By James Ibechi
Albert Einstein wrote about Mahatma Gandhi and he said: “Gandhi had demonstrated that a powerful human following could be assembled not only through the cunning game of the usual political maneuvers and trickeries, but through the cogent example of a morally superior conduct of life. In our time of utter moral decadence Gandhi was the only statesman to stand for a higher human relationship in the political sphere.”
I crave the indulgence of Nigerians to go back to the beginning of the above quote and replace the word ‘Gandhi’ with ‘Buhari’, change the verbs therein into present tense, and see how perfectly the description fits Muhammadu Buhari, the ‘true messiah’ Nigerians had longed to see his comeback. Now Nigerians have brought him back through the power of the ballot.
They have learnt, most painfully, since the renascent democracy in 1999, that democracy in itself is no guarantee of good governance.
And although institutions and structures do matter, the quality of persons managing these institutions is paramount in ensuring that democracy works for the benefit of the people in general, and not a few privileged individuals.
Democracy is an automatic car, which nevertheless requires a good driver. So, as Nigerians went to the poll on March 28 to elect the leaders who would run the affairs of the country for another four years beginning from May 29, one man many believed – and still do – that stood out among his equals is the ascetic general (nay, he said henceforth we should not call him General) Muhammadu Buhari.
There are many reasons Nigerians rooted for him for the nation’s top job. To begin with – and moreso that this piece will serve as a reminder to Buhari himself and all of us who voted him in – it is to genuinely fight against corruption that we returned him, despite all odds.
We returned Buhari because Nigeria under the regimes spanning 1999-2011, has no doubt witnessed an unprecedented boom in revenue, but there is sadly not much to show for it due to corruption and incompetence.
The current anti-corruption institutions are ineffectual largely becaus they are an orphan. They are hampered by lack of a father figure in the form of a morally upright leader who is himself above board, a leader who embodies Nigerian ideals, inspires confidence and exemplifies their aspirations for a corruption-free society.
It should be clear even to a blind man that the past regimes, from 1999, only cloaked their corrupt and greedy mien with lip service and hypocritical rhetoric against corruption.
There is a general acuity that Buhari, will not buy up Nigerian collective patrimony under the guise of privatisation; as Fulani that he is, his cattle farm, if he has any, will not suddenly start generating millions monthly; and he will not dip his hands in the public till to shamelessly patronise cronies and paramours.
Leadership is not a joking matter or a lecherous pastime; it is a sacred duty and a nation of over 170 million people ought to be led only by the very best.
Buhari, as Nigerians know him, is a person who had opportunities in the past to corruptly enrich himself, but chose instead to serve his fatherland with honesty and integrity. He cannot afford to nosedive.
Wherever he had served in the past, his footprints of infrastructural developments are unmistakable, from the refineries he built as Head of State to the infrastructural boom that was the result of his PTF years. With age no longer on his side, he cannot afford to do less now.
In comparison, past administrations since the dawn of the nation’s renascent democracy have, for instance, “spent” over N900 billion on roads alone, but read the result from the Olusegun Obasanjo’s mouth: “I am ashamed of Nigerian roads. “So the country is!
The crises in the power sector and its domino effects have brought darkness and distress into our homes and lives; stifled our large industries and hampered small and medium scale enterprises.
At the root of this problem of electric power supply is corruption and lack of political will.
What Ghana can do, Nigeria under Buhari can do even better. The man has sincerity and will power in abundance.
Today, people look back at Buhari’s stewardship with wistful nostalgia; they are wiser today. They did not sell their votes for a miserable price.
And after 50 years of independence, Nigeria’s basic infrastructures are in a state of disrepair. Nigerians cannot afford to continue like that. Recently, armed robbers waylaid my fellow travelers and me on one of our highways. As soon as our vehicle was forced to an ominous halt, what one of the bandits shouted out was quite instructive: “Come down and give us what you have before Buhari comes and terminate our job.” This is not a tall order or a baseless expectation.
Leadership is inspiration, the ability to inspire confidence and move masses of the people in the right direction.
Buhari must bring about a comprehensive and sophisticated solution to the crises of insecurity in our land. So, Nigerians need a clean break from the recent past regimes’ disaster.
It is in view of the foregoing that JAMES IBECHI threw in his hat in support of Nigerian masses’ clamour for Buhari’s return to power against the incumbent Jonathan’s ambition for continuation in office. Anything less from Buhari, I will return to the trench and hurl brickbats like never before at Buhari and APC government.
James Ibechi is Editorial Director, http://www.jamesibechi.wordpress.com