To President-elect, Gen. Buhari on His Covenant with Nigerians

Source: Prof. Bedford Nwabueze Umez (President, Nigerian Leadership Council (NLC))
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Your Excellency, President Buhari,
On behalf of Nigerian Leadership Council and all progressive thinking Nigerians, I would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to you on your election to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Congratulations!

As we congratulate you, let me convey our collective feeling of great satisfaction given the smooth democratic transition. This is remarkable! Indeed, those Nigerians who ran to their villages expecting some serious violent outcome are now returning to their respective places of work without fear. On that note, we thank President Goodluck Jonathan for making good on his promise: "I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word."

Mr. President, I would like to comment on your “Covenant with Nigerians”. It is not merely flattery to say that your “Covenant with Nigerians” – an agreement all progressive Nigerians are profoundly touched – is a clear testimony that you truly understand our CORE problem: VICIOUS corruption within our political institutions. Not only you acknowledged the pernicious influence of this evil, you have pledged and determined to root it out wherever it exists. Thank you for this pledge. With your leadership, we are convinced that as an influential OPEC nation, Nigeria might have a chance to catch up with other significant OPEC nations, e.g., Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Iran. We are optimistic that you will vindicate the hopes and aspirations of millions of Nigerians who are clearly victimized by ruthless corruption and “lootocracy” – looting the treasury of Nigeria by some of our so-called “honorable trusted” leaders only to funnel money in foreign countries.

Our prayer at this very moment is that God will give you wisdom and courage to appoint ONLY hardworking, true patriotic Nigerians who are ready to restore Nigeria to her old glory – “the Giant of Africa.” Mr. President, true compatriots and lovers of wisdom are what we need now to assist you in executing that Covenant – nothing more, nothing less. Why? Because your purpose to restore good government in Nigeria is their purpose too; your goal to end corruption in Nigeria is their goal too; and the road you have chosen to achieve your goal is their road too. Indeed, true patriotic Nigerians take great comfort reading your “Covenant with Nigerians.” Below are among the high points of the Covenant:

“In the past few months that I have traveled round this country on campaigns, I have experienced the sheer beauty of our diversity. From Port Harcourt to Kano, from Abeokuta to Gusau, I experienced first-hand the daily sufferings and struggles of our people. I also experienced the overwhelming desire of our people for change.”

“Nigeria's greatest asset is her people. My commitment is to invest in our people and ensure that they have the opportunity to achieve their full potentials and enjoy the full benefits of their citizenship, regardless of their religion, region, ethnicity, gender or disability.”

“All Nigerians deserve to benefit from our collective wealth. We promise not to leave any Nigerian behind in our determination to create, expand and ensure equitable and effective allocation of economic opportunities. No matter the amount of wealth we create, it would be meaningless unless it benefits the majority of our people.”

"Healthcare in Nigeria is in crises. Too many people do not get any treatment. For those who do get treated, all too often, the care they receive is poor. Far too many die from easily treatable diseases and what should be routine treatment often end in death. [I will] ensure that no Nigerian will have any reason to go outside the country for medical treatment."

"I intend to lead with integrity and honour and commit myself totally to everything that is of concern to our people: security, employment, health, education, good governance and others."

"[I will] show personal leadership in the war against corruption and also hold all the people who work with me to account…. Inaugurate the National Council on Procurement as stipulated in the Procurement Act so that the Federal Executive Council, which has been turned to a weekly session of contract bazaar, will concentrate on its principal function of policy making... Present a national anti-corruption Strategy…. No matter how vast our resources, if they are not efficiently utilized, they will only benefit a privileged few, leaving the majority in poverty. I believe if Nigeria does not kill corruption; corruption will kill Nigeria."

“I know however, that what we require to revamp our economy and rebuild our country is our ability to galvanize all our citizens to believe once again in their government, in their country and especially, to believe in themselves.”

[Indeed] “I have had the opportunity to serve my country in the military up to the highest level, as a Major General and as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In the course of my service, I had defended the territorial integrity of Nigeria. And if called upon to do so again, I shall rise to the occasion.”

Mr. President, wise leaders all over the world know that leadership is action, not a position. They know that leadership is parenthood – just as parents take care of their children, leaders must also take care of their own people. As such, they do not embezzle their people's money only to hide it in foreign banks. They do not abandon their hospitals only to fly to foreign countries for medical treatment. They do not abandon their own schools only to send their children to schools in foreign countries. They take care of their own. They wisely build their nations knowing that it is the only way to secure a competitive edge in a global economy, and gain respect in the world. In fact, no leader is wise until he starts taking care of his own people.

Your Excellency, we have seen your progressive ideas in your manifesto. You understand what it takes to root out the evil of corruption in Nigeria. We believe you will rise to the “occasion” as pledged in your “Covenant with Nigerians.”

Nigeria will rise again. May God bless you and the people of Nigeria.

Bedford Nwabueze Umez
Department of Government, Lee College, Baytown, Texas USA