There is no gainsaying the fact that for President Muhammadu Buhari it is still not business as usual. This was what it was for him when he held offices as GOC; Military Governor of the old North-east state; Minister of Petroleum and later as Military Head of State. The story was the same when during Late Sani Abacha’s leadership when he chaired the intervention fund of the Administration, Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF.
The sad story is that Nigerians, especially the political elites of the PDP extraction are used to making the unusual become usual. This is to say that at it is only in Nigeria that a leader can do anything to change things in his favour. This became so manifest and more institutionalised during the 16 years of the PDP misrule in our sojourn to becoming the best democracy in Africa practicing good governance in line with international best practices.
Under the leadership of former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan Goodluck they had field days running the governments according to their whims and caprices. Normalcy, procedures, rules and laws have been thrown to the dogs. Every action of theirs was a breach of the norms and practice in governance.
Before now, President Buhari has also distanced himself from reports that he has agreed to interfere in the running and screening of candidates for various elective positions in the country under the banners of the APC.
Just a few days ago, the President through a statement released by President Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed that his boss will not in any way interfere with the outcome of the re-run governorship elections in 5 states of the federation. For the avoidance of doubt, President Buhari remains independent before, during after the elections and will remain so even with upcoming re-runs in key APC states like Kano, Adamawa, Sokoto, Plateau, Bauchi and Benue.
It is an indisputable fact that the President will not in any way interfere with the work of INEC which is in all respects an independent body constitutionally charged with the responsibility of conducting free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria. This, to my mind, is in the spirit of following due process in respect of separation of powers of the three arms of government as enshrined in the 1999 constitution as amended. It is really worrisome that some of the APC governors facing the challenge of re run elections in their states are looking forward to the President to use his might and direct INEC to cut corners for them. President Buhari will be the last leader to do so. He has asked all the affected Governors to squarely work hard and face their challenges. This is a leader who has shown more democratic tendencies than all previous Presidents in the country. Obviously, the President is a man of conviction and manipulation of election results goes against everything he stands for.
No Nigerian leader has ever been as patriotic, transparent, open and democratic than President Muhammadu Buhari.
For this and other attempts by the President not to get involved in unnecessary, illegal and undemocratic decisions to interfere with the work of other independent arms of government, President Muhammadu Buhari deserves commendation for this statesmanship decision not to be a cog in the wheel of progress of our electoral system.
President Buhari is all out to leave a robust legacy of non Executive interference not just in our electoral, legislative or judicial systems but in all spheres of Governance. According to Buhari Media Organisation, “it is unthinkable that a sitting President would issue a public warning to members of his own political party that they should not expect him to arm-twist INEC to favour the ruling party in the March 23 supplementary election.”