Democracy Day: Celebrating Focused, Dynamic Leadership Of President Buhari
BY MUHAMMAD AJAH
On May 29th, 2017, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will be two years. The two years have witnessed very great events. The period has actually been a critically attention-grabbing experience for the country basically because of the change which the nation has resisted for the long past. Facing reality is often a hard decision to take, especially in a society led by materialistic, capitalistic and non-empirical politicians. Mr. President is rated high by compatriots. If for one thing, he has united Nigerians in the belief in the powers of prayers.
The ruling party, the All Progressive Party (APC) has managed to establish itself, though the struggle continues. The opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has summoned the courage to accept its fateful ‘unexpected defeat’, a historical exit that enthused pain and joy amongst the people of Nigeria. Image the debauchery of a 60-year dream, a mission to deal with Nigerians and their country! It was the likeness of an untimely death of a presumed colossus, a ‘colossal’ party that prided itself as the greatest cluster of humans and political ideologies in Africa.
Nigerians have learnt a great deal in human and resource management. Every Nigerian, rich or poor, master or servant, influential or insignificant has a story to tell. And the man in the center of Nigeria’s affair, President Buhari has been teaching Nigerians the best lessons of lives, lessons on topical realistic life challenges and the solutions to them. He has taught the citizens to stop building castles in the air, to make hail while the sun shines and to make their stitches in time. He has also inculcated in the citizens the belief that it is better to be late than be late and that the evils which men do should not be left to manifest after them but that those evil men should be made to face, while alive, the wrath of their actions against their fatherland. What more is expected of a leader with such beautiful vision and mission.
These two years have yielded far-reaching positive results for the nation. I stand with millions of Nigerians patriots to celebrate with President Buhari on his second year anniversary of dynamic and purposeful leadership. It has not been easy. It has been a rough journey. Every action that is being taken for the betterment of the people has been subjected to criticisms, sometimes very destructive ones, because the action is often wrongly perceived as novel in the system. Novelty has, many times, been a tide opposed fruitlessly by diehard pessimists. The President has been challenged, criticized and called names, but he has been determined to effect the desired change. So, I sing to him: “Lead us to the Promised Land; And we pray God bless, be with you”.
It is worthy to thank all patriotic Nigerians for supporting this great leader with ideas, prayers and defence. If not for Nigerians – the nationalistic citizens amongst them – these two years would have not recorded the positive results. Some citizens put the president and the nation in their daily prayers. Some fast purposely for the president. Some have willingly accepted the change agenda of the government while others have admitted the reality that Nigeria has to be united and peaceful for meaningful progress and development. I hail compatriots and sing to my fellow Nigerians: “Be steadfast in your support; And truly Baba will deliver”. Nigerians have chosen the path of “forward ever, backward never”. Their supports to this federal administration have really contributed in no small way to the success story.
Amidst the challenges of unsteady health, what President Buhari has achieved in 730 days surpasses all that the past leaderships of Nigeria collectively have achieved. The best that was achieved for Nigeria in the past memorable history is the customized independence from British colonialism. Buhari has shown the best political will. He has dared the past untouchable devil called corruption. He has conquered national upheavals and civil disturbances. To a very great extent, Boko Haram terrorism has been defeated, just awaiting its final burial. The abducted Chibok school girls are being rescued. Corruption in Nigeria is on a speedy run. All corruption cases today were committed in the past. With the best memory, present cases, if any, are yet to be clearly established.
With utmost sincerity, I thank the gentle but charismatic party, the APC, for selecting and backing a compassionate nationalist, an unblemished patriot and a patiently courageous servant of his nation and the people known as Muhammadu Buhari. I sing to APC: “You have made the best choice; But be real for more success”. The APC, with its various operational hiccups, has remodeled democracy in Nigeria. It has propelled growth of modern democracy, expounded national understanding of unity in diversity and reaffirmed past memories of leadership by example which was practically displayed to an extent by the patriots who fought for Nigeria’s independence.
I could not agree less with the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, when he told the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) that the Buhari-led administration will execute changes in the economy that previous governments never did. To me, there are already over a hundred things the incumbent government has done differently, some being seen as blessing in disguise.
Ceteris paribus, I totally concur with the minister that only a few minority are not seeing what the government is doing. The clearer difference from the past is that the past governments rushed events and hurriedly took decisions without full knowledge or backups in consideration of the complex nature of Nigeria. Some of them acted with such extreme haste to satisfy the powerful few, even without much political will and technical knowhow or none of both at all. The natural resultant outcomes were successive failures. But contrary to expectation of speedy implementation of haphazard ideas and policies, the Buhari government is using a slow approach – calculated, articulated and marshal plans – to succeed.
There is a gradual departure from mono-economy of oil; the looted moneys are gradually being recovered for national investment and utilization; there is now frugality in management of national resources as over trillions of naira have been saved through the Treasury Single Account (TSA); there is independence of the legislature and the judiciary; there is improvement in the patronage of made-in-Nigeria products; there is the feeding of school children; there is the employment of over 500,000 teachers within a year; there is adequate funding and equipping of the Armed Forces for national security. 10,000 policemen/women have been added to the police force, the Customs are increasing the national revenue, erstwhile money-spinning fuel subsidy has been removed, over 24,000 ghost workers on the federal government payroll have been delisted.
Others include but not limited to effecting accountability and transparency in government businesses, signing bilateral agreement with foreign nations to facilitate repatriation of looted funds, construction of ultra modern rail network across Nigeria, bail out and support of states in paying salaries and workers emoluments, renewed public/private sector partnership on agricultural development, commissioning a North East development and intervention body, approving the cleansing of the Niger Delta oil spillages and advancing the independence of the electoral process across the nation. The Nigerian military have made great sacrifices and commitment to the Nigerian nation under Buhari.
It is expected that many convictions for public sector corruption will be recorded under the present administration. Again, the future prosperity for all Nigerian citizens is the overriding objective of the administration.
Over 2,500 tips, the Minister of Finance Kemi Adeosun recently revealed, have been recorded from whistle-blowers led to the recovery of huge sums of money from treasury looters. Positive responses from the citizens have made the policy a succeeding national fight against corruption. The whistle-blowers are being rewarded and protected accordingly as promised. And to guard against abuse, there is check and balance and two people have been arraigned by the EFCC for alleged false information to the agency under the whistle-blowing policy.
Recounting the successes of this government within two years will make books. That is by the way. Let me pinpoint some of the remote aspects of them. Just recently, the United States of America declared that Buhari’s agenda tallies with their expectations. The Deputy Director, Office of West African Affairs, Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, Nathan Holt, declared recently that Nigeria is a critical US partner which had a very important election that produced Buhari as president in 2015.
With this, the US now counts on Nigeria with confidence. This standard, he said, represented the first time in Nigerian history that there was a peaceful, democratic transfer of power from one party to an opposition party. Besides, that was a milestone not only for Nigeria, but for Africa as a whole.
The Buhari agenda also attracts the US interests in the areas of economic growth, creation of jobs for the teeming population, the fight on corruption and the war on terrorism. The US supports private-sector-led economic growth in Nigeria. For that the US envoy proclaimed: “We are very much in favour of President Buhari’s campaign against corruption.”
However, all is not yet uhuru. The results of some of the policies of the administration are manifesting but slowing with the attendant hardship felt across the land. Nigerians must continue to pray for the president to fulfill the promises he made to them. God alone is He Who knows how to use the good citizens to bring out positive results. As we celebrate the two years of prosperity amidst recession, we must stay on the side of God and pray harder for more result-oriented and long term policies in the next two or six years to come. God knows best. After then, judgment can be passed on those who have subjected Nigerians to untold hardship because of their selfish interests – those who are fighting and distracting the government for no just cause.
Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja.