Good afternoon. I am indeed pleased to be invited to this august gathering, to speak to our teeming Youths on the ‘Personality Perspectives’ of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You are our youths of today and the leaders of tomorrow. You are our pride and our assets and, of course, the bastion of our national unity.
President Buhari’s name has been a household name for decades, not only in Nigeria, but globally. He has been known to be a dedicated personality whose patriotism is beyond reproach. Meanwhile before delving into his character, I would like to take us back to the history of “CORRUPTION” in Nigeria, a cankerworm which has infested and eaten so deep into our societal fabric and which has, as a result, made our progress as a nation very difficult and certainly below expectations.
Fight against corruption and its related vices started with the three Scriptures revealed to humankind, the Torah, the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an. However, mankind always proved a defiant specie hence the social vice has remained intractable therefore continued unabated to this day. Nigerian contemporary and varied experiences with corruption started with the defunct Native Authorities when culprits were arrested, prosecuted and instantly sentenced to various imprisonments.
In 1975 when late General Murtala Ramat Muhammad became the Military Head of State, many Investigative Panels and Tribunals were set up at the state and federal government levels to investigate proven cases of corrupt practices and other abuses of office by the public officers of the various governments. As a result, all the then military governors were dismissed from the Army and the Police with ignominy because their hands were found fully enmeshed in the evil acts of corrupt malpractices.
In 1979, when Alhaji Shehu Shagari, the first elected civilian President came to power he equally fought the cankerworm by creating a whole Ministry of Guidance and appointed a moral vanguard, in the person of Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule, the Dan Masanin Kano to head the Ministry. Dan Masanin Kano tried his best and contributed immensely to curb corruption in our social life, all in an effort to bring back the country to MORAL RECTITUDE.
When Major General Muhammadu Buhari came in as the Head of the Military Government in 1984, he did not hesitate to take the fight against corruption to its highest levels. Military Tribunals were also set up and headed by competent senior military officers. Suspected culprits were rounded up, prosecuted and sentenced to various terms of imprisonments while their properties found to have been acquired illegally were confiscated and forfeited to the governments. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, people became conscious of their civic responsibilities and were coming to grips with the realities of life.
Those people found guilty had no so-called ‘god father’ to protect them. There was no any ‘scared cow’ that would have an escape route.
The country was indeed shaken to its roots. War Against Indiscipline (WAI) was set up. Nigerians once more started to behave in the normal way and discipline as a national psyche became the order of the day.
Respect for Law and Order was the norm. Drug pushers and other criminals came to their senses and the society was therefore protected from the onslaught of its predators. In fact, that singular patriotic leadership brought with it, once more, respect for our dear nation and Nigeria was firmly put on the path to greatness amongst comity of nations. Unfortunately, General Buhari’s tenure was cut short by another military putsch.
After 30 years out of office, Muhammadu Buhari, has again, by the Grace of Allah, found himself as an elected civilian President. Prior to his second coming, his senior colleague, President Olusegun Obasanjo has during his tenure as a civilian president also played an important role in trying to curtail the menace of corruption. He enacted at least two strong bodies to fight it. He brought on board the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). Both are active in the performance of their onerous duties of battling to stem the tide of corruption in our public lives. President Buhari has been known, since his childhood, as a dogged fighter of injustice. He has been a fighter of corruption all his life and has carried on the mantle regardless of whose ox is gored. In his unrelenting efforts to fight and subdue corruption to a standstill on assumption of his office, he re-invigorated the two organs, EFCC and ICPC and charged them to launch a more decisive ‘Assault on the Evil.’
I would not like to go into what might be standing against the full realization of the current fight against corruption. Suffice it to say, however, if the Judiciary and the Legislature could sufficiently co-operate with the Executive and whole-heartedly support the noble course pursued by Mr. President, the fight on corruption would have been as good as won. My humble plea to these important and vital organs of governance is to re-invent and rededicate themselves and accept the fight against this cancerous disease as a “Collective Responsibility” of the country and not solely that of Mr. President.
Coming back to President Buhari’s behavioral make up and moral rectitude, I would make it bold to say that they have their roots both from his good breed and excellent breeding. He is, by nature, honest, sincere and truthful. He is personally disciplined and always lives realistically within his means. His exemplary character attracted the attention of his teachers during his secondary school days in 1961 when he was selected for an educational “Summer Scholarship” to visit the United Kingdom, sponsored by a certain Shipping Line. In the same year he was appointed a Head Boy of his school, the then Provincial Secondary School, Katsina. Those of us who knew President Buhari from his childhood can testify to the fact that he has always been clear-headed and has a knack for diagnosing problems easily and stating his views succinctly. He is never verbose.
In concluding my speech I wish to pose my question to our youths. How can Nigerian youths help Mr. President to succeed in implementing his policies of providing security, economic prosperity and fighting corruption? There is a clear and urgent need for a change of attitude by all Nigerians, particularly the youths. Our youths must learn to live within their legitimate means and shun the temptation to corrupt enrichment even where that opportunity presents itself. Our youths must live in harmony with their clear conscience and the fear of God. They must change for the better. This attitudinal change is inescapably very important for the good growth of our youths and the nation generally. Wealth without work is a sin and it negates the economic development of any nation. Nigeria can only be prosperous, peaceful and stable through honest endeavor and respect for the laws of the land.
I wish all of you the best in your Workshop and pray that each and every one of you will concentrate harder to acquire the skills he or she will be imparted with and strive to put the same to his/her utmost benefit and the benefit of the society at large. I wish you good luck.
Excerpts of the speech delivered by Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura on “Buhari Personality Perspective” at the 2017 Sensitisation Workshop Programme in the North West Zone in Kaduna recently.