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OPINION: As Nigeria Awaits Return of President Buhari, By Idowu Samuel

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Some unpatriotic Nigerians who had expected a telegram of sorrow to trail the trip of President Muhammadu Buhari to London must by now be sulking and depressed on their failed expectations. By desperately wishing the President dead with daring insistence, this category of traducers had unwittingly exposed themselves and their evil desire to reap from the eventuality.

It is unthinkable and morally reprehensible that a clique of Nigerians could wish their President dead and shamelessly going the extra mile to advertise their wish. The death wish for the President no doubt threw Nigeria into panic, confusion and near frustration, just as the authorities battled frantically to mitigate the attendant trauma on governance and national politics in general.

The reason anyone would wish the President dead is not beyond imagination. Crass hatred appears to be at the root of it all. President Buhari has primed the war against corruption in his agenda to re-invent Nigeria. His bold determination to do so has since forced sleepless nights on a clan of public officers, past and present alleged to have mindlessly looted the national treasury. Indeed, looters will not rest on their oars. They must fight to bring down the President and his government.

It has become public knowledge that today in Nigeria a clique in the political class with the inordinate ambition to seize power has never been the President’s friends. At the moment, a legion of aspirants, including charlatans and clowns are on queue with eyes on the President’s seat. Their ambition to rule Nigeria is co-terminus with politics around 2019, which continues to build up with outlandish intrigues. For any aspirant in this category, the image of President Buhari in the 2019 political game is nightmares that can anyday eclipse presidential dreams. This may be one of the reasons the death wish for Mr. President has been so intense.

A group, Arewa Youths Congress drew allusion to this lately, alleging that some state governors are also part of a scheme to edge out the President from power. The group threatened to expose those behind the death wish for the President.

The group, in a statement signed by its President, Comrade Gambo Ibrahim Gunjungu said, “Information available to us shows that some Northern Governors are working and positioning themselves for personal political gains to the detriment of the ideology of Mr. President.

“If they failed to desist from their nefarious act and work for the advancement of the North and Nigeria as a whole, we might be forced to name, ridicule and expose them and their antics before the country as political liabilities,” the Group insisted.

Senator (Comrade) Shehu Sani spoke in the same vein, stating pointedly that those making death wishes for the President were those positioning themselves to zoom into power as Vice President ahead of the 2019 elections. He refrained from mentioning names though.

The implacable disposition of President Buhari’s enemies has been stunning! The tricks they had deployed to hackney their intent and message to Nigerians had met with failures and yet, they are unrelenting. Indeed, they went this far because some Nigerians are unbelievably gullible. That omission was the reason President Buhari’s media handlers had to be on their toes in efforts to douse the death rumour.

Damaging though it seemed, the effect of the false reports filed on President Buhari’s state of health had taken greater efforts from the rest of the world to douse. While visits after visits by well-meaning Nigerians to London to see the President seemed not sufficient to convince doubting Thomases, the intervention by the United States President, Donald Trump who engaged President Buhari in a telephone discussion, all the same, came short of instantly dispelling doubts in some quarters. The development had left the President with no option than to take the bull by the horns to convince incredulous Nigerians that he is hale and hearty. He had to do that by placing calls to his personal media aides. He had spoken to Mr Femi Adesina and Mallam Garba Shehu, just as he reached out to the northern populace through the governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Ganduje and his counterpart in Katsina, Aminu Bello Masari.

President Buhari deserves commendations for yielding to the tenets of democracy as a guide for mitigating the storm that trailed his vacation in London and the attendant health challenge. He had carried Nigerians along, proving all the same, that he would never take them for a ride on personal issues. This was not the case when former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua faced a similar challenge some years back.

Under Yar’Adua, a similar scenario involving his health had thrown Nigeria into chaos with the apparatus of governance almost gridding to a halt. Since he allowed a yawning vacuum in his cabinet, charlatans in government rode Nigerians roughshod, using his absence to serve personal interests. Ludicrously, a power base was created around the then First Lady, Binta Yar’Adua, while super Ministers used that to amass more power. It took the Senate’s crafted doctrine of necessity and a constitutional amendment to bail Nigeria out of the conundrum, which the ailment of the late President Yar’Adua plunged Nigeria into.

President Buhari has been urbane and pragmatic in his disposition to governance. He had saved Nigeria another round of travails on his absence from the seat of power, when at the point of departure to London, he communicated with the Senate on necessity for power transfer to his deputy, Professor Yemi Osinbanjo on acting capacity. Doing that had helped to disabuse earlier impression that the current cabinet had a crack.

Acting President Osinbajo has been living up to billings. He has demonstrated boldness, capability, humility and preparedness to hold the forte for the President who deserves a good rest. He has won for himself and his government a huge pall of support, riding on the crest of unflagging loyalty to run the agenda of the progressive government of President Buhari. With technocratic gaits, the Vice President has successfully defused tension in the corridors of power. He has also doused the steam often generated in the seat of government by needless power plays, piercing suspicion and idle gossips by those saddled with the task of piloting the affairs of the nation. The Acting President has been unrelenting. Hard work counts as his major staying power. His actions, more often, portray him as the patriot Nigerians have craved for all along.

In essence, the machinations by those pleading death for President Buhari have evaporated in the face of intelligent engagements by committed members of his cabinet and media aides. Governance has continued to run and smoothly too. It presupposes that wailers, traducers and death wishers have now been left with no option than to start contending with the achievements by the government of President Buhari who many expect will return to Nigeria soon.

As at today, critics even with malevolent wishes for the President will not agree less that the economic recession, hitherto bedevilling Nigeria has started giving way to greater hope and possibilities. Peace has started returning to Niger Delta in the face of a game-changing tactics deployed by the government, anchored on dialogue. With a redirection of policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the local currency is also regaining strength. In addition, the government is not relenting in its war against corruption with emphasis on recovery of looted funds.

More importantly, the government of President Buhari has fulfilled its promise to return peace to the war torn north-eastern part of the country as the Boko Haram insurgency rolls steadily into extinction.

At the moment, Nigeria is showing strong reflexes on possible economic recovery. Already, agriculture holds a very strong promise on regaining its post-independence relevance of being at the forefront of revenue generation for the country.

One quick area the government is scoring a high point is the emphasis on guaranteeing the ease of business in Nigeria with the creation of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) meant to encourage direct foreign investment inflow into the country. These are all a testament to an envisaged rising of Nigeria as a true African giant in few years to come.

Right now, all hands are on deck now for the return of President Buhari who now seems eager to get back to work. By his return, governance is expected to move to the next level with all encumbrances and distractions fully subdued.

Idowu Samuel, a journalist and public commentator, write from Abuja

 

 

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