The Return Of Buddha
Sir: The metamorphosis of our democracy makes it to wear different faces. In recent times, there was President Obasanjo who bullied us to submission with his brashness. There was President Yar’Adua who in his administrative comatose re-engineered our relationship with the Niger Delta. There was President Jonathan who in his sleepwalking manner watered the grounds for our politics to grow. And today we face President Buhari who like an oracle listens to our supplications and ushers godlike directives. We must appreciate the realisation that our country is better with our growing democracy. Otherwise, consider the dictatorship of military regime.
It is beginning to attract attention at the moment that we have a president who does not talk back to us. This is not to fail his leadership so far but adopting a Buddha-like persona does not inspire the best politics in a democratic setting. The power of democracy is inherent in its propensity to openly allow issues to be critically analyzed. We can respect the personality of the president to be solemn. Perhaps, that could be his leadership style. We cannot be psychics and unless he addresses us, we are lost looking at a stoic statue.
The president has to lead the frontline on healthy policy debate. It is the approach for good governance to thrive. Introspection is logical in one’s personal life but a leader in a democracy must bring his vision in the open for discourse. There is no diminishing the potentiality of a basket of intellectual know-how. On many issues, he has kept mum. The citizenry has to assume that he has the solutions ready. The recent case of money owed to oil marketers is a disappointing example. He has to run to National Assembly for approval of payment after the matter has escalated and with its undue consequences.
It can be shown that the president is not adept at debates. This is judged from his shying away from the experience during the election campaign. His admirers argue that he believes that action speaks louder than words. There could be no better time for him to put his demigod image to relevance than on the nation’s fight against corruption.
The president being mute on public discourse becomes puzzling. The irony is that Nigerians have watched him on television stations abroad give convincing interviews. This indicates that he respects the power of democracy. He knows that these Western countries will not welcome him if he does not abide by the dictates of their system. We will take it to be a lack of trust in his leadership ability if he continues to deny our news media the opportunity of a political dialogue.
Hope is slowly being restored to our system. Thanks in great measure to the quiet sensibility of the president. He should go further to unmask the facade and assure us that he is conversant with the tenets of democracy. Doors to robust exchange of ideas should be opened by him. He should outline his policy decisions to the public to encourage a more enlightened government. Democracy is too big to be one man’s affair.
• Pius Okaneme,
Umuoji, Anambra State.
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