By Okanga Agila
Without mincing words, I did like to confess publicly that I am one Nigerian who believes in President Muhammadu Buhari. I am not his partisan adherent, but my admiration for him as a person and now leader of Nigeria blossoms everyday like a flower.
Buhari is awesomely an intriguing leader and to me, he is not just a cerebral force, but someone in the region of an impenetrable being, who has overpowered all human debilitations, like some gods. Elsewhere in the world, leaders derive their sacredness and veneration from the effervescent of unassailability. And candidly, a leader is not just a piece of cake on a street shop to instantly decode in shape, colour and countenance. So, President Buhari has a big and matured heart. He rarely speaks, but believes more in action.
Today, President Buhari has proven that he emerged not just as an enigma on Nigeria’s political firmament, but on Africa’s delicate leadership ladder to rescue the continent. When one recalls African fables, and the thrilling roles of a talisman, the image of Buhari assail the senses defiantly.
So, when he sought leadership of Nigeria for the fourth time in 2015, many Nigerians, Africans and the world generally thought, this Mr. Uprightness was coming to battle corruption alone. They misconstrued him and underrated his personage.
I keep recounting that throughout his tedious campaigns for Nigeria’s presidency in 2015, the words “corruption and insecurity,” consistently dropped from his lips. His audience, supporters, haters and traducers alike heard him this loud, but never believed that he could do anything else outside battling the monster of corruption in Nigeria. Nigerians who busied themselves with such satanic mindsets, least remembered that President Buhari inherited a country on the cusp of extinction, propelled by these two vices, insecurity and corruption.
I can bet that Nigerians with good retentive memory would reminisce how the engaging immediate past first lady of Nigeria, Mrs. Dame Patience Jonathan, echoed at the peak of the electioneering campaigns in the early months of 2015 that Nigerians should avoid conceding power to General Buhari.
And her simplistic reason was that if given the Presidency of Nigeria, Buhari would build more prisons to incarcerate many Nigerians, up to 300 years in jail. She sumptuously and contemptuously dwelt on Buhari’s years as military leader of Nigeria. She was emphatic that she has no resources to feed her husband, former President Goodluck Jonathan in jail, then, President Buhari’s main contender in the 2015 general elections.
But today the reality is different. Among Nigerians and stretching further, the international community, I might be one soul who may not necessarily trust President Buhari as the liberator of Nigeria. I could even prefer to freely flow with his antagonists and critics to maliciously proclaim how worse or the depths he has rendered Nigeria prostrate.
Whatever negative excuses, or grudges the anti-Buhari elements have nursed against him in other sectors, I don’t want to know or give a thought to it. They have their reasons, whether false or genuine. But on security and corruption, which these adversaries have often attempted to flatten him, the world has continued to persistently acknowledge his outstanding performances. Buhari is like no any other Nigerian leader since independence in 1960. He’s just in his own metaphysical realm, and I cannot stop admiring him.
We may disagree with President Buhari, and even insult his ancestors for breathing life into him. But in sober moments, we all accept it as unfair and influenced. The good works he is executing in Nigeria or the positive impact on leadership of this country has not escaped the lenses of the world in appreciation.
So, the doubting Thomases were again shocked when Nigeria cum President Buhari’s efforts on security or precisely, on defeating terrorism were celebrated globally, as impactful to reduction in terror-induced deaths across the world. Nigeria was part of the marginal reduction of 22 percent in five countries and as one of the nations which recorded 33 per cent fewer deaths on global terrorism index rating. We look back at 2011, 2012 and up to 2014; yet, we prefer not to see the changes on terrorism in 2016 and 2017.
But nothing has gladdened my heart in recent times like this global endorsement that in five countries around the world, most tortured by terrorism and condemned to its consuming inferno, Nigeria is mentioned in the report positively. Nigeria is one among the four countries , namely, Syria, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, which were in the furnace of terrorism, but have managed it effectively, thus contributing to global reduction of terrorism . The report expansively covered 163 countries, some 99 percent of world population.
The American-based Institute for Economics and Peace’s report titled, “ Global Terrorism Index 2017,” officially launched at the Royal United Services Institute in London, a few days ago, published a comprehensive synopsis of “ global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 17 years.” It highlighted its peak in 2014, on the eve of Buhari’s Presidency and cheeringly disclosed a decline in years 2016 and 2017.
And the indicators’ upon which the report was based were incisive and commendable too. It looked at terrorism in Global results and trends, Terrorism trends in Europe and other developed countries, Characteristics driving terrorism recruitment, Profiles of the four most deadly terrorist groups and the Economics of terrorism. Yet, Nigeria came up tops.
And the most critical of audience within and outside Nigeria are unconsciously singing songs of Nigeria’s redemption under Buhari. Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group (NDMG) has led the pack of appreciators of President Buhari’s volte force on security, eloquently and elaborately commending his commitment to ridding Nigeria and the world of the de-humanizing crime of terrorism.
NDMG’s President, Dr. Ibukun Ola, succinctly submitted that Nigerian Army’s operations like ‘ Operation Python Dance,” “Scorpion Sting”, “Lafiya Dole,” “Crocodile Smile” are the backbone to such amazing accomplishments’ in security ranking of Nigeria. But some demented and cursed opposition elements never thought it wise to say “thank you, Mr. President.”
Nevertheless, diasporan Nigerians led by Dr. Ola pricked their conscience in these words, “We note particularity the report by the Global Terrorism Index and that of the BBC on the development which has confirmed Nigeria’s contribution to winning the war against global terrorism and other crimes against humanity…the number of terrorism related deaths around the world fell according to the report for a second year in 2016, showing that the biggest drop was recorded in Nigeria where there’s being an 80% reduction.”
The group added, “In the South-south region too, the President has through the launch of military operations and other subtle and diplomatic means, been able to nip activities that could graduate into terrorist acts in the bud… these are by no means incidental but results of meticulously designed and worked-out templates borne out of experience in intelligence and strategy that culminated in the appointments of tested Generals who could key into the programme leading to the formulation of the military interventions across the nation.”
I cannot be less proud of my country. The wailing wailers can go and burn themselves in whatever fire pleasing to their souls. But for me, I am proud of President Buhari for ingraining his name in gold prints on global map of nations indubitably committed to rescuing humanity with fatal blows on terrorism. It is his prestigious seat in the history of the global fight against terrorism.
Quite strongly, I am grateful to the COAS, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai, and leader of this delicate counter-insurgency war and an incontestable emancipator of the afflicted masses of Nigeria. No current serving Service Chief of the Nigerian federation deserves lesser commendation and ovations.
The entire grain of the Nigerian military, especially, Nigerian soldiers have all occupied this hall of global fame and etched their names on the marble. If opposition Nigerians are not grateful and appreciative, I am truly and unfathomably grateful. And like the Late Captain Thomas Sankera of blessed memory once echoed, and I paraphrase, I stand to raise a voice for every liberated Nigerian, who cannot find a medium to raise a voice in appreciation of the Nigerian Army, the Chief of Army Staff and the President.
Okanga is a traditional warrior from Agila, Benue State.