As Nigerians Celebrate

Earlier on Nigeria’s democracy day & few hours to the inauguration ceremony at Eagle’s square, Abuja something symbolic happened. When the heavy rain started by 2AM in Osun state (as it did in so many other states), I knew it was the rain of CHANGE. I just heard the new President’s speech and I have only one word to qualify it- INSPIRING. President Muhammadu Buhari is a man who understands Nigeria like the back of his hand.

The new president is a very passionate man & its obvious in how Nigerian issues have moved him to tears severally in public speeches and even when he lost the presidential elections in April 2011, before eventually winning March 2015. He has made it known that he intends to be in office for a single term of 4 years which I believe was thoughtful of him due to his age. Meanwhile, the foundation he lays within the next 4 years should be enough for any progressive person who gets to the office after him to get Nigeria to the promised land.

As Dele Adesina (SAN) rightfully posited on a Channels TV programme today, “The President must try as much as possible to seperate politics from administration.” Let’s be true to Nigeria for once, and not just to our selfish wants. If all our leaders (not only the President now) do this, change will happen in the polity. I see no reason why President Buhari would not encourage Nigerians in diaspora to come home. Imagine how many Nigerian professors, professionals and scholars lecturing or working abroad, imparting their knowledge in foreign lands. Why not bring these people home to develop their fatherland?

I was really sad when I sighted the outgone President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan smiling at the inauguration, while President Buhari highlighted Nigeria’s problems in his speech. For crying out loud, these issues were there before February 9, 2010 when GEJ became Actg. President after Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s painful demise. They were there before April 2011 when he was formally elected to office for the apogee position of political power in the land. These problems were present in Nigeria in 2007 when GEJ was Vice President of Nigeria!

The same problems still exist in Nigeria after about 8 years of GEJ being in the Presidential Villa whether as Vice-president, Actg. or as President. Some of the problems (corruption especially) were even multiplied during the last administration! Boko Haram, erratic power, bad roads, unemployment, bad policies etc. have become ‘norms’ in Nigeria for several years now. It is a shameful thing that nothing rewarding or concrete has been done in strategic sectors of the federal government till now. Some loyalists (sycophants too) will argue that outgone President tried but I keep saying his best has simply not been enough. If anyone doubts, look at chibok girls and the failure of government to get those poor girls back since over a year (14–15 April 2014).

Today, May 29, 2015 marks a change in the history of Nigeria whether large or small. This change is bound to affect the whole world due to the place of Nigeria in global economy and politics. With her over 170 million citizens, Nigeria is unarguably the most populous country in Africa and 7th most populous country in the world. Nigeria is home to one of the largest populations of youth in the world and the country houses several nations (Yoruba, Hausa & Igbo being dominant among several others).

The President promises to tackle Nigeria’s problems “head on” & perhaps the most inspirational part of his speech was “Nigerians will not regret that they have entrusted national responsibility to us. We must not succumb to hopelessness and defeatism. We can fix our problems.” I doubt if any Nigerian President in history has ever spoken like that!

It is hard to find many men of President Buhari’s calibre. His courage and dogged determination to succeed sets him apart. How many people would contest to be President a record 4 times? We’ve seen a Pastor Chris Okotie who once said God told him to contest presidential elections and consequently started Fresh Party several years ago but got discouraged after losing twice! Other ‘men of God’ have gotten discouraged like this too, I wonder if God told them to stop trying!

Tomiwa Olasiyan (2015).


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