Contemporary times have not been kind to Africa. It’s a continent hugely afflicted by every known human predicament in a debasing manner. Underdevelopment is a perennial problem in virtually all African countries. But Africa’s greatest strangulating problem, which clearly nourishes stunted development, is the lack of capacity to enthrone committed and honest leadership.
Bad leadership greased by the lure of illicit lucre, flamboyance and the infectious desire of most African leaders to siphon the people’s commonwealth to erect personal fiefdoms have been daunting challenges and bane of the continent. The post -independence era was far better.
Certainly, the joy of independence has been blighted by the greed and appetite for materialism of leaders. Earlier in history, Africa produced revolutionary and radical leaders, some of them nationalists, who played active roles for the liberation of their countries from colonial rule. The tempo waned with the quality of leadership which assails most African nations.
These former African leaders sighted a prosperous future and laid the foundation of growth and development for the modern states of Africa. But successive generation of African leaders have squandered everything; both the present and the future. The pervading poverty and misery on a continent further emasculated by internecine wars has crumbled this gigantic continent.
In recent times, it is extremely difficult to find upright leaders on the continent. Recent memories speak glowingly about South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and a few others. Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari symbolizes the idealistic leaders that should be empowered and encouraged to launch a new hope of redemption for his people. Although, now imperilled by the factor of age, but still very determined to bridge the leadership gap, President Buhari is undeniably a visionary, selfless, committed, patriotic and honest leader. He jealously protects his integrity and his obsession with the dream of a prosperous Nigeria cum Africa is conspicuous.
Buhari’s ascension to the leadership podium in 2015 rekindled hope of Nigeria’s renaissance. Even Western nations which despised Africa and imposed a pariah status on most countries in the continent saw a renewed hope for these battered nations of Africa. President Buhari has received rare recommendations from world leaders on his leadership honesty and incorruptibility. It is the lack of these virtues that have tethered Nigeria to the chains of poverty, hunger, misery, disease and perpetual despair.
The President has shown uncommon courage to forge ahead despite the myriad of challenges, evident in the very grandeur imprints in the near four years of his democratic leadership of Nigeria. Consequently, Nigerians renewal of his mandate a few days ago in a keenly contested presidential ballot is reaffirmation of the people’s confidence and faith in his leadership style and disposition. The overwhelming support for the re-election of Buhari for another term is explicitly the triumph of integrity over disrepute and the victory of incorruptibility over corruption.
The outside world may not be fully aware. But Nigerians themselves know unambiguously that Nigeria, this giant of Africa, with its enormous human and material resources is still crawling today because it has been held back by awful and penetrative corruption. This monster has not spared any aspect of national life. From worship places, to shrines, to public offices, the traditional institution, to schools, in market places and a lot more, the country has faltered before prosperity on account of this morass.
It is pleasant to know, President Buhari is one foresighted leader, who is imbued with the wisdom to clearly discern what his people need at this point in history. He is plainly aware that any other problem of Nigeria would either remain or be solved, depending on the extent the pervasive corruption in public life is obliterated or permitted to fester.
Therefore, from the inception of his administration in 2015, President Buhari identified three key areas of focus, namely insecurity, corruption and the economy. And all of them share a symbiotic relationship in propelling the nation to the anticipated heights of development and prosperity. It’s impossible to downplay knowledge of the degenerative nature of Nigeria on these trilateral problems, when Buhari became a democratic President.
Nigerians have seen and experienced Buhari’s bold confrontations of these national malaise and the impressive impact his Presidency has posted in three years. He has rebounded Nigeria from weakening economic recession. Through a reorganized leadership of the Nigerian military and proper funding, the wings of Boko Haram insurgency have been clipped and the dirge for its final defeat is loudly echoing in the Northeast which had the infamous status of hub of Boko Haram terrorists. Other emerging insurrectional acts have summarily been dealt a hard blow.
It is difficult to eradicate an entrenched evil, such as corruption in a system at once. But it is indubitable to every Nigerian that the Buhari Presidency has wedged the strongest and most successful anti-corruption war in the history of the country. At least, it is attestable now that the phobia of brazen indulgence into corrupt acts has assailed the psyche of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) in the country.
The Buhari administration has secured the convictions of high profile personalities over corruption. These are realities previously unfeasible in Nigeria. So, there is hope for Nigeria’s redemption; there is the possibility that this battered nation would one day return to its glorious past under the leadership of President Buhari and once Nigeria is set on the path of true leadership, Africa has a hope of embracing honest and committed leadership.
And this certitude is very promising with Buhari’s second coming. It is for the same reasons Nigerians re-elected him. All men of conscience believe that a country administered on corrupt templates can never proper. And Buhari has the character and courage to lead this battle.
The President –elect has reiterated his unflinching commitment to the anti-corruption crusade and all other troubling issues in his acceptance or appreciation speech to Nigerians; He boomed; the new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption. We have laid down the foundation and we are committed to seeing matters to the end.”
Nigeria is undoubtedly on the path of rebirth and the chief armour bearer, President Buhari is poised to leave nothing to chance. Such leaders are difficult to find. Nigeria is just fortunate that God Almighty has donated Buhari to her at this auspicious time in her history. Despite pretensions from anti-Nigerian forces within and outside, they know deep down their hearts that in 2019, there was no real alternative to President Buhari. Other African nations should begin the true search for a leader cast in the mould of President Buhari. It is not late and it can never be belated. The time is now!
– Ibekwe wrote from Enugu, Enugu State.
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