The President Buhari’s inaugural speech
Although it has been several weeks since the inauguration of the new government in Nigeria which saw the former president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, handing over to the new president, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), on May 29, 2015, the weight of the inaugural speech seems so heavy to be forgotten in a hurry. One remarkable statement in the speech “I am for everybody; I am for nobody” has been considered in many quarters as memorable and apt, pregnant to deliver some new things in Nigeria.
That declaration obviously won the hearts of many Nigerians, especially the masses, and when the Press came on board to set it as an agenda through wide reportage, the ball was set rolling and it was the talk of the day the following days nationwide.
We see the declaration, if truly meant, as a light in the tunnel, a mark of hope for Nigerians, especially for the masses who for long have been subjected to abject poverty in the midst of plenty because of the mismanagement of the country’s abundant resources occasioned by the greediness, nepotism and corruption of past administrations who favoured a few but left out the masses to struggle for survival without empowerment.
Indeed, over the years, Nigerians have unfortunately been blessed with leaders who were known for the embezzlement of public funds, inflating of government contracts, appointments of only (their) friends and relatives as well as party members into good positions in government at the expense of merit; selfish leaders whose unwritten mission statement and actions were “I am for a selected few; I am not for everybody” – a direct opposite of what President Buhari has said he would do. So, why won’t Nigerians heave a sigh of relief at that declaration? But we only hope Buhari would live by his word.
President Buhari should mean what he has said. The declaration connotes fairness, equity and justice. He should do just that. He should overcome the winner-takes-it all syndrome; although he is of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he should not shut ‘the door’ against other political parties; he should be broad-hearted enough to recognise them though with wisdom and tact.
As a northerner, Buhari should not allow himself to be blind-folded by the born-to-rule mentality said to be misguiding not a few northerners. He must continue to remind himself and his region that all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, are eligible to rule in Nigeria in whichever capacity. And as a Muslim, he must regard both Muslims and Christians as well as and other religious faithful as equal citizens whose fundamental rights must be protected under the Nigerian constitution.
President Muhammadu Buhari should summon courage daily to act out his declaration. He must not be subjected to the cowardice of past leaders because ‘cowards die many times before their deaths’.