Why General Buhari Should Be Cautious By Ibrahim Ilyasu
“Perhaps a man’s character was like a tree, and his reputation like its shadow; the shadow is what we think of it, the tree is the real thing.” Abraham Lincoln
Let me to start by congratulating Nigerians around the globe over this historic victory. I equally congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari for getting something he has worked so hard to achieve. After three consecutive and unsuccessful attempts, at last he has become the next president of Nigeria. By so doing, he has successfully proved the PDP wrong which arrogantly boasted to rule the country for the next fifty years no matter what. This myth has been finally laid to rest. Buhari’s victory is also the victory of Nigerians who have stood solidly behind him for over a decade until truth triumphs. I cannot thank them enough.
Indeed, General Buhari’s name will be written in gold in Nigeria’s political history as being the most committed, dedicated, resilient and by far the most popular politician who ascended power after 12 years of relentless struggle. If anything, this goes to show that the labor of our past heroes shall never be in vain, so to speak. Sir, younger generation of Nigerians thank you for every single thing you have done and are always proud to have grown in a society where they always have people like you to look up to.
General Buhari’s narrative resonates with Abraham Lincoln’s (1809-1865) success story, the 16th President of the United States who led the country during the American Civil War. Lincoln, we are told, had tried many times unsuccessfully to become president but eventually became one because he walked “slowly” but never “walked back”. This also confirms that the house divided against itself can not last. Buhari has also confirmed that any people have the right to rise up and shake the existing government and form a new one that suits them in a better way. Indeed, this is the most valuable aspect of democracy.
While it is a period of jubilation for Nigerians, it is equally important time to retrospectively reflect on what transpired during Buhari’s electioneering campaign that culminated in his historic victory. It is no secret the campaign was windy, gusty, bitter, dirty and rancorous. The PDP saw him a potential threat that must be incapacitated by all means and for this reason they made him main subject of attack. In the process, PDP maliciously concocted, fabricated lies against Buhari’s person portraying and taunting him as a failed demagogue, ethnic/religious bigot and hard-nosed dictator who can dishonestly forge certificate in a desperate bid for power. Thankfully, his certificate has now been miraculously found. (Ridiculous!). Now that that General Buhari has won, some politicians from the ruling party started decamping like Hell to APC without any sense of shame, purpose or principle. Thus, GMB should remain on alert.
Fighting corruption has been one of the sources of Buhari’s cardinal strength, this is who he is and that is his character. Of course, eliminating corruption has been one of the three building blocks of his campaign. As he becomes the next president, let there be no discrimination in his fight against corruption because “unless you fight corruption” as he rightly said during his interview with CNN, “corruption will kill Nigeria”. I am emphasizing on this because I have noticed that he is surrounded by some people whose integrity is at best questionable and their record as far as corruption is concerned is by no means clean. Most of those people were, at one time in the past, part of the regime that had created the problem he has come to solve.
Well let’s face it, Buhari cannot single handedly eliminate corruption, in fact no one can do that. Realistically though, he can only do his best to reduce it to bare minimum. I heard that General will draw a line and move forward without checking financial recklessness of the past. I hope this is not true. As future of the next generation is stolen by corrupt people in power, it will only be right if he checks the past. This is what Nigerians are expecting from him. Nonetheless, this should not distract him from his primary task. Letting them go scot-free will be too much to bear for Nigerians.
Similarly, General Buhari should be careful of jesters and clowns who always almost surround every number one citizen and hold him hostage. These buffoons and jesters surround every president and keep him out of touch with the reality. If he allows these professional sycophants one day he will pay for the price. Certainly, these evil characters are always there haunting the corridor of powers, seeking whom to mislead and potentially destroy. Those people are professional for they have been in the system for too long. As a matter of urgency, Buhari needs to do something to counter any inescapable attempt to ring-fence him from the reality.
I congratulate Buhari for winning the election but at the same time I sympathize with him because he came at a time Nigeria is broke economically. Nigeria is a wealthy nation and undisputed booming economy in Africa but the economy is poor. Despite unprecedented booming in the oil industry, his predecessor has not saved for the rainy day. Nevertheless, if our experience of Buhari’s past governance is anything to go by, then I still have every reason to be optimistic, though. In the early 1980s, for instance, Nigeria entered the beginning of its painful recession, triggered by decline in the oil price at the global scale. Nigeria started learning it the hard way; foreign reserved decline from $10, billion to $1 billion. By 1983, foreign debt rose to 15 billion. Inflation was high as 50 percent. Even middle class started feeling the pinch.
Meanwhile, the oil rich Nigeria had become a beggar state. It owed foreign creditors more than $ 14 billion and unemployment was rampant to the extent that some civil servant worked without pay. That was too much for the military who soon realized that Nigerian politicians were not only incompetent but corrupt. In those circumstances, General Buhari came to save the nation. Thus, their military coup was perfectly justifiable.
When I heard that President Jonathan was conceding defeat prematurely I felt exhilarated and couldn’t help but interpret it as a withdrawal strategy from a loser who prophesied imminent defeat . While many amplify this ‘statesmanship’ I still see it as apologetic. What else do you expect from a drowning man deserted/betrayed by his own closest allies? Remember, the man was defeated in Villa. What a betrayal.
Now that Jonathan has been hailed as the “New Mandela” of Africa is everything now alright? I mean just because you say “sorry” or “congratulations” it makes everything alright? This question begs answer from anyone who sees this as the only way to recover the spirit of national reconciliation, harmony and love.
My question is what is odd about it. Why it is so strange, when did concession of defeat become symbol of heroism? You contested and lost, why it is so extraordinary in this case? This U-turn in political posturing represents yet another heinous desperation to perpetuate self-centered praise-singing. Or, is it wave of recants demonstrating political flexibility to forget the ugly past and move on quickly? Either way, this symbolizes embodiment of self-serving inferiority complex that Africans will never conduct peaceful election and Western world will never expect “high standard” election from us that is why Jonathan’s case becomes a bizarre.
Bearing in mind that the beneficiaries of corruption will fight back with all tools at their disposal, General Buhari should remain vigilant and be firm with them. It is no exaggeration that Buhari’s accession is an opportunity to create stability and recovery but If he fails he will leave not only Nigerians but also West Africans with little hope for the future.
It is my prayer that he will be guided by Allah the Almighty and His divine wisdom to lead this great nation for prosperity and success.
Ibrahim Ilyasu is a Phd holder in Tafsir and Islamic Family Law, a lecturer in Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies, Kano Nigeria. He is currently a part time lecturer in the department of Quran and Sunnah in International Islamic University Malaysia, he could be reached at
Ibrahim Ilyasu, PhD