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Published On: Sun, Jan 18th, 2015

Muhammadu Buhari, Next President?

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BuhariBy Ochiaka Ugwu

A former head of State, retired general, elder statesman, anti-corruption czar, chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), incorruptible public officer and the list goes on. At age 71, he is still waxing strong and has remained unstoppable. The prestigious Muhammadu Buhari got the political world talking when he overwhelmingly won the All Progressives Congress presidential primaries.

He is well-known for his well put together leadership role and he has not once disappointed those who have put him in position of authority and will not disappoint most Nigerians who are set to vote him in February presidential polls. Buhari clearly takes her leadership roles seriously and has never performed below expectation in any role he found himself playing during his public life. The emergence of this active general as the APC presidential candidate came as a surprise to many people. Analysts have placed him side by side with other candidates especially Atiku Abubakar who later came a distance third. This however is not the case. His capabilities as a clean man living in an already corrupt Nigeria society where corruption has become a way of life should not be questioned. Reason being, his achievements speak of what he is able to do and where he would put a country like Nigeria, if he elected into power which is likely to happen given his wide acceptance by Nigerians who are desirous of change from the stranglehold of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Nigeria today is being confronted with many problems stretching from insecurity to corruption. With that being said, the country needs to grown in many ways. The enthronement of a tested and trusted person like Buhari at the helm of affairs is of utmost important. Tribe and religion are no longer the issue anymore based on the fact that we are living in a democratic country that needs to assert itself and provide leadership to the teaming population. An example of that change or person who has done and is still doing well for himself in his leadership position is the APC candidate, Mohammadu Buhari. Buhari’s coming to power will no doubt clearly put things in proper perspective. With him taking the role of salvaging the country instead of enjoying his retirement, it shows that he is cut out to help humanity and provide the much needed leadership direction Nigerians are yearning for. For Buhari to have spent his productive years serving his fatherland and choosing to offer himself as a sacrificial lamb in his quest for making Nigeria a better place for all.

However, some people do not take this gesture in a positive light. The propaganda being carried by undesirable elements who never wished the country any good shows a different side as to what the opponent think about Alhaji Buhari. Looking at the major criticisms on the retired general, the PDP and its co-travelers presumably believe the APC presidential candidate has different motives as to why he insisted on returning to power after seeking same for three unsuccessful attempts. They held that the reason why he wanted power was to deal with his perceived enemies. But this from all estimation bellies the man, their fear stems from the fact that Buhari being an upright man will not tolerate their corrupt practices and it will never be as business as usual. They fear that most of them will certainly cool their heels in jail if Buhari presidency becomes a reality. They also alleged that Buhari will Islamize the country. This in fact is a serious allegation. For someone who was a military head of state and refused to register Nigeria as a member of Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) why would he want to islamize the country now as a civilian president of whom many people have died for in making it a better country for the future generation?

Cynics who have tagged him as a religious fanatic have succeeded in exposing their ignorance on the person of the general. While refuting the insinuations that he is a religious fundamentalist, Buhari admitted that he is a “practicing Muslim”, but argued that his career background and general orientation has never indicated a proclivity for religious intolerance or religious obsession.

Buhari who said that he cannot disown his religion because of the accusations, made it clear that People he worked with for more than 20 years in the army including all the commands and staff that he worked with along the line were Christians. He informed that when he moved into Maiduguri to clear the Chadians who was disturbing the city his second in command was Ugwoke, an Igbo and a Christian and they worked cordially which made the operation successful.

The former head of state left his audience spell bound when he announced that he has not been to Mecca in the last 12 years and wondered why anybody in his right senses will stick the tag of religious fanaticism around him.

It could be recalled that since Buhari joined partisan politics in 2002, his closest associates have been Christians such as the late Chuba Okadigbo, Chiefs Tony Momoh, Mike Ahamba, and Pastor Tunde Bakare. When he got the ticket to run for the presidency in 2003 under the banner of the defunct All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), against all odds he picked Okadigbo who was a Catholic, an Igbo and a protégé of Late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as his running mate.

In 2007 contest under the platform of the same All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), again Buhari picked Chief Ume-Ezeoke, he was an Igbo and a Roman Catholic. In 2011, now under the umbrella of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) he picked Tunde Bakare, a pastor. So how more Christian do you want this man to be in his life endeavors. His action so far shows that he is a detrablised Nigerian committed to the progress of the nation.

The fact remains that with Goodluck Jonathan’s collapsing popularity, Buhari actually stands a chance of winning the 2015 elections.

It is glaring that for the first time in the last 16 years – Nigeria’s longest spell of democracy – there is a real chance that the president could be someone other than the candidate (PDP).

The truth of the matter is that Buhari remains the single most popular man in Nigeria. Despite lacking real party structure, Buhari, with CPC in 2011, defeated Jonathan in Yobe, Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger, Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Kaduna, Gombe and Jigawa. He single-handedly polled a total of 12,214,853 votes. Riding on the back of APC’s nationwide structure backed by majority of Nigerians, 14 governors and their war chest, a Buhari victory in 2015 is quite sure.


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