Why Buhari deserves support
As we enter the final days before the general elections, arguments tainted with emotions and sentiment will spring up in favour of the major contenders for the exalted office of the presidency, while this is expectedly so especially in developing countries like Nigeria and others, where we are not too far from the Hobbesian state in which “man is move to action not by his intellect or reason but by his selfish desire and passion.”
In line with the above postulation of Thomas Hobbes and at times such as this, any argument in favour or against any contender is most likely to be read with political lenses and therefore, subjective rather than objective meanings are attributed to it. This notwithstanding, it is still worthy to highlights some of the attributes of candidates not just for electoral gains, but for posterity.
Today we celebrate our democracy and the clamour for ‘development’ which Nigerians and politicians have termed ‘dividend of democracy’ have increased. This implies that there will be no meaningful development without the practice of democracy. True as this may be, it is imperative that we take another look at the concept of democracy.The Greek definition of democracy has become a cliché of sort and therefore, it is essential to identify other elements of true democratic practice.
Contemporary democracy cannot strive in the absence of choice, consequently, a person who is not compelled by law but whose actions and utterances help to nurture and sustain alternative platforms for people to achieve their political aspirations can be aptly described as a democrat; in this wise, President Muhammadu Buhari should be commended for sustaining the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and giving Nigerians the opportunity to make choices on who is best suited to lead the nation. In our political context where winner takes it all, it is common to experience gale of decamping from other parties to the victorious party once election is over in search of goldmine, this was the situation we saw in the aftermath of the 2015 presidential election when the Peoples Democratic Party was decimated, abandoned and almost totally deserted but for Buhari who then as President-elect and as a true democrat stalled such deliberate political cupidity by warning politicians in other parties against such greedy ventures. ‘Do not decamp, stay and build your parties,’ he told them.
This is an uncontroverted fact that even members of the PDP and other political parties have acknowledged and this helped to keep remnant of potential decampees. What would have become of our political space if there was no virile and vibrant opposition? Would the electorates have been able to demand performance from their elected representatives?
It is on record that President Buhari was reported to have said that the National Assembly should choose their own leaders just as Nigerians chose him, consequently, he did not interfere or impose any candidate on the National Assembly as was previously the case thus giving rise to a genuine separation of power which was though entrench in our rule book but alien in practice.
President Muhammadu Buhari is the only President in our contemporary democratic practice to voluntarily transmit power to his deputy whenever he embarks on leave, be it medical or annual. This act did not only empower his deputy but established him as an active participant in running the affairs of the nation.
In the run up to the 2015 presidential election Buhari on the platform of the All Progressives Congress campaigned on the ‘Theme’ of Change and received the good will and political capital from all Nigerians. Unfortunately some people either by default or design associated the change mantra with a revolution, forgetting that change is gradual while a revolution amounts to social, political and economic upheaval. They also forgot that the winner of the 2015 presidential election no longer posses the capacity and capability for a revolution, limited by rules and procedures of which he must adhere to, having taking an oath to abide by the rules. (Times have changed).
The beauty of change is that, it is so gradual that it is sometimes un-noticed. In spite of this, one does not need to be a political scientist to observed the lull of political activities in spite of the fact that elections are days away.This obvious lull of political activities is occasioned by the veritable fact that the ruling party and by extension the President is not injecting billions of naira into the political process to win or sway the hearts and minds of the electorate but rather, banking on the achievements of the administration which is visible for those who have chosen to be objective or at least neutral. Same time four years ago and in contrast to this acquired disposition, we have heard of billions of naira allegedly given to different groups to gainer support for the then incumbent.
This new deposition of Buhari and the APC which has been contacted by all the political parties is change indeed and a positive one and a radical departure from the past when electionioneering campaign was a period of harvest for political jobbers. The import of this change is that, the youths, artisans, the sons and daughters of the peasants and indeed anyone and everyone who dares to aspire does not have to be a billionaire to stand to serve his or her country. The only thing that would matter in years to come will be the content and colour of a person’s character coupled with the audacity of hope. This is indeed a beacon of hope for Nigeria’s emerging democracy and a journey to the promise land.
God bless Nigeria.
• Olise wrote from Lagos.
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