President Buhari: Restoring Nigeria’s pride and glory
A voracious squanderer, yet an ingenious architect; time builds and renovates ruined walls of great empires and nations.
Imagine how time flies! Just tomorrow is now our today and the latter only consigned into the garbage bin of yesterday, so that there will be history, for those who see history as a record of past events. That is the magic of time. But, time and history are inseparable Siamese twins; mutually indispensable. While time reverses the heavy hands of history, the latter plays the curator of the tide and trend of time.
At every trying moment of history, there are great men, and great men make great nations. The height, light great nations, attained by great men, are not by a sudden flight, nor by sleeping and slumbering, but by toiling doggedly through audacity and constancy of purpose. As valiants, they make history, while the villains mar it. They ride and triumph on the tidal torrents of time. In their triumph, they brave and conquer the macadamised labyrinth of history.
When the life of great nations are dragged along the stormy mucky path of history, fate, in her infinite benevolence, throws up a great valiant man to steer the ship of statecraft from imminent wreckage. Such was the case of Nigeria, May 29, 2015. Time and fate met the people at the cross-roads of history and raised them from the dungeons of Armageddon- lootocracy, reckless impunity and predatory polinomic brigandage- to the safe havens of restitution. At the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the infamous one-million-man march of the Abacha era, fate threw the nation’s destiny on the lap of one man – Muhammadu Buhari, a retired General and ‘field marshal’ of the common man. His mission: To restore the lost glory and pride of a great nation, Nigeria.
Elation, ecstasy and unprecedented euphoria marked the turning point of the ascendancy of the former military junta to the enviable throne of a democratic leadership in Africa’s most populous nation. From Africa to Europe, from Asia to America, Nigeria held the world spellbound. The global community stood still as power transited from a democratically elected incumbent president to another, the first of its kind in the political history of Nigeria. That’s the magic of time and history.
Yes! A great victory of global historic significance was scored as PMB courageously took up the mantle of democratic governance amidst pomp and pageantry. Imbued with rare charisma, the gentleness of a dove and the enthusiasm of reformer, Buhari courageously put on the thorny crown of challenging leadership to launch his mission of emancipating the people from the throes of hunger, grinding poverty, disease and deprivation. He came at the nick of time when the problems of institutional corruption, massive embezzlement of public funds, growing inflation, unemployment, fuel scarcity, incessant strikes, constant power outage and general infrastructural decay, destroyed the fabrics of our national heritage.
Now, it’s not a moment of respite and complacency. It’s a time for re-awakening, renewed hope and inspiration for a great and brighter future for Nigerians as a people so blighted by neglect, deprivation and destitution arising from endemic corruption and bad leadership. As a man of great vision and extra-ordinary courage, Buhari’s coming presents Nigerians, an opportunity for a new beginning, a new perspective and hope after grinning and bearing it under the grim and penurious years of prebendal politics and economic decadence.
Hopefully, Buhari’s triumphal response to the clarion call has drawn the iron curtain on the dramatization of the execrable machinations of the old order and ushered in a fresh dispensation tinged with optimism and positive expectations. Considering the overwhelming expectations of the people, Buhari must understand that the tasks ahead, are no doubt overwhelming. The evidence is already obvious in the bleak economic condition of the country, the suffering of the masses and the need to revitalise the nation’s dilapidated infrastructure – power, oil and gas, health, education, aviation, poor road networks and the comatose industrial sector.
Indeed, PMB’s eventful ascension to power is a clear demonstration of God’s love for the people. This is because the change they earnestly craved for came on a smooth sail contrary to the expectations of the nation’s detractors and prophets of doom. As the president settles down to work, he should realise that he has inherited a nation that hitherto flowed with milk and honey, a nation formerly endowed with affluent splendor, but currently submerged in abject penury stemming from suffocating corruption and excruciating debt burden. Therefore, there is a very strong need for PMB to gird his loins and stoop down to rebuild the broken walls of our homestead.
It’s time to clean the mess and the odious debris of debilitated old order. In the memorable words of Prof. Wole Soyinka, “if the house we occupy develops cracks, call in a local bricklayer to place a swab of mortar over the cracks, and then paint over the unseemly sight.” The bricklayer is Buhari. He must rise and mobilise the people against hunger and poverty. It’s time for the president to disabuse the minds of cynics who see him as a spent-force and military jack-boot, who came to enact the era of despotism and militocracy.
The PMB administration should not see power in its monstrous gladiatorial macabre dance of the old order when the adherence to the rule of law, accountability and constitutionalism, were observed in breach; when the squandering of our national heritage fetched villains accelerated promotions, but the valiant, the sledgehammer and brazen contempt. As he had already set the alarm bell in his historic statement: “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, he must see himself as a man of the people in a nation of variegated interests, while being wary of the political Ahithophels and sycophants, who parade the corridors of power seeking what to loot.
PMB must stand up to defend the mandate of the people who voted him into power, by insisting on good governance and national interest even against the will of some self-seeking cabals around him. That is the only way he will not step on the political banana peels that swept off the Jonathan administration and his foot-soldiers. It’s also the only way the people can stand up to defend his government when the chips are down.
Indeed, there is much to be done. Therefore, we must unite all forces of progress and brave the peril of the past and embrace the present to rebuild the broken sinews of our collective dream. With the ascension of Buhari to the leadership rostrum of the Aso Rock, Africa and the entire global community have adjusted their political focal lens, opening a new aperture for the people and the entire world. In this respect, Mr. President needs to embark on comprehensive reforms in all sectors of the economy, especially in the oil and gas sector by rebuilding the local refineries. He should mobilise resources including the professional and competent manpower to revamp the local moribund industries such as Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill, the entire textile industry, all the power-generating projects embarked upon by the Jonathan’s administration.
On the global front, kudos should be given to the President for taking the right step in the right direction through the embracing the global community in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgency in the North. This is a clear demonstration of Mr. President’s understanding of the fact, that no society or nation functions effectively in a midst of social insurrection and wanton destruction of lives and property, and as such the need to embark on the restoration of peace and security across the country. It’s also in recognition of the inter-dependence of nations not only in the fight against global terrorism, but also as a means of attracting foreign assistance towards solving critical socio-economic challenges facing the country.
Above all, the President must not forget to redeem his avalanche of electioneering promises by creating equal opportunities for all Nigerians. In doing this, he must take the entire nation as his constituency without political or religious considerations. He must do away with the problems of mediocrity, ethnicity, religious bigotry and other anti-development tendencies, and put the interest of the nation first. However, it’s no longer news that millions of Nigerian youths are languishing because of high rate of unemployment, just as the masses are wallowing in abject poverty, diseases and hunger, especially in the North. That is the only way the glory and pride of the nation can be restored.
Okafor is the chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abuja Chapel, 1, Capital Road, FCTA Area 11, Garki, Abuja. Tel: 08036122681 E-mail: email@example.com