Agreed, this government is not perfect, nor is the man at the top of it. Indeed, writing just seven months after his inauguration, I had cause to tell President Muhammadu Buhari that his frequent foreign travels were not what we braved rain and shine to vote for.
But, I soon realised that our impatience with PMB’s style stems from the fact that we expected him to be and act like the Buhari of the 80s. And that is not possible for obvious reasons. General Buhari was a military ruler whose reign was not subjected to any checks by other arms of government. President Muhammadu Buhari, on the other hand, is a civilian who operates in a democracy. Here he has to accept and act within the principle of separation of powers between the three arms of government.
Additionally, in the early 80s when youthful exuberance might have guided some of his actions without due regard for their consequences, today advance in age and wisdom necessitates that he acts at a slower pace than we used to know.
So when Sonala Olumhense, the Daily Trust on Sunday back page columnist, called on the president to resign and run away last week, I had no choice but to tell him that the president will go nowhere.
All the things he listed as President Buhari’s failures are actually matters being treated at half the speed we want them to be treated.
As is usual with people in diaspora, they pay more attention to commentaries on social media than to realities on the ground because they are not here to see them. But we that are here, know that progress is being made daily, in the anti-corruption drive, in combatting insecurity and insurgency and in diversifying and resuscitating our economy.
We can’t expect miracles of course, knowing what PMB inherited from the last administration, in the form of a battered economy, dilapidated infrastructure and a country at war. But the progress that we’ve seen, in the form of freedom to move around without checkpoints and unnecessary security checks at every office or public place is worthy of applause.
Some of us never knew what precious gifts safety and security were, till they were taken away from us due to the insurgency. Suddenly, the sound of bombs blasting became common rather than the rare terror it was supposed to be. And it wasn’t just confined to any part of the country, bomb blasts actually became a national occurrence. From the North East to the North West, the Federal Capital Territory and parts of the North Central.
But all this is now a thing of the past. Though the insurgency isn’t quite over, the fact that Boko Haram is in hiding and only strikes at soft targets, in the North East, speaks a lot about the progress made in containing the insurgency.
To say that the man who accomplished this in less than three years, when elsewhere insurgencies tend to drag on for decades, should run away in shame, is to simply deny the obvious.
On the economic front, today rice farmers have flooded the country with such quality local rice that the price of foreign rice has been forced to come down by a huge percentage. Of course people like Sonala wouldn’t know this because they are busy eating foreign rice all the time and have no idea what it meant to afford the sand less rice. Today, thanks to the modern methods used to process it, our local rice is actually being cooked without stones.
So to the diaspora commentariat, my simple advice is: shut up and allow us to decide who to elect in 2019. The hue and cry that greeted President Buhari’s decision to seek a second term is indeed phenomenal. The man is not seeking a third term, what he declared for is totally legal, his right according to our constitution, so what have the diaspora guys got to lose by letting him run as he wishes?
On the other hand are retired generals who are busy conniving with each other and with disgruntled politicians to abort PMB’s return for a second term. You wonder what they too have to lose if he pursued his constitutional right to do a second term. Except for the fact that most of them are corrupt, and giving PMB a second term means they might all get uncovered and even prosecuted, when the anti corruption drive reaches their door step.
The amount of opposition being shown to PMB’s second term bid reminds me of what I once heard from a Muslim scholar. The learned gentleman said opposition is the test of good deeds. Whenever you think you are doing something right and nobody is either criticising you or showing opposition to your efforts, know that you are not doing anything good. The only time a section of the people rise in opposition to you is when your efforts are beneficial to others.
But no matter how loud they are both the diaspora community and the generals cannot stop PMB; if it’s God’s will for him to return. Indeed they never voted him in the first time.