We cannot but encourage President Buhari to be man enough in seeking solutions, in line with his promises, to the problems he had identified as Nigeria’s major headaches
President Muhammadu Buhari has been wanting as regards prospects of fixing Nigeria’s myriad problems. In his first interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), soon after he was declared winner of the March 28 presidential election, Buhari told Nigerians not to expect miracles. Indeed, he had said that he would not have made any promises if he wasn’t sure on fulfilling them. Still, he asked that Nigerians do not expect miracles.
Following that interview, Buhari has also had moments where he told Nigerians the he was not a miracle worker and as such would not guarantee any radical departures from the past, though he had promised them same. Very early in his administration, while receiving a delegation from Taraba State, Buhari said Nigerians will be surprised with changes, and achievements, that would be recorded in the first six months of his administration. Specifically, he said “in the next four years Nigerians will confidently raise their heads up in confidence”. This was hours after he had told governors from his party, APC, that the expectations of Nigerians frighten him. Prior to that, the President had told Nigerians that his campaign promises are not cast in Quranic or Biblical bonds.
Indeed, Nigerians would not have expected much if he, and his party, had not promised to deliver to them all that they now expect, like to bring the dollar at par with the naira regardless of the macroeconomic indices that govern international monetary issues. Sadly, poor Naira is now changing at the rate of 250 to one US Dollar!
During the campaigns, Buhari spoke so little, but promised a lot. He promised to arrest Nigeria’s economic woes, put food on peoples table and more money in their pockets. He promised to eradicate corruption and feed every school child with a meal every day. He also promised to pay between N5000 and N7000 monthly to about 25 million poor people just as he promised monthly stipends to job-seeking graduates. His promise of massive job creation and reengineering the agricultural sector among other numerous promises made across the states he freely campaigned heightened the expectations.
More than anything else, his integrity, which became political bait made most Nigerians to believe he would deliver.
Therefore, it is indeed saddening for him to put his integrity on the guillotine. Nigerians have become impatient for change because he made them believe that change was deliberately, and wickedly, denied them.
Recanting on his promises and seeking escapes take a lot away from his integrity. That is the surest way of disconnecting with the conscious mass of expectant Nigerians, who now believe that with him, Nigeria has approached its Eldorado and Nigerians will shout Eureka with Archimedes.
Buhari must therefore show that he quite understood what he was at when he made those promises. This is no time to deceive the Nigerian who has become so conscious of his political being, environment and power.
Whatever it takes, Buhari must show integrity and self-respect in attending to the problems facing Nigeria, which he had promised to solve within months of being in office. He must not give Nigerians reason to re-think. He must also not give those who had ‘trekked’ long distances to celebrate his victory reason to regret their exercise.
For now, Nigerians expect total eradication of corruption from their governmental system and national life. They expect to see a radical cut in the cost of governance especially in what federal legislators and cabinet ministers take home as emoluments. They expect to see change in subsidy regime and total resuscitation of the nation’s refineries as promised. Nigerians expect to see their country become a food exporting country as well as a re-created economy that would transform lives and make them liquid. They expect to have constant power supply and wet taps.
We know, however, that campaign podium promises, mean nothing to politicians in our clime. If they do, Nigeria probably would have grown past where it is now. For if those, since Nigeria’s first electoral contest had built roads, schools, hospitals, institutions that promote good governance, the current age would have talked of something innovatively different.
However, this is different with Buhari. His tag ‘Mai Gaskiya’ means more than just a political tag. His austere lifestyle, also says something of his detachment with fables. For the past six months he has had the opportunity to show what he can do but there have been too many deficits in fuel shortage, insecurity, declining economy etc.
We cannot but encourage President Buhari to be man enough in seeking solutions, in line with his promises, to the problems he had identified as Nigeria’s major headaches. He must apply the necessary balms to cure the worries. Shying away from same will amount to deception. It will mean taking Nigerians on a long ride in a night bus. We are not too sure that the Nigerian, who had been made to believe that finally, a messiah has arrived the scene, and is equally desperate to experience change in his personal economic fortunes, will be eager to rationalize anything for government.