born General did not offer any apology to the press community in the country back then.

 

Gen. Buhari had since 2003 been canvassing for block vote from the north, holding series of meetings with the Emirs and traditional leaders which many Emirs in the North threw their weights behind him and the Talakawa agreed and gave him a block support in the South West, North West and North East of the country. Yet some of his critics said that he deserved no vote because he did not make any plan for a transition to democratic rule, querying why he should be voted for. The fact is that those who are very harsh and did not want Buhari’s victory at the polls are his kinsmen who shared the same faith with him.

 

They quoted General Buhari in 2003 as saying that anybody who held a political office under civilian government should be regarded as a thief unless he proves otherwise, he should be arrested and detained until he proves himself otherwise, claiming that Buhari would retain his vows as he has been voted in. They said Buhari’s triumph at the recently concluded presidential election is f no political interest to them. But it was so glaring that during his days as a military head of state; he sensitized the whole society which even the civil servants had to conform to the rules and ethics of Civil Service. He became so tough that everybody was careful in the way and manner he or she conducted his affairs in public service. A man who waged serious War Against Indiscipline (WAI) and brought orderliness in the society.

 

The political class does not like him as they made every
attempt to fail him in the 2015 presidential election but the common masses brought him back to power.

A word of advice for the newly elected president, he should not forget the fact that over 60 percent of the politicians in the All Progressive Congress (APC) came from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and they have that corrupt tendencies in them and may indoctrinate him. Without mincing any word, Buhari is accepted as a hater of corruption. The only way he can deal with corruption is to cut it from the root and not just to cut the stem otherwise it will
germinate again since corruption is like a tree.

 

President Goodluck Jonathan failed to do this which is why his administration remains the most corrupt government in the history of Nigeria. He did not checkmate his subordinates who got that chance to loot the nation’s treasury. Those who may claim that they contributed to Buhari’s victory must have been lobbying now to once again loot what
they left behind.

 

Gen. Buhari should begin to think of how to build a new Nigeria and bring social order to redeem the shattered image of the country and uplift the social, political and economic fortunes of the country. He should now look at Nigeria as one political entity, not minding the tribe, religion and political affiliation.

 

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