Anyone who loves this country and I believe millions of Nigerians do should rise up now and help President Muhammadu Buhari succeed in office. If he succeeds, Nigeria and Nigerians will succeed, if he fails Nigeria and Nigerians will fail. This issue should transcend partisanship and any other primordial sentiments. Some even go as far as becoming enemies, so I can understand if some people feel a strong urge to wish the president bad. There are many who will argue that, at different time and place, President Buhari and his supporters did not wish his predecessors well. They will be right. President Buhari’s supporters did not wish President Olusegun Obasanjo and his government well; and when he lost he challenged the loss all the way to the Supreme Court. He also did not support President Umaru Yar’Adua. When he lost the presidential election to the former he challenged it all the way to Supreme Court.
Of course, his relationship with President Goodluck Jonathan is well known to many. When he lost to Jonathan in 2011 his supporters unleashed mayhem and violence across many northern states which led to the loss of lives and properties. As in previous cases, he also challenged that loss all the way to the Supreme Court. Interestingly, when Jonathan lost against Buhari in 2015, he had the option of challenging the loss in court but he didn’t exercise it. His supporters also had the option of unleashing mayhem and violence, especially in the Niger Delta, but they didn’t do so. Indeed, it was for that act of sublime statesmanship that President Jonathan earned the admiration, respect and in fact gratitude of many across the world.
So for some to now argue that the right approach for President Jonathan’s supporters would be to pay back President Buhari in his own coin, in my opinion, is wrong. First of all, in no circumstance is vengeance the acceptable mode of behaviour. As the Holy Bible teaches, vengeance is mine says the Lord. I would think that even President Buhari himself has learnt some lessons from the past. All in all, he has become a better leader and a more enriched human being.
The challenge of developing Nigeria or as Nigerians like to call it, ‘moving Nigeria forward’ is onerous. Anyone who understands the issue of development will appreciate the magnitude of problems confronting the country today. In spite of the popular myth of Nigeria being a rich country, the truth is that the country had never really been rich. At best, it has been a country with promise, with rich resources. The stark reality is that Nigeria is a very poor country and is in a desperate situation. Its main source of revenue, oil, has lost its allure and value. For the last two decades or more Nigeria has not been adding value, productivity has been at all-time low and education which used to be the ladder to social success, has increasingly diminished in value. A typical graduate is no longer a member of the exclusive club of the burgeoning elite; rather he has become a parasite, a barely literate person often with no relevant or marketable skills and with dim prospects for the future.
All over the country, roads are in bad shape, while insecurity ravages the land. The election of President Buhari was designed to answer to these challenges and provide an alternative narrative. The change which the APC promised has been slow in manifesting. Even among the band of dire hard Buhari supporters anxiety and despair are quickly replacing the giddy optimism of the post-election days. On the other hand, there is a growing din of na-sayers, those who did not support Buhari’s election and who in a cynical manner appear to be celebrating the difficulties the young administration has been facing This is wrong and unacceptable. There is an urgent need for a national consensus on the way forward. The bitterness of the last election should be put aside; Nigerians should now join hands together and support the government to pursue its promises. It is important because no government anywhere in the world can succeed without the support of the people. Revelling in the government’s difficulties and even wishing it to fail can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and the question then is: if the government fails who has failed? Nigerians! And if the government is unable to realize its lofty programmes and impact positively on the lives of the people, the people will suffer the loss. So the failure of the Buhari administration will be the failure of the people. Supporting the administration to succeed should be the enlightened self-interest option in other words; it should be something we do for ourselves, our children and the future of our country. Nevertheless, I must say that in order to achieve this, government itself should adopt an approach to governance that is all-embracing, an approach to governance that does not discriminate and involves all Nigerians no matter their surnames, religion or geography. It would be self-defeating for the administration to wittingly or unwittingly, pursue policies that are discriminatory or even perceived to be so.
Whereas that may achieve some emotional sense of satisfaction for the president, in the long run, it would be self-defeating. The problems facing the country require all hands to be on deck. It does not require only Muslim hands or Christian hands or the hands of atheists. It does not require only the hands of Northerners or Southerners, but the hands of all Nigerians. Regrettably, the president put the wrong foot forward initially by skewing his early appointments to favour predominantly people from his own part of town. That sent a very wrong signal to the rest of the country, and may be the root cause of some of the opposition that is growing so rapidly in the public space. The truth is that Nigeria is in dire straits and would need all Nigerians to help solve these problems.