A retired Nigerian General, Olu Bajowa, on Saturday, dived deep into politics and tried to provide answers to questions Nigerians are grappling with ahead of the February 16 presidential election.
Nigerians go to the polls in two weeks to elect a new President, and although there are more than 30 presidential candidates, the battle seems to be between President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. The choice before them could never be more difficult.
How things stand: President Buhari, a retired Major-General, came to power in 2015 promising to crush Boko Haram, “kill corruption before it kills Nigeria” and bolster the economy. But so far, he seemed to have failed. The question Nigerians are grappling with is “should we reelect a man of integrity who promised but failed and has been exhibiting some dictatorial tendencies in recent months, or should we give another chance to a man who was part of the chaos in the first place but was never really put in charge of the nation to try his luck?
The retired General seemed to have provided an answer to the riddle. According to him, Buhari remains the best choice as the treasury would be safer with him, and not with “those trying to siphon it”.
But millions of Nigerians who would be voting on February 16 may agree or disagree with him.
Bajowa made the remarks in his country home at Igbotako in Okitipupa Local Government Area of Ondo State while speaking at a stakeholeders’ meeting of Legacy Forum group, a statement sent to TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C. said.
The group was established to encourage youth participation in politics, advocate democracy advancement and promote good governance.
The retired General said Nigerians should re-elect Buhari as it would be inimical if the country was left in the hands of a corrupt leader.
The meeting was called by the group to endorse Buhari for re-election and mobilize members and other Nigerians to support him for another term.
Bajowa, who is the Convener/Chairman of the group, said the president had, in the last four years, laid the right foundation for sustainable development in the country.
The group’s chairman said Buhari was a very honest and straightforward man, and remained the most incorruptible leader ever in the country.
He added that the group was impressed with the way Buhari/Osinbajo administration had fought corruption fiercely and sincerely, saying their re-election would bring overwhelming succour to the polity.
According to him, looting and plundering of the country’s resources was no more attractive because Buhari does not tolerate it.
He said none of the other candidates, including Atiku Abubakar, had the moral pedigree of Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
According to him, Buhari’s administration has done a lot to reposition the country and put it on the path of progress.
Bajowa urged Nigerians to stick to Buhari in the February poll to move the country to the next level.
The retired general said that it was disheartening that some utterances and actions of some highly placed individuals were discrediting Buhari and his government.
Bajowa urged Nigerians not to pay attention to some of the leaders he called unpatriotic Nigerians, saying they were only out for their selfish interests and not that of the nation.
“It is quite unfortunate that certain highly placed individuals whom the nation should naturally look up to for direction have disappointed us.
“They have been found shamelessly approbating and reprobrating in order to trade national interests for their personal gains,” he said.
He said with Buhari’s achievements so far, he had no doubt that he was the best man to further move the country forward.
The group chairman noted that it was on the basis of what he called the president ‘s excellent performance that he was personally supporting him and Legacy Forum was endorsing him for another term.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has done excellently well in just three and a half years. He has instilled accountability into governance, with never-known zeal.
“He has done so with utmost sense of commitment and sincerity. He has also embarked on unprecedented construction of infrastructural facilities to support SMEs, introduced N-Power to address unemployment and promote youth empowerment.
“The Buhari administration also implemented agricultural programmes to improve food security. He also improved security in the North East by repossessing some of the territories hitherto controlled by Boko Haram.
“It is based on all these achievements and more that the Legacy Forum, of which I am Chairman, is endorsing Buhari for another term and calling on all Nigerians to support PMB/PYO at the presidential polls,” he said.
Bajowa said he had known Buhari when he was Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under Abacha and he had always demonstrated a high level of integrity.
He explained that the group had studied the manifestoes of all the candidates and their parties and none was promising enough to drive the vision of a better Nigeria than that of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC).
The chairman tasked members of Legacy Forum across the country to go all out and mobilise support for the Buhari/Osinbajo ticket for victory.
Simon is a renowned international journalist, founder and publisher of TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington D.C.