This morning, a trader sent me a notice that a bag of cement now costs N1,600 after it has been at N2,000 for many years. This is just one cause for me to celebrate this administration. I did not rush to place any order, knowing fully well that the price will crash further with the determination of the present team to get things better. If it will cost N500 a bag in Sudan, why will it cost even N1000 in Nigeria? The monopoly of whoever raised it to N2000 need – and must – be broken.
There are many other goodies apart from crashing prices. For the first time, fuel is selling at the control price of N87 nationwide. Yet, prices, as important as they are to our lives, are not my most important source of relief, happiness and hope in the past 100 days. Had Jonathan won the last elections, his bloodsucking war generals would have continued to promote the cause of Boko Haram, allowing the group to extend its operations, by this time, down to southern Bauchi and into my home at the foot of the Bauchi Plateau. I would have been a displaced person somewhere in Nigeria or a refugee stranded in Hungary, knocking at the doors of Western Europe. I would have been Aylan Kurdi.
This is no exaggeration. All the signs were there. Banks and schools in the local government were shut down early this year and even government officials were advised to report for work late and leave early. We were starting to have some sleepless nights, knowing that the insurgents were living just less than twenty kilometers from us in the Lame-Burra forest reserve and especially after they started carrying out some low scale attacks in the periphery of the forest and ‘receiving’ deliveries of vehicles from the military as usual.
Suddenly, things started to change immediately it dawned on Jonathan and the PDP early this year that they would lose the elections unless they could immediately regain the confidence of Nigerians before going to the polls. They postponed the election by six weeks and started to pursue the insurgents. It was a belated effort despite which they lost the elections. Today, with the revelations of the heinous war crimes committed between the office of the NSA and the Defence Headquarters, Nigerians will now attest that had Jonathan won the elections, Boko Haram would have returned with full force. Those tapeworms would have continued to suck our blood. Fortunately, God answered the prayer of the weak; He came to our rescue and sent them packing.
The coming of Buhari and the achievements which greeted his genuine efforts to end the insurgency have removed our fears and replaced them with the assurance that we will continue with our lives peacefully. What, if I may repeat, can be a better cause to celebrate the last 100 days?
We in the Northeast are not alone. Other Nigerians also share in this and many more delightful experiences since the inception of the administration. In various ways, the new administration has generated not only the hope that things will get better. Delightfully, beyond the hope, there is the undeniable reality that things are indeed getting better, for the first time since the August 1985 coup. Only the blind will fail to see the magic that accountability is playing. Appointments are done on merit, not for political patronage. They are also not done with merely the understanding, but the undertaking, that achievement is the minimum acceptable standard, with zero tolerance for failure. Gladly, the appointees so far have not failed the President.
From the service chiefs that have reclaimed all territories under Boko Haram to the NNPC directors that have swiftly restored our refineries and ensured a nationwide sale of petrol at control price nationwide, one can breathe the fresh air of the new dawn. What is new therein are many: the generation and distribution of over 5,000 MW for the first time in decades; the constitution of panels to investigate past corrupt practices that for the first time questions retired service chiefs; the firm measures taken to check the further decline of the Naira; the sharp rise of our foreign reserve to $31 billion; the sacking of the cabals that have been behind our misfortunes especially in the security agencies and prosecuting them; the initiation of reducing the massive leakages of our national wealth by politicians and public servants through high recurrent expenditures in both the executive and the legislative arms of government; etc.
The international community expected as much. World leaders did not hesitate to identify with our President, making pledges to work together with him in the emergence of a better Nigeria. We have regained the respect we once had among our African brothers after we were derided as the sleeping giant. Suddenly, the giant has awakened, opened his eyes and is making efforts to be on his feet once more.
Our guess of what can be achieved when Buhari forms his cabinet will not be futile. Surely, Buhari is very likely to be the first president who Nigerians of various backgrounds and affiliations will sincerely advocate for his second tenure. He will not need to sponsor a campaign for a second or third term. We will demand for his stay, if he is able to remain focused and continue to record remarkable achievements.
The premise of my proposition lies in how a consensus is developing on the trust that Nigerians now have in the President. Of course, there will always be some voices that are disgruntled at the President’s success especially from the opposition PDP. Such elements are praying for his failure such that they can return to power and, once more, unleash their regime of terror and corruption on Nigerians. Those culprits aside, other Nigerians are ready to forget their differences and unite behind an accountable leader. If the President can bring succor to our lives, few of us, if any, will bother about the faith he holds, the tribe he belongs to or the section of the country he came from. That was the trust we tried to invest in Obasanjo in 1999 and in Jonathan in 2010 but the shoulders of both painfully proved too frail to carry it. Ironically, it is today carried on the shoulders of a 73 year old whom we thought would by now be too old to succeed.
I have witnessed many regime changes in Nigeria. Arguably, it is difficult to recall anyone that achieved so much in so short a time like the present one, apart from, perhaps, that of Murtala Mohammed in 1975. As it charts its course, there will be many challenges for the administration to tackle, especially in relation to the corrupt political class that the President must learn to negotiate his path with and the dethroned, wicked league that suffocated us in the past thirty years. There are fears too, including whether this president will be an exception to the rule that assassinated every good leader who set out to emancipate us. The only assurance I have is that this time there are indications that they will fail because the Most High seems to be in support of this journey. His hands are clearly behind the emergence of Buhari as the President, for a purpose, and He will protect him as long as he remains sincere, fair and God-fearing leader.
This was a journey that almost everybody abandoned, after being defeated by the mightiness of the incumbent administrations since 2003, which broke every rule and blocked every path in order to remain in power. Not only those who rallied around Buhari in the TBO in 2002 and the others who carried the struggle further, even Buhari himself, by 2011, had lost all hope that he would succeed. Nigeria saw him publicly broken in tears and promising not to contest again. The feeling of defeat was as glaring as it was overwhelming. Ayyah!
However, in accordance with the Tradition of God, that was the tipping point needed for things to take a turn, for man is initially allowed to dream, toil, do his best and everything possible to succeed but success will remain elusive. He is abandoned and he finally makes up his mind to abandon the path. Then the help of God comes, bringing into play all the requisite forces and circumstances for success. That was the tradition of all Messengers and the personalities that emancipated their people. We have seen it in Noah, Hud, Saleh, Shuaib, Abraham, Lot, Yunus, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, may the peace of God be upon them. They all broke down at a point, before He extended His noble and mighty Hand, picked them from the level of despair and led them to the heights of success:
“Until when the Messengers lost hope and thought they have been rejected, Our help came to them and We emancipated whom we wished…” Yusuf: 110
That is why God ascribed success only to Himself:
“Success cannot be except from God, the Almighty, the Wise.” Al-Imran, 126
I stand to be corrected. The success at the 2015 polls was not from Buhari or any of his allies, but from the Almighty that guided everything to the destination that He wished. It is usual though in their myopic character and in the frenzy of victory to hear people speak about Buhari’s resolve, Tinibu’s political sagacity, America’s intervention, Jega’s transparency, Jonathan’s concession, etc. The truth is that all these were mere tools in the Hand of God.
It was that Hand that picked Buhari from ground zero in 2011 and guided him all through to height of success at the polls in 2015. It is the same Hand that is guiding him today. I have no doubt that the same Hand will protect him against the conglomerate of evil such that, at least once more, we can, among other nations, be proud to answer the name of our fatherland. To God we submit our prayers.
The improvement in governance is all we demand for because of the egalitarian nature of its benefits. Had many of our governors realized this, they too would have chosen to be some smaller Buharis in their states. However, many still believe in money, corruption and godfathers. They fear people instead of God, and think that pleasing “nobody” to the detriment of “everybody” is what will earn them success. They are mistaken. Time will prove them wrong. It may give them a second tenure but they, like their predecessors, will live to regret ever being corrupt governors in their lives. We doff our hats for the few governors that have resolved to do the right thing for the benefit of “everybody”.
So, I am fine with the 100 days of Buhari in office and look forward to still better days of peace and prosperity in the near future. With the guidance of God, I have no doubt that he will succeed finally. The President only needs to remain sincere, hardworking and focused. He must also continue to watch his back, for God likes those who remain vigilant. On our part, as Nigerians we must remain supportive, patient and patriotic. That is all we need to build a better tomorrow.
4 September 2015