The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, welcomes President Muhammadu Buhari back to the country after over a 100 days dedicated to resolving his health challenges in the United Kingdom. We also wish the President, the swiftest recuperation process.
We appreciate the frankness of his address to Nigerians as he steps back on the stage. The speech was clearly presidential but not necessarily all encompassing of the holistic situation of our present and with due considerations for the divergence of opinions as far as moving the entity called Nigeria forward positively.
We must state unequivocally, that at the very background of the seemingly unresolved Nigerian situation is the very basic issue of socio-economic and political relations which appropriate the bulk of the commonwealth of the people to a tiny few. It is an arrangement that has been sustained and continues to be.
Ethno-religious and other divisionist sentiments most of the time stem from that background of widened gap of inequality in socio-economic and political relations.
It is amidst this whole melodrama or tragicomedy associated with the President’s medical trip, from sympathy to outright hatred, criticisms and defense of recruited/un-recruited supporters, indifference to confrontations etc. that we find it expedient to throw up the salient issues bedeviling the country.
Thus, as we welcome the President, we call on him to his match words with actions that will demonstrate adequately to Nigerians his commitment to his promises, for which Nigerians have ‘patiently’ waited to manifest. Speechifying, sophism and rhetoric which spells uncertainty in terms of the country’s socio-economic direction is obviously intolerable. And this is because Nigerians have had the unfortunate history of being severally deceived and made to pass through avoidable pains by leaders who never put their real needs on the priority list in appropriating the commonwealth of society.
Mr. President need not be reminded that the fundamental reasons he seem to have enjoyed popular support just like he was elected was for a government that will radically move the country forward positively from the rot that subsists in socio-political and economic terms as against the ‘days of the locusts’. That is what majority of the discerning and undiscerning Nigerians voted for and had patience for all this while.
Stemming from the stark reality before us as Nigerians, we recognize the limitations of the mode of governance that subsist presently. The choice is actually that of Nigerians to determine whether this mode endures or not.
Most pertinently, we state that it is the system; the super structure and managers of the present status quo that is wholesomely responsible for our collective, painful socio-economic existence which skews commonwealth in the favour of an infinitesimal minority.
Mr. President, need not be told that; the education sector (and with ASUU on strike); health, power, security and other essential social sectors remain in doldrums to a large extent. Neither should he be reminded that one of his most appreciated efforts, i.e. the anti-corruption war is under a fierce fight-back by brazenly championed by pro-corruption elements. These are the bold and apparent realities that most Nigerians want to see concerted efforts by government go into resolving.
We hasten to disagree with Mr. President on the position that ‘Nigeria’s unity is settled’ and this is not from the perspective of ‘Nigeria must be divided’, but from the dialectic conviction that a democracy should appreciate the democratic expressions of the people which includes the right to self-determination. A thoroughly democratic government within its operations must necessarily respond to peoples’ agitations, differences etc. within the core ethos of the doctrine of democracy. The rule of law, human rights, vibrant civil activities and un-variegated accommodation of divergent interest are keys.
To conclude, we say that the task to salvage Nigeria is actually our hands beyond the political intrigues and downright insensitivity of the dominating ruling classes. Until we collectively resolve to radically alter the present system for a more humane one, we as victims of this social order may wallow longer than we think in penury while a few rollick in our collective wealth.
Nigerians must be circumspect beyond pettiness so as to continually put government on its toes. Mr. President must be charged to deliver on his words always. We must not allow government and promoters of delusion to divert our collective attention from the very reason it was instituted for, which is the social well-being, security and protection lives and property.
CACOL appreciates and respects Mr. President’s unquestionable integrity; we support his anti-corruption agenda and a lot of the radical steps he has taken thus far, yet glaringly salvaging Nigeria requires all hands to be on deck.
Once again, we welcome the President and wish him full recuperation.