Tossing aside emotive outbursts from those who try to diminish reasons for the defeat of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan by Muhammadu Buhari with conclusions such as “he was presented to be what he was not,” “lies were told against Jonathan,” “the election was rigged” and such like, the emergence of a ‘three-time loser’ in the presidential election as Nigeria’s president was a direct result of the failure of the GEJ administration. Reasons why it had to be Buhari are also the same ones he should be a single-term president. Let us consider three main ones out of them.
Reason one: The GEJ administration was leading Nigeria down a path it could not survive. This has been thrashed over and over; I am not going to rehash it. However, I will state that Nigerians had enough of that administration regardless of revisionist history being applied today. The palpable fear people of another Boko Haram attack in major cities outside the North East people lived under was becoming the norm.
To a large extent, this has been removed as Nigeria’s military now has the upper hand against the terrorist organization. If President Buhari can expand reforms within the military he is already implementing to include rules of engagement with civilians, the next president will be sitting pretty in this regards. It then follows that whomever it is does not have to be Buhari. Extend that argument to other sectors of governance.
Reason two: The person to take over from President Jonathan had to be able to take on the Military, Judiciary and jaundiced politicians without buckling at the knees. How many Nigerians had the name recognition to pull that off? At that stage, Nigeria’s presidency was not the kind of institution that does not depend on the personality of the president. I am not sure it still does not. The image of the elected candidate mattered immensely! It should not be so as the office of the President itself should immediately bestow on the elected candidate a stature which the office requires.
This is the reason a Buhari type personality was necessary so the office was not a hostage of the Military, NASS and corrupt politicians who have straddled Nigeria’s political landscape for decades. Chinedu Ogbodo succinctly puts it this way: “People needed a known force to get rid of GEJ. That’s all.” This statement presupposes that Muhammadu Buhari also had other requirements a president needs to possess. Do not misconstrue the point.
If the ‘resetting’ President Buhari is expected to effect gets done, Nigeria will not need a colossus type figure such as Obasanjo or Buhari to be President. Then the average Nigerian with immense potential can aspire to that office, get elected and do a great job. For instance, the candidate I would have put in the president’s seat back in 2015 if I was given that power, Mrs Remi Sonia, the little known Presidential candidate of the KOWA party was not the right fit then because she had no realistic shot of winning and if she did, the institution would not protect her without a godfather as her shadow which Goodluck Jonathan found out to be the case. However, she will be a perfect fit in my opinion if the presidency as an institution is not dependent on the persona of the President.
Reason three: No other platform could compete with APC or PDP. This is the most dangerous thing facing Nigeria right now from my perspective and it has resulted in democracy being mutually exclusive of good governance. The reason is quite simple. Politicians within the two major platforms are either original deleterious shoots now matured into massive overbearing trees in the political forest or chips off the old block! The shade they cast prevents seedlings and saplings from getting any sunlight! Though many saw Buhari as a different breed in spite of him being from the generation I refer to as that which destroyed Nigeria’s foundation, he is surrounded by them and needed their support to climb up the steps to Aso Rock! Your guess is as good as mine if he still needs them to remain there.
The way our political platforms are structured bodes no emergence of a relative newcomer to the scene and there are no successors being groomed. Though if there were, one wonders what kind of mindset they would have due to those doing the mentoring? I shudder at the thought!
These three reasons highlighted led to the fascination with Muhammadu Buhari and also show why it should end in 2019. The duty of PMB is to ensure that he leaves behind a legacy of strong institutions which can outlast any individual and will elevate those elected in office beyond their personalities. Once that is achieved, Nigeria can then have her most qualified people in office instead of just those who have the greatest desire, being best positioned or having political pedigree through birth or connections. We are better than that!
If Nigeria has to have Buhari as president in 2019, then I will conclude he did not do what was expected of him now. For me, it really is that simple.