Wednesday, 26 August 2015
The Buhari magic - Lawal Ogienagbon
He and his party promised change and little by little, the country is experiencing change. Even without him saying it, we are all acting correctly, especially the anti-graft agencies and government workers. Yet President Muhammadu Buhari has not spent 100 days in office. So far, he has done 90 days, but see what is happening in the country. His predecessor spent over six years in office and never made half of the impact Buhari has made in three months.
What is it that has made Nigerians change overnight with the coming of Buhari? It is the Buhari persona, say analysts. Buhari came into office with the reputation of a no nonsense man and with his integrity intact. Nigerians know him too well having been military Head of State between December 1983 and August 1985.
For the 18 months he was head of state, he did not allow power to get into his head; he maintained his major general rank unlike others who rushed to promote themselves as soon as they got into office.
They succeeded because by then, Buhari’s cup had become full in the eyes of the people. Yes, his administration had alienated itself from the people because of what they perceived as some of his harsh policies, which led to the execution of three drug traffickers through a retroactive law; the execution of a woman trafficker, who had a handicapped child, and the imprisonment of two journalists under Decree 4. Buhari had a mission and he was in a hurry to execute it, but we were not on the same page with him. He knew what he wanted for the country, but we misunderstood him.
Thirty years after, we have come to appreciate the worth of Buhari. We virtually begged him to come and lead us now and bail the country out of the mess it has been thrown into by successive governments. It has been so far , so good under his watch even without his full complement of aides. It is as if we are no longer in Nigeria going by what we have been witnessing since his return to power as elected president. Just imagine what Nigeria would have been like today if Buhari had been allowed to sanitise the country the way he wanted in his first coming as military head of state.
But, we were not patient enough with him. We wanted the easy way out and see where that has led us. Our leaders – the happy going and smiling leaders – whom we preferred to Buhari, who we accused of not smiling, stole the country blind. Our country is still bleeding from their atrocities. Buhari may not be a smiling leader, but he knows what he is doing and what he wants for the country. He wants a Nigeria where things work; not a country where few people corral the wealth. This was what happened under past administrations and this was what he wanted to prevent back then; unfortunately, the corrupt, but wealthy minority had their way over the poor and gullible majority.
The scales have now fallen off our eyes. We have come to appreciate that Buhari meant well for the country then having weighed him on the same scale with those who sacked him from power. Has Buhari not been vindicated? He has. Our prayer is that God see him through during his second missionary journey.
He has yet to lift a finger, so to say, and things have started to fall in place. Before he took office on May 29, it was hard getting fuel to buy. It was queue, queue everywhere and filling stations were selling at over N150 per litre where the product was available. There is now orderliness at filling stations and petrol is selling for N87 per litre in many parts of the country. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) like other agencies has suddenly become proactive,, working as if it has just been created to regulate the operations of these Shylock dealers.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) have also woken up from slumber. They have become so busy of late, inviting one person or the other and seizing one property or the other. It shows that where the leader does not condone corruption, the anti-corruption agencies will also not be afraid to do their work. The people at EFCC and ICPC know what Buhari can do if they do not do their job the way it should be done. But can they be trusted to truly prosecute the anti-graft war having kept criminally quiet under the immediate past administration.
They may have been hamstrung in the discharge of their duty by the body language of our leader then, but that is no excuse for them to shirk their duty. Why did they hold on tenaciously to their job under such circumstance? It would have been more honourable to quit than to work in an environment where corruption thrives. Can they now, in all honesty, pull in those they hobnobbed with just in the recent past for dipping their hands in the till? This is why the Senate is threatening to probe EFCC chair Ibrahim Lamorde over a matter it should have since exercised its oversight power. Is it now that Lamorde is beaming searchlight on some former governors, who are now in the Senate, and/or their spouses, that the Upper Chamber should be talking of probing him over the weighty allegations of diverting funds seized from some past government functionaries totalling N1billion?
The wind of change is blowing in all directions. Even the National Assembly is not left out. It has cut its yearly budget of N150billion to N120billion. The lawmakers are also contemplating cutting their N42, 000 monthly wardrobe allowance in line with the prevailing mood in the country. Their salary may soon be slashed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which Buhari carpeted on Tuesday for the lawmakers’ jumbo pay. Buhari has shown that leadership matters in the life of a nation. A good leader will grow his country; an inept leader will kill it. We saw that happen under Jonathan. May God forgive him and his bedfellows. Buhari’s distaste for corruption is legendary. And without being told, all those in his administration know that they must live above board because it is no longer business as usual.
Whether in or out of government, the people are feeling what is going on and we are all wondering is this not Nigeria? Of course, it is. The only difference is that things are now being done the right way. Buhari is a breath of fresh air. Our prayer is that may this romance endure