The official portrait of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari stares at me as I make my way in the library of the University of Lagos. The features of his face are impressive, not besmirched by the ravages of old age. Before me is an elegant figure, almost majestic, eyes full of goodwill and courage;face so fatherly and grand.
Here is a man who rose to become the Lord of the Nigerian clan after four epic contests, a man who will be remembered in the history books as the only person (for now) to disgrace incumbency. His hero worshippers liken him to Abraham Lincoln. I salute him.
Yet I must say that His Excellency occupies an unenviable position. So much is expected from him and this is because of his touted anti-corruption pedigree marketed through his lofty and fantastic promises.It is an established fact that he tackled graft and mismanagement when he officered the country. Therefore in the eye of the common man, only Buhari can restore sanity to the system. He is set to perform wonders. Anything below expectation could earn him much diatribe and a cozy position in the Nigerian Rulers’ Hall of Infamy.
What the people fail to realize is that the President’s ability to change things is predicated on the act of exacting total and positive, conforming behaviour from others.A passage in the deuterocanonical book of Wisdom says that “one cannot expect change around him if change doesn’t happen within him.” Anyone looking towards him for a magic wand should ask for a Buhari of the Military when the monopoly of the instrumentality of mechanical might was witnessed. But this is a democracy. Would I be wrong to recall the African Proverb which says that “a man cannot achieve success without the co-operation of the community? ”
Premium must be placed upon the co-operation of Nigerians which is manifestly non-existent. These Nigerians range from the little boy who can distinguish right from wrong to the Members of the National Assembly. J.F.Kennedy asserted that “Change is the law of life.” Even as I desire and clamour for change, my lifestyle should mirror the change I seek. The Soldier on the street should respect my right to dignity of the human person. I should never again have to forfeit two months salary to the boss who got me a job In the Ministry, as it is the norm in this part of the world.
But how can this be so when the former president declared succinctly and rightly so that his generation has failed Nigeria. Unfortunately this generation of youths , as nimble and sure-footed as a young deer, is on that path of failure. A chip off the old block! The late literary legend, Professor Chinua Achebe once wrote that each generation regenerates the circumstances that created the previous generation. How true for the leaders of tomorrow! A young poet commenting on these future leaders, once declared, “The future flees from my approaching silhouette.”
In conclusion, Nigerians need to learn that they are who their leaders are. Must it always be stated that the ruling elite is a microcosm of the Nigerian society? Perhaps a public campaign to create awareness of the need for change is of great importance.It could be in the similitude of the “Rebranding Nigeria” project embarked upon by the former Minister of Information and Communication, the late Professor Dora Akunyili. If this is supplemented by the President’s political will and the enforcement of our laws, we can only hope that the former President Jonathan’s generation-quote will never be said in future by any leader. What more is left to say?