Let General Buhari Do It This Time!

Ever since General Muhammadu Buhari won the presidential primary election of All Progressives Congress(APC), about two weeks ago, a new air of excitement has come into the race for the apogee height of political leadership of the country come 2015. The battle is mainly between Gen. Buhari and the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan who contests as the unanimous and undisputed candidate of his ruling party, PDP.
So outright, unarguable and undisputable was Gen. Buhari’s victory at the APC primaries that while he got nearly four thousand votes none of his fellow contestants got even up to a thousand votes though the primary election boasted of political giants of equal weight in person of former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, Kano state governor Rabiu Kwankaso and Imo state governor Rochas Okorocha. All these men, though consummate & seasoned politicians in their own right, what they lacked was the integrity, personality power, solid reputation, intelligence and the kind of love and respect Gen. Buhari commands from Nigerians!
More sardonic was the fact that Governor Rochas Okorocha even tried to appeal to the sentiments, hunches and prejudices of the youthful delegates at the APC convention in Lagos, by pointing out during his speech that he was the youngest of the contestants at 52 and thus, he deserved to be voted for! Well deservedly enough, his remarks were immediately met with jeers of ‘‘Arugbo la fe’’ from the crowd, which means ‘‘we want the old man.’’ Personally, I see no reason why the matter of age should always be brought into critical issues! This has continued to be our bane in Africa for years, the battle about who is older or younger! I’ve seen youthful politicians with all the hype of vibrancy, youthfulness and modern exposure who still performed woefully when given political power! A vital example might be former Imo state governor, Ikedi Ohakim.
I always make a statement within my close circle and I would make it public now. The problem I have with the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, is that despite him having been No. 2 man of this country for 8 years(1999-2007) under Olusegun Obasanjo, he did nothing to ameliorate the condition of ordinary Nigerians, he didn’t try to curb corruption, he was voiceless at a time when we seriously needed a voice to represent our collective national conscience, all he did was engage his boss then in a selfish battle of supremacy. Now, for the past few months he has suddenly become loud & vocal on social networks, especially twitter. This was another move by political hustlers of his coeval to in the die-minute associate with the youthful audience whom they initially sold-out their future while in government! I see this as a desperate move in his bid to become Nigerian President at all cost. But thanks to God, Nigerians are learning from past mistakes and this was seen in the free and fair primaries that saw Gen. Buhari victorious.
What endeared Gen Buhari to the hearts of many Nigerians are his passion and commitment to this great country which makes him still want to be President of this nation at age 72, when he could easily relax, watch tv and enjoy his pension. After all, he had tried to liberate Nigeria as military head of state in 1983 when he was just about 40 but the shenanigans disrupted his works. Gen. Buhari ran though unsuccessfully for the office of the President of Nigeria in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections and persistently enough he is in the bid for the 4th time, a bid which looks like his last move to lead a nation that is the bad mess of corruption, austerity measures, devalued currency, insecurity, erratic power supply, bad roads etc. Like my mentor, Femi Adesina, rightfully posited in his last Friday column on 19th December, 2014, ‘‘We need Buhari more than he needs us!’’
Look at Gen. Buhari’s records from when he was Military Governor of the newly created North-Eastern State during the regime of late Gen. Murtala Mohammed , Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources under then-Head of State General Olusegun Obasanjo in 1976, head of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in 1977 till when he was Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under General Sanni Abacha. His records were sparkling clean just like the white traditional attire he is fond of wearing.
Gen Buhari’s transparency and leadership qualities were top notch even as Military Head of state between 1983 to 1985. He is generally revered for his ability to keep the country afloat by making progress through discipline and sheer economic ingenuity by rejecting the IMF loan and refused to adopt IMF conditionalities to devalue our Naira. His government reduced inflation by refusing to devalue naira thereby, curbing imports of needless goods, curtailing oil theft and using counter trade policy to barter seized illegally bunkered crude oil for needful goods like machineries, enabling it to export above its OPEC quota. Can we compare Gen. Buhari’s government to our current President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration that would quickly jump at any foreign aid without hesitating to look at the possible future consequence of such loans enslaving the country?
Gen. Buhari polled 12,214,853 votes to come close at second position to President Goodluck Jonathan in the 2011 presidential elections. That he did under a tiny and politically fragile Congress for Progressive Change(CPC) and given the national strength of his current party APC, I see Gen Buhari tripling that figure come 2015. By now I expect the ruling party, PDP to know they are in for serious business against a very focused Buhari and APC and to put more salt to PDP’s open injury, the era of election rigging has gone in Nigeria and the electorates are ready to witness the freest and fairest general elections come next year. What the APC demonstrated at their convention last two weeks was also a sign of great things to come in Nigerian politics, that Nigeria can actually get things such as elections right!

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