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1/18/2018

PRAYER POINT FOR BUHARI

PRAYER POINT FOR BUHARI
It was past midnight on March 31, 2015, but only a few people had gone to sleep. Many had kept awake, clutching
their radio sets for the live broadcast of the 2015 Presidential Election result. Those who could afford to put on their generators did so and many people packed into their homes to see the live telecast of the election result, as they waited in the agony of suspense for the declaration of the winner. Thankfully, at exactly 2.55 a.m., Prof Attairu Jega, the immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, put an end to the agony when he declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the election. No sooner had Jega declared Buhari the winner of the election than the shouts of “Sai Baba!” rent the air. Those who had gone to bed were jolted from their sleep by the cry of “Sai Baba!” and joined in the din. The streets came alive, even at that time of the night, with singing and dancing. Everyone was basking in the euphoria of the “CHANGE” the Buhari administration would make in their lives. This was the situation in my neighbourhood on the night President Buhari was declared the winner of the 2015 presidential election. And, by media accounts, the situation was the same across the length and breadth of the country.
Buhari was formally sworn-in as President two months after his victory at the poll but his performance has blunted the high hopes that heralded his ascension to power. He has been inexplicably slow, chronically lukewarm and has kept aloof from issues affecting the common man. He has betrayed the social contract he entered into with the people when he sought and got their votes to become the President of the country. Yet, despite his poor scorecard, some people are prodding the President to declare for another term in office. These sycophantic politicians say the President has done well and deserves another term to consolidate his achievements.
Though the President has remained coy about his intentions, his ‘body language’ suggests he will throw his hat into the ring once again. Already, a makeover documentary was recently released in which government officials effusively praised the human side of the President. The President met with seven Northern governors some days ago and it was reported that his re-election was the object of the meeting. This was later confirmed by the unanimous endorsement of the President for a second term by the seven governors.
While it is within the President’s constitutional right to seek a second term in office, it is obvious that his popularity has steeply fallen, and those goading him to seek re-election are only after their own political survival. Save Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, the other six Northern governors that endorsed the President won their seats because they belonged to the President’s party, not on their own merit. President Buhari’s fourth attempt at the Presidency in 2015 was more than a political aspiration in the North; it was a movement which swept across the North like a hurricane, leaving in its wake accidental governors who got into office on a silver platter. These governors know they have performed abysmally and can only hope on the miracle wrought by Buhari’s popularity in the 2015 general elections to get another term in office. That is why they have begun to tell the President that there is no alternative to him in 2019.
President Buhari is not the nation’s first leader to be surrounded by hordes of sycophants. Political sycophants have always hung around the Presidential seat, working their magic on every incumbent. General Yakubu Gowon emerged a civil war hero after the separatist Biafran forces surrendered to his government in 1970. In one of his addresses to the nation after the war, he promised to transfer power to civilians and lead the soldiers back to the barracks in 1976.

But the sycophants feeding at his table began to work on him. They told him how the nation was not ready for civilian rule. How the country would descend into another civil war if he ever left power. Gowon took their words to heart and told a bewildered nation in 1974 that 1976 was no longer feasible for the transfer of power to civilians. He was overthrown in a bloodless coup a year after he reneged on his promise and the nation has not witnessed another civil war to date.
General Sani Abacha was another big victim of sycophancy. Abacha came into office during one of the nation’s most turbulent periods, following the annulment of the June 12 presidential election. Abacha refused to acknowledge the result of the election and began another transition programme which was hijacked by sycophants who wanted Abacha to succeed himself in office. ‘Patriotic’ groups, such as Daniel Kanu-led Youth Earnestly Ask for Abacha (YEAA), were formed to ‘persuade’ the General to transmute to civilian President because he was the only one who could save the country from chaos. Abacha began to dance to the sweet melody of his praise singers and would have metamorphosed into a civilian president had death not struck. Rather than descend into chaos as predicted by Abacha’s praise singers, the country fell into rapturous joy the day his death was announced.
Abacha’s successor, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, quickly began a new transition programme and handed power to a reluctant Olusegun Obasanjo as a civilian president. After almost eight years in office and his imminent exit from power, the sycophants were at work again, whispering into Obasanjo’s ears the need to circumvent the constitution and seek a third term in office. “Where is the successor?” they asked Obasanjo. “There is no one besides you who can sustain these reforms,” they told the retired general. Obasanjo began to listen more to these mellifluous voices and made attempts to get a third term in office but was stopped by vigilant Nigerians. There have been three successors since Obasanjo left power, and some of his reforms have been sustained.

President Buhari’s immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, was also a victim of the unabated sycophancy that plagues the nation’s seat of power. Jonathan had of his own accord promised to spend a term in office, given the circumstances of his emergence. But the sycophants would have none of that. “Why will you deny yourself your constitutional right to a second term?” they asked. “You have done more for the nation than all your predecessors put together. Why quit when you can get another four years to continue these transformations?”, they queried. Their melodious words softened Jonathan’s resolve against seeking another term in office and he threw his hat into the ring. He was rejected at the poll by the people who did a better assessment of his performance.

The President once admitted freely that his age would affect his performance. He gave his youth to the country as a soldier and has been fortunate to be called again to lead her at his advanced age after leaving power over three decades ago. It is time he began to think of handing power to a worthy successor and thereafter return home to a blissful retirement. But will the sycophants let him? That is why I fervently pray for him that he stands where his predecessors faltered.
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