The mistake we have been making in this country since our democratic evolution is to vote for political parties irrespective of candidatures. This is majorly why we have had issues with most of the characters foisted on us. If it were not so, I do not see how Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Ayo Fayose (Ekiti), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), and a few others would have emerged governors.
The party syndrome is such that Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State won in all the local governments not necessarily because of his laudable achievements, but essentially on grounds of the platform— the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)—on which he contested the poll. In other words, if, for instance, Working Willie tomorrow anoints his diligent Chief Press Secretary, Enugu-born James Eze, to succeed him, it would be a fait accompli.
Issuing from this prefatory, I want to establish and institutionalize a paradigm shift which will emphasize candidacies over associational structures. Therefore, I advocate that we vote President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2019 election as a distinct personality differentfrom the All Progressives Congress (APC). The party has failed abysmally worse than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while President Buhari has performed creditably considering the rot he met when he assumed office and the modest accomplishments he has achieved so far.
It is ludicrous to assert that because President Buhari is Fulani that is why terrorist herdsmen are trying to overrun country while he allegedly folds his hands and gleefully watches them in solidarity! This is simply preposterous and pedestrian. What kind of mischievous illogic is that? Does he look like that kind of person, if at all? Overnight, we have crashed the man’s robust and profound reputational pedigree because of some people’s convoluted thought processes. Now that the controversy over whether President Buhari will contest next year’s election has been clinically resolved, I need to adduce cogent reasons I strongly think that Nigerians should, again, vote him—the person we know full well and can trust— instead of experimenting with presidential candidacies at this critical juncture in our national life.
After this time round, we would then systematically evolve and nurture novel candidatures. It is noteworthy and significant to observe that this is the first time I will devote any of my multimedia columns in the past four years or thereabouts to this Katsina gentility. It shows how serious I take next year’s presidential election.
Let us start with the abduction of Chibok schoolgirls which took place on April 14, 2014. There are misconceptions with regard to President Buhari’s management of the incident. Some Nigerians erroneously believe that his response was tepid and timid. On the heels of this emotive perception of the crisis was its understandable politicization by the oppositional People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and some Nigerians who accused President Buhari of aloofness amid other nondescript allusions to extraneous matters. None of these critics in their tragic misadventure ever remembered, first and foremost, that the president is a father and should equally feel the pains of these girls’ parents.
The point that must also be underscored is that our president should be most embarrassed by this scandalous incident more than any other Nigerian. So, issuing from this address, nobody should make a campaign gain or electoral profit of the unprecedented kidnap tragedy. I do not need anyone to tell me that the president is more bothered over this unfortunate matter more than any other Nigerian, excluding, perhaps, the girls’ traumatized parents. It must be stressed that the situation does not call for equivocation, parochialism, disbelief or rabid political opportunism.
I have also read in the hypercritical section of the media that President Buhari ‘outsourced’ the country by allowing international intervention in the rescue efforts for the freedom of these girls. I again do not understand the hoopla over this. Is Nigeria the first country to seek supranational assistance in combating its domestic crisis as thrown up by Boko Haram? Has Nigeria not been participating in peacekeeping and enforcement in other countries? Commentators should put issues in proper perspectives so as not to muddle up contingencies.
The disruptions and dislocations interjected by terrorism notwithstanding, the transformation agenda of President Buhari still remains on course with unprecedented dynamics in various sectors of the economy. The unfolding results and potentiality of benefits may not be manifest immediately, but I have the conviction that in the years to come Nigerians and even the international community will acknowledge present commitments of this administration. There is no doubt that there are still developmental gullies to be filled. The consolation should be that these challenges did not emanate today and so cannot be sorted out in one fell swoop. Once more, the process may appear sluggish or bereft of evidential trajectories of possibilities for the betterment of the society, but with citizenship endurance and patience, we shall overcome and reap today’s commitments and investments tomorrow. I have the belief that President Buhari’s ongoing transformation programme will impact on the country immeasurably shortly, long before he leaves office, predictably, in 2023 en route to Katsina for retirement.
Unemployment had been almost an insurmountable problem decades before the Buhari presidency. Right now, we may not be there yet, but there is a pooling of resources to mitigate the drawback. The resolution so far may not be commensurate with the stark statistical realities, but the currency of laudatory efforts towards attaining an acceptable profile is quite gratifying. Unemployment is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is indeed a global social problem that nations strive to reduce as much as possible—no economy has ever recorded 100 per cent employment profile.
There is also the motor-park consensus that our countrymen are poor while Nigeria is rich especially since the revaluation of our GDP that catapulted us to the uppermost echelon of African economic leadership. Most Nigerians cannot reconcile the disparity between our rise on the global economic ladder and the poverty afflicting a majority of our people.
Again, with ongoing concerted efforts, it is just a question of time before the harvest begins to cascade. A little more perseverance and we would be in an el dorado of paradisal satiety. Despondency has been replaced with verifiable optimism. It is apposite to mention that no matter what is achieved, there would always be pessimists who belong to the utopian world of make-believe!
If gentlemanliness—not cowardice—due diligence, accountability, honesty, humility, electoral integrity, discipline, articulation, leadership respect for social contract with the people and other constitutional obligations, transparency and subscription to democratic ethos—all of which President Buhari calmly symbolizes—are unacceptable virtues in today’s Nigeria with all its erosion of values, let history be the judge of President Buhari.
As we all know, President Buhari is synonymous with integrity, which is everything. Let’s vote him once more for the last time—no third term fiasco!