My friend, a “real Igbo Boy” sent this post for me to publish. Due to political circumstances, he cannot be seen publicly supporting Buhari. (Yeah Yeah, free elections indeed). Therefore I cannot include his name.
I held back for a few days because I do not like the idea of publishing stuff without a name to it. But since there are no accusations or potential slander, I decided to go ahead
Why does his tribe matter? Loads of people try hard to make me believe as an Igbo boy, I am a rare exception in supporting Buhari. I have been told severally, I am not a real Igbo boy because of my support. Labelled a traitor (people that this election serious)
If there are 3 Igbo boys around, this man would be counted. So personally, it is a big deal that he sent this in unsolicited.
Now, let’s hear the Igbo Boy.
I like Buhari. I am not going to bore you with facts and figures nor would I pretend that my reasons are rational. Voting, I believe, is usually based on an emotional decision. Anyone trying to convince us to a contrary view does not understand the decision making process that goes into voting. So this is my attempt at trying to discover or explain the first sentence of this article.
Maybe it was because of the stories I heard when I was growing up. We all heard the stories of former leaders and the effect that they had. Of all of them, the stories about Buhari/Idiagbon and Murtala resonates the best. Murtala was the one that tried to stand up to the west and their exploitation of Africa. While Buhari tried to curb our penchant for what Feyi Fawehinmi termed as “Anyhowness”. All the old heads from my younger days say that there was a semblance of order and corruption was not visible as it once was. it must be said here that I wouldnt vote for Murtala if he was on the ballot today. I know what he did during the Civil war. There are similar allegations against Buhari. Perharps the evidence presented against him does not sway me emotionally. Or maybe I just think they are cooked up for the elections.
Outside his service as HOS, there are also stories of lifestyle. He is said to be honest, ascetic and humble. He drove himself around Kaduna and even queued at filling stations. Now this is a big deal for me. I grew up in a town were people really hate haughtiness. Everyone knew everyone and the town wasn’t affluent so displays of wealth weren’t just frowned upon, it was punished. So the usual show-offs by our political and economic elite specially irks me. So anyone who has a reason to be haughty and proud but declines to do so gets a from me.
Then there is PTF. There seems to be an attempt at a critical re-evaluation of his service at PTF with mixed results. Some say that his work was largely sectional. That projects were skewed heavily to the northern part of Nigeria. Others have concluded that the PTF was corrupt. citing the report of the Panel constituted by Obasanjo to investigate its activities. Well, I was old enough to be conscious of the current affairs at the time. I make bold to say that my impression and that of those around me at the time was that PTF was working. I saw the refurbishment of the makurdi-Otukpa road by PW that PTF paid for. The Enugu-PH road was also partially refurbished at the time. I read books donated by PTF in my local school library. This was the first time that I experienced an agency of government actually delivering on governance. It may have been a wrong impression but it was my impression at the time.
We may take this for granted but I grew up in the late 80’s and 90’s. I saw the government as people that just locked up citizens whom they feel had insulted them. To put this in a better perspective, the first time I saw water gushing from a tap connected to the Waterboard was when I was 19. So please excuse me for liking someone who delivered on governance.
Lately, there has been genuine questions raised that has dimmed his star for me. The baboons and Blood speech and the recent interview with Thisday springs to mind. But my sub-conscious finds an explanation for these two. Firstly, everyone is allowed to make daft statements once in a while no matter how grievous we find them. If you judge everyone by the most unpalatable things they have said, then Churchill should be classed as a racist for the things he said about the Mahatma. Same goes, albeit in a lesser weight, to the Thisday interview. (although a larger part of me wants to listen to the audio-transcript).
These are the reasons why I voted him in ’03, ’07 and ’11. That is why I will vote him in 3 weeks again. I feel that he is the best man for the job. I feel that his disciplined and ascetic posture will set the right tone in our government with regards to corruption. Yes, I feel corruption is a big part of our problems and yes I know that one man can change things. Yes, I believe that that man is General Muhammadu Buhari.
The President of Nigeria wields enormous powers in reality. He/She commands all our institutes of coercion. Due to our dependence on Oil, He/She also controls our economic fate. In organisations and communities such as ours, people are leader watchers. We look to see what the leadership is doing and then we conform to or resist their actions. This is why it is important that the president has the right comportment, exudes the correct confidence and communicates leadership. One who leads by example would totally change us. We can’t have a president that feels that some sorts of stealing shouldnt be prosecuted. This means that the “anyhowness” that plagues us will deepen and worsen. We cant endure a President that would dilly dally in matters of security. neither do we need a President that would doubt us when we say that our daughters are missing. I will not be confident in his abilities to protect me.
Without doubt, the current President is the best in my lifetime in terms of infrastructural development. But if I don’t feel safe, eventually, I’d be too scared to ply the roads or use the trains.
I really value loyalty. I rank it as one of the highest virtues that a man may possess. I admire our President’s loyalty to his friends and acquaintances even when their incompetence seems to hurt him. To be honest, I’d rather go down to the bar for a shot or two with the current President than Buhari. But the standards for being my friend are unexpectedly lower and different from the standards required of our President. That may be why I won’t be voting for this President. That is certainly why I will be voting General Muhammadu Buhari.