By Charles Ibekwe
There is so much tension in Nigeria currently. Political jobbers have a meaningless job again, which is worsened by the tension amid the avoidable speculative hype about President Muhammedu Buhari’s present state of health. He fell ill and proceeded on medical treatment in London, where he stayed for nearly two months. The President is back, but needs more time to recover and only performs his official duties minimally.
As idle and petty-minded as some Nigerians have chosen to become, the President’s illness and recuperation have become the favorite past time by professional politicians. In essence, there is entirely senseless and so much social media buzz about the President’s health condition. It is also subject for roadside gossips and excited power-seekers have perceived it as another opportunity to exercise their ego and freak for perpetual presidential contests.
However, no matter how deeply concealed is the plot or campaign against President Buhari over his health condition, Nigerians know the permutations and calculations are geared towards who should lead Nigeria beyond 2019.
Many questions are being asked: Why is the power cabal and bootlickers over interested in ousting President Buhari? Why are they so concerned about his ailment or do they know the source of his sickness? Nigerian masses are asking.
If every reason or interpretation about President Buhari is all about how to scuttle his Presidency, the schemers may have embarked on a doomed mission.
Nigerians are Africans and a people of the black heritage. They have a rich cultural wisdom embedded in very stupefying proverbs, which often steep in nuggets of worthy ideas. One such African adage says, “When a mighty tree falls, the birds are scattered into the bush.”
For the masses of Nigeria, President Buhari is more than just a President of Nigeria; but a leader of the Nigerian people at its most degenerative time in history. Those who falsely wish him death or too gravely incapacitated to continue in office are free to do so. But for the millions of Nigerians who President Buhari has positively touched their lives in the last two years are unprepared for the bad news the schemers are plotting and spreading.
Nigerian masses are aware that the misfortune of the death or incapacitation of Buhari would signify the literal death of every ordinary Nigerian, who are in millions and with it, the hope of survival in a country so messed up to the point, it has lost the wings to fly at any height or altitude. Buhari is restoring the lost wings or the hope and the power mongers who are hurt so badly, want him out of the way at all cost.
In figurative terms, President Buhari’s shadows alone have perished the evil thoughts most demonic Nigerians nursed against their own country for fear of the repercussions. His absence on the seat for whatever reason, would cause the immediate regrouping of these locusts to again pillage Nigeria. Nigerian masses are abreast with this reality and pray fervently that President Buhari takes a straight eight years as constitutionally stipulated to right the wrongs.
A few days ago, former interim APC national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande observed something very sensitive about President Buhari while commenting on the reaction of Nigerians and the need for caution over his health condition.
An experienced elder statesman by every yardstick, he said when he met President Buhari in December last year, he complained about his stressful looks and according to him, the President’s reply denoted what is known to every Nigerian. Akande said; “His reply connoted some allusions to circumstances where an honest man fighting corruption is surrounded mostly by unpatriotic, greedy ruling class. He felt painfully frustrated…I then knew that corruption had effectively been fighting back. And I prayed for Nigeria.”
No nation on earth can progress or prosper when corruption becomes endemic and widespread. When it is celebrated like it is done in Nigeria before the ascension of President Buhari who in spite of the frustrations has halted the trend and looted wealth is being recovered. There is psychological fear among Nigerians with the mindset to loot because they are fully aware they will certainly not go scot free with Buhari at the helm. There is an astonishing level of public sanity that is gradually returning to Nigeria. Nigerians know the era of impunity in public governance is eventually dissipating, courtesy of President Buhari.
Nigeria’s image abroad has improved tremendously and dramatically. Yet, this was a country former British Prime Minister, David Cameron ridiculously referred to as “fantastically corrupt.” America’s President Donald Trump may not be justified on his attacks on Nigerians resident in the US and Mexican migrants. But he says the truth, when he drums about Nigeria stealing their country blind in corruption and running to take refuge in other countries which have fortified themselves about such debasing scourge of nation-hood.
During reflections at a mass for the 200th anniversary of the Gendarmeria or the Vatican Police Force, His Holiness, Pope Frances said, “Corruption produces addiction, and it generates poverty, exploitation, suffering. And how many victims there are in the world today?”
And painfully, those who exclusively pay for the corruption of the ruling class; the rich; the wealthy or the politician are the poor in every society. In Nigeria, media headlines have ceased celebrating other news items since Buhari came on board. Every other day, the media is aghast with how a former public officer has embezzled or stolen billions of naira or millions of US Dollars.
No nation can fulfill its aspirations of being a great nation if her citizens are allowed to freely steal, embezzle or loot the people’s commonwealth. President Buhari has unleashed unprecedented venom against the scourge of corruption and the impact is too visible to ignore. Those affected are not only scared, but feel President Buhari must not continue. The looters have stashed their loot in secret places. They neither have the liberty or freeness to spend this loot. They are being fished out in piecemeal to face the lawful consequences of their actions. Some of them are the gangs in power at lower levels.
Nigerian masses whom Buhari is serving faithfully are aware of his extra efforts to regain the pride and dignity of Nigeria. And majority of the Nigerian people who control the votes know his eclipse from the theatre of leadership would automatically terminate the regeneration process of Nigeria. So, even on wheelchairs, President Buhari would get a second term in 2019. This is the verdict of Nigerian masses.
Outside corruption, President Buhari has broken the seemingly unbreakable jinx on insecurity which suffocated Nigeria all round for years. Terrorism in Nigeria is now only a reference point; something that is confined to the past and the entire world has acknowledged this feat. Nigerians savour the peace prevalent in their country they dreaded six years back.
Other insurrectional rebels, secessionists and violent criminals have taken leave under President Buhari because of his intolerance of such criminal acts and the actions that ended the criminal siege on the country. Nigerian masses have no second option to Buhari, but to stick with this popular leader who identifies with the masses until fate decides otherwise.
Buhari has made so much impact in the polity and in several sectors.The economy was in recession when he assumed office. With consistently falling oil prices in the international market, Buhari has been able to prudently manage the little resources at his disposal to inject life into the economy. It is being diversified with federal government’s investment in agriculture, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, and the boost to the manufacturing industry via loans. The CBN, the Bank of Industry (BOI) and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) have all been mandated to see to the accomplishment of the task.
The construction sector has been enlivened as old contractors have been re-mobilized and new contracts have been awarded in both the transport and the power sectors among others. Jobs are being created in the private sector and the N-Power jobs have somewhat endeared Nigerians to him, hence it has no political party or godfather, religion or ethnicity beneficiaries. They are simply jobs for Nigerians. Anywhere, poor suffering masses are interested about their future like Nigerians now, they would not want to gamble away a President like Buhari. Its another stumbling block to conspiratorial architects of President Buhari’s exit from office. And God Almighty will side the masses.
So, the economy is gradually freeing itself from recession. Foreign reserves which netted zero US Dollar has risen to about $40 billion and the business environment in Nigeria is becoming more friendlier. Besides, disrupting the unofficial zoning formula of political offices in Nigeria would delay an Igbo Presidency in 2015. The Southeasterners are no longer prepared for a replay of the Jonathan episode under former President Umaru Yar’Adua and all eyes/interests are wide awake.
No gainsaying, much as the political cabal plots President Buhari’s ouster, the millions of Nigerian masses want him to exhaust his Constitutional tenure. It is for the grandeur reasons of ending his reforms and completing the mission of repositioning Nigeria; which would ensure progress/development, political stability and harmony in the country that Buhari remains a choice for 2019, even on a wheelchair.
It is principally why President Buhari’s choice for 2019 sticks. Around the world, including America, serving Presidents have been sick; but they were never compelled to vacate office on account of the illness. They were allowed to moderately work while they recuperated, as it is applicable to President Buhari at the moment. The hype, the intrigues and the plots as exemplified in the balloon over Buhari’s health condition is not the solution to any region which intends to stealthily ascend to power.
Ibekwe, a public affairs commentator writes from Enugu, Enugu State.