While speaking recently at the palace of the Emir of Katsina, Dr. Abdulmumini Usman, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, reaffirmed his love for President Muhammadu Buhari and cherished his relationship with him in since both of the joined together to lead the nation. He declared: “The president has been treating me as a brother. In fact, the president has taken me as a son in the way he treats me. Going by the amount of responsibilities the president has given me; it shows that he seriously believes that we can live as brothers in this country. He seriously believes in the unity of Nigeria. I pray the Lord will preserve our president to continue to lead us just as the nation has voted him to do so.”
The mere mention of the name of President Muhammadu Buhari is a solution to many problems in Nigeria. It is simply an intoxicant to the souls of millions of Nigerians. The name, in Nigeria today as always, is a scarecrow for some and a gentle guide to others. It is a name whose effects generate immediate hypertension in some, cause unconsciousness for some and relieve others of heartaches and satanic tendencies against Nigerians and the nation. A name that is so much loved by patriots and so much hated by hypocrites and conspirators. But the name has come to be a mirror in the history of Nigeria, a name that even the bad eggs cum political cabals in the society, will reckon with in future.
Yes, the love which patriotic Nigerians have for President Buhari is really immeasurable. I cannot quantify it myself, though mine overflows ordinary emotion. Great past and present military and democracy leaders in Nigeria, even at par in political influences, experiences and interests, have praised Buhari at different occasions, testifying his dignity, integrity, patriotism, dedication to national service and development, as well as Buhari’s disdain of sloth, inhumanity, indiscipline, corruption and national misconceptions. I will use some of the superb quotes on the perception and beliefs of Nigerians about Buhari to conclude this piece.
This is a man who contested the presidential elections four times and practically won all but was denied the three previous ones. His popularity has consistently grown from one time to another. In 2003, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) robbed him for then incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo was allocated 24,456,140 votes while 12,710,002 votes were allocated to the man of the people, Muhammadu Buhari. In 2007, Buhari was robbed by the INEC for late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who was allocated 24,638,063 votes against 6,605,299 allocated to the peoples’ choice. This time, it was plotted to render him unpopular.
It did not end there. Nigerians insisted to push for him with their lives and love. Nigerians clamoured for his presidency. In 2011 and for the third time, INEC fixed the presidential election result at 22,495,187 votes for then incumbent past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan against the candidate of the Nigerian masses with only 12,214,853 votes. It is on record that out of the exhilarating love for him, Nigerians vehemently protested which led to loss of the lives of some citizens. Surely, this was in collaboration with the powerful political elites who were and have always been afraid of being exposed and corrected. Then in 2015, the voices of the masses were stronger as they stood solidly for change. Against the wishes of the powerful cabals, INEC was, for the first time in the long history of Nigeria, resistant in following the old path. The will of the majority of the people of Nigeria prevailed and INEC responsibly declared the real winner of the presidential election where President Buhari defeated the incumbent Jonathan with 15,424,921 votes against 12,853,162. This was the first time in the history of Nigeria an incumbent president was defeated at the polls. What manner of love is this?
This enthralling love and compassion was further displayed during the celebrations of two more occasions: declaration of his victory at the polls and the swearing-in. Wide and wild celebrations were observed across the nation. History has recorded these to surpass the celebration of the 1993 victory of MKO Abiola over Bashir Tofa in 1993. Moreover, the President’s 51-day vacation and medical trip to London and the nationwide celebrations that followed his return were manifest of Buhari’s attachment to the Nigerian people and their affection for him. Many Nigerians have always been ready to lay their lives for him, not merely because he is a leader but because he is trustworthy, reliable and patriotically development-driven.
Again, an examination of the fading faceoff between him and the senate will give another side of the love Nigerians have for him. It is like the people say: “Do not our anointed any harm”. In most states especially of the north, the lawmakers fighting Buhari have difficulties in accessing their communities. Some of them have been receiving bashings from their constituencies and districts. This is an immediate reaction. Some have already been penciled down by their people never to return to the hallowed chambers in 2019. What manner of love is this?
Now, wherever Buhari goes, there is no rented crowd. Thousands of patriots troop out en masse to welcome him. Nigerians gather in their thousands to pray for him. Even in those areas where he was presumed to be less loved, he is overwhelmingly received and hailed. All these manners of love are not for nothing. He is performing. He is slowly but steadily fulfilling his promises to Nigerians, in stimulating the economy for job creation, in the anti-corruption war and in the security of lives and property. Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, confirmed this grand love for Mr. President at many fora. When a delegation of Northern Youths Initiative for Peace and Good Governance visited him in Abuja, Adesina said: “I am glad that majority of Nigerians are with President Buhari. The level of excitement and jubilation around the country is a clear testimony of the love, confidence and belief which Nigerians have in his leadership.” This is despite the economic recession which a global phenomenon.
The President’s daughter, Zahra Buhari Indimi, on her Instagram page, praised Nigerians for their faith in her father whose sincerity and passion for Nigeria and her people, she said, cannot be described. And Mrs. Lauretta Onochie once leading an event titled “Host Oil Communities Declare Fasting, Prayers for Buhari: We love President Buhari” declared: “I have said it many times that Niger Deltans love President Buhari. It’s our thieves and their hired hands on the social media that have created the false impression that we, Niger Deltans, hate our President. President Buhari was elected to serve all Nigerians and he is proving himself to be a leader of all, including the Niger Delta.”
Let me end this piece with some more passionate proclamations by prominent Nigerians on him. The low and unheard voices of the masses are numberless. But for the elite, these are just a few. First executive president of Nigeria, Alhaji Shehu Shegari declared “The army after toppling our democratic regime have no option but to install Buhari as head of state so as to avoid credibility problems, especially in the sight of the international community because of his being an epitome of integrity”.
The man I describe as father of modern politics in Nigeria, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, described Buhari in his book titled: Not My Will: “General Muhammadu Buhari as a member of the Supreme Military Council and head of NNPC was by nature taciturn and introvert. But he took any work that was given to him very seriously. He is reliable as he is hardworking and honest, his path of moral probity and rectitude are incorruptible”. In another quote, Obasanjo averred “There are only two honest and reliable Nigerians, myself and Buhari. All what PDP is saying of Buhari being fundamentalist are mere hot lies. They just fear, let’s go to jail”.
Late Umaru Musa Yar’adua said: “Buhari was a big brother and a father to some extent that means nothing in life and to the nation always other than good. So, I fear no harm from him”. Former head of state, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar described him saying, “Buhari is honest and sincere in all his conduct that perhaps, only very few Nigerians could match him in integrity”. Immediate past president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan said of him: “Gen. Muhammadu Buhari is a true patriot, respected former head of state and elder statesman and a nationalist”.
As for late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha, he proclaimed during the inauguration of PTF: “I have realized our collective mistake in over-throwing you. I have seen the terrible damage which our inaction caused to the Nigerian psyche. I am most sorry. Please, come and do what is best known about you, patriotic service to the nation.” In the same vein, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida followed up by declaring: “If Buhari quits PTF job as he promises and as we knew him to mean his words, all along, I support the idea of scrapping PTF as no one else can do the job as him.” In another event, IBB opined: “I respect Buhari. He was my boss. He is an honourable man. And I can say this anywhere.”
A member of Board of Trustees of PDP, Alhaji Isiyaku Ibrahim said: “As a member of PDP BOT, I decided personally to donate to Buhari’s campaign organization because of my firm belief in his ability to right all the nation’s wrongs”. At a book launch in Kaduna, Ibrahim noted: “Buhari is as clean as the book I am holding”. According to a one-time minister of petroleum, Prof. Tam David-West, Buhari is a leader to depend on: “The issue of Gen. Buhari’s presidency is always being derided by the criminals who looted the nation to stupor by embarking upon a campaign of calumny with a view to smear his name and deny Nigerians having a leader who can improve their lots.”
Even the factional leader of PDP, Senator Ahmad Makarfi once proclaimed: “If the truth must be said, Buhari remains the only real threat to PDP whither he runs for the presidency or not due to his wider followership among the masses that now hit the elite circle.”
What else is required to sound a warning to the detractors of the present government that even if President Buhari wishes to run for the presidency as long as he wishes, though I am sure he will never disrespect the constitutional provision on tenure, he will always win just as he has done since 2003. Assuredly, he will not seek a third term in 2023. He will remain who he has been, unruffled, determined and a harbinger of development for Nigeria. Any critical observer of the pictures where ex-military leaders and heads of state played chess and draft will never find Buhari there, maybe an indication that he had never conspired against national interests or compromised integrity, patriotism and humanity. To say the least, one with God is majority. And if God be with him for being for Nigeria and Nigerians – assuredly God is with him – who can succeed in being against him? What more and what manner of love is this?
By Muhammad Ajah