By Okanga Agila
Its partisan times, so differing views have invaded the political space on the persona and leadership content in President Muhammadu Buhari. He is both loved and hated. But it’s normal in life, especially for leaders who must step on toes or bruise many to find the illuminating trajectory of leadership.
President Muhammadu Buhari is Nigeria’s latest subject of praises and vituperations. First, everyone must understand that Buhari is the incumbent President of Nigeria, who is seeking reelection in the February 16, 2019 presidential ballot. But inevitably and consonance with democratic ethos, some political power mongers are seeking to unseat him. They have assembled in their numbers on different political platforms.
To this category of opposing politicians and Nigeria’s potential leaders, President Buhari has performed so poorly in the last three years. They chant everywhere that he deserves to be ousted; but hardly justify their stand with incontrovertible facts. What is palpable in their eyes is the naked scramble for power. So, “Buhari must go!” is what electrifies every campaign fora of the opposition gangsters.
The opposition ought to be genuinely piqued with Buhari for several reasons. The CBN ATMs, the unfettered access to the official exchange rates of foreign currencies; the blockage of fake oil subsidy claims, terminating the regime of inflated and abandoned contracts, and the arms procurement deals which stashed diverted dollars into several accounts have been blocked by Buhari.
So, there are veiled and subterranean plots to ensure President Buhari does not stage a comeback in the next presidential polls. Some former Nigerian leaders, with the exception of a few like Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd) are neck-deep into this evil design. They have some handful minions, most of whom are in subordinate leadership positions who are prosecuting the agenda of President Buhari’s ouster very satanically.
The opponents, especially in the main opposition PDP have forgotten that in 16 years of acclaimed “perfect” leadership of Nigeria, they neither delivered on good governance nor leadership. They dislocated Nigeria in all sectors.
But it was under their watch Nigeria’s foreign reserves were depleted and shared on the table mutilated parts of a hunter’s game. It was under their watch local contractors and oil subsidy claimants were owned awful trillions of naira for questionable debts.
It was under their cursed regimes, 27 out of 36 states in the federation, including the central government could not pay salaries and allowances to public servants. The defunct PDP government personified poverty and misery.
It was under their leadership insecurity in Nigeria peaked. Boko Haram terrorists captured and conveniently occupied 20 LGAs in Borno state alone and another four LGAs in Adamawa and Yobe states. Nigerians witnessed Boko Haram detonating their bombs everywhere in Abuja and other major cities in the North. The government of the day condoned it as signs of the times.
Nigerians tolerated for years, and inexcusably, how the so-called ideal leadership supervised Plateau, the home of peace and tourism turned the epicenter or turf of testing ethnic supremacy by clannish warlords. Farmers and herders clashes reigned in most rural communities of Northern Nigeria unrestricted and blossomed every day, starching its tentacles to virgin territories.
Armed bandits and rustlers roamed freely with the gait of conquerors in Northwest Nigeria. Militancy in the Niger Delta region was job for both the young and the old. And its intensification blighted Nigeria’s economic fortunes.
Nigerians, except these odious leaders, barricaded by fenced walls and sentries knew everything was wrong with Nigeria. The masses realized only a puritan of angelic endowments like President Buhari was competent to re-fix Nigeria. He was fervently persuaded to redeem Nigeria from the manacles of leadership slavery.
Thus, Buhari landed like the eagle in 2015 in the poll of these sickening national malaises. President Buhari mounted the stage with messages in three main critical sectors to kick-start the recovery or redemption campaigns for Nigeria. Security was topmost on his agenda; the economy and anti-corruption wars were aspects of Nigeria as a country he vowed to vigorously pursue in his first years in office.
Looking back at yesterday and today, one observes a positive and significant difference in these critical sectors in the nation. President Buhari has been able to recover a nation pushed into recession back on its feet. It happened when national oil revenues’ declined considerably; but he combined wisdom and prudence to effectively apply the meagre national resources to achieve results.
Aside initiating capital projects, he has been able to complete abandoned capital projects in infrastructure, power generation, health, public transport, education, oil and gas, agriculture and so forth to lay the base for industrial development.
Buhari has been able to impressively shore-up Nigeria’s foreign reserves which declined to as low as $29.6 billion in May 2015 to $47.5 billion by May 2018. This is alongside checkmating inflationary trends in the economy, which have also witnessed a progressive decline since January, 2017.
Similarly, the Sovereign Wealth Fund portfolio has appreciated with the injection of $650 million so as to strengthen local investments in various sectors of the economy. It has also yielded positive results.
President Buhari’s anti- corruption crusade anchored by both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have recovered looted commonwealth amounting to billions of naira, alongside forfeiture of assets acquired with illicit wealth worth trillions of naira. EFCC has netted the highest record of recoveries of loots since the establishment of the anti-graft agency nearly two decades ago.
But Buhari’s brightest star shines in the area of the hitherto suffocating national insecurity. It is repetitious to assert that President Buhari has splendidly curbed raging terrorism and insurrections which nearly crumbled Nigeria.
Under the Buhari Presidency, the Nigerian military have been able to properly dissect the numerous security challenges confronting the country. It has adopted both combat and psychological strategies to conveniently counter the menace of insecurity threats that held Nigeria to the jugular.
A transparent, accountable and disciplined leadership of the Nigerian Army led by the COAS, Lt.Gen. TY Buratai has secured for Nigeria victory over Boko Haram insurgents, herdsmen /farmers crises, violent militancy, dubious secession movements and the repulsive armed banditry and cattle rustling criminalities in the country.
Truly, many people are excited at the prospects of leadership; but not everybody is endowed with leadership wisdom to lead a country as complex as Nigeria, with its multifaceted challenges. Most leaders of Nigeria have failed because they mixed greed and personal enrichment at the expense of the people. President Buhari is outstanding in this regard, which makes him an incontestable Prince of the Savannah.
Nigeria cannot afford to mortgage President Buhari’s leadership at this moment. There is every need to support him to succeed and continue in office beyond 2019 to concretize these gains. As far as Nigerians committed to the recovery of this country from the hands of the leadership vultures, Buhari remains the unbeatable choice and hope for a secured and prosperous nation.
Only President Buhari who has the moral rectitude and commitment can sustain the gains that have been recorded in some of the nation’s critical sectors and most profoundly on security.
Okanga wrote this piece from Agila, Benue State.