“A truly public-spirited person should accept public office not for what he can get for himself, such as the profit and glamour of office, but for the opportunity which it offers him of serving his people to the best of his ability, by promoting their welfare and happiness.”
– Awolowo, 1966.
The above description of selfless leadership by the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, aptly fits the character and leadership trait of President Muhammadu Buhari, who today remains the most celebrated incorruptible leader Nigeria has ever produced. It was this anti-corruption credential that recently earned him the African Union’s first and most prestigious award of Anti-Corruption Champion of the Continent.
Since assumption of office nearly three years ago, President Buhari had amply demonstrated visionary and purposeful leadership, statesmanship, capacity and the needed sacrifice to transform the nation through the projection of a vision that is positive, attractive, appealing, realistic and achievable.
As a social builder and charismatic leader, the President has consistently shown transparent conduct, charm, and positive self-image that inspire positive change in the citizenry and show commitment to the general will, without pretences, and guided by public interest. His other attributes are high ethical and moral standards, ennobling sense of respect for others, and humility.
It is instructive to note that these sterling leadership qualities are what promote open and democratic exchange of information about every important aspect of governance, strengthen public trust and ensure the emergence of a more patriotic citizenry willing to discharge responsibilities in the interest of the country. Little wonder that the whistle-blowing policy introduced by government is already beginning to yield result.
It is gratifying to note that the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari has brought with it a new governance philosophy that elicits patriotism for the nation, love and respect for the leadership and hope for all.
Under this government, the era of impunity has gone with the winds, respect for the rule of law has come to stay and governance is no longer business as usual but a call to duty to serve the people with due diligence, honesty and transparency.
Coming into power with a hard-earned reputation, Buhari has changed the face of governance as rightly observed by Yusuf Alli, the Nation’s Abuja Bureau Chief. “Unlike in the past when loafers, busy bodies, political heavyweights, multi-colour businessmen masquerading as investors, chieftains of banks seeking to influence financial policies, portfolio investors and money bags turned the Presidential Villa into a Mecca of sort, it is indeed no longer business as usual.”
Nigeria at the moment fortunately has a new sense of direction under a leadership with the most dynamic, charismatic, modern disposition, a leader who possesses an in-depth knowledge of the nation’s developmental challenges.
It is an incontrovertible fact that President Buhari’s anti-corruption credential is unassailable. He is known to have occupied various sensitive positions at the twilight of his career as a military officer including military governor of the defunct North Eastern state comprising the six states in the North-east geo-political zone; Group Managing Director of NNPC, the petroleum behemoth; General Officer, Commanding 3rd Division Nigerian Army; and the ultimate office of Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In his quiet retirement after being ousted out of power by General IBB, Buhari was invited by late General Sani Abacha to serve as Chairman of the board of the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund, (PTF) where he acquitted himself.
Throughout his military, post military and political career, the man is known to have and still has an unblemished record of service. While some of his former military colleagues are known to have controlling interests in most blue-chip companies, PMB’s known business interest is in tendering to his cattle in his native home of Daura.
While the political and military elites boast of a formidable power base at their beck and call established through the dispensation of political patronage while in office, PMB’s strong support base remains the Nigerian masses who always see their hero as an epitome of honesty, integrity, transparency and accountability.
This is why his traducers expend millions of dollars hiring the best publicists and image launderers to burnish their sullen image, while the common man on the street remains Buhari’s ardent supporter and chief image maker.
Till today, Buhari still remains the only popular politician whose candidature was bankrolled by the masses via huge donations.
President Muhammadu Buhari will go down in history as the first African leader to be recognized by the African Union as the Anti-Corruption champion of Africa in a continent whose leaders are known for their kleptocracy and squander-mania. It is instructive to note that up to date, only one African leader qualified for the Mo-Ibrahim Prize for Leadership introduced nearly two decades ago.
Written by Ibrahim Mohammed