Home OPINION EDITORIAL EDITORIAL: President Buhari And Burden Of Leadership

EDITORIAL: President Buhari And Burden Of Leadership

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

The inaugural speech of President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29 is a good study in careful choice of words, whose import many people in a haste may find difficult to understand. It is indeed, a speech that showed the President as having long prepared for this job and knew clearly what direction he would take to actualize his dream for a better Nigeria for Nigerians.
Of most germane in the speech is where he said that he is for everybody and he is for no body.
This portion symbolizes the truism in the leadership context that a leader is he who is lonely even if he is surrounded by loved ones, friends and associates. This is because, in the case of President Buhari, it is only him that held the Holy Quran aloft on May 29, and swore with it that he would lead the nation with honesty and fear of God.
“Having just a few minutes ago sworn on the Holy Book,” President Buhari said with emphasis and seriousness, “I intend to keep my oath and serve as President to all Nigerians.”
And when he was doing the oath taking and swearing, no minister, no friend, no political associate, not even his wife assisted him in seeking for God’s help. And therefore, it is only him and no other that God would ask questions hereafter as to how he led his people. It is only him that Nigerians would eventually hold responsible and no other person, if anything goes wrong.
He may have learnt a bitter lesson from his first encounter with power, as military Head of State between 1983 and 1985, when every other thing that happened, even outside Lagos, the then Federal Capital of Nigeria, was attributed to him, ala the incidence of Tunde Thompson and co. He may have, indeed, been taught a lesson of how the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, was blamed for every other thing that happened during his government even though he might not know what was happening everywhere.
This lessons may have informed his decision to streamline the government from the federal right to the council levels, as he stressed: “constitutionally, there are limits to powers of each of the three tiers of government but that should not mean the Federal Government should fold its arms and close its eyes to what is going on in the states and local governments. Not least the operations of the Local Government Joint Account. While the Federal Government cannot interfere in the details of its operations, it will ensure that the gross corruption at the local level is checked. As far as the constitution allows me, I will try to ensure that there is responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country. For I will not have kept my own trust with the Nigerian people if I allow others abuse theirs under my watch.”
He might have added that even if a council member in a local government embezzles the council’s money, the people in the council would still blame it on him as the President. And of course, often, that is what happens.
The President was magnanimous and quick-witted to acknowledge the fears being expressed in many quarters that his government would go after those who were suspected to have been neck-deep in corruption in the recent past, but went on to allay such fears (of probe), describing such fears as groundless. According to him, there would be no paying off old scores and that the past is prologue.
The President acknowledged that, no matter how well organized the governments of the federation are, they cannot succeed without the support, understanding and cooperation of labour unions, organized private sector, the press and civil society organizations.
He appealed to employers and workers alike to unite in raising productivity so that everybody will have the opportunity to share in increased prosperity.
In carrying out the burden of leadership, Buhari also called on the Nigerian media which he described as the most vibrant in Africa, including the social media, to exercise its considerable powers with responsibility and patriotism.
“My appeal for unity is predicated on the seriousness of the legacy we are getting into. With depleted foreign reserves, falling oil prices, leakages and debts, the Nigerian economy is in deep trouble and will require careful management to bring it round and to tackle the immediate challenges confronting us, namely; Boko Haram, the Niger Delta situation, the power shortages and unemployment especially among young people. For the longer term we have to improve the standards of our education. We have to look at the whole field of Medicare. We have to upgrade our dilapidated physical infrastructure.”
President Buhari’s “I am for everybody and I am for nobody” should therefore be understood in the context of the loneliness of true leaders, which may translate into a warning to anybody who will work for him (and not with him), to be strictly in tandem with the path he has charted. That means therefore that he has no friend, no relation, and no enemy in this leadership venture of his. But on the other hand, everybody who is honest and want to work for him to attain his dream, is his own. [myad]


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