Buhari: Garland for a reformer at 76

President Muhammadu Buhari

It was not for nothing that the world celebrated President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday. The phenomenon from Daura means so many things to so many people. The astute and resilient political reformer, who became the President of the most populous black nation in the world against all odds by riding on the crest of his integrity is, in fact, a case study for political scientists and those interested in the psychology behind certain behavioral patterns of humans in this part of the world.
Evidently, Buhari is a man of humble beginning as Wikipedia described him thus: “Muhammadu Buhari was born to a Fulani family on 17 December 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, to his father Hardo Adamu, a Fulani chief, and mother Zulaihat. He is the twenty-third child of his father. Buhari was raised by his mother, after his father died when he was about four years old.”
This gives a picture of a young man who grew up on the strength of his determination, as young as he was when he lost his father, to succeed even early in life in spite of all odds. This traits showed in the spirit of perseverance when he tried the presidency four times only to succeed at breaking the ice at the fourth attempt in 2015.
Buhari, who has a cult followership especially among the poor and the helpless across the country perhaps remains on of the few politicians in the country who got to power without having to close banks to bankroll his ambition. A man of modest means braced the odds to defeat the incumbent who shared tons of dollars to remain in power.
Wherever he goes, his integrity speaks for him. Buhari remains one of the few military officers in the country who served the nation selflessly without crudely accumulating wealth. He has maintained a spartan lifestyle devoid of ostentation most times displayed by his ilk who even never had the opportunity to serve in juicy positions as he did.
His ‘never say die’ spirit in politics is also one virtue that must be emulated. Even though he ‘failed’ thrice, he never gave up until fortune finally smiled on him in 2015. During the trying period, he was evidently fired by his patriotic zeal and the divine urge to redirect the destiny of the nation to the pathway of probity and transparency.
A man who was the nation’s equivalent of Petroleum Minister at a time when corruption was rife and was made the Chairman of ‘government within government agency’ Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) during the late Gen. Sani Abacha years, when no one was supervising him and probity could be shrouded, without stealing a kobo is indeed a man after the hearts of the people.
So, while some long suffering Nigerians, especially the masses, see in Buhari as a messiah, and an emancipator, others see him as the tormentor-general who has vowed to stop their access to the common till.
In close to four years that he has been in the saddle, the President has walked his talk by delivering on the three pronged agenda of fight against corruption, revamping the comatose economy left behind by the opposition elements and fighting insecurity.
The President has fought a good fight in his determination to rid the nation of corruption; he has worked relentlessly to better the economy and created jobs for the teeming unemployed youth with his Social Investment Program. He had equally made the country hellish for criminal elements and insurgents.
While some may argue that the nation’s security situation is still scary, there are indications that such could have gone worse had it continued as it was under the last administration of opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) when Boko Haram elements were holding territories and hoisting strange flags in certain parts of the country.
Though there are some people with reservations, the nation’s economy could have been worse but for measures taken by the President who have demonstrated steely resolve for diversification. To this extent, the Buhari’s administration has continued to make millionaires out of rice farmers in the country through the Borrowers Anchor Programme sponsored by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Millions of jobs have also been this created.
So, when the Brigade of Guards rolled out the drums to celebrate the President on Monday, every conscientious person in the country concurred that he is worthy of the honour. Prominent personalities in politics and business, including friends and foes alike, poured encomiums on the man of the moment who, though at 76, shows no sign of slowing down in the service to the people.

Abuja Airport wears a proud new look
With the commissioning of the new Terminal of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja yesterday by President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerians with the privilege of transiting through modern airports across the world can now raise their shoulders to claim that the country has gradually begun to link up to modernity.
The exquisite Terminal with annual capacity of 15 million passengers sitting on 56,000 m2 space is by no means an ambitious project delivered in this clime. The new Terminal under the supervision of the Minister of State(Aviation), Hadi Sirika, is an eloquent testimony to how the Buhari’s administration has put to use foreign loans in building infrastructure in the country.
According to the minister, the new terminal, a second in the series, was funded by the China Export and Import Bank (China-Exim bank) loan of $500 million with a counterpart funding of $100m from the Debt Management Office (DMO).
Other sectors in the country funded by foreign loans, especially roads and rail, should emulate the success story of timely and qualitative project delivery from the Aviation Minister.
The President was so impressed with what he saw that he commented thus: “With the commissioning of this Terminal, Nigeria is moving towards achieving and meeting global aviation standards in facilitation, passenger processing and service delivery in tandem with international best practices.”
The passenger traffic at the Abuja airport has continued to bourgeon and there is need for expansion being the second busiest airport in the country after Lagos. To this effect the second phase of the project approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the sum of $461,795,551.02 should be expeditiously delivered so that the nation could join the committee of nations with world class airport.
The new terminal has fascinating features which qualified it to be one of the best architectural masterpieces in the world. These include 72 check-in counters;
5 baggage collection carousels; 28 immigration desks at arrival and 16 at departure; 8 security screening points; 8 passenger boarding bridges; Walkway to link the FCT metro rail;Additional apron for remote parking of aircraft and Linkway to domestic wing And many other facilities that are properly designed and laid out in accordance with modern requirements for airport operations amongst others.
While commending the minister for strict supervision of the project and some other landmark achievements recorded in the ministry, the Chinese contractors should also be given kudos for delivering on schedule. Indigenous contractors handling several projects in the country, especially on roads, must be made to emulate this.
With the project delivered mint clean comes the challenge of maintenance. The government should put in place measures to slow down the depreciation of the terminal with constant renovation where and when necessary.

Taking parliamentary liberty too far
The world was taken aback by the conduct of the members of the National Assembly on Wednesday when they threw caution to the wind and behaved most dishonourably. The President had gone to the parliament to present the 2019 budget but was heckled in the process by the lawmakers.
Though their action was not entirely alien to participatory democracy as such had been seen in other countries, the conduct of the lawmakers was inconsistent with Nigerian culture where elders are revered and accorded their deserved respect.
The President, at 76, with a baggage of experience in the art of governance, does not deserve the treatment he got from the infantile lawmakers some of whom were mere toddlers when Buhari has been holding public positions of responsibilities in the country.
Jeering and shouting in the chamber, for whatever political reason, did not portray the ‘honourable’ men and the country in good light.
Kogi state governor, himself a young man, gave them a harsh word when he described them as being ill-trained and selfish. Their conduct indicated that they cared less about the image of the country and this explains why discerning minds have continued to raise concerns about the quality of men in the nation’s parliament.
Constituents who were waiting to hear the comments of the leadership of the National Assembly on burning national issues raised by the President were robbed of the privilege as their speeches were drowned by the jeers of anarchists masquerading as lawmakers.
Thankfully, 2019 is around the corner when the electorates would have the opportunity of renewing the tenancy of these men in the parliament. Voters must ‘shine their eyes’ so as not not make the mistake of returning some of these lawmakers who cared less about their welfare and development of the country.

As Abuja Airport wears a new look
Recall Buhari’s reaction to Ibn Na’ala comment on Nass unflinching support Look at features that returned the airport to international standard Comment on Nigeria Air Dwell in the need for maintenance culture Link to Buhari’s legacy

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