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Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Muhammadu Buhari: A Giant of a Man


Nasir Lawal Danmowa
General Muhammadu Buhari is a
polarizing figure. You either love him or
hate him. But that’s okay. Most statesmen
are polarizing, anyway. In so many ways,
he reminds me of the late Chief Obafemi
Awolowo: tough, uncompromising,
visionary, tenacious, honest, and loyal.
His mantra is simple: performance and
accountability. Regrettably these
attributes have not been welcomed in the
Nigeria of the last three decades. And I
would posit that it is because Nigeria was
unappreciative of men like Buhari,
Idiagbon and Awolowo that we’ve found
ourselves in the current social-economic
and political cesspit
Since his forced departure from office,
lesser men have been at the helm of our
national affairs. Any wonder then that
we mistake mediocrity for excellence,
stupidity for intelligence, and cowardice
for bravery? It is a national tragedy to
have shunned men like Buhari who is a
patriot, a nationalist, and an embodiment
of political and personal morality. At the
time General Buhari and his lieutenants
came to power, Nigeria was already
swimming in a cesspool of economic and
social corruption, laziness, dirtiness and
political decadence. The country was in
the hands of the inept and was being run
aground in an ocean of uncertainty. But
and his partners right most of the
wrongs.
We had lost faith in our country, in our
neighbors, in our leaders and in our
humanity. It was a grim, desperate and
depressing time; and a cloud of
hopelessness and dejection was gradually
enveloping the country. Folks, it was a
sad and hopeless era! It was, until Buhari
and his able partner, General Tunde
Idiagbon, rode into town to assure us
that we can do better! And we were until
General Ibrahim Babangida and his
posse threw a wrench in our national
affairs.
Buhari was not a perfect head of state.
He was not a perfect General. He was
human, and he had his flaws. But that’s
okay. He loved his family. He loved his
country. He loved his people. He was
unlike any president - military or civilian
- Nigeria has ever had. Though a military
dictator, he had his ways. There was a
method to his style of governance. What
mattered was Nigeria and Nigerians. His
actions and pronouncements revealed a
man who cared about the soul of our
nation. He cared about our collective
destiny. He cared about history and
posterity. He delivered what he
promised. These, all these, you cannot
say about others.
I vividly remember the Buhari days as
though it was yesterday. It was an era
when people were afraid to demand and
or to take bribes; it was era when you
thought twice before you litter the
streets; it was an era when you took
turns to enter the bus; it was an era
when you sold drugs, engage in
prostitutions and other reprehensible
activities at your own peril; it was an era
when the Western world paid attention
to us; it was an era when it was chic to
be a Nigerian again. Most of all, it was an
era when we knew Nigeria was going to
turn the corner from decadence to
righteousness, from economic stagnation
to economic growth, and from decay to
prosperity. Buhari restored our hope.
But of course, not everybody was happy
for us and for our country and so Buhari
was betrayed, arrested and forced from
office by those with evil machinations.
Truth be told, ordinary Nigerians
betrayed Buhari too! We were
unappreciative of all he did in the very
short period he was in office. We
betrayed him by not standing by him
then; and we betrayed him again during
the last elections by not voting and
electing him into office. Just as we
disappointed the sage (Awolowo) on
three occasions, we disappointed Buhari
on two occasions.
It is my hope therefore that Nigerians
will right the wrongs of the past, restore
my hope in the goodness and sensibility
of Nigerians, and also make it up to a
great man and a great Nigerian who
deserve to be the next executive
president of Nigeria. Buhari is my man.
He should be your man. He should be
our man come 2015.

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