Muhammadu Buhari: Christmas Message From The Heart By Louis Okoroma
President Muhammadu Buhari would not stop surprising Nigerians. It is possible that by the time he is through with his tenure, he would be penciled down for either the Guinness Book of Records, or A People’s Prize for great Speeches, and great delivery!
While Nigerians were still savoring the President’s superlative, simple and straight budget speech, delivered to the National Assembly Joint session, and which was attended by many prominent Nigerians including political leaders, on the 22nd of December, 2015, the handsome and elegant septuagenarian gave Nigerians another talking point. This was the President’s Christmas message.
One believes that many concerned Nigerians would agree that the Christmas message of our dear President and Leader, was more than just a greeting to enjoy the merriment of the season. The message well dissected, once again portrays the quintessential Buhari, a caring Father and Leader, who is genuinely disturbed by the sorry pass to wish our beloved country has come to, and who is daily perturbed about how things would be put right. It is the reflection of a man who wants his country people to appreciate the true situation of things and who wants commitment and cooperation to put things right. Above all, the message in my view shows a President who is sincere to ensure that everyone is carried along in the task of nation- building and is ready to adjust his own idiosyncrasies in order to achieve maximum cooperation.
Buhari’s Christmas message is like a political message, a call to action and an assurance of victory at the end of conscientious labour. In the second paragraph of the message, the President said, ‘’… let us all rededicate ourselves to the virtues of peace, love, honesty, JUSTICE, equity, piety, humility and service, the way Christ did. One imagines the President talking to many categories of Nigerians here namely agitators for self- determination, terrorists and insurgents, the public servant and indeed the average Nigerian who lives simply! The point here is that the President would not be invoking the virtues mentioned above, if he has not vowed to himself to apply same in his day- to- day life, and in his direction of State affairs. This then means that those agitating for a separate nation on account of past injustice, those terrorizing fellow citizens on account of present and ongoing injustice, should tarry a while, and give peace a chance as in the era of Change under President Buhari, JUSTICE and EQUITY shall reign, as the President has also assured in his exciting speech to the National Assembly.
The virtues of humility and service are among the strong points of the President. It is important that public servants shun corruption and the despicable behavior of the Diezani’s, Okonjo- Iweala’s and Dasuki’s who abdicated their responsibility as public servants in pursuit of filthy lucre to the detriment of the nation and our suffering people. In the 2016 budget speech, President Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), in keeping to their election promise to Nigerians, will start the implementation of a small scale welfare programme. This programme will be made up of the five thousand naira stipend to the most vulnerable and the unemployed, free meals in primary schools for pupils and half a million teaching jobs targeting the army of jobless graduates across the country.
These measures are designed to spread happiness and faith in the nation by these class of Nigerians who before now, had been abandoned by the previous government and its ruling party. However, these social welfare measures would fail to impact on the target population and the society and economy at large, if the government official’s notably civil servants who are to implement it lack the virtues of humility and sense of service. Those concerned should assist the President for the nation to move forward, and become in his words, ‘’a more united, peaceful, secure and progressive nation’’.
Yet, another important issue addressed by the President’s Christmas message, is the plight of Internally Displaced Person’s (IDP’S) who are barely eking out a living in several displaced person’s camps across the country. The bulk of these unfortunate Nigerians are the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency and terrorist attacks in the North- east region of our country. The hardest hit States are Borno, Adamawa and Yobe with occasional outward thrust of the terrorists in other parts of the North east. The life of these displaced fellow Nigerians are quite pathetic and the President has shown his genuine concern and interest in the normalization of their life conditions by the attention he paid to their plight in his Christmas message.
The Buhari government is sincere about returning life to normal in the North east. On more than one occasion, senior members of the administration like the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Information Minister, Lai Mohammed and top military and Defense officials have visited this part of the country to see things for themselves and assure the government and the people of the area that they are not forgotten. Even a master plan is in the works for the economic and infrastructural rehabilitation and development of the area. This would start in earnest in 2016, the moment the military, completes the mopping up of the last vestiges of the irritant Boko Haram insurgency.
In his usual honest manner, President Buhari acknowledged that the economic outlook at present is tough but urged Nigerians not to allow the current challenges to dampen our expectations of a better Nigeria adding that in the 2016 budget as we mentioned above, that his administration has taken a number of measures to restore hope to Nigerians and that the 2016 budget defines that commitment to a better Nigeria.
There are some people notably in the erstwhile ruling party, who are still unhappy with the choice of Change by Nigerians who brought in another political party, the APC to power. These people have unwittingly become incurable pessimists and they risk hypertension which would increase the health services burden on the government. They see only the wrong things and wish that the government fails in its assignment to improve the lives of Nigerians. This government however will only achieve success and improvement in the state of the nation because the country is already down. For these class of people, Buhari also had them in mind in his Christmas message when he said, ‘’ our change slogan is not a campaign gimmick but a promise that must be kept. We are determined to bring tangible changes in the lives of our people.
PMB has spoken truth to Nigerians and shown his determination to govern purposely and effectively. He has put his cards on the table, let all Nigerians give him the needed support. As he concluded in his spectacular Christmas message, ‘’Public office is a trust that must be held to the highest ethical standards.
Merry Xmas and Happy New Year in advance.
Louis Okoroma, a Public Affairs Analyst wrote from Abuja. He is on firstname.lastname@example.org