There came a moment when almost all the citizens were glued to their television sets, then President Muhammadu Buhari appeared to address the nation over the nation-wide #EndSARS protest. “The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour,” Buhari said.
This lanky man has always been guilty of smiling with his open teeth and for the frown on his face. Standing tall as a generalissimo in his babaringa, Buhari is an uncommon president. He served his country as a young military officer and rose to the rank of a general in the Army before he retired and joined politics.
He is the second in the history of Nigeria to rule the country twice; first as a military head of state and currently as the democratically elected president. This Fulani man, as he was popularly known as “Mai Gaskiya” (Mr Integrity), can be tagged the most beloved politician ever that Nigerians love with their lives and took as an icon of change and hope.
Unfortunately, the president may remain adamant on his strictness to save his integrity but the system and conditions have changed which made things worse under his two administrations. The consequences of his actions and inactions make things look as if Buhari’s integrity has been stained.
As a country, our only hope in 2015 was to see Mr President as number one citizen of the country which all of us would be given the credit, since then we all thought things would be better as much expected. Yes, we have witnessed some changes beyond what used to be. To say a little, agricultural sector has received boost. He has been trying to improve on citizens’ welfare, providing job opportunities to the youths, developmental milestone projects such as roads, hospitals, schools and much more.
Well, we all know that when there are successes, there must be challenges. Many view points of the citizens under the Baba administration may not be more than insecurity all over, especially in the Northern states, failed economy, communication gap and especially his appointees some have disconnected from the people at the grassroots. Moreover, the 8th National Assembly had been a bottleneck; budget padding saga and lots of drama.
All the blame was then shifted to Buhari, back then, Boko Haram had since been existing since 2009 and has been ravaging the soil and blood of the North Eastern part of the country, killing thousands of innocent people, destroying many households, raping women and children are avoidably made orphans. But all the Boko Haram atrocities look new to Nigerians under Buhari. We forgot that it’s under his administration that all those local government areas in Borno state were recaptured.
Please, get this, I’m not a die-hard Buharist. But I feel we are not being fair to Buhari alone as a person. He made the best cabinets ever –very resourceful persons. I blame them here for not delivering as expected and remain mute to Buhari’s critics. Some may be exaggerating things from behind. Constructive criticism is welcome anyway.
I remember when someone at the top level around 2016 from the opposition said, “Had it been Buhari didn’t win the 2015 election, Nigeria would have economically collapsed”. The country since independence started growing as a stillborn nation until in 1980 when the country started fairing better. But now, things aren’t normal. Who is deliberately causing this?
Conclusively, let’s be fair and honest with ourselves, let the change begin with all of us. This gentleman may have shown bravery and courage, as a mentor to some, Buhari is the only option at hand now, whether we criticise or support him, he is still there. I want to draw the attention of members of his cabinet, governors and lawmakers to play above political lines and assist the president to deliver his campaign promises. We know how stubborn the country has become.
About the #Endsars saga that has become a discussion of the day, their demand was granted by the federal government as requested, SARS has been scrapped, but the protests continued. Some are calling for the president’s resignation despite all his efforts to make things better, especially in the southern states where he executed many projects. Politics and tribalism may be the reason for that in Nigeria as the giant of Africa. Now, many public and private properties have been vandalized by the protesters, even though I refused to believe the #Endsars campaigners are responsible for the destruction. Hoodlums may have taken advantage of the situation. Here, as a Nigerian, to protests may not be the only way to get things under control.
On all these issues, we blame Buhari. Yes, as a person, Buhari can make mistakes. But, remember that we are in a democratic era, our governors, legislators, ministers have a vital role to play in ensuring our well being as a country. Let us channel our calls to them, let them be addressing issues affecting us. They are closer to us than the president is.
Mr. President, I must commend your efforts in putting things in order any time something of concern arises. I want to appeal to you to look into the matters at hand, especially the insurgency in the North and redefine your strategies to free the country from all forms of insecurity. Let’s see the Army in you, Sir. Let the integrity rise up again.
If you will agree with me, I will advice you to have liaison officers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. The officers will be the intermediate board between the masses and the government. Hunger and poverty can make people react badly and negatively. Reconsider your decision of border closure, open it for some months, if not at all. Then enforce strick rules. Our youths have stayed for long without going to school, this may trigger their anger. Call ASUU to order, sit and discuss with them and proffer a solution and reopen all tertiary institutions and give free scholarships to students.
To fellow Nigerians, let’s forget enmity, hatred and ethnic or religious sentiment, where the government did well we should appreciate it, where it goes wrong, we should constructively call on their attention by using sensitive means or through our traditions. We can’t always blame, accuse, abuse them blindly that’s why we don’t see goodness in them. Pray and support the government by changing yourself to be good ambassador. Let’s maintain peace and unity as brothers’ keepers, let’s always pray for our country and our leaders. God will surely make Nigeria a better place for all of us again. Remember, prayer is the key to success.
Usman Abdullahi Koli,Mass Communication Department, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi[email protected].