President Muhammadu Buhari was studying this Nation in a very, very close and uncomfortable arena. He was all the while in London going through his ill health thinking how Nigeria could be. Inspite of various accusations and name calling, still he was calm and humble.
Criticise Mr President today and hear his explanation tomorrow you begin to regret your earlier criticism. At a point in time, 90% Mr President’s illness was coming from corruption and mismanagement of the past; and he was doing everything possible to get an antidote to those evil monsters.
And also the team of his public affairs management was at their eloquence carrying the people along with them for Mr President. Until recently we never knew that Mr President’s own state Katsina has only a minister of State where as other critical areas have full substantive Ministers. One thing I find in Mr President is after his explanations to people, the people will go home satisfied including that of his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Mr Femi Adesina. That man Femi is a wonderful public affairs guru.
In Presidential system of government you could constitute your family to doing the job that is very very essential to the people in order to achieve the best result. Mr President in his own style of public administration does not go behind the scene to monitor you once he has given you an assignment. People were using so many things I have said somewhere on Buhari, but whenever explanation is made I will be satisfied.
Take for instance, when Mr President constituted Special Military Operations to fight crimes that almost swallowed this nation, people were criticising him, but after two weeks or there about the same group of people turned round and started appreciating him. A lot of security threats are going on in almost the entire nation. A situation where a kidnapping kingpin turned around to be a billionaire, if you are in the position of Mr President what will you do?
Mr President’s appearance at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) was a wonderful success where so many nations were struggling to have a glimpse and audience with him, that the Jordanian Country within a twinkle of an eye offered to supply Nigeria with 200 Military armoured vehicles and several other things.
Above all the presentation and delivery of his short speech was a master stroke; and the whole world Nations that attended UNGA were wonderfully happy. Many thanks to his Public Affairs team led by Mr Femi Adesina. On coming back after a trip to London come the 57th Anniversary of Nigeria’s Independence. In all these a lot of development is going on.
The Vice President Professor Osinbajo on his own part was very wonderful. He got all frayed nerves to be calm. Thanks to the information management of the president for making all these things known to the public. I want to advice Nigerians that criticising Buhari cannot yield anything to them. Seeing Mr President in his robust look and promising good future for Nigeria; take for instance when he took over the mantle of leadership of this country he made a very wonderful visit to the North East where his predecessor did not attempt to go. The second time, on the 2nd October after the Independence Anniversary he made a snap visit to Maiduguri to celebrate the Independence anniversary with our gallant armed forces. Buhari is a wonderful human being.
On the issue of stability, restructuring, power devolution and alleged marginalisation, I want to make it clear to Nigerians that the marginalisation as claimed by certain sections of the country might not be true because;
1. Certain area of this country was given Minister of Finance and coordinator of other ministries.
2. Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was confirmed to that area.
3. Ministry of Aviation was confirmed to the same area.
4. Ministry of Labour.
5. Ministry of Petroleum.
All these very important ministries, a section in Nigeria was given only the Ministry of Agriculture. I don’t talk about National Assembly positions and other parastatals. Even in the military the same section was Chief of Army Staff and Inspector General of Police, yet they are crying marginalisation. Those ministries above could have made the area they came from a paradise and the rest of Nigeria. It is a fact that a section that had the Ministry of Agriculture, Buhari reconsidered that person manning that ministry to man the African Development Bank (ADB) yet we talk about marginalisation. Buhari as far as I am concerned has not committed any constitutional breach. The people crying marginalisation are marginalising themselves.
I want to draw this Nation back to early 70s when Federal Allocation began, a certain section of this nation cried blue murder that they were denied Federal Allocations and other goodies from Federal Government at that time. And they did that to embarrass the then administrator and Governor of that area until the then Minister of Finance Chief Obafemi Awolowo came down and cleared the air with very clean and transparent explanation.
Take for instance the road infrastructure; that Onitsha-Enugu Expressway awarded to Lodgiane Construction Company whose Chairman then was Alhaji Musa Yaradua, first Minister of Lagos Affairs and father of General Shehu Musa Yaradua and former President Umaru Musa Yaradua was constructed wonderfully well where the camp of that construction firm was where Anambra State Government too to became the first government house through the signatory of Chief Arthur C.I. Mbanefo (Odu of Onitsha). Before then the old Onitsha-Enugu road was awarded to some indigenous construction firms from the areas crying marginalisation but the job was not executed despite the huge sums of money spent there; yet they still cry about marginalisation. Old Oba-Nnewi road was awarded to indigenous construction firms of the area crying marginalisation for over seven times and yet nothing happened until a foreign construction firm was brought in to do the job. Another one, New Oba, Nnewi Amichi, Uga junction, Arondizuogu and to Umulolo Okigwe junction; that road remained after the initial construction, subsequent awards were made to indigenous constructions firm from that same area, uptill this moment that road remains impassable. When Buhari’s administration fixes the road the people will not even remember that. Take again Onitsha, Aguleri to Nsukka road; that road might have been awarded to indigenous contractor and the same story is maintained.
In addition, old Nnewi Owerri road was in the same false claim until the government of Chief Obasanjo came and awarded the reconstruction of Onitsha Oba, Owerri road that is passable now to a foreign contractor. Nnewi, Nnobi, Igboukwu, Ekwulobia, Oko, Ufuma, Umunze and Ibinta Okigwe in Imo State, that road was awarded to Messers RCC but subsequent awards were given to indigenous construction firms from that same areas for repairs by FERMA and nothing came out of it. The road originally was done by Shagari-Ekwueme administration. Another one is Owerre-Ezukala border town with Isuochi in Abia State to Ogbunka, Umunze, Umuchu, Amesi, Uga, Igboukwu firstly awarded by Chief Jim Nwobodo to an indigenous firm of which one of the management of the indigenous firm made that road impassable by creating a very big gully erosion in Umuchu until the arrival of Senator Dr Chris Ngige who made that road passable from Owerre-Ezukala to Igboukwu using foreign/indigenous construction firms based in Abuja. How those elites from these areas of South East mismanage the accruals that are coming to that zone of the country and turn around to cry marginalisation.
The APC and Buhari administration will right the wrong of these influential indigenous people that made people to loose their own share of the national cake. Even in the Power Sector, the power under the present Minister – Fashola will do marvelously well. Buhari shall be the great leader before the independence those area never had.
Finally, I am appealing and thanking Mr President to please hear out through the leadership of the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo Chief John NniaNwodo (Ike Ukehe) out. Since his leadership of that organization both the common and the elites understand all about governance. I do not envisage all about this issue called marginalisation. I won’t align myself with the position of Devolution of Power; and in area of restructuring, I see it as something that had started since the independence, the creation of Midwest region in 1963 and creation of 12 States in 1967 with subsequent state creations that made Nigeria 36 States. As we are today is not as we were in1914.
Restructuring is a common human phenomenon. Even in the US that is an advanced democracy,b they continue restructuring. Devolution of powers would give the states more power to manage their own affairs with little expected of the centre. We should remember that those calling for state police may not know the consequences until they revisit the issue of Danduka in the North and Kotuma in the South. So if you meet those who experienced such in the past, you will not like to share such experience. In conclusion, my fellow Nigerian let us be patient and give Buhari a chance.
Umenzekwe is an APC Chieftain from Anambra state but based in Lagos, Nigeria