President Buhari’s dispositions to electoral matters, especially by his assenting to the electoral act seemed to suggest a desire to leave a good memory in that direction. All through the primaries and campaigns, he more like wore a presidential than partisan robe. He may have had a preferred presidential candidate for his party, but was either not imposing or got arms twisted by stronger forces.
Like other nations of the world, Nigeria’s history can not be complete without the mention of successive leaders. The direction or state that any nation find herself, whether good or bad doesn’t ever get extricated from the leader of the time. The ones whose era witness quantum leaps in positive developments, and those whose era equally bring about downturns both leave legacies. Some of the actions or inactions with negative outcomes, may be unintentional along that direction, yet remains indelible in history, as their remembrances can never be erased from the events of their era.
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There’s therefore no doubting the likely and expected proclivity of leaders to desire leaving positive memories. This tendency is especially as they round off their tenure in offices, and much more when such offices are their probable endpoints. Nature has a way of making the actions or inactions of the last days stick more. This, perhaps, is what catapulted former President Goodluck Jonathan to gain international repute, despite the massive corruption charges of his administration. He did what many would never do by conceding defeat in an election, even ahead of the poll’s final results and declaration of winner. It is also from the point of view that everything under the sun has an expiration time, that it becomes absolutely necessary to recall that opportunities lost may never be regained. This is especially with regard to positions, and more so, political ones. Actions and inactions alike, determine what history keeps in stock for any one. This is where it has become necessary to remind our own President Mohammadu Buhari of the nearness of his exit from the seat of power and to remind him also, if not alert him, that history beckons on him.
It is arguable if there’s any one that should be more grateful to Nigeria, Nigerians and ultimately, God than President Mohammadu Buhari. In a matter of weeks, he would be concluding his second term tenure as Nigeria’s democratically elected President, having begun his first stint in 2015. As at that time, he was on his fourth attempt at the presidency bid. All previous runs didn’t suggest him as a possible winner any day. This was not unconnected to his political party of alignment, and perhaps, the perception of his perceived toughness, something that the politicians naturally detest. That perception stems from his antecedents and records as one with zero tolerance for corrupt practices.
Legacy is the long-lasting impact of particular events, actions, etc. that took place in the past, or of a person’s life. It is important to point out that only the living have opportunity to either create or change what ever deed that would end up as their most remembered. Once a man’s breath is taken, opportunity is lost, hence legacy, positive one at that, becomes absolutely necessary. Becki Andrus, in her thoughts on legacy states that, “leaving a legacy means that you will continue making a contribution in future years, helping generations implement the beautiful life lessons you gained.” This understanding supports the belief of Andrew Wahor about legacy, that, “the idea is not to live forever but to create something that will”. And, coming back home, our own Kalu Ndukwe Kalu, stated that, “the things you di for yourself are fine when you are fine, but the things you do for others remain a legacy.” So, Billy Jean King was very absolutely right when she advised thus, “create your legacy and pass the baton”
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So, what can President Mohammadu Buhari do within the short time remaining to stay? Certainly, not much. His administration already seemed to have booked a place in history as the harshest on citizens. Without trying to give him or his administration an undeserving name, it is however clear that the graph of joyful living started tremendous downwards curve for majority of Nigerians since he assumed office. This is a rather shocking experience as much was expected from his administration, having given so much hope of positive changes. But wait a minute, was he known to be a man of reckless abandon? Maybe not, but the crop of people that a man surrounds himself with definitely goes a long way to influence his perception, belief, decisions, and ultimately the outcomes. What much could have been expected to come from one who chose to be surrounded by the likes of Lai Mohammed, Keyamo, Ngige, El-Rufai, and the very thick of what is called his kitchen cabinet? No one man can be or remain good, if surrounded by people whose public perceptions are of very poor ratings.
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President Buhari’s dispositions to electoral matters, especially by his assenting to the electoral act seemed to suggest a desire to leave a good memory in that direction. All through the primaries and campaigns, he more like wore a presidential than partisan robe. He may have had a preferred presidential candidate for his party, but was either not imposing or got arms twisted by stronger forces. His body language at campaign grounds were also a bit encouraging and largely devoid of desperation for his party, APC or its candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. So, he had all along wore the garb of one who has settled fully to superintend over a free and fair elections. But with the elections of February 25 being largely flawed with respect to the presidential position, and given his hurried acceptance, congratulations to the declared winner and other utterances, it became clear that the man was acting a script. How on earth could the president be silent over the audacity of INEC in deliberately breaching a process to suit its premeditated intentions, if there was no presidential complicity? Where on earth does the declaration of a winner in an election result to national mourning throughout the nation, even in the acclaimed winner’s enclaves? What an inglorious act that election processing was audaciously compromised to suit a preplanned outcome, only for the organizing body to even be the one to hurriedly suggest that aggrieved parties should “go to court”. Since when has the court been the place to determine the who leads in an election of no ambiguity and absolutely clear winner?
Again, yesterday’s conduct of the governorship and states houses of assembly elections proves the unworthiness of INEC or the obvious tactical support of the President. How could there by so much condoning of aberrations? The federal government chooses to close it’s eyes to the overbearing attitudes and actions of a few persons who have turned untouchables. What legacy is there for a president that turns his face when there’s injustice? The inclinations to suppress Ibos in Lagos, because of the perceived preference for other candidates other than Tinubu’s allies, is uncalled for and ought to be condemned by no other than the president himself, but alas! It is feared that the silence of Mr president has unknowingly convey a wrong message. I am yet to hear that the Ibos forcefully took over anything from anywhere in Lagos. So, being hunted over legitimately acquired properties is uncalled for. The intimidation and harassment over their concern for the good governance of the place where they have lived and invested so much is unacceptable.
On a final note, president Buhari should quickly wake to the reality that beckons in him. He still have the time to correct his gaffes or goofs, whatever best describes them, especially his observed tactical support for the current electoral travesties. He can’t pretend and carry on as if all is well. Nigerians can not elect a president and have another, neither would they sit back and be disenfranchised in places where they should have a say at least through the ballot box. Yesterday’s remarks by Rotimi Amaechi, transport minister and strong APC member, that the INEC chairman is a nominee from Tinubu’s camp, gives a clearer indication of what has been playing out- a long planned and agreed abortion of democracy by undermining polls outcomes. In a democracy, the majority wins. Majority of Nigerians knew who they needed as president and are not prepared for anything less. The presidential results is now a subject of court ruling, but, to be forewarned they say is to be forearmed. President Buhari should know what Nigerians and even the international community would not accept. There’s no alternative to peace, hence he must not bequeath anarchy in the land. This is strictly my opinion, also based on how many people feels. If you feel I’m wrong, then go to court!
Clement Uwayah, a public affairs commentator, writes from Edo state.