THE usual predatory political elite mock him, claiming that he is too rigid and fixated to certain moral categories and therefore unamenable to the free bargain of politics or the â€œscratch my back, I scratch yoursâ€ that has dragged our public affairs to the pit.
According to them, General Buhari with his Spartan and incorrigible orientation would not permit the massive returns of investments in securing public office and therefore would render politics unprofitable for â€œrationalâ€ investment.
To them, General Buhari would turn them in one single swoop into Spartan, disciplined and austere lots, with no designer cars, perfumes, wines and massive houses scattered all over the world.
For the â€˜honourableâ€™ members and their â€œdistinguishedâ€ colleagues, Buhari presidency would mean no â€œGhana-must-goâ€ sack will accompany every piece of government legislation and the trumpeted â€œover-sight functionsâ€ of the executive, will not be a little disguised extortion and arm-twisting. For professional lobbyists for ministerial appointments and other assorted appointments, they will not have profitable returns it now enjoys because to be minister or special adviser under General Buhari will no longer bring returns on the massive scale.
Why are the Nigeria political elite dead scared about the General Buhari presidency? Strangely they have harried their dead scare of the Buhari presidency to the ordinary Nigerian who would admit that none of the hordes of presidential pretenders, especially in the ruling PDP could match General Buhariâ€™s integrity and proven competence, yet in the same breath claims that it is not likely that General Buhari would become president.
Prodded on as to the annoying caveat,the average Nigerian retorts that the â€œpowers that be would not allow him, no matter how Nigerians vote. Yours sincerely, only refrain to this seemingly mystification of the so-called invisible elite and the powers that be is, vote General Buhari and letâ€™s see who will stop himâ€. The Buhari campaign organisation and all those who appreciate the need to rescue the fatally wounded Nigerian project is to mount a proactive campaign to rescue the ordinary Nigerian from the myth that an â€˜invisibleâ€™ â€˜eliteâ€™ would stop the general, should Nigerians freely elect him.
Most analysts point that General Buhari roundly beat Obasanjo in 2003 and took his protÃ©gÃ©es, Yar Adua/Goodluck to the electoral cleaners in 2007, and was twice denied a hard-won national goodwill and nothing happened. Something obviously happened and that is, in the seven years or so, Nigeria has declined in every aspect of national life as it has never done before in her 50 years of existence as an independent nation.
Today, Nigeria is a paradigm of entrenched corruption, wasted opportunities and easily the most mocked nation on earth. Yet, the majority of Nigerians stand idly while the clique of political predators and their contractor-cum-business allies that passes off as entrepreneurs, continues to vandalize our common patrimony, as they sedate us to slumber with their unique political lexicon that mocks virtue and integrity and glamorizes theft and felonies.
Interestingly, the same clique that mocks General Buhariâ€™s integrity and competence as non-tradable political goods, would ooze crocodile tears, should the General fall, claiming that Nigeria has missed the best president it deserves as they did to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, whom they branded the best president Nigeria never had, even when they worked tirelessly to stop him.
Truly, the trajectory of Nigeriaâ€™s contemporary history would have been different had Chief Awolowo mounted the saddle. Like General Buhari, Chief Awolowo craved to lead Nigeria, because he has a plan but each time in the past, the country would fell to the reluctant persons who have goodluck and patience as it is today.
Chief Awolowo was diligent, methodical and have clear plan of the direction he wanted to take Nigeria. He identified those critical and very strategic items that could give the country a credible and sustainable jump-start; education and health. These two items are the most solid instrument to create the enabling skilled manpower, which is at the core of the human resources component for any meaningful and sustainable development.
The Mahathier Mohommeds of Malaysia, even highly revered Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mr. Suharto of Indonesia, all leveraged outstanding development in their respective countries because of enormous investment and focus on this important foundational requirement. Chief Awolowo was very clear and persistent on the criteria, but was obstructed. In our time, the Nigerian project most mortal danger is the grip of a monstrous canker worm called corruption.
Only a man, who is tested and found to be above fray, is capable of confronting the monster. Even the mortal enemies of General Buhari admit that no living Nigerian or even dead ones have attained the high offices, which the elites shamelessly call â€œplumb officesâ€ and came out with an astounding record of decency as the General. That is why, for lack of any tangible thing to taint him, the political elites and their media hangers-on claimed that he is a religious fundamentalist and ethnic bigot. How, someone who is a religious fundamentalist could serve and reach the pinnacle of a secular and Western-modeled military is a question that this unintelligent theory cannot explain.
And more so, having served as head of state, which policy decision did he initiate to compromise Nigeriaâ€™s secularism to buttress the allegation of religious fundamentalism.
The 2011 election is the defining moment for the future of Nigeria and the choice Nigerians face is grim. The puerile show and saber-rattling of the candidates in the ruling PDP is diversionary, but somehow resonate in the Nigeriaâ€™s mainstream media as the real contest.
It is time to translate General Buhariâ€™s universally acknowledged credibility, discipline and integrity to potent political instrument of change. No better time is available than now and no investment in this or even prayer is too much. For the avoidance of doubt , no one claims that Gen. Buhariâ€™s presidency is the final solution to what ails Nigeria, but definitely could be a genuine framework to begin the search, because the countryâ€™s deeper problems like most other African countries is the false start.
BY CHARLES ONUNAIJU, a journalist, writes from Abuja