LEAKED: Reason why Buhari Emerged As APC Final Candidate And Won President Jonathan.
Read The Speech Buhari Gave During The Primaries That Made Him Emerged As APC Final Candidate And Won President Jonathan
It is weeks to the swearing-in the president- elect, Muhammadu Buhari. I reflect on how things came the way it is today for the retired general and conclude on integrity. “No real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office”, unless upon honest and strong moral principles.
Buhari and lost three election battles for the presidency only to win the fourth.
All interests relating to Buhari’s ‘final battle’ for Aso Rock started to build up in quick succession immediately after last December 10. That was the day the presidential primary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) flagged off in Lagos at the Teslim Balogun Stadium. Four presidential aspirants slugged it out with Buhari at the primary. Former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, publisher of Leadership Newspaper Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, Kano State Governor Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso and Imo State Governor Chief Rochas Okorocha vied with Buhari.
Buhari had the least financial muscle to stake on that day. He had no dollars to place on a win at the occasion.
It is historic that a speech of less than 10 minutes could trigger a new political orientation in those 800 delegates who were representatives of the APC membership across the country.
He charged Nigerians, particularly members of the APC, to put their conscience to test on their sincerity about the APC mantra- “change”. The then aspirant told the delegates: “I am not a rich person. I can’t give you a fistful of dollars or naira to purchase your support. Even if I could, I would not do so. The fate of this nation is not up for sale. What I will give you, and this nation is all of my strength, commitment, sweat and toil in the service of the people. What I can give you is my all”.
These words from this man of short words won ovation from those present at the primary. Only a few politicians in today’s Nigeria would talk and be taken for his words. Only a few has something to do with integrity which expectedly travels before them. After the times of great Nigerians like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, only the likes of the Osun Governor Rauf Aregbesola amongst other few would have people listen to and take them for their words like they did of Buhari. This is so because, a check on people like this reveals some commonness in their lifestyle. They are rigorous, self-restrained, simple, frugal, courageous in the face of pain, danger or adversity. These virtues go everywhere ahead of them, and whenever the need arises they easily purchase their goals with the integrity the have earlier built for themselves.
For 16 years, Nigeria particularly the political system during Jonathan’s reign- has been like bazaar. By and large, the system got rotten such that Nigerians became totally disorientated regarding how things should normally run. Some say it is a backlash of the military interregnum in our democracy. This cannot be so because -for example- like Nigeria, Ghana also suffered military intervention, and most Ghanians today know “right from wrong”.
Their experience of military rule started with when the government of independence leader Kwame Nkrumah (the founding father of Pan-Africanism) was toppled by a military coup in 1966 amid growing dissatisfaction over corruption, declining living standards and spiraling foreign debts. This is quite similar to the experience of Nigeria’s first coup of 15 January 1966. Also like Nigeria, Ghana held a successful general election in 1969, although Nigeria’s own (a parliamentary) was held a decade earlier- 12 December 1959. Both countries at different times similarly entered a new period of political uncertainty and economic stagnation for long periods.
Analysts of military interregnum in Nigeria and Ghana maintain that only two military regimes in both countries came close in similarity- placing their scorecards on living up to the reason behind their takeover of government in both countries at different times. Military governments of Jerry Rawlings of Ghana and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari come quite similar by the manner both leaders dealt with corruption. However unlike what obtained in Ghana where after “solidifying power” and economic and political conditions in the country improved, Rawlings went on to win two presidential elections in 1992 and 1996 and placed the development of the country on a very sound footing. This was not so for Nigeria as Buhari’s 22 months military administration was toppled on August 27, 1985.
Buhari, like Rawlings, dealt with corruption and established a right social order of right discipline in the Nigerian systems. Buhari’s quality of honesty and strong moral principles as it is being celebrated today is mostly traced to his days as a head of a military government in Nigeria 30 years ago.
It is integrity that earned Buhari 3,430 votes from the 800 APC delegates who gathered in Lagos last December for the party’s presidential primary. In the same manner, Buhari earned 2.57 million votes of the electorate by virtue of his integrity and the political ideology of his party.
The last six years is bad under President Goodluck Jonathan whom the last Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, described as though a simple man trying to do his best but whose “greatest failing obviously is that he is surrounded by people who are extremely incompetent, who are extremely fraudulent and whom he trusts.”
For the new Buhari government, a number of challenges stand. The head of Nigeria’s next government is undoubtedly renowned for his enviable integrity. Same goes for the incoming Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo – a religious man and renown egg-head. Both men have great profiles. But can these “two good trees make a forest”? Thus, it makes sense to drop anchor on the foregoing at the point of the first crucial task before Buhari- composition of his cabinet with competent hands and people of integrity. Point blank, it would be disastrous for Nigeria if Buhari is later also described as being “surrounded by people who are extremely incompetent, who are extremely fraudulent and whom he trusts.”
To determine “other trees that would make the forest” with him in his government, it is pertinent that Buhari takes a critical look at the all important speech he delivered in December in Lagos, especially the last of the five pledges he made that he “will select the best Nigerians for posts” in his government. Expectedly, such people must be of integrity and strength – people with unbending commitment to do what is right. A leader’s integrity is actually worth the quality of characters that runs government with him. I so submit!
*Mabayoje, a journalist and political analyst, lives in Osun State