Today, Gen Buhari, despite the gargantuan efforts of the PDP to stop him, has been elected the President of Nigeria through the massive votes and supports of the Nigerian masses. It is a well fought and deserved victory. It is a victory for light. It is a victory for good. It is a victory for integrity. It is a victory for honesty. It is a victory for forthrightness. It is a victory for patience. It is a victory for perseverance. It is a victory for tenacity. It is a victory for grit and determination. Buhari emerged victorious just at the appointed time. This is his fourth try in a land given to short term profit.
In the victory of Buhari is the fulfillment of the age old saying that lies may run a million years but integrity will eventually catch with it. Darkness may prevail for the most parts of the night but light will certainly come to dispel it. Buhari lived a life of honesty and integrity in the public service but that seemed a negative attribute in a country where unmerited wealth and rusty ethical comportment are determinants of social mobility. Buhari led a Spartan life of integrity and for this; he was mocked, abused and laughed at. But Buhari triumphed because God is still God. He never allows the good to suffer perpetual liability. He never allows the wicked to laugh eternally at the good. Because God is still God, Buhari’s tears for which the PDP jested and made merry was not in vain. It watered the ground which brought forth a rich harvest that he is reaping at the appointed time.
Buhari has repeatedly staked claims to the nation’s presidency, not because he wants to loot the common patrimony but because he wants the resources to be fairly distributed for life more abundant for all. He desired public office because he feels frustrated that Nigeria has become a vast empire of sleaze, licentiousness and brazen misrule. The disciplinarian in him couldn’t tolerate the state of gross complacency the nation was operating in. He wanted to come once again to re-track Nigeria on the straight and narrow path. There was nothing self serving in his desire to steer a prodigal country back to the paths of rectitude. His was an altruistic mission to rescue Nigeria from the paths of doom. He was on a salvific mission to redeem what could be redeemable from a land where debasement has become norm.
It was apparent that Buhari’s declaration of intent to contest the 2015 presidential threw the members of the PDP into a wretched state. They didn’t expect it. They didn’t fathom that the stern general will come back again to mount a challenge to their tenuous hold on power. They felt so discomfited by the general’s well known integrity, which stands as an eternal rebuke to their own prodigality. They know that even as an independent candidate, Buhari is a thorn in their flesh, a rebuke to their besmeared scruples. Buhari scares the living hell out of PDP. Indeed two living Nigerians constitute real nightmare to the PDP. One Is Muhammadu Buhari and the other is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu so when the two meet, it is always certain that the PDP will become perpetually disheveled, permanently disoriented and confused as we saw during the last presidential campaigns.
When Buhari emerged from the colourful, well planed and transparent APC primary in Lagos, most Nigerians saw him as the President in waiting. There was nothing the PDP presented to counter the highly competitive APC primary. Theirs was a mere coronation, the process of arriving at which almost tore PDP into shreds and left it on death throes. There was nothing for Nigerians to take home from the dour PDP primaries as against the excitement, the heightened interests and the huge expectations built into the APC primaries. So when Buhari emerged at the Teslim Balogun Stadium as the Candidate of the APC, it was certain that the game is all over.
The PDP, which pretended it was not scared of Buhari’s emergence, knew that it was living a lie after the Lagos primary. To show its state of anxiety and desperation, PDP went to work, digging and exhuming all manners of dirt against Buhari. They did everything to parry the issue from how well they have performed as a government in the past six years. Rather than show Nigerians its handwork, the PDP went for Buhari’s ankle. Rather than box above the belt, the PDP aimed below Buhari’s belt. It went beyond the decent to the indecent. Its primary target was to rough tackle Buhari and cut him to size. Knowing that they have no scruples, they felt hugely threatened by the huge credibility Buhari has cultivated over the years. They forcefully wanted to drag Buhari down their own level. They wanted him to come down to the mud where they maintain overwhelming presence because that will give them the opportunity to compete even.
But Buhari is a movement. He is more than Muhammadu Buhari. He is a moving train that brooks no obstacle on its way. Firm, serious minded and calculating, he refused to be dragged down to PDP level. His audacity made the PDP to try harder. They did everything, threw money as if it was running out of circulation but these never moved Buhari. He marched on from one roadblock to another more secured and much more trusted to lead Nigeria to the envisaged Eldorado Nigerians have neighed for. Every obstacle made him more acceptable to Nigerians and diminished the PDP the more. But Nigerians knew what they wanted. They knew what they were investing in. To them, Buhari needed no introduction. They know what he means to them. They know his mission in power. They knew how he handled power and public service. They know he is their man. They knpw he stands on their side of the ring against a rapacious political class that feasts on the poor and the disempowered.
So when the Buhari candidacy was weaved, it took due cognizance of the catholic acceptance Buhari enjoys across the country. It combined these with the rugged determination of the forces that coalesced into APC to send clear signals to the PDP that its time was up. The factor that swelled Buhari’s candidacy was that people invested their time, their energy, their resources to fight his cause and these are mainly on freelance basis. It is a given that such voluntary engagement is always driven by belief. People believe in Buhari and that was why his credibility blunted all the humongous resources Jonathan and the PDP threw into the bitter struggle to stop him. Because people believe in Buhari, they were able to ignore the thick poach of abrasive insults, abuses and lies thrown at Buhari by a desperate PDP. History has proved that belief drives fanaticism and it is understandable why Buhari’s candidacy drew fervent fanaticism as the contest lasted.
Buhari has fought a good fight and he has triumphed with Nigerian people. He has suffered and stretched himself from the position of weakness and he has gotten the ultimate reward. He has been taunted, abused, spat on for not joining the corrupt bandwagon. He has been defaced, painted black and smeared but he remains immaculate. In the face of these, he stood firm and strong and was able to persevere. The bigger victory belongs to millions of Nigerians who withstood every effort to divide them and create religious and ethnic schism in a bid to stop Buhari. The victory is theirs and theirs alone. They worked for change and got it. Congratulations to Mai Gaskiya and the incoming President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Gen, Muhammadu Buhari. Long may your reign be!
Peter Claver Oparah
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