Two recent episodes buttress the fact that Nigeria is on the right path to growth, development and democratization. First, the inexplicable call by former President Olusegun Obasanjo on President Muhammadu Buhari not to run for re-election and the other, another call reported by Premium Times, ridiculous, by former Military President Ibrahim Babangida of ‘Evil Genius’ fame, on the president also not to seek re-election. Both former presidents came to power at a relatively peaceful and economically buoyant period of our national life, but instead of taking the country to the desired Eldorado, instituted a culture of waste, graft, deceit and selfishness.
As former presidents, these two cannot be regarded as ordinary Nigerians and it behooves them, when they contribute to national discourse, to first, put the wider interests of Nigerians in context. This does not appear to be so. Given the milestone achieved since 2015 when Nigeria was literally on the edge of economic, social and security precipice, any call on the president, who came to power at one of the most trying periods in our national life, to not contest for re-election as president next year, cannot be altruistic.
Some Nigerians are wont to tell others to look at the message and not the messenger. However, except if we lift hypocrisy to a new national mores, a message with as much importance to national success, should be reflective of the messenger. Else, the question arises, as to what import is the message?
Both messages from Obasanjo and Babangida asking President Buhari not to seek re-election cannot be divorced from their penchant for relevance and ability to influence power. Under President Buhari, who like them had ‘been there and done that,’ they have failed to influence power away from the people for their (including cronies) own selfish benefits.
While they planned succession when President Buhari lay on what they thought was his deathbed, the millions of Nigerians who believe that President Buhari, whom they gave their votes to, serves their interests, prayed for him. When the president ‘refused’ to die, they drew up an elaborate plan to discredit his government, divert it away from its task of repositioning the country and distract it from correcting the chaos their greed had turned the country to.
President Buhari must not listen to them as doing so will only amount to letting down millions of everyday Nigerians who believe in him. Listening to them and declining to run is the unkindest payback President Buhari could offer Nigerians and future generations on whose behalf he had sought power since 2003. If Obasanjo and Babangida claim to be democrats, they should reorganize their party the PDP, find a decent candidate that can beat the incumbent, campaign for them and allow the electorate to decide. This is called democracy. It is different from annulling elections or bribing the legislature to amend the constitution for a third term.
Run, President Buhari. The God that kept you alive when they plotted a succession against you will definitely see you through. The Nigerians who prayed for you will come out in their millions to give their votes to you. This is because our cause is your cause. It is selfless, noble and true.