By Abu Baba
Just as the red carpet folds away from the feet of former President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, Peoples Democratic Party – PDP, it rolls out for the troops of Muhammadu Buhari loaded in the All Progressives’ Congress – APC.
It is a victory we all savour and pray it should never turn sour. I therefore welcome the leader of Nigeria as he once again assumes the title of Commander-In-Chief of this great African nation.
Mr President, you must reflect and learn from so many factors around you. You were once a leader of Nigeria – a Major General, who led for only 20 months. In the 20-month leadership rests our knowledge of Muhammadu Buhari; that was when you built a name, a name that we were not to forget for a long time.
It was your leadership qualities and refusal to submit to the tempting offerings of the time that has kept you personally above all others.
Recall that you have earlier tried this office thrice and the beneficiaries of the political order then managed to rubbish you.
It was not that people did not vote for you, they managed to perform electoral voodoo as they have being doing – and one of the reasons that brought you to office in the first time. Immerging that since then Nigerians failed to forget your name and personality. You have proved that there is much in a name.
That name you must preserve meticulously. You must resist all attempts at tempting you to join the political class remembering that you have a name to protect and a personality to sustain.
Democracy, as you already know and admit is different from military rule – you will always sigh at times when confronted by what is now called the ‘Deep State.’
They are the ones, who will want to brow beat you into submission or blackmail you out rightly. That was what Muhammad Mursi suffered in Egypt when even you saw him as lacking in diplomacy.
The second lesson you must take from your first leadership experience was how you came into and out of power. You were a senior military officer, who commanded a lot of respect in the army, but you did not plan the coup.
The coup plotters borrowed you to give their coup an acceptable face and when they were done with you, they did not hesitate to dispossess you of power, they also incarcerated you because even your freedom scared them.
The lesson in that experience is pointed out by Nicolo Machiavelli – the author of the Prince. Citing the example of David and Goliath, he advised that no General should go to war ‘with borrowed weapon.’
As military Head of State then, you went to war with borrowed weapon and at the appointed time, the owners of the weapon came for their weapon and whatever might accrue to you for holding the weapon.
In that previous experience is also an intrinsic lesson for you in this democratic era. You do not own All Progressives Congress; you were their bait for Nigerians support and vote.
You had the name but the platform belongs to the deft and adroit politicians, who were able to see through the manipulations of their colleagues in the ruling party. They can as well fold the carpet from under your feet when they are done with you.
But you have a card – and the card is the almighty power of the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic. Olusegun Obasanjo was like you in the PDP and he used that power to deal decisive blow to the gladiators, who planned to hold him hostage.
Goodluck Jonathan used the same power and style to wrestle control of the party from Obasanjo. His undoing was that in the bid to remain in control he sought to destroy all opposing forces, forgetting that he would need them to retain power once gained.
This is the time for you to be firm in the principles that has earned you a respect in the heart of Nigerians. The respect we have for your principles is the other strength that can starve off the attacks from the ‘Deep State.’
An unfortunate development is the reliance on technocrats, who ended up like philosophers who ‘build all their life on an island for humanity to live in’ according to Ali Shariati.
Imaging the hope of Nigerians when Okonjo-Iweala was hired and paid in dollar to manage our finances and economy; and imaging that Reuben Abati is a Special Adviser to the President in the previous regime.
Whatever Okonjo-Iweala may want to write of her tenure as the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy – an alternate president, she must remember to add that while ‘the economy was stable’, we could no longer pay salaries, we deflated foreign reserve to the lowest ever and we accumulated debt even worse than the military era.
Justifying the directionless and corruption-ridden regime was the lot of Reuben Abati. He did not resign even when his speech in government and writings prior to his appointed revealed a balance of apparent contradiction.
When the media called his attention to his turn about, he did not resign. What does this tell you Mr. President?
Technocrats are no miracle workers – there must be supervision and that was missing previously. The reason some say we were on auto-pilot! The president abdicated his responsibilities to the technocrats, who were far away from the realities on ground.
It was no surprise the people rejected their theories and postulations and voted for change and a new beginning. Therefore, even with technocrats, supervision is very important. Never play with it Mr. President.
Abu Baba is an author and Public Affairs Analyst and can reach him at email@example.com