As Buhari’s Administration Kicks Off
Today (May 29, 2015), another chapter has been opened in the history of Nigeria with the swearing-in of Muhammadu Buhari as the 4th elected President in the current democratic dispensation entrenched in 1999, when General Abdulsalam Abubakar (Retd) successfully handed over power to former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo had in 2007 at the end of his second term in office left the stage for Umaru Musa Yar’Adua whose demise paved way for the emergence of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2009 before he was duly elected by Nigerians in 2011.
However, attempt by Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to clinch a second term met a brick wall in the 2015 presidential election as Nigerians opted for Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC). Buhari in the March 28 presidential poll, scored a vote of 15,424,921 to rout Jonathan who got a total of 12,853,162, making it the very first time a sitting President was defeated in the political history of Nigeria.
The inauguration of Buhari on this day marks the end of PDP’s stranglehold on the Presidency since the return of democracy in 1999 and the beginning of a new government under the hitherto opposition party now the ruling party, the APC. The APC came into being last year February as a result of the merger of major opposition parties in the country all in a bid to bring PDP down from its pedestal. The purpose of the merger has been achieved today and the change agent has been installed.
The change of government from one political party to another as witnessed in the transfer of power from Jonathan to Buhari has, indeed, been described as a welcome development by many, who believed that the coming of the soldier turned politician whose integrity and character is said to be unquestionable, signals a new dawn in the running of the affairs of Nigeria under a democratic setting.
The outgoing Senator representing Kogi Central Senatorial District in the Red Chamber of the 7th National Assembly that will be winding down in the first week of June, Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman, is one of those who have unalloyed confidence in the ability of Buhari, the brand new President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic to take Nigeria to the next level of development.
According to Abatemi-Usman, an APC Senator, “The inauguration of Muhammadu Buhuari as the new President of our dear great country today is unarguably a major watershed, a significant landmark in our political history. It is the beginning of a new era that will bring about the needed change to make life better for the Nigerian people. It is the installation of a government where things would be done differently and no longer business as usual where corruption was obviously the order of the day and was allowed to eat very deep into the fabric of our system and caused serious rot to the entity called Nigeria. I must say that Nigerians are completely happy to have Buhari inaugurated as the President, having willingly given him their votes in the last presidential election. It is a known fact that the new President is a man of high integrity whose resilience, doggedness and tenacity saw him through in his quest to see a new Nigeria. I implore all Nigerians to cooperate with the APC government led by Buhari so that jointly we can reconstruct and rebuild Nigeria to give it a shape that will be beneficial to all and sundry in the interest our country. The challenges before the Buhari government are, undoubtedly, enormous, and it is only with the maximum cooperation of all citizens that they can truly be subdued.”
Now that the government of Buhari has taken off, the burden of public expectations lie squarely on his neck and many feel he has no option but to perform, regardless of the extent of damage that may have been done to the system by previous administrations. Nigerians would not take any excuse for failure, as their vote for Buhari was based on the change mantra that characterized the campaign of APC prior to the presidential election. It is believed that Buhari and APC were not oblivious of the quantum of destructions in the system before promising the much touted change. And so, rather than make too much noise and complaint about the deep rot in the system now that they have taken over the seat of power from the grip of the PDP, immediate actions pointing towards the direction of the expected change should be taken, such that Nigerians would begin to see the good positive signs from the onset.
In an editorial captioned: “Buhari and the weight of public expectations”, published by Huhuonline, an online medium owned by Emmanuel Asiwe, it was observed that “All the expected radical changes may not happen immediately, but important symbolic measures must be taken within the first 100 days to advertise that things are getting better. The style of a President Buhari must be different from that of a military president even as he goes about the job at hand in a hurry. He needs to be reminded that he is now where Obasanjo was in 1999 and Jonathan in 2011, riding a crest of popular will and support. It therefore bears repeating that with expectations so high, he must ponder where previous presidents got it wrong with a view to avoiding their pitfalls. Riding on the crest of popular acknowledgement of his integrity, Buhari must provide moral leadership to the nation. The presidency has been described as not merely an administrative office, but pre-eminently the place of moral leadership. The sine qua non requirement of this is that the General, as leader, must know the way, show the way and go the way. Nigerians cannot wait to see their leader walk his talk.”
With his inauguration as elected President today, this will be Buhari’s second time of ruling the country like Obasanjo, who was military Head of State between 1976 and 1979 before becoming a democratically elected President in 1999.
Buhari, a retired General born on December 17, 1942, in Daura, Katsina State, had first ruled Nigeria as military Head of State between December 31, 1983 and August 27, 1985. His regime then was toppled by former military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida popularly known as IBB.
He attended primary school in Daura and Mai'adua before proceeding to Katsina Model School in 1953, and Katsina Provincial Secondary School (now Government College Katsina) from 1956 to 1961. Buhari began his military career in 1961, when he enrolled at the Nigerian Military Training College in Kaduna later renamed the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in February 1964. He had undergone various military trainings within and outside the shores of the country and held different positions, of which he was believed to have performed excellently well and proved his competence and capability.
Buhari will be in the helms of affairs at the centre alongside the new Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo till 2019, when Nigerians will decide to either reelect or send him packing based on his performance in line with the promises he made to the people.
Michael Jegede, media aide to Senator Nurudeen Abatemi-Usman writes from Abuja