The excerpted statement was part of the speech given by American President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt in 1910 on Citizenship. Put in the context of Nigeria’s current dispensation, the Man in the Arena is President Muhammadu Buhari. He is trudging on very courageously in governing a very difficult Nation state, deliberately made so by the ludicrous preferences of some of her citizens. These garrulously strut about all the spaces- cyber, political etc- and cynically excoriate this Man in the Arena for want of any other productive service for the fatherland.
Unfortunately, the unwary citizens do not know that the predication of the harsh criticism of this President is selfishness!
The latest in the series of the beating from these implacable critics was the discovery of some deceased persons in the long list of political appointees by this President. This dealing in pedantic trifles, as a way of overshadowing the positivity of the appointment, was deliberate. The indisputable basis for this latching on to straw, by these Wailing citizens, was that the source of their sustenance was being removed.
Since the advent of the Buhari Administration, the political appointees by the last PDP govt - whose statutory terms had not expired - have been sitting pretty at their posts. Undoubtedly, this had caused huge disaffection among the APC party men and women, who rightly believed that the PDP zealots have been unduly empowered by their continuance in these positions. The reality is that many of the damages to this regime had been orchestrated by these ‘empowered’ PDP elements! They give part of their resources to sponsor insidious rumours and disinformation against the interest of this Administration.
But for the punctiliousness of this President, all these PDP zealots in his govt would have been shown the red card since May 30, 2015! First, this President is desirous of building a Nation where there is order based on the rule of law. It is for the reason of not continuing in the unenviable standard of PDP’s former Presidents in dissolving boards immediately they took over office. They cared less at the disruption, caused by these actions, to the stability of the polity. They were only desirous of elevating politics over rule-based order.
Second, this President took over a fragile economy, made so by the excessive plundering of the helmsmen. At the last week of his exit, the last PDP President was still recklessly making appointments and committing huge resources to numerous worthless endeavors.
Much of Nigeria’s resources was in private pockets. Just before the last general elections in 2015, the CBN had presidential order to open the vaults to the most atrocious spending in the history of the land. All persons perceived as capable of assisting the electoral fortunes of that PDP President were remunerated. The Marabouts and traditional rulers- perceived as capable of delivering the spiritual space- were not left out! The Nation reeled like a rudderless ship because of the inebriation of the chief helmsman!
Meanwhile, Security of the citizens - the cornerstone of the constitutional injunction in section 14 - was abandoned. The serving soldiers were not given arms and ammunition and the wherewithal to secure the nation space. These soldiers were so ill-equipped that they jumped into other jurisdictions at the sight of the enemy. The Nigerian people - in 14 out of 774 LGAs - were at the mercy of the enemy. The abandonment of governance for the intoxicating liquor was palpable in the diminished image of the Nigerian state. It was commonplace for Nigeria to be represented at the highest level at international fora but not heard because of an ‘unavailable’ President!
Third, this President was always concerned about the sourcing of the remuneration of his appointees, against the backdrop of a depressed economy.
At the insistence of this President, the list for appointees was generated from the wards, LGAs and States and had been ready for more than a year! But the economy of Nigeria about a year ago was in depression. Of course, the President wanted an auspicious time for the implementation of these appointments. That the list was not updated, as per mortality numbers, was an error from places where these hailed from and not necessarily from the Presidency. This is because replacements ought to have been suggested by those areas; this error is insignificant compared to the positivity of the strides made in over one year.
Nonetheless, it is part of vigilance by Citizens to bring up incongruences to the attention of the governing authority.
All said, this is a President to be supported. It is the first time in over thirty years that we have a president who is not a businessman. We have had presidents who weighed any national project or endeavor against their own individual interests. It is the reason that they retired into stupendous wealth and affluence. There was a particular one who, as sitting President, organized a bazaar for his pet post-retirement project. All manners of affluent human beings (govt contractors and concessionaires) made huge donations. The 36 states were also made to cough out N10million each. These are still strutting about as Statesmen.
Now, we have a President is desirous of improving the infrastructural landscape of Nigeria. With purloined (but recovered) resources, he is ensuring massive infrastructural changes in the national landscape. Nations grow by the quantum of their quality infrastructure. The boldest and grandest expenditure on Infrastructure have been contemplated by this President. He seems determined that, under his watch, Nigeria shall be brought to a state of irreversible growth. He is unfazed, undeterred and undaunted by the of harshness of his implacable critics. The destination, for him, is far more important than the vitriolic excoriations of his traducers.
As Citizens, we have a chance to support a truly Patriotic President.
God bless Nigeria.
Engr. Rotimi Fashakin, FNSE.