Buhari: Why I changed my mind



In early 2011, my boss at First Bank decided to take a poll within the office on who we were going to vote for. Before the voting, each camp was expected to make short pitch on the why their candidate should win the elections. I did my part extolling the right principles of Buhari founded on integrity and how the lack of these virtues among Nigerian leaders have shortened the opportunities in Nigeria. Few days later, President Buhari came to Lagos and visited City Hall for a Townhall session, I dropped work on my desk. I ran out of First bank building in Marina, took a “Keke Marwa” and I watched the General from a distance. I am not usually moved to tears  but that day I truly did shed a tear. I wish he won but truly he did not win. With glee, I took a picture of my ballot paper excited at my sole decision to choose CPC.

I have fought drift and purposelessness in this nation. I have fought corruption and indiscipline. I have fought indolence and the betrayal of trusts. I have fought the Nigerian civil war and struggled for the unity of this country in many other ways.

I have had the fortune and privilege of managing national resources in various capacities?as a military commander, as a state governor, as a minister, as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund, and as the head of state of this great country. And in all that I have been and done, I have never touched a kobo of public funds.

I say this without pride and with all sense of responsibility and humility; but I challenge anyone in the race for the leadership of this country then or now to dare make the same claim.

After being head of state, I am sure I could easily have retired into a life of comfort and ease as an elder statesman, as a contractor or as a beneficiary of any one of the nation?s many generous prebendal offerings. But that is not what I wish to do with my life. – General M. Buhari April 2011

I decided  I will not vote Buhari again for reasons of age and he also stated that 2011 was his last chance. So for Buhari, I had foreclosed choosing him. I looked forward to a Ribadu, a Fashola or any other young Nigeria that tickles me. However, we are back to 2011 scenarios and Goodluck Jonathan is not an option. I had to change my mind and allow General Buhari another chance. Another chance to instruct the politician that public office is not their fortress. I don’t like the status quo. I don’t like politician being comfortable; that’s why Jimi Agbaje tickles me. Politicians have to be disciplined to ensure that they keep yearning to give their best to the people. Also, the second term of most Nigerian politicians usually very disappointing. The zeal and the enthusiasm with the incentive to ask for another mandate is usually lost.

I am voting General Buhari in 2015 again. He got a lot of things wrong from a historical perspective but I connect with his integrity and interest to reset this country. It might be more political correct to sit on the fence, accept aloofness and radically analyse issues. Check through the history of Nigeria, you will find out that parties with progressive tendencies never led this country. It is time to scale Nigeria’s leadership from the accidental to the prepared.

However, it is instructive to know this might not be that neutrality typical of advocate of civic good. We must always know that 1000 advocacy efforts will never be complete if political action is not followed with it. Martin Luther King walked from Selma to Montogomery but if LBJ did not sign the bills, his lofty efforts and that of the entire movement won’t have come full circle. I don’t want to be weary from seeking that change  in making public resources to work for the people.

Maybe it is time to start a new conversation with a new government who is ready to make difference. I think change sends the old and the new a definitive message, that power truly belongs to people. Rightly, we can change again if APC disappoints us. The twists and turns, that makes the son of a black immigrant lead the world’s largest economy  in its dark hours is the hallmark of great countries. That is really the essence of democracy.However, whoever wins, our vigilance will be eternal.