Obama’s Encomium On Buhari, By Chukwudi Enekwechi
It is not always we find an American president pouring encomiums on foreign presidents, especially those from Africa. There was however a departure from tradition when President Barrack Obama of the United States singled out our President, Muhammadu Buhari to pour rare encomiums, for his honesty and integrity in governance. This was at the meeting both leaders had with their respective delegations on the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly which held in New York, USA recently.
President Obama went a step further to pledge his administration’s support for Nigeria in various sectors such as agriculture, repatriation of looted funds, fight against insurgency and revival of the nation’s economy.
I guess some people may be wondering why there should be a special focus on Obama’s commendation of Buhari, but I will be quick to respond by noting that the prolonged war against Boko Haram which cost the nation colossal human and material losses was on account of loss of confidence or absence of goodwill between former Nigerian leadership and the current US administration.
We also need to celebrate the adulations considering the boost it will add to Nigeria’s dwindling economy, as investors’ confidence will be increased. President Buhari’s pedigree as an anti-corruption fighter has once more restored integrity and credibility to the nation, that investors can confidently plough their resources in the various sectors of Nigeria’s economy.
To be realistic, if Nigeria had enjoyed the level of goodwill and confidence being shown to Nigeria presently, perhaps the needed military equipment needed for the war against insurgency would have been donated to Nigeria.
The encomiums on President Buhari are indeed deserving, for without him Nigerians would never have known the low level corruption had sunk Nigeria. While our critical infrastructures were left unattended and the general well-being of the citizens neglected, a few people in vantage government positions were stealing the country blind. Today, a large chunk of the nation’s wealth is stashed outside Nigeria, and President Buhari is focused on repatriating the funds for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Perhaps the question to ask is, why are world leaders eulogizing President Buhari? The answer is not far-fetched if we recall that he is the only leader in recent Nigeria’s history with provable integrity and honest sense of purpose. Others before him had merely paid lip service to the fight against corruption and integrity in public service meant little or nothing to them.
It is undisputable that most developed countries thrive on integrity on governmental affairs, and this is the virtue President Buhari is endeavouring to uphold in his administration. Where this virtue is lacking, definitely the nation will go adrift and the people are the ultimate losers. Investors are also scared stiff in venturing into any clime where corruption thrives and take it or leave, it Nigeria had drifted until President Buhari emerged.
Therefore as the world leaders’ acclaim of President Buhari continues to resonate across the length and breadth of the world, Nigerians must demonstrate commensurate goodwill and appreciation of his determination to refocus the country on the path of growth and development.
All over the world, the greatness of countries are direct manifestations of the conduct of their leaders, and Nigeria cannot be an exception. By vesting our aspirations, hopes and trust in President Buhari, we ought to join hands with his administration in ensuring that the programmes and vision of the administration are successfully achieved. Any deliberate move to frustrate the efforts President Buhari is making to restore Nigeria’s lost glory will spell doom for the country, especially the underprivileged in our midst, for whom the ‘change’ was articulated.
If we consider the giant strides under this administration in agriculture, mines and solid minerals, power, railways and road infrastructure, then we have a reason to lend our support to enable them succeed.
Globally, the President has been acknowledged for his ability to restore Nigeria’s lost glory and no amount of despondency among some cynics will dissuade him from achieving his aims. While it is acknowledged that the economic downturn is biting hard, yet we have to bear in mind that this is a global phenomenon and it is not peculiar to Nigeria.
From the measures already in place, it is obvious that the federal government has a good grasp of the prevailing economic situation and hopefully in no distant future we shall bounce back as a prosperous nation. The consolation we have is that national resources will be judiciously and equitably utilized for the benefit of all Nigerians.
Leadership is a public trust and those who occupy public office have a responsibility to uphold the trust by serving altruistically. Unfortunately, this trait has been in short supply in Nigeria, and President Buhari has continued to show leadership by example by making personal sacrifices and insisting that anyone who chooses to serve in government must like Ceasar’s wife be above board.
Even as some people choose to becloud their sense of judgement as a result of the pains associated with the current recession, yet we must not lose sight of the efforts being made the administration to seamlessly take Nigeria out of recession. Such measures like diversification, rehabilitation of critical infrastructure, external borrowings and belt-tightening measures are all geared towards ameliorating the harsh effects that the economic downturn will have on Nigerians. It is regrettable that no deliberate effort was made by previous administrations to save for the rainy day and what we are currently witnessing are the cumulative effects of the failure to plan and save.
Going by different indicators, Nigerians will in the very near future begin to reap the benefits accruable from the policies and programmes being enunciated by the Buhari administration. For example, we are beginning to witness increased yield in agriculture and several incentives have been provided for the farmers. Similarly, in other sectors like power, mines, transportation, ICT, health, security, education and other areas things are looking up and there is light at the end of the tunnel. In totality we can conveniently conclude that Nigeria is in safe hands under President Buhari and all the encomiums from world leaders including President Obama of the United States are deserving and well-intentioned.
Chukwudi Enekwechi is an Abuja-Based Public Affairs Analyst