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Atsar Terver
Public Commentator
Port Harcourt
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History beckons on you to be the man who stepped out at this critical moment in our chequered history to snatch Nigeria from the hands of rampaging rapacious gang of reckless wannabes masquerading as leaders, to redirect us unto the path of purposeful and visionary nation building.

Hurry Up Buhari!

 

 

Hurry Up Buhari.

While the 2015 Presidential Election in Nigeria was ongoing, from the information that was streaming on social media, it was clear where the pendulum would swing between the (then) opposition APC and the ruling PDP. I had postulated two options before the incumbent president. The first option was for him to concede defeat and congratulate the obvious choice of the people, General Muhammadu Buhari. This option  seemed so unlikely in view of the desperation he had demonstrated in the run up to the election. The second which appeared likely by my estimation,  was for him to attempt, by any means possible, using the power of incumbency at his disposal, to turn the results to his favour or truncate the process and in so doing, set Nigeria on fire.

 

As I write, the Election has come and gone and a winner has emerged. President Jonathan has for the first time acted like a statesman by gracefully accepting defeat and reaching out to congratulate the winner even before the final results were announced. This was not without some attempt though, to halt the collation process as one of his trusted aides, and kinsman Mr. Orubebe, had some hours before the President’s concession of defeat, disrupted the collation process in a manner hitherto only imaginable to Nollywood movie directors.

Thanks to Professor Attahiru Jega, a man of uncommon dignity, who demonstrated extreme maturity, calm and caution in putting the rowdy situation under control. But for that singular act of maturity, the collation would have come to an abrupt halt, violence would have sprang up immediately amongst supporters of Buhari who was poised to win and Jonathan would have capitalised on this to suspend the election. Mr. Orubebe obviously did not act alone and it is difficult to imagine that he did not confer with his benefactor the President before embarking on that ignominious adventure. It is instructive that neither the PDP nor the President has publicly condemned Orubebe’s ‘unstatemanly’ behaviour.

So while it is proper to commend the President for obeying the simple rule of sportsmanship in the competition ( even though the competition meant more than just a sport to both contestants) because, that simple decision spared Nigeria needless bloodletting and ensured that the political space remained peaceful to guarantee the next batch of elections on April 11, one may however put a caveat on this commendation by noting  that ordinarily accepting the results of an election by any of the contestants should be a matter of logical expectation as required by law; and the two candidates had before the election signed a joint undertaking to accept the outcome of the election.

However for a man whose propensity to renege on agreements is legendary (he denied being part of Zoning in his party and also denied promising to do one term); breaking his own jinx and keeping to his word, has suddenly projected him in a different light. Jonathan has done well, even though not doing so would not have kept him on that seat beyond May 2015, it would have only stoked embers of hate and violence and invited foreign intervention from the AU, US and UK to apply the Gbagbo treatment on him. That would have led to some deaths and huge disruption of our economic wellbeing. So to that extent, we owe him much gratitude.

Jonathan’s response has also placed him in a better position to negotiate for a soft landing and attract more merciful and respectful treatment in the hands of justice under the new administration. Buhari has already alluded to this when he declared in his acceptance speech that Jonathan has nothing to fear. Recall that one of the fears expressed publicly by Jonathan’s wife was the fear of prison. She has told some PDP supporters in a rally that she was not ready to carry food to prison for her husband. She may have gotten a respite for that after all.

I congratulate Gen. Buhari for leading the change campaign that has earned Nigeria this victory over the tyranny of the PDP establishment but I make hast to say that, this victory is not the end of the struggle, it is just the beginning. 

Buhari must hit the ground running; in fact he should be in a hurry to make a difference. He must hit very hard at corruption and draw the line in the sand clearly from day one. Buhari must tackle insurgency in the North and elsewhere it may emerge. He must fix the battered economy and restore the dignity of that office. We must not be told that 4 years is not enough. We don’t want to hear that they are still settling down or learning the art of governance because Buhari has been prepared to rule us since 2003 when he first contested the presidential election. There is no time for Bazaars. He should shun frivolous courtesy calls from political jobbers and praise singers.

Gen. Buhari must choose his team carefully and avoid the temptation to elevate political patronage over and above merit and qualifications. He should ensure that only those who are ready to serve with integrity; only those who buy into his vision and transparency are hired or retained otherwise, his lieutenants would soon become a stumbling block to his covenant with the people.

The task ahead is urgent and the new President must have known by now how impatient Nigerians can be with a slow leader. He should realise that the people shall be watching every move of his with keen interest and that career critics have not found a new job and will not be looking for one anytime soon.

The APC as a party should not fall into the obvious trap of concentrating on building the biggest party in Africa like the PDP did. They should therefore beware of fair-weather decampees who cannot survive in opposition and would soon be trooping in from the PDP to align with the mainstream.

We need a visible change in the way we are governed. The expectations of change by the man on the street are very high and it would not be long before Nigerians become disappointed with the APC as a party if they fail to make a step change from corruption to transparency; from promises to results and from impunity to selfless service. 

History beckons on you to be the man who stepped out at this critical moment in our chequered history to snatch Nigeria from the hands of rampaging rapacious gang of reckless wannabes masquerading as leaders, to redirect us unto the path of purposeful and visionary nation building.

Hurry Up Buhari!

 

 

 


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