By Chukwudi Enekwechi
Since Nigeria’s independence in 1960 many leaders had emerged and played key roles in shaping the country and its histroy. In doing this each contributed his quota to present attainments we are witnessing. The man in the saddle today, President Muhammadu Buhari, has also in the course of time contributed his own quota to the development of the country.
He first came on December 31st 1983 as a military head of state and during his brief stint as the helmsman, he displayed an uncommon zeal for the rapid transformation of the country. One of the areas he considered very critical for national development was in the area of reorientation of our values, ethos and ethics, hence his ‘War Against Indiscipline’.
From the onset in the life of that administration he did not mince words in speaking against corruption and indiscipline in the land, and took up the battle headlong. Indeed he drew the attention of the country to the debilitating effects of these ills on the country, and this was at a time some of his contemporaries were revelling in mindless sleaze in public offices.
In fact some of them saw corruption as a way of life and that nothing needed to change. Nevertheless, Buhari’s dogged commitment to rid Nigeria of corruption started to yield results as many Nigerians began to see the country’s under-development through the prism of corruption and as opined by then Major-General Muhammadu Buhari.
President Buhari’s successes in public life can also be traced to his single-minded determination towards championing people-oriented causes, especially as they relate to improving their quality of lives and infrastructural development. As he continued his journey in public office, he never lost sight of the need to focus on the masses, who Karl Marx and several Socialists referred to as the proletariat. Many political pundits also attribute his popularity, mostly among the Northern masses which usually culminated in a bulk of twelve million electoral votes to his friendly disposition to their well-being. These humongous voting power remained unchanged until it won him the Presidency in 2015.
On his second coming to office as a civilian president in 2015 he rolled out a three-pronged development programme that revolved around the economy, security and fight against corruption. With his philosophical disposition in eradicating corruption, most countrymen came to the realisation and consciousness that corruption was detrimental to our growth and development.
Granted that the crusade against corruption is still work in progress, today it is seen as an anathema for public officers to engage in unbridled corruption or pillaging of public funds as was the practice in the past, and the credit will go to President Muhammadu Buhari. Perhaps he is the only Nigerian leader who is notable and will be remembered always for championing the fight against corruption and waste of scarce national resources.
In the present dispensation we are witnesses to the revelations of humongous corruption in our public service. Just recently the chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye revealed that a deceased official of the Ministry of Agriculture had N2.5 Billion lodged in his personal bank account that was meant for himself and cronies. This is just a typical example of misuse of public funds which would never have been known but for President Buhari’s commitment to the eradication of corruption.
Since 2015 President Muhammadu Buhari has been changing the narrative in the development trajectory of the country, especially with infrastructural development going on across the country. From the railways, roads and airports rehabilitation we are witnessing a rebirth, and more than any other administration, a serious attention is being paid to the revival of agriculture, in order to achieve food security in Nigeria. Today agriculture which used to be neglected and associated with the poor in the society has been embraced by even blue chip companies and well-to-do Nigerians.
Under Buhari, the tendency to collect money for projects and abandon them midway or fail to execute an approved project is unheard of as the consequences would be dire. In fulfilment of his promise to curtail the spate of insecurity in the country President Buhari has continuously taken the security agencies to task to live up to their responsibilities of combating the menace in the country. This has led to the decimation of the dreaded Boko Haram and presently they are not able to cause havoc beyond Borno axis. Before now they were throwing bombs in many parts of the country including Abuja, the federal capital.
Therefore, in analysing President Buhari’s role in nation building it is important we pay attention to the various indices of development which have always formed the fulcrum of his government’s policies and programmes, and the sole objective is to make life more meaningful for ordinary Nigerians.
Prior to his assumption of office he was famous for always lamenting the plight of ordinary Nigerians who are suffering under the heavy yoke of unbridled corruption which pervaded the land, and his actions in government have justified his long held beliefs.
To sum it up, the successes so far recorded by the Buhari administration can be attributed to President Buhari’s commitment to nation building and towering status as a man of integrity, and this has continued to drive the activities of his government. If these milestones which he has achieved are sustained beyond his era, definitely Nigeria will witness an accelerated growth and development.
By Chukwudi Enekwechi, (JP)
An Abuja Based Journalist