Calming the tide

October 28, 2020
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There was a moment when almost all Nigerians were glued to their televisions for President Muhammadu Buhari to address the nation over the state of the nation.

When he eventually did he said, “The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgment and disruptive behaviour.”

He has always been guilty of smiling with his open teeth and the frown on his face. Standing tall as a generalissimo in his Babariga, Buhari is an uncommon president. He served his country as a young military officer and rose to the rank of a General in the Army before he retired and joined politics.

He is the second in the history of Nigeria to rule the country twice; first as a Head of State and currently as the democratically elected president. Mr integrity, as he is tagged, can be described as the most beloved politician ever that Nigerians regard whole heartedly as an icon of change and hope, that will lead the people to the promised land.

Unfortunately, the President may remain adamant in his strictness to save his integrity but the system and conditions have changed which made things worse under both of his administrations. The consequences of his actions and inactions make things look as if Buhari’s integrity has been stained.

As a country, our only hope in 2015 was to see Mr. President as number one citizen of the country and all of us would be given the credit, since then we all thought things would be better as expected; many had very high expectations. Yes, we have witnessed some changes beyond what used to be. To say a little, the agricultural sector has received boosting. He has been trying to improve on citizens’ welfare, providing jobs opportunities to youths, developmental milestones projects such as roads, hospitals, schools and much more are seen.

Well, we all know that when there are successes, there must also be challenges.  The myriad challenges facing the citizens under this administration is majorly insecurities all over, especially in Northern states, failed economy, gap in communication and more especially appointments which seem disconnected from the people at the grassroots. Are we to also talk about the bottleneck, budget padding saga and lots of dramas that rocked the eighth National Assembly?

All the blame was then shifted to President Buhari as the head of the government. But Boko Haram had been in existence since 2009 and had been ravaging the land and shedding blood in the North Eastern part of the country; killing thousands of innocent people, destroying many households, raping women and making children orphans.  But now, all the atrocities committed by Boko Haram look new to Nigerians under Buhari. We forgot that it’s under his administration that all those LGAs in Borno were recaptured.

While I am not a staunch supporter of President Buhari, I feel that we are generally not being fair to him. Buhari alone as a person cannot carry the weight of the country; he made the best cabinets ever, filled with very resourceful people. I blame these people for not delivering as expected and remaining mute to Buhari’s critics. Some may be exaggerating things from behind the keypads. However, constructive criticism is needed and necessary at this period.

I remember when someone at the top level around 2016 from the opposition once said “Had it been Buhari didn’t win the 2015 election, Nigeria would have economically collapsed”. The country since independence started growing as a stillbirth nation when in 1980 the country was far better. Until now, things aren’t normal. Who is deliberately causing this?

Conclusively, let’s be fair and honest with ourselves; let the change begin with all of us. This gentle man may have shown bravery and courage, as a mentor to some, Buhari is the only option at hand now, whether we criticise or support him, he is still there. I want to draw the attention of his cabinet, governors and lawmakers to play above political lines and assist the President deliver his campaign promises. We know how hard the country has become.

Some are calling for the President’s resignation despite all his efforts to make things better especially in the southern states where he executed many projects.  Politics and tribalism may be the reason for this and these are some of the challenges facing Nigeria as the giant of Africa.

Now, many government and individual properties have been vandalised by hoodlums who took advantage of the situation. Here, as a Nigerian, we now know that protests may not be the only way to get things under control.

With all these issues, we blame Buhari. Yes as a person, Buhari can make mistakes. But, remember that we are in a democratic era, our governors, representatives, senators and ministers have a vital role to play in ensuring our well being as a country. Let us channel our calls to them, let them be addressing issues affecting us. They are and should be closer to us than the President.

I must commend the President’s efforts in putting things in order any time something of concern arises. I want to appeal that the president looks in to matters at hand especially insurgency in the North and redefine his strategies to free the country from all sorts of insurgency, Let the integrity rise up again.   I will advise the President to have liaison officers across states. The officers will be the intermediate board between the masses and the government. Hunger and poverty can make people react badly and negatively, the president should reconsider his decision on border closure. Our youths have stayed for long without going to schools, this may trigger their anger, so call ASUU to order, sit and discuss with them and proffer a solution that will lead to the reopening of all tertiary institutions and give scholarships to students.

To fellow Nigerians, let’s forget enmity, hatred and ethnic or religious sentiment. Where the government does well we should appreciate it, where it goes wrong, we should constructively call their attention by using sensitive means or through our traditional. We can’t always blame, accuse, abuse them blindly, that’s why we don’t see goodness in them. Pray and support the government by changing yourself to be good ambassadors. Let’s maintain peace and unity as brothers and also be our brother’s keepers; let’s always pray for our country and our leaders. The God in heaven will surely make Nigeria a better place for all of us again. Remember prayer is the key to success.

  • Koli writes from the Mass Communication Department, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic in Bauchi.

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