By: Aniebiet Effiong
“I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” – PMB.
After a spine-tingling speech by the immediate ex-President of Nigeria which did not only rejuvenate hope in the minds of Nigerians but spurred everyone into being hardworking, I had made up my mind to support him and his agenda, whether blindly or with two eyes open.
As emotional as this work may seem, I tearfully write this in honour and memory of our hero – the father of modern African democracy – as he makes way for the next saviour of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. With utmost certainty, I begin by saying that not only will Nigerians miss him for his exquisite knowledge of governance and leadership, but Africa as a whole will. As with all Nigerians, I have witnessed how Buhari offered himself a redemption tool for the forgone and lost democracy of the country. Hence, his change mantra. His emergence as the President was the best thing that ever happened to us.
All those political and economic analysts who say his regime was the worst since our return to democracy deserve to be detained for spewing such blatant lies. It’s witchcraft of the highest level to demean such a corrupt-free regime.
As the curtain draws on the exceptional eight years of his administration, I write to bid him a loud farewell from Aso Rock to Daura, though I wish he could linger around so he could always advise the new President on choices to make when faced with crucial issues like the events at Lekki Tollgate.
It was truly the kind of administration we envisaged when he was handed power, and we all praised him for giving Nigerians a life worth living. I know how jealous American and European countries and other underdeveloped nations were simply because you were named the best black President in the world due to your relentless effort in developing a country that saw no light for so many years. They never thought Nigeria under Buhari could outpace them in terms of economic development, technology, and security. One would wonder why these countries often denied Nigerians entry or even deported our countrymen. It can only be envy. They felt we bragged too much about Buhari and even tried to spoil our exchange rates by devaluing our highly esteemed naira. The good news is we conquered! Shame unto them.
I rejoice with the (suspended) CBN Governor for a job well done, especially the recent naira redesign, which made it the finest currency of the 21st century. We felt so new. His level of ingenuity in the financial institution was second to none. This currency was made in surplus that no Nigerian could complain of lack of money. Some commercial banks had so much cash stock they began complaining of space for storage.
We have seen Nigeria take a leap with his tenacity, diligence, and leadership dexterity. Nigeria is no more where it used to be. We have grown. We have seen tremendous achievements that have pushed the economy of the country to its peak.
His inaugural speech and his performance show that there are genuine and good-hearted politicians who still have their citizens at heart despite what people say of them.
According to him, “The fundamental issue facing this country is insecurity and the problem of economy which was being made worse by corruption. I assure you that we are going to finally assemble a competent team of Nigerians to efficiently manage the country”.
We saw his performance match these reassuring words. We heard of peace and security and how they reigned in places like Zamfara, Maiduguri, Nasarawa, Jos, Taraba, Bauchi, to mention but a few.
A competent team of Nigerians were truly assembled to manage the country. I applaud them with all my heart. Those who pretend not to have seen this are what we call in pidgin ‘bad belle’. The guarantee of security in Nigeria became so high to the extent that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces mobilised trucks of warlords to rescue a dying Ukraine from the hands of its oppressors. A usual and common act he’s done for Afghanistan, Iraq, and other states facing conflict. He was so good at playing the biblical David’s role.
The issue of bandits and all other assortments of criminals (armed and unarmed) wreaking havoc, especially in northern areas, are now things of the past. It may have looked like he kept silent over the killings of non-Fulanis by pastoralists. It may have also looked like he was nepotistic with his appointments. These things only looked like. There are differences between looking like and being. Even if these were true, so what? Does charity not begin from home?
During the days of Buhari, which we miss so much, employment opportunities were boosted drastically. No Nigerian graduate ever complained of unemployment. It got to a point where the Nigerian Government began to invite unemployed foreigners for job interviews. Those who met the requirements were given jobs in their respective fields, while those who never met were asked to wait in their respective countries for the next recruitment. The government also started announcing the appointment of dead people because the living were already gainfully employed.
When the immediate ex-President called the Nigerian youth lazy, people thought he really meant it. No, it was far from that. According to his apology that was circulated everywhere, he clarified that he was referring to the very few blacks abroad who resembled Nigerians. It was all a mistake of colour and identity. It was later confirmed that most of those people spotted on television and in papers in America were Zambians, Liberians, and Togolese. No sane Nigerian would leave Nigeria to find greener pastures elsewhere.
As churches were busy performing miracles, the Federal Government kept up the pace by narrating amazing stories of wonders. Under Buhari’s regime, we heard about a snake swallowing thirty-six million naira. We heard how monkeys carted away millions of naira. But what if the snake had swallowed the woman in the custody of the cash? Would Buhari not be blamed for not being able to protect her? Praise God she was safe. Those who say she should have been probed are evil. Do they think the story was framed to deceive Nigerians? Even if it was, and so? It only shows how creative Nigerians became under his administration.
Buhari became a walking world power. He personally toured UK’s health facilities to ensure they weren’t below the standard he established in Nigeria. This is why he sent Nigerian doctors abroad at some point to teach foreigners how to carry out the profession effectively. People who thought Nigerian doctors travelled abroad because the Federal Government was not taking care of them are wicked. They are the real enemies of Nigeria. As for education, nine out of every ten Professors are singing his praises for tremendously revamping everything about education. Some say they only went on strike because they felt they needed rest. Others say they have told the Federal Government to cut their salaries because of how big it is. One lecturer cannot be earning millions like holy and hardworking Nigerian Politicians. They say they have appealed on several occasions for pay cuts.
In conclusion, as a wanna-leave citizen of Nigeria, I would rate his governing skillset 97%. The previous administrations are the reasons he never got the 100%. The ills of those regimes made him fall short. He would be rigged in again if there were a chance for a third term. Sorry, I meant he would be voted into office again. This was an era when hunger, bombings, mass burials, banditry, corruption, unlawful detentions, outrageous inflation, and insecurity ended.
Until he vacated the office, we saw a passionate, zealous man with an undiminished enthusiasm to serve Nigeria. Now I see why people all over the social media space are crying, “We shall miss Buhari; he was like a father to us.”
Aniebiet Effiong is a Nigerian writer whose works have appeared in several publications. “An embodiment of Elnathan John and Romeo Oriogun,” he’s a satirist to the core and a poet. Author of Body of a Boy: A Compendium of Grief and Sorrow. A poetry chapbook. Soon to bag his B.A Hons from the Department of Philosophy, University of Uyo. A future Professor. A major petroleum and oil marketer. If you hand him a mouthwatering appointment, it wouldn’t be bad. You can reach him via WhatsApp: 08075475241. Facebook: Ani Effiong.