2015: A Chance for the General to Prove Himself Again by Balogun Adewale
The man General Muhammadu Buhari is no new name in most households in Nigeria. He is a man known very well for his stance against indiscipline in Nigerian, because during his regime he introduced “War Against Indiscipline” (WAI) that was in 1984. I can vividly recall that during those days you need no one to remind you of the every Saturday sanitary exercise. It was as if Buhari/Idiagbon lived on every street in Nigeria. Everyone was conscious of his environment during that short but fruitful period they ruled. Everybody, either high or low, was expected to live orderly; in bus stations, cafeteria, banks etc. irrespective of your status, you are expected to queue and respect others. More so, during his 17 months rule, hell was let loose on drug traffickers, offenders were taken before a military court and handed the death penalty. Corrupt members of the civilian government that was earlier overthrown were handed down prison terms ranging from 10 to 25 years with hard labour. I will never forget the case of Professor Tam David- West, a then Petroleum Minister who was handed down a prison sentence for accepting a wrist watch as “gift”.
Buhari regime’s method was so effective that when the regime sneezes in Lagos the ripple effect gets to the remotest part of the country. The primary effectiveness of these was due to the fact that the citizenry realize that the regime was truly out to restore Nigeria’s glory and they were not bothered about whose toes they step on in the process. Our “dear” royal fathers were skillfully kept at arms length, reporters were told to mind their business or shown the gulag. Every car has a trashcan in it and throwing of dirt on the roads or streets was forbidden. All these rules were strictly adhere to and everyone was expected to either contribute positively or remain neutral. Any negativity was rewarded handsomely with firing squad or a prison term.
I recall in Kaduna, armed robbers were executed almost every Saturday.That was the norm, and people were used to seeing mobile policemen plying our roads every Saturday to the execution ground. During the Shagari civilian rule things were so bad that after the overthrowing of the Shagari government, the Buhari regime forced manufacturers of food items,toiletries, beverages etc. to sell directly to the public. I remember how we used to queue for detergents like, Omo, sunlight and premier soap; milk, matches, ovaltine, you name it, all in other to force the price of these commodities down because these items were been hoarded in warehouses by profiteers.
One significant exercise that took place during this time was the changing of the naira. Everyone was expected to take the old currency to the bank for the new one and all this was done under two weeks in order to save the Nigerian economy. The Shagari government had stolen so much money. Buhari’s military government was indeed on its path to making this country great, unfortunately it was cut short by some Nigerians whose businesses were deterred from operating “as usual”. This explains why the Babangida regime was welcomed with so much joy and fanfare. Nigeria as a country was returned to the era of business “as usual” and ever since, this country has been on the slope, going down, down and down still. Look where we find ourselves today.
The man Muhammadu Buhari has contested for every presidential race since 1999 but he has failed to attain the office. He has not given up and if given the chance he may again contest in 2015. But so many negative things has been said about General Buhari. We have heard that he is a fanatic, an Islamist. Some people even went further to call him a Boko Haram member. Others have said no. He is not a Boko Haram but he sympathizes with them, so he will turn the Nigerian state into an Islamic country. Some people have vowed never to vote for him because he is a Muslim. The other story is that he is a Northerner and the north has ruled for so long, so he should not be given the chance. He has also been told to “go and rest,” they ask, “what does this old man want?” So much more has been said but I still believe the man deserves to be given a chance. Before the last election, the incumbent President came out with the “no shoe motto”. He canvassed on his poverty stricken childhood and said much on his days of lack; that if given the chance to govern he will make things right and that everything will work again. Now you be the judge! Did the man, who begged for a chance and was given, prove his mantle?
The man Muhammadu Buhari was once handed the mantle of leadership on a platter of gold because he came out publicly and said he has never taken part in any coup plot. He was only asked to come and head the 1983 regime; the aftermath of a coup he has no hand in. He even went further to tell the Nigerian public that he has never owned any foreign bank account in his life. How many of our past and present leaders can come out in public to vouch such? Many said he was the head of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and that the agency was plagued with irregularities. Buhari came out to defend himself. He admitted being the head but challenged anyone to prove that he stole a Kobo from the Trust Fund. Others and I are still waiting for a single prove against Buhari. Till this very moment, 15 years after Abacha, we can still see most of the numerous projects that PTF under Buhari left behind. And we must not forget that when Obasanjo asked for a nominee, it General Mohammadu Buhari who nominated Dora Akunyili for the post of NAFDAC Director General. We all know what happened to NAFDAC under Akunyili who later also became a Federal Minister in the YarAdua cabinet. This is food for thoughts for whose that wrongfully accuse Buhari of tribalism. It is now time for a rethink!
The man Muhammadu Buhari has done a lot for Nigeria. If he decides to contest again, let us all rally round him irrespective of our religion, tribe, region etc. and give him the chance to prove himself. He has done it before and in just one year we all will be able to access and score him. The Nigerian political landscape is corrupt and plagued with so many irregularities. Moving this country forward is our collective duty and if truly we want to move our country to the great position we are destined to be, then we need to set our differences asides; we must put religion and ethnicity behind us and entrust our country to someone with proven integrity, a non corrupt individual with a team of trusted technocrats. The process must start now!
God bless Nigeria.
Balogun AbdulFatai Adewale is a Nigerian and can be reached
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