Waiting For Buhari’s Magic Wand | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Opinion, Viewpoints

Waiting For Buhari’s Magic Wand

Posted: May 10, 2015 at 6:10 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By  Tayo Ogunbiyi


Not many countries on earth are as divinely blessed as Nigeria. So, it is not for nothing that Nigeria is being called the giant of Africa. But, I feel that the characterization of Nigeria as the giant of Africa is a hyperbole. But the truth is, Nigeria has the potentialities to become the true giant of Africa. Is our economy truly bigger than that of South Africa? Are we more technologically advanced than the rainbow nation, South Africa? Nigeria is a potentially great country, what with its large arable landmass, waters (rivers, lakes, seas, and ponds), equable weather conditions, and humongous human population. But sadly, Nigeria has not attained a great technological and economic height owing to our inept and corrupt political leadership.

The dynamics of our politics and the processes of electing political leaders in Nigeria are flawed. In Nigeria, these factors do throw up political charlatans, who dominate our politics and contest elective posts. But it’s the departing British imperialists that sowed the seed of imposition of leaders in Nigeria. They helped Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to become our prime minister in 1960. Since then, the egregious culture of political godfatherism as well as imposition of political leaders on the people has been thriving in Nigeria. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo ,  Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, and Alhaji Shehu Shagari benefitted greatly from the reprehensible culture and practice of the imposition of leaders. But no country can grow higher than the vision, leadership qualities, and abilities of its national leader. So, do you still wonder why Nigeria is floundering? Bad political leadership has become the bane of Nigeria.

Until 1999, our democratic leaderships were interspersed with military ones. But the jackboots and brass-hats, who were with messianic complexes and notions, caused the depredation of Nigeria’s infrastructure and emasculation of its economy. Sanni Abacha, who was a mixture of sanguinary proclivities and incurable thieving propensities, looted our treasury. But it was Rtd General Babangida who entrenched corruption in Nigeria. Happily, now, military rule has become an aberration and a thing of the past in Nigeria. And we have been enjoying democratic governance for sixteen unbroken years.

But has our embrace and practice of representative governance bettered and improved the lot of the suffering hoi poil? It is an indisputable fact that the PDP’s leadership of Nigeria for the past sixteen years has brought woes and underdevelopment to Nigeria rather than better living conditions. As our leaders’ perception of political leadership is warped, they cannot take Nigeria to a great economical and technological height. The erosion of ennobling family values among us is the reason why they have imbibed twisted perceptions about political leadership and other things.

Now, the consequences of bad and inept political leadership in Nigeria are rutted thorough-fares, dysfunctional educational system, collapsed health institutions, terrorism, and youth unemployment. So, the masses who are shortchanged in the scheme of things revenged themselves on the ‘go-slow’ president, President Goodluck Jonathan. President Jonathan’s electoral loss is an indictment of his unimpressive political leadership by indignant and short-changed Nigerians.

But, the APC’s defacto leader, Alhaji Bola Tinubu, plotted the disgraceful political fall of President Goodluck Jonathan. He superintended over the consummation of the political alliance and marriage between the North and the South-west. The union gave APC numerical superiority over the PDP. It was the political master – stroke that caused President Jonathan to bite the dust at the presidential polls. While CPC, ACN, a part of APGA, ANPP, and others coalesced to form APC, President Jonathan continued to play divisive politics instead of uniting the warring factions in his party under the PDP’s big umbrella.

General Muhammadu Buhari

General Muhammadu Buhari

Now, Mohammadu Buhari is our President-elect. But has he truly transformed to a democrat? He was a former military ruler, who put the country’s constitution into abeyance. When in the saddle of leadership, he ruled over us with iron-fist, and unjustly clamped some journalists into jail. And he executed some state offenders based on a retroactive law. But his selling point and redeeming feature is his famed and legendary incorruptible nature.

The President-elect, Buhari, is being projected as the messiah, who will put an end to the reign of corruption in Nigeria. Corruption is the canker- worm that is choking life out of Nigeria. Corrupt political leadership is the reason why Nigeria is stuck in the mud of underdevelopment. Buhari is well – intentioned and poised to fight corruption in Nigeria. But he is surrounded by top-notch APC members who are with moral vacuity, spiritual aridity, and ideological hollowness. Those disgruntled political elements migrated to APC from PDP when they lost out in the PDP’s political power game. APC is a party that portrays itself as belonging to the left of the centre. But, with the passage of time, we shall know how progressive they are.

But will APC’s political stalwarts lend Buhari a helping hand in his drive and efforts to curb corruption in Nigeria, fix our multifarious national problems, and take Nigeria to a great economical and technological height? Today’s Nigeria is battered and bruised from maladministration by its past leaders. Education is the cornerstone of national development; however, our universities, which ought to be centers for carrying out educational researches and scientific experiments, are underfunded. There is infrastructural rot in the country. Our naira is devalued owing to the steep fall in global oil prices. And our hospitals have morphed to morgues as health workers are being given raw deal.

The President-elect, Mohammadu Buhari, should urgently address these ills that have bedeviled Nigeria and held it down for so long. And he should formulate and implement economic policies that will place Nigeria among the top economic players in the world. More so, he should curb the scourge of terrorism in Nigeria, and unite the ethnic groups that are antagonistic of one another as one people. We are waiting for Buhari’s magic wand.


Okoye wrote in from Uruowulu–Obosi Anambra State.