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Published On: Sun, Jan 25th, 2015

Presidency: Seriously, is there an alternative to Buhari?

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BuhariBy Ochiaka Ugwu

Since General Muhammadu Buhari emerged as the presidential candidate of the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) party, many have seen him as the leading agent of change that the nation needs right now. Cynics, especially those who never meant well for the nation have viewed his past with hatred asking whether the gentle general will be the panacea to our basket of problems. But the truth remains that whether you like him or not, Muhammadu Buhari, the no nonsense general is one celebrated individual you can’t dismiss with a wave of hand. The naked truth that he is the most talked about Nigerian today is not in dispute.

His overwhelming victory in the transparent APC Presidential primary where he floored experienced politicians like Atiku Abubakar, Rochas Okorocha and Musa Kwankwaso with wide margin singled him out as someone who enjoys the support of Nigerians from all parts of the country. His emergence has no doubt raised the ante, both within the elite and the commoners with the later championing his aspiration.

As a non partisan politician who is not card carry member of the any political party I have always tried to maintain balance by being objective in any political issue I want to trash. But what come may, the truth must be told. I’m also not saying there are no presidential materials in the country who believe they can run Nigeria better than the Daura born general. In public places, public vehicles and almost in all fora, you hear people discussing their latest laboratory-tested ideas on how to give the economy a face lift; how to stablise the naira and even make it equal with dollars, how to nip Boko Haram activities on the bud; how we will reposition power sector and achieve uninterrupted power supply; how the hospitals will cease to be a mere consulting clinics, how we can solve our unemployment riddle and make the system work again.

In live talk shows on radio and television, it is an endless conversation on how brilliant we are when it comes to solving the nation’s calamity. Every citizen is an expert on the Nigerian challenge and, from their submissions, can do a better job than even the most powerful leader in the globe. So yes, there are people with fantastic ideas on how they can outperform whoever. And I’m sure there are many professionals who can effectively do the job better. To answer my own question therefore, there are alternatives as far as ideas and effectiveness go.

But here is the thing: none of the brilliant men and women has the power of resisting temptation of corruption like Buhari in a country where corruption has become a way of life. None of them is the leader and the potential standard bearer of the most popular party in black Africa, APC. None of them has the idea to curtail the devilish activities of the Boko Haram sect and that is why their nefarious activities are on the increase.

The other day, I listened as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) tells Nigerians on how they will deal with many of woes facing the country if reelected again. But Nigerians knew that PDP as a party has missed the mark so many times that Nigerians now view it as assemblage of people who just want to retain power for the vain sake of feathering their nest. If ask anybody today about the February Presidential poll, they will tell you it is a foregone conclusion with the name of Buhari featuring prominently as the likely winner. Most of them think he will be a great president who will prefer people to power. Those who know him say he is a kind-hearted gentleman, who has extensive contacts around the globe. He is a real anti-corruption king who detests indiscipline.

I recently heard from many top quarters that the emergence of Buhari as the APC standard bearer sent presidency to grief as they were secretly praying for Atiku to emerge. They believe Buhari will be a hard nut to crack and a hard bone to chew that best explains their desperation to denigrate the person of the general by bringing up frivolous allegation against him that is capable of pitching him against the people. Even in terms of popularity, it seems to be that the Buhari flavour is starting to appear greatly in people’s consciousness. His presidential aspiration is not only an acceptable brand but has become a continental movement. With his image looming large in the minds and hearts of people, it would take a miracle for PDP to get more popular than the APC presidential candidate.

Speaking of expired agenda, the PDP is starting to lose appeal on daily bases. The brand is not selling anymore. The umbrella has become tattered and can no longer protect Nigerians from rains or sunshine. Now, Buhari is the most loved, popular and enjoys wide acceptability. Here is the tough man who can get the job done if he gets there as he has done before. Although I have heard people say he is not as effective as the myths have it; that he could be undecided; that he is aloof and out of touch; and that he is just another soldier who still habours contempt for civilians and their democracy.

I know people who even say the former head of state is a fanatic and a closet supporter of insurgents. But thank God Nigerians are wiser now and in their millions have disagreed with them on that. When he was head of state, he confronted his own type of insurgents and did a great job of fighting it. His regime did everything humanly possible to stamp out corruption in the polity. He doesn’t hate Christians as held by his detractors. Investigations have revealed that his cooks and drivers are Christians. It means he has placed his life in the hands of Christians in case you don’t get the implications of that. What about Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) which he handled prudently? Is this man not fantastic and great?

With the prevailing reality, it shows that the odds favour him. What is more, Buhari is carefully making inroads in all parts of the country, braking religious and tribal barriers. Those who say he is clueless are starting to think differently. Those who say he is a sadist are beginning to have a rethink. His real persona is starting to shine through. As for me, I have always known that there is something about the man that we are ignoring.

Let me state categorically here that Buhari, by his pedigree, is an elder statesman, factory of idea and a good organizer of people. Much of his decisions and actions will not be to serve his personal interest, but the interest of his teeming followers and political supporters who cannot wait to see (Buharism) entrenched in the polity. Therefore, the issue of whether he will make a good president does not arise given his antecedent. It also shows that decision making will not entirely be up to him to make as his first constituency (the people) will be carried along. As the leader that he is, he will make his decision, taking into cognizance the wishes and aspirations of his followers.

That is why most people are wondering if anyone can upstage this man in a free and fair contest next month. We are on the march again.


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