By Bala Ibrahim.
Whenever the history of President Muhammadu Buhari is going to be written, a portion must be devoted to two things, the ambiance of his paradigm shift in accomodating others, and the paradox of the trajectory of his momentous movement to a paragon. Put together, the public would understand the progress he has made to polish his image from an incorruptible disciplinarian and military dictator, to a dour and giver of democratic dividends.
When PMB ventured into partisan politics, the argument of his critics was that his attributes would make it difficult for the public to buy him. His strictness and inflexibility they said, would combine to turn him into a big liability in office. Buhari was accused of autocratic leanings as well as a terrible tendency towards inaction. But to the contrary, those qualities were bought by the electorate, who trooped in multitudes and made him won the election with an unprecedented margin in 2015. He made history by becoming the first Nigerian opposition candidate to defeat an incumbent president.
From the very beginning, he campaigned with the promise of a paradigm shift to a born-again democrat, giving the assurance to root out corruption, revive the economy and defeat the Boko Haram insurgency. Being the biggest bane of the system, the electorate took him at his words and gave him a chance. Through a paradigm shift, he transformed the chance to a CHANGE.
Convince by the change, which added to the success of his transformation from a dictator to a democrat, and despite the fact that it took him six months to appoint members of his first cabinet, a step that earned him the nickname, Baba Go slow, his term was further renewed, because he was seen to have fulfilled previous campaign pledges, particularly in tackling corruption and cracking down on Boko Haram. The North East was liberated.
Critics and cynics were shamed, when more than 15 million Nigerians chose to re-elect him as their president in 2019, close to the number that elected him in 2015, indicating that four years in office have not diminished the charisma and appeal of the President, who has transformed to a paragon.
Those familiar with President Muhammadu Buhari attested to the fact that indeed the man has changed, by being more pro people and extremely supportive of the rule of law. Yes, he has shifted from a dictator to a diehard democrat, that frowns at Human rights and judicial violations.
Unlike the Buhari of yesteryears, who would have ordered an immediate crackdown on suspects of treasonable felony, PMB now allows the law to work at it’s pace, even where abundant evidence is pointing at the accused.
In his independence broadcast yesterday, PMB disclosed that certain high profile Nigerians have been identified as sponsors of pro-secession agitators, Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho, and that investigations into the activities of both men has yielded a lot of information. “We are vigorously pursuing these financiers, including one identified as a serving member of the national assembly”, he said.
In the past, with the yield of such information, undoubtedly by now, regardless of the status of the suspects, these individuals would have long been in the gulag. But because of the progress made in his paradigm shift from a dictator to a democrat, Buhari is now a patient paragon.
Perhaps the biggest and most important change that happens to President Muhammadu Buhari is his ability to move away from shyness to the show of self-satisfaction in his achievements. For the first time, PMB found it convenient to be boastful of his achievements, where, in the independence broadcast, he told Nigerians that no government since 1999, has done what his government has done in six years of ruling in order to put Nigeria back on track.
“No Government since 1999 has done what we’ve done to put Nigeria back on track.”- Pres Muhammadu Buhari.
It would be recalled that the current democratic dispensation began in 1999 and since then, Nigeria has had chief Olusegun Obasanjo, late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Dr.Ebele Goodluck Jonathan as presidents before him. Now, courtesy of the paradigm shift in politics and personality, the President has embraced the attribute of boastfully blowing his trumpet.
Truly, we may recall that no government in the past had done anything like the survival fund program, or the National Youth Investment Fund program, where over 774,000 beneficiaries across 774 LGAs nationwide were touched.
According to reports, more than N150 billion has been disbursed so far to support small businesses, households and young Nigerians with federal grants, loans and stipends. Certainly, every Nigerian can attest that no previous government has done such a thing for its citizens. And this is in spite of the calamity of covid.
In politics, like the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello said, you have to blow your trumpet, because if you don’t, no one is going to blow it for you, as everyone is busy blowing his own.
Take it or leave it, indeed PMB has made beautiful progress, in the paradigm shift or transformation, from a dictator to a paragon.