By Ali Kyari
Position of public trust anyone holds for the people has a tempting spirit. Any leader who is not careful can easily become a pawn on the chess board for some of the ruled. I have realized that it takes a lot of self-discipline and a focused mindset for a leader to navigate the ship of leadership ashore successfully.
A leader is susceptible to vexatious emotions, anger and provocations. It takes a divine grace for him to exculpate himself from deliberate actions of opponents which stir him to furiousness to divert his attention from purposeful leadership.
In Nigeria, we know that those who are calling for President Muhammadu Buhari’s neck are Nigerians whose dubious interests were guillotined or terminated by his administration. So, in a pretentious veil of patriotism, they most unreasonably disparage everything his Government has achieved in his dogged efforts to re-fix Nigeria.
These perpetual leeches of power think any other Nigerian should hate and despise President Buhari. They want the world to crucify him on Golgotha. In powerplay, such games are predicted and we have decoded them translucently. The antics are too infantile and too familiar to blur our senses anymore.
That’s why we are still with President Buhari. We want to pass a clear message to his detractors that we have seen the President’s commitment and honesty towards public good. And millions of us are still with him regardless of the conspiratorial attempts to cloud his impressive shadows in leadership.
I have no smidgeon of doubt about the stellar leadership qualities of President Buhari. And he has baffled me and a million other very silent voices for the difference he has brought to bear on leadership. For any government, security of lives and property are the cardinal responsibilities of leaders and the progress of nations.
President Buhari has performed a lot on securing the lives of Nigerians. Whether the antagonists or rivals acknowledge it or not, the records are very bold. And some of us have personally experienced the difference.
Like thousands of other indigenes of Borno, I sneaked out of Bama in 2013 to Maiduguri, when the heat of Boko Haram insurgency became unbearable. I thought my relocation to the state capital would give me protective relieve, but I was wrong. Insurgents’ reigned more deadlier and freer in Maiduguri.
I eventually moved to Nasarawa state where I perched with a distant relation. Other members of my immediate family also abandoned our ancestral abodes in Bama and sought refuge in distant lands.
However, with the Buhari Presidency and consistent counter-insurgency campaigns, we started hearing tales of the return of peace in Borno. But I doubted it initially. Bama was one of the LGAs captured and occupied by insurgents. I decided to risk a visit to my country home for the first time in 2017 since I left the place in 2013. While home, I discovered to my excitement the restoration of normalcy in the once troubled area.
I returned back to Lafia my temporary abode after a week and prepared to go back finally. In 2018, I came back to Bama and so also, the surviving members of my family.
By the following year, the Shehu of Bama, Kyari Ibn Umar El-Kanemi who was deposed from his throne by insurgents also came back and occupied his stool because of the pervasive peace and security in the region. Other deposed community and traditional leaders also came back to their domains from exile.
And for the first time in five years, the people of Bama held an extravagant celebration of the Muslim feast of Eid-el-Kabir in Bama. Those who can remember the severity of terrorism in Bama and other parts of Borno state which the Nigerian Military has reduced to a scanty presence will never hesitate to appreciate Mr. President and the Service and Security Chiefs (SSCs).
Why have I taken time to recount my personal experience? I deem it necessary in view of recent developments in certain segments of our national life to assure President Buhari that Nigerians are still with him. The way I feel inside me, so also millions of other Nigerians. And countless of them can recount in diverse ways how the Buhari administration has touched their lives.
Even on the war against insurgency alone, can we recall where we were in the pre- 2015 days, and what has been achieved under the Buhari Presidency. Boko Haram terrorists were almost wiped out, before they resurfaced in 2019. Abuja residents now sleep with two eyes closed.
Worshippers in churches and mosques all over Northern Nigeria no longer live with the phobia of insurgents’ bomb blasts. Our territories are no longer annexed by terrorists, where they also held us in servitude.
Mindless abductions have ceased and our children are no longer recklessly recruited as foot soldiers of Boko Haram. So, some of us who knows where we started the journey under Buhari and his planned destination for us, we are still with him 101%. The generality of Nigerian masses are with him unshakably because we can vouch for his leadership excellence.
Nigerians are not only with Mai Geskiya, but they are prepared to defend him against ravenous wolves because he represents for us the hope and vision of the new nation that is being re-birthed. He is a leader who means well for his countrymen and women.
Those who persecute him unjustly can go on. But even President Buhari believes like the English writer, Joseph Addison says; “It is folly for an eminent man to think of escaping censure, and a weakness to be affected with it. All the illustrious persons of antiquity, and indeed of every age in the world, have passed through this fiery persecution.”
And so, those quarreling at his retention of the SSCs are the same people who have refused to see his efforts on the war against insurgency. They are everywhere. These are the same people who know that the SSCs are the nightmare to Boko Haram’s factional leader, Abubakar Shekau and his men.
Terrorists have always feared even their shadows in the theatre of operations. But pride won’t allow them say it out. No wonder a demented Shekau couldn’t hold back his emotions of pain, but had to mention some names in his recent weird broadcast.
So, those calling for the sack of SSCs because they tormenting Shekau and Musab Al Barnewi or frustrated them from achieving their aims of conquering Nigeria are the real enemies of Borno State. Even two of such persons in the Senate fueling these atrocious acts of terrorists are well respected citizens of Borno State. But Nigerians are not bothered because President Buhari is with the people and the people are with him.
I was elated with Mr. President’s recent speech at Maiduguri when he spoke to Borno leaders. It struck me to the bone marrow when he rightly dissected that the Borno elders and political leadership have not done enough to encourage the end of the war against terrorism. It is a clarion call to them to accept their responsibility.
My President! That speech clearly told Nigerians and the rest of the world that Buhari is in charge of the security situation and his intelligence network is truly on top of the situation and he knows the behind the scene actors. He is just marking time to allow their conscience speak to them. The renewed insurgency either in Borno or in any other part of Nigeria is a combination of many issues which the 2019 general elections have contributed largely.
A philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said about leaders of President Buhari’s mould; “If there is one thing I fear less than everything else, it is, I believe, persecution for my opinions. There are many good points about which I may be diffident, but when it comes to questions of truth and intellectual independence, there is no holding me – I can envisage no finer end than to sacrifice oneself for a conviction.”
I also believe that President Buhari and Nigerians have become used to the schemes of some of these dubious elements. Nigerians are either recovering their money from the looters through the EFCC or outrightly collecting same directly from the looters during elections.
That is why people are receiving their dollars to sing all manner of weird and jaded songs they have written. But President Buhari should not be bothered. He is on track and Nigerians are still with him. The Presidential spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina should please, remember to pass this message to “Mai Geskiya.”
*Kyari is a patriotic citizen and wrote this article from Maiduguri.