When it comes to President Buhari, I’ve always been in and out of sync. Back in 2011 when many Southerners (I mean the whole South; South West,
South East and south South) were against him and his candidacy was strongly unfavourable, I supported
him. In 2015, when many were wildly enthusiastic about his candidacy, I declined my support for him. I was sceptical. I feared that he was naïve and that his stance on sharia was a dangerous illusion given the unyielding extremism of most part of Northern Nigeria. Furthermore, it seemed clear to me that apart from being the change figure his supporters
imagined, Buhari was also revenge minded; even before taking office he showed a glimpse of being vengeful when he barred AIT from covering his events. And I wasn’t wrong. Buhari was naïve. He faced scorched-earth PDP opposition from day one and it
took him weeks to start dealing with that opposition realistically.
Furthermore, he came perilously close
to doing terrible things to Nigeria’s battered image internationally with his goofs on Western Germany, the German President and the 5% saga. But now that the shoe is rightly on his foot, Buhari faces trash talk left, right and center – literally- and he doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition,
despite having come close to self-inflicted disasters, Buhari has emerged as one of the most consequential and yes! One of the most revered Nigerian President in my lifetime (No thanks to the fact that I was born in the late 80s). His Governance style is imperfect but still a huge step forward and it is working better than I had expected. His financial reforms so far have fallen short of what should have happened, but it is much more effective than I had
thought. His economic management has been half crippled by the lack of cabinet members but has nonetheless been much better than in other West African countries and his political appointments is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.
I personally believe that most of Buhari’s bashing is often misguided and in most cases is focused on the
wrong things. I realised that most people who supported GEJ wants Buhari to fail (No thanks to what
Buhari’s supporters did to GEJ on social media). They are bent on pulling him down just because he defeated GEJ and not for any other reason (I honestly don’t want to be a part of those who wants to bring a just man down). They forget that high office shouldn’t be about scoring cheap political points, it should be about changing the country for the better (which even GEJ in his silence supports).
Has Buhari shown a sign of changing the country for good? Are his appointments and political legacies
likely to endure? The answer to both questions is yes and as far as political and policy changes go, there is a
reason for hope, but we will have to wait and see. Am I showering him with faint praises? Not at all. No President gets to do everything his supporters
expected him to do let alone satisfying the opposition. But with what Buhari has done so far, he has shown a glimpse of what a successful President
looks like. I don’t care about the fact that Buhari hasn’t lived up to his campaign promises (3 months is too short to judge a 48 months tenure) and I care less about his performance rating by the opposition. However, I do care that he should have achieved a lot
when all is done and done and his tenure have successfully come to an end. Until then, I cease to bash this President. Let the change continue.
By Austine Okeke