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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Buhari: Triumph of a resilient fighter - Michael Jegede.

SIR: General Muhammadu Buhari is one man that is highly respected and loved by many within and outside Nigeria for his simplicity, uprightness and zero tolerance for corruption. Born on December 17, 1942 in Daura, Katsina State, Buhari, a professionally trained soldier and former military Head of State between 31 December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985, has over the
years proved himself as a man of rectitude, and demonstrated his commitment towards the struggle to build a better Nigeria in the interest of the masses.
As a dogged, resilient fighter and uncompromising politician with unalloyed forthrightness, he pursued his presidential ambition with great tenacity, despite his failure at every attempt since 2003. The retired
Army General’s actually sojourn to the Presidency started in 2003, when he vied on the platform of the defunct All Peoples Party, APP. In that year’s election, Buhari garnered about 12.7 million votes, which represented 32.1per cent to lose to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who was seeking a second term at that time. Obasanjo scored about 24.5 million votes representing 61.9per cent of total votes cast.
Four years later in 2007, he contested under the umbrella of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), but again lost to Umaru Yar’Adua of blessed memory also of the PDP, polling a meager 6.6 million votes, a far worse performance than that of 2003. Yar’Adua had about 24.6 million votes. Not taking his eyes off the Presidency, by 2011, the unrelenting and persevering Buhari contested on the ticket of a new party he founded-the Congress for Progressive Change. Despite being a new party single handedly formed by the retired General with the support of people of like minds, just less than six months to the election, he scored 12.2 million votes to lose to the incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of PDP who got 22.5million votes in that contest.
However, the figures Buhari had in 2011, as the CPC candidate was an impressive improvement compared to his 2007 outing. In fact, he received commendations from a lot of Nigerians who had maintained that the support
for Buhari from the people since he began his journey to occupy the seat of power at the centre in the current democratic dispensation was purely based on his personality and reputation. He is believed to have distinguished himself in all the various positions he held in the past and thereby succeeded in getting endeared into the hearts of the populace.
After the conduct of the 2011 general elections, some major political parties in the country – Buhari’s CPC, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the ANPP and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
commenced talks on a merger that would provide them with a formidably strong platform to unknot the dominance of the ruling PDP. On February 6, 2013, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was founded from the merger arrangement and Buhari eventually emerged as the party’s presidential candidate after a well-organized, transparent, free and fair primary election in Lagos last December.
Today, the former Head of State has made history by becoming the first Nigerian politician to defeat an incumbent President. He polled a total of 15,424,921 votes to defeat Jonathan, who scored a total of 12,853,162 votes to place second in the race involving 14 contestants. His victory has been described by many observers as a welcome development heralding the beginning of a new era in the affairs of the country under a democratic setting. Indeed, most Nigerians cannot wait for this new horizon to unfurl.
•Michael Jegede,

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