ANALYSIS: Welcoming President Buhari As Nigerians Deserve, Hope For New NigeriaFeatured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Friday, May 29th, 2015
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau
Although, his previous Military regime lasted for about three years – (1983-85). Almost 30 years ago, his Military era was toppled by yet another junta. The takeover was allegedly influenced and made possible by certain powerful individuals, who expected political approach to issues, even when it was obvious, such was extreme. The cabal conspired with the Military and brought his administration to an abrupt end. While the development immediately (and on a short term) signaled relieve to some, the Military coup which ousted his three-year old government was later condemned, while the administration was appreciated and hailed for the courage, discipline and zeal deployed by its heads, in confronting some of the vices which are endemic in the Nigerian political, economic and social lives.
Today, the man, (General Muhammadu Buhari rted.) who then was at the helms of affairs of the Military junta, after three consecutive unsuccessful shot, has been sworn-in as the new President, Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is very obvious that the journey by the newly sworn-in President Buhari to ascend his new position and for the country to reach this enviable level was very rough and tough. Still, every Nigerian today, has reasons to heave a big sigh of relieve, grateful and very happy. Therefore, congratulations to all Nigerians especially on their unrelenting fighting and striving spirits!
Still, it is very key I highlight some points here, majorly to serve as lessons to Nigerians; strengthening the country’s ‘developing’ democracy and ultimately for posterity. For instance, right after declaration by the Electoral body, INEC of the final result of the Presidential result on March 31, 2015, some vital statements were credited to the incumbent President Buhari. First, he was once quoted as saying when he ascended to the power, he would wipe out, within two months, the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists and subsequently put final stop to their bloody attack in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. Again, President Buhari was pressured to open up (during the sad one year anniversary) of over 200 abducted Chibok school girls on their fate in the hands of his administration.
Well, to the first issue, the new Nigerian leader media aides swiftly reached out to the public and denied that the President never uttered such statement. As I had established in one of my previous commentaries, kudos to President Buhari’s media team, for the prompt reaction on such a critical purported utterance, with a serious bearing. More importantly, I give kudos to the Nigerian public for the cooperation and understating meted out to the reaction, thus the matter was then finally laid to rest, whether the statement was actually uttered or not.
On Chibok girls, it appeared President Buhari had fully appreciated the implications of his public utterances and this perhaps informed his submission that his government would do everything humanly possible to bring back the girls. If you ask me why he did not specify the time; then I will respond that, on a serious issues like this (inherited), the best way to go is to be cautious. I also observed that the new Nigeria’s helmsman did the same during an exclusive interview he granted some weeks ago, to a private television station. The response that attracted my special interest in the session was his reply (refusal) to consent to an articulation by some stakeholders that it was possible the pump price of fuel was slashed as low as N40 per litre. He carefully responded he was not ruling out the possibility of the postulation, yet, declared that he was not the ‘author’ of the permutation. The manner of future reference to him or his government on the statement and issue like this to me is very clear. On other hand, if he had made the statement or his party did, then, that becomes a different ball game.
And just on the eve of his swearing-in (Thursday) President Buhari created impression that his predecessor, former President Goodluck Jonathan indeed had a choice not to have allowed the last general elections in particular, to be successfully concluded. At the presentation of handover notes, President Buhari established that, the immediate past President if had wished, could have deployed all resources in his control to disrupt his declaration as the winner and that his (Jonathan) congratulatory telephone call ahead of the declaration was commendable and historic.
I risk assuming these were the just sworn-in President’s personal opinions, not necessarily his party. But as I stated earlier, the teachings to be imbed in the actions of the two leaders, whether (prompted or natural; personal or party) were very germane to the growth of democratic system and future of the country.
Again, given the unpleasant dimension the politics was taken in the country, especially within the formal ruling party – the PDP, among its leaders, members as well as supporters, every discerning mind would agree that the country has had enough of political acrimonies and diatribes, rather, the leaders and followers should embrace, talk and act peace, ultimately for Nigeria to move on and develop.
On this and regardless of my critical position on the immediate past President, I congratulate again, the two leaders and Nigerians as a whole. Ultimately, the message being conveyed here is that the country exists for the citizenry, so, every action must be geared towards protecting it and ensured it thrives and reaches for a greater height.
Having said that, it is very significant that the new administration remains sensitive to demands of people. This takes me to the issues relating to probe.
It is no more news that the past administration had against it, so many unresolved cases of alleged sleazy conducts in its almost six years of tenureship. For the obvious reasons that teeming Nigerians suffered the harrowing effects of the mis-governance, recklessness, impunity, inconsistence and lack of transparency in their social and economic lives, the popular tune coming from them is PROBE, a MUST.
My view on this matter, as previously articulated remains unchanged. Regardless, of the views of the ardent supporters of the immediate former President, propaganda and attempt to distract the new government, I have mentioned repeatedly that neither President Buhari, nor his party, wife or family members has ultimate and final say on whether verifying the past administration should be or not.
President Buhari must be very careful, in particular not to disappoint Nigerians who gave him and his party their mandate on the issue of probe. Already, there are very few commentators and politicians who have started kicking against the move. Instead, of giving in, the new President must take his time; reasonably and objectively look into the accounts of the immediate past government; take decisive steps and ensure all confirmed cases of gross misconduct are not let go unattended to, in line with the constitution.
The new administration should once be reminded that among of the reasons why so many hopeless Nigerians voted (President Buhari) is due to his pedigree and ultimately his abhorrence for corruption. In order words, the new President was voted massively so as to help clean up the stinking system; launched a new standard of proper accountability; discipline and high productivity in government and in the long run deliver a new and prosperous Nigeria. This is the desire and hope of the Nigerians who voted the new President. Without mincing words, they really deserve a prosperous future after a long and good social and economic deprivation and depression.
Similarly, as I mentioned in my preamble, President Buhari should not be dissuaded by the attempted distractions, by those who do not want probe; those who might be plotting to politicize the (hopeful good) objective of the probe or make mockery of it.
Of course, the persecution alarm recently blew by the immediate President has no place in the probe Nigerians are craving for. In the same vein, his latest demands that the probe if it must be carried out, should not be restricted to his administration was unexpected. The truth must be told here; the former President lacks moral right to dictate the extent the probe of the new government should go. After all, nobody disturbed him from doing the same to whoever his target might be in almost six years he spent in the office.
Besides, the statement by the former President was another subterranean move to trivialize the probe and seek public opposition against it. Instead of making nonsense of the verification exercise, anybody who feels he has questions to answer should prepare and allow the law of the land claimed to be respected, takes its course.
Finally, President Buhari should not rest on his oars in efforts to aspire; work for and deliver a new Nigeria – the dream of all. The new President should realize that what is lacking in the last 16 years of successive democratic government in Nigeria are: discipline and accountability on the part of leaders and the ruling class. President Buhari should therefore not hesitate to replicate the audacity and resilience he and his late second in Command, Brig. Gen. Tunde Idiagabon, in their three years, as Military Heads of State, in the next four years of another golden opportunity he has to lead the country. This time, Nigerians have learnt their lessons in a very bitter and hard ways, therefore, cannot afford to make the same mistake and error committed in the past, which thwarted the looming enjoyment then and good future, provided they had exercised little restraint. Nigerians, the new President should realize, ironically are one of the easiest set of people on the surface of the earth to govern and very law abiding. But, all they need is to have a discipline, focus and patriotic leader who will show them the way and live by example. This is the basic but herculean task before the new President. Nigerians cannot but wish him and his team a successful tenure in office. Once again, cheers and congratulations to Nigeria on this historic day and moment!
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