Audacity of hope in Buhari’s election
AFTER the last presidential elections in 2011, impaled by his electoral loss and immobilised by circumstances, the odds were stacked against him.
He had lost three elections in a row, his political progress, and his chance of a break-through in his presidential ambitions became greatly diminished. General Buhari faced a Harmattan period, with heavy fog filling the sky above and the Saharan dust choking out any hint of hope. But in his darkest hours, something kept the flame of hope burning and he refused to give up. Major-General Muhammadu Buhari’s own history challenges us that walls can be torn down but the task is never easy.
True progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice. Today, I project his story on to Nigeria’s, its problems, its frustrations and its tragedy with an unstinting belief that it can overcome.
As we celebrate the historic election of the General and the gracious concession from President Jonathan to Nigeria, I sound a clarion call, to those who are dissatisfied with the current status quo that we must never give up, but dig deep into the labours of our leaders past and allow their sacrifices to speak to us from the past.
My country, Nigeria, which has faced so many traumas, so many false dawns and is in a slow decent into anarchy can draw a leaf from the word called hope.
The ownership of today’s victory does not rest with party chieftains, but its ownership really belongs to the long suffering Nigerian people, those who are subjected to the daily scandal of mis-governance, to those who deserve better healthcare, to the child who has a right to decent education and also the family who simply wants to live in security.
As a people, we must reject the myth of generational apathy; and challenge the orthodoxy of current thinking and ask the hard questions.
We must challenge ourselves and understand the gravity of our task, which lies ahead and understand the futility of doing nothing. The pathway ahead remains hard, our ascent steeps, and we may not get there in one term, but I am filled with more hope now than ever before that we will get there and we will reclaim our voice.
I do not in a thousand years suggest that an electoral victory conceived in the depths of our anguish should end in the hype of the hour.
Today may not be all the change others and I seek; but it creates a space for us to make that change. This is our chance to reclaim our voice, to answer the call, for this is our moment, and this is our time.
It is by default that we have had bad governments in Nigeria because we have allowed the past and present rulers to operate on the unending margins of despair and apathy.
They acquired power not because they had a genius about them, but because we were asleep in deep slumber and the coalition of progressives was fractured. In the past, I had made reference to the template of President Obama, the improbability of a black man becoming the President of the United States.
I had written about the near impossibility that was overcome when the first man was sent to the moon. The obstacle that Apartheid presented and the dismantling of it without a bloodbath, the impregnability of the Berlin Wall which came tumbling down! I therefore lay down a challenge to the cynics who claim that Nigeria is an impossible case, and that without our abject surrender to corruption and its accompanying violence, we simply do not have a chance at mounting a challenge to the status quo.
I ask what do we have to lose by trying? I suggest we lose more in not trying at all. I go further to state today that by helping the people find their voice across the diaspora in Nigeria from Sokoto to Lagos, Kwara to Taraba, Borno to Imo, Cross River to Kano, we will be able to proclaim with all certainty and voices soaring above the skies of Nigeria that our time has come! I pray that the General and the APC buy into my dream of a Nigeria governed by policies based upon welfarism, premised on programmes, decisions and/or rules evaluated on the basis of their consequences on the governed.
Welfarism based on the view that the actions of the rulers have significant consequences that impact on the human beings they serve. Welfarism, which produces ideas that stem from having a human face. Our Welfarism must personify every structure of government.
These structures must be treated with dignity and care, because failure on any part, will have dire consequences on others and fatal effect on the governed.
For the General, I visualise a quality of leadership whose style is outstanding. Leadership that influences others through inspiration, generated by a passion and ignited by a genuine and sincere purpose. Not a leader who lords it over the governed and is only after personal aggrandizement and avarice.
The vision is of a new crop of leadership, which demonstrates the passion and willingness to serve and serve responsibly. I suggest that the principle of good governance is acknowledged as essential for the success of any nation.
Leaders at the helm of our affairs should play a vital role in serving their causes and communities through committed passion as well as skills and experience to the instruments of governance and the governed.
The principle of good governance enhances the provision of long-term vision and protects the reputation and values of a nation. To make a difference, our politicians need to have proper procedures and policies in place.
The principle of good governance will ensure the delivery of welfarist promises made through a team that is accountable, sincere and astute.
Today, the General’s search for power has come to an end and my fervent hope is that he uses power to truly transform our destiny and ends the stigma of corruption.