BY YUSUF MOHAMMED
The average Northerner sees Buhari as a Messiah who will turn things around. Most Northerners, especially the ones living in the North- Eastern region voted for Buhari because of the insecurity there.
Due to his military background and his no-nonsense stance in terms of corruption, he is seen by many Nigerians of Northern extraction as the man with the magic wand to rescue Nigeria from its present state.
He has strong grassroots support in this part of the country because of his perceived anti-corruption posture and forthrightness. Buhari is famous for an impressive record of honesty and a tough anti-corruption stance. That as much the average Northern knows of him
He is also loved by the common man because of his modest way of life. Buhari is believed to own only two houses despite serving as the Minister of Petroleum in the late 70’s, Head of State in the early 80’s and PTF Chairman in the mid 90’s.
Buhari is perceived by many to be a person of integrity, a trait that has endeared him to his supporters.
He commands a cult-like following amongst the poor and the downtrodden in the north.
His strong military background in a time of rising insecurity may come in handy, given his track record of crushing the Maitatsine sect, considered the early shoots of Islamic extremism in the country.
During the campaign, Buhari became a phenomenon. Many have argued that Buhari’s popularity in the North is unrivaled by any other Northerner living or dead.
According to Jasper Azatualam, a member of APC Presidential council, “when we were in Kano for local government elections, the people there refused to come out. We had to tell them that Buhari wants them to come out to vote. That was how they came out to vote. Sometime people cry when he speaks at rallies”
Finally Buhari has won and majority of Nigerians, especially those from the Northern region believe Buhari is the change. They believe that he meant every bit of the promises he made during his campaigns.
This report takes a look at the challenges being faced by the Northern Nigeria and the views of the average Northerner in regards to the incoming administration of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
“I was born in poverty and I believe that Buhari will make the difference” said Musa Ga’anda who resides in Amuwon Odofi lpocal government area in Lagos. I am from Gombe but I came to Lagos to make ends meet after my means of livelihood was destroyed by Boko Haram.
“I want Buhari create an enabling environment in the North so I can go back home. There is no place like home” He said.
Jibrilla Chubadu who hails from Michika in Adamawa state but currently in Lagos as a result of the insurgency, told Hallmark that the main reason why majority of the Nigerians living in the Northern parts voted for Buhari was because of insecurity.
He said, “Nigerians living in the North East irrespective of tribe or religion united and voted out President Goodluck Jonathan. Aside from the North East, you could see a state like Kaduna could not be divided along religious lines like before. We all had a common enemy in Boko Haram so we had to speak in unison this time around for our own good”
He further stated that, “Pastors in the Northern parts went about campaigning for Buhari discreetly. They felt that Jonathan was nonchalant towards their plight.
“As for me, I lost my entire family to the dreaded insurgents in Michika.’ He said
According to Zayyad I. Muhammed “President-elect, Muhammad Buhari has promised to end Boko Haram. But the big question is after that, what next? Buhari must tackle the main condition that facilitated the growth of Boko Haram- which is abject poverty in the region. The average Nigerian in the North is extremely a poor man. Buhari will need to create productive employment for the region’s teaming unemployed citizens and those engaged in unproductive-manual jobs.”
“The Northeast is facing the problem of large number of children out of schools; many destroyed schools and fear instilled in children and parents to send their wards to schools. Collaboration between the three states of Borno, Yobe , Adamawa and Federal government is required to tackle these big problems.”
He further said “Though, we are talking about rehabilitation of war-torn communities with high rate of illiteracy and poverty, Buhari can solve these problems through agriculture, small scale industrialization and human capital development”
Buhari himself seems to be so overwhelmed by the level of trust placed on him that he said, “I am not a magician.
In the area of insecurity, Buhari said success would not be achieved in a short time unless there is cooperation from Neighbouring countries.
According to Buhari, the triumph against the sect members would not be immediately achieved once he gets into power but said with cooperation from Neighboring countries and the commitment of the military, the war would be won in a short time
He said, “For five, six years, the Nigerian enforcement law agencies, including the military, couldn’t secure 14 Local Governments.
How can I promise miracles when I come? But with the cooperation of our neighbours Cameroon, Chad, Niger and the international community, and the commitment we are going to get from the military, I think it will take us a much shorter time to deal with it”, he said.
It remains to be seen if Buhari would actualize the yearnings and dreams of Northern Nigerians.