Regardless of whatever happens to anyone, today’s epistle will be the last that will be written and shared under the normal and legal tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari.
What will from after this weekend be termed as “Buhari era” in the 4th republic started on Friday May 29 in 2015 and it is scheduled to finish by Monday May 29, 2023, that is barring any extraordinary occurrence.
It has been eight long years of wonders, pain, hope and disappointments.
To each their own, as we await the new administration, there are those hoping and working to ensure it is the person declared by INEC as president elect (Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu) that will take over from Buhari, there are those hoping and working to ensure it is someone else that will take over from Buhari.
It must be said that President Muhammadu Buhari himself has shown all possible outwardly signs that he is ready to go. Such are good signs that should be recognised and praised. Yes, an elected leader that shows he is ready to leave office at the end of his tenure should be an ordinary and automatic event not worthy of news, let alone praise.
Alas too many other African leaders tend to struggle with the concept of obeying simple commandments: There appears to be something in the air that leads African leaders into a kind of psychosis that makes them want to remain in power beyond their constitutional or even decency tenure.
Thankfully, not so with Muhammadu Buhari, the man even seems eager to leave office and head back to his country home in Dauara.
On his way out though, he has been saying things that make one believe that he thinks we the people are going to miss him. I think such thoughts come from his idea of how well he has done for the country, maybe he is considering his efforts and intentions. Some people tend to agree with him. Let me state very clearly so that all can hear and understand that my prayer, hope and plan for Nigeria is that “May we not miss Buhari”. The wishes and idea of those that say we are going miss Buhari seem to me like a malediction that needs to be prayed against.
There are two major reasons for my prayer and hope. One is objective and general the other is a subjective and peculiar reason.
Objectively and generally speaking, one misses the past when the present is not as good as the past. For us to miss the Muhammadu Buhari era after May 29, 2023, the days and years that come after the last eight years for the country must be really bad. Just think about it, how bad must things get for one to miss Buhari? Will it be due to his own performance in office or will it be due to the performance of his ministers? Will it be for the events that happened in the world during the Muhammadu Buhari era? Heavens and earth forbid such future. Let us even for pure hypothesis’s sake assume that Buhari was a great and inspiring president and his era a peaceful and prosperous one, the prayer not to miss Buhari era will still be a valid one because it will mean those coming after him will be worse.
For anyone that seeks progress and development, the hope and prayer is for tomorrow to be better than yesterday not vice versa.
On a subjective and peculiar side, there are many things that President Muhammadu Buhari did that one hopes that his successor does not do, there are many things that he did not do that one hopes his successor does. Let’s face it and tell the whole truth, I personally and strongly hope that the new president is totally different from Muhammadu Buhari. In my view, being different from President Muhammadu Buhari is a prerequisite for being a better president in 2023 and onwards.
A good place for the incoming to start from for not being like the outgoing is communication.
It would appear the outgoing president, somewhere along the line, developed an allergy for talking directly to the Nigerian press and people and for eight years he never found a cure to that allergy even in his many travels. May we not have a new president that will find it difficult to speak directly to Nigerian press and people.
Recalling the number of months, the outgoing president spent in office without appointing ministers and other key positions to manage his government and cabinet is an embarrassing experience for some of us. It becomes excruciating when we note that most of the people that made his list were known suspects that worked with him during the merger and political campaign that made him president. The only surprises were some controversial inclusions and some insensitive and inhumane exclusion. Please note that I say all these without dwelling on the perceived lop-sidedness of all appointments and nominations that were done under this administration. May we not have a president that will make us miss the Buhari method and content of nominating and appointing.
There are too many social and economic indices that went from bad to worse under the outgoing regime to make anyone that wishes Nigeria well to hope for the incoming administration to make us miss the outgoing one. Some people made money under this regime, others got fame, I wish them well but I am sure none of them will want the current rate of unemployment or the level of inflation to be worse than the one the outgoing administration is leaving us with.
Lest we become guilty of what we accuse others of doing, it is important that we pause to ponder on the fact in all these. President Muhammadu Buhari was not a sole trader. There were people around him, his court that was made of various people and personalities, some paid and charged to give counsel, some others, without any official role but still very important and influential. There were also his party members and legislators that in view of their position as representatives of their own people, could have raised the alarm and forced the presidency to act before the Naira went from weak to derelict. They could have steeped in and made their voices heard and to help stop some vexatious and unproductive policies. We saw them scramble for offices and photos but not once did we see members of Buhari’s court stand up to the president or step down from office on principle or ideology.
Moving forward may we not have a president, presidential court, parliament, political party and country that will be so weak to make us miss the Buhari.
Join me if you can @anthonykila to continue these conversations.
*Prof Anthony Kila is Institute Director at CIAPS. www.ciaps.org. He is a regular contributor to The Frontier.