Except if President Muhammadu Buhari does not recontest or it is the will of God, nothing human can stop the post of the president from him.
I simply mean that none from the wishful thinkers, the sycophants and enemies of progress can stop the will of the Nigerian people from reelecting him. This is because, despite all the efforts from the presumed opposition and independent selfish politicians, over 80 percent of Nigerians are overwhelmed by Buhari’s personality, incorruptibility and patriotism. His status as shown in his recent reception of APC stalwarts in London is evident that he will come back in the next few days to Nigeria stronger, determined, inspirited and invigorated to drive the economy and governance forward.
For many Nigerians, the name of the president is enough threat to corruption and enough beckon to development. Though it is unarguable that governance has been slow, very slow to some extent, many indices point to the fact that his presidency will require till 2023 to stabilize the ongoing reforms in all sectors of the economy: the military and paramilitary, the customs, the immigration, the education, the power, the health, the agriculture and infrastructure. I strongly believe that it is better to be slow and get it right than to rush and continue to fail or digress from targets.
An attempt to gather the opinions of Nigerians within my vicinity on the state of the nation and also over the 2019 political projections was fruitful. I was surprised that despite the controversies staged by political gladiators in the system, Nigerians are still in love with President Buhari. Some people say they have been disappointed in his government for two main reasons: high cost of commodities and the lack of cash flow amongst the citizenry. To them, things are not moving as normal. In short, one of my respondents claimed that though he hated corruption of the previous governments, he loved the way the past federal administrations allowed money to circulate for petty traders and contractors to benefit. According to him, 2019 meant nothing to him as voters never had their choices at the end of the voting process.
Moreover, all my respondents were in unanimity that the revelations from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were enough evidences that the country was bound to experience recession because of looted funds that brought the nation down by persons who were at the corridor of governance in the past. “Nigeria was in bondage”, Mrs. Julie exclaimed. Many said two years were not enough for the Buhari’s anti-corruption war and other economic plans to begin to yield fruits because it was like starting afresh. Some said two years were enough time for any prepared government to make a difference. “Nothing seems to be working well”, another citizen opined.
There was the enigmatic question on how stainless many of the politicians in the present government are. Ezinne bluntly opined that the same people who have not found suitable solutions to Nigeria’s problems have been recycling themselves in the government. For her, Nigeria needs a very young Nigerian president and a federal cabinet made up of at least 45 percent Nigerian youth. “I think Baba has tried his best, but we need more. We need youths in Nigeria’s government at the federal and state levels”, she said. She queried why Nigerian politicians do not want the country to change for the better by supporting Buhari government. “God is with him. We are gradually going out bad governance”, Jimoh squeaked.
Further to note is that President Buhari stands the chance of winning the 2019 presidential elections, if he gets well and fit to contest. Most people who are criticizing his government are core plotters who are not interested in the overall development of the country but out for their parochial, ethnocentric and individualistic gains. They have lost control of the commonwealth which they milked without recourse for posterity. The free flow of raw cash into their stores, money-pits, soak pits, warehouses, toilets, farms and forests is no more. All the politicians who are crying out against Buhari are basically the treasury looters who are afraid of being exposed and controlled. But the patriots are aware of these and it is hoped they should use their votes to cleanse the rots in the executive and the legislative arms. It is the wish of many compatriots that the judiciary positions be also elective so that the rots in the arm can equally be sanitized with votes.
In the Southern part of the country which is presumably the opposition block, Buhari will pull votes more than he did in 2015. In these areas, farmers are very happy with the current administration. Voices from them say they have never enjoyed any previous administration like the present one primarily because of the great opportunities they have been exposed to in the agricultural sector. On youth empowerment, Mr. Ugwu Chukwu exploded: “I am a graduate without a job, but the N-Power is keeping me and my colleagues within. It is a very laudable initiative by this government.” As for the northern part of Nigeria, the name of Buhari is an intoxicant. And even if the President decides not to recontest but blesses a successor who must be like him in some aspects, then it will pass that way.
Besides, people who criticize the president without basis have begun to receive the waves of recall or castigation from their constituencies, preparatory to the 2019 general polls. Cases of politicians being lynched by their people are recurring. 2019, it is hoped, should be a sharp departure from the past when politicians abandon their and remain in Abuja or their state capitals only to come back to base in their hometowns with bags of rice and salt cum intimidations seeking reelections.
However, the conspiracy against Buhari’s government thickens by the day all aimed towards making him unpopular. The President’s health challenge has become a point for political mesmerization. His war on corruption has been a source of ridicule by those who think they own the country. Imagine a bill being sponsored on amnesty for treasury looters! It is beyond imagination that the hounorable members of the House of Representatives allowed such bill to scale the first and second readings. The President, even if it is passed, should never accent to it. If not, the 2019 presidential contest may turn out otherwise.
Under whatever guise, how can a normal patriot support corruption especially massive looting of the nation’s wealth? What is the sense in trying to protect looters and encourage looting? Does this sound a warning that the philosophy of the Jonathan’s past government that thievery is not corruption is still remaining in the incumbent government? The affirmative could stand to be correct owing to the fact that it is still a source of worry that a large chunk of key positions in the Buhari’s government are occupied by the appointees of the Jonathan’s, though some may have turned a new leaf towards the change mantra.
How does one juxtapose the kleptomania in treasury looting and the amnesty for the heinous crime? How does one explain a report which claimed that the former Nigerian Oil Minister, Mrs. Allison Diezani Madueke returned billions of dollars stolen from the nation’s treasury which is just one of many cases alleged against the past administration? A non-governmental organization known as Hope For Nigeria made more allegations on such senseless massive looting of the commonwealth.
Up till today, the same former minister is being investigated on many mismanaged, embezzled and looted funds. An analyst wondered if former President Jonathan ever imagined that only one out of his ex-ministers could steal such amount under his administration without his knowledge at a time Nigerian pensioners were dying of hunger, insurgency was high, workers were not paid salaries and government could not build infrastructures and deliver dividends of democracy. How can one explain the claim by Jonathan that Nigerians still trust him and his party as he seems to be eyeing return to Aso Rock villa in 2019.
For any person to try under any guise to exonerate these looters from any persecution or prosecution is quixotically inordinate. Appropriate laws must be made and existing ones strengthened to deal with national treasury marauders. The anti-graft agencies must be supported at all times, even beyond 2019 to wipe out this menace and make money politics unattractive in Nigeria. Nigerians must condemn and not celebrate anyone who has stolen from Nigeria’s treasury, not to talk of allowing the person move freely and mock the citizenry by merely investing part of the loots in the economy. That is why the 2019 political dispensation is very important for continuity for posterity and progress.
My strong wish is for Mr. President to recover sound health, come back and restrategize governance. He has to reclaim the confidence of Nigerians who are solidly with him with prayers and are ready to do their best to salvage Nigeria from the hands of anti-Nigeria.
By Muhammad Ajah
Muhammad Ajah is an advocate of humanity, peace and good governance in Abuja. E-mail [email protected]