The Return of Buhari; Great Expectations

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President Muhammadu Buhari

AYORINDE OLUOKUN/Abuja

For Muhammadu Buhari, the excitement of winning what was unarguably one of the most keenly contested presidential elections in Nigeria’s history seems to be giving way to consideration of the legacy he will leave behind at the end of his eight years in office. “This is my fifth and last time of standing for an election – for that reason I’ll like to leave something behind. And what I want to leave cannot be successfully done without your support,” the President said while soliciting the cooperation of senators-elect of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at a dinner he hosted at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on a Monday night after his victory.

Buhari’s meeting with the lawmakers who are already plotting on how to share the leadership position among themselves ahead of the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly is itself significant as an indication of his determination to do things in a different way in his second tenure of office. The President had stood aloof, refusing to intervene in the process of emergence of the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly in his first tenure of office. Mallam Garba Shehu, the senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity had repeatedly affirmed that the President was ready to work with whoever emerged as either the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Representatives at the heat of jostling for positions ahead of the inauguration of the about to expire 8th National Assembly.

The President’s aloofness gave way to the hijacking of the National Assembly leadership by hostile forces which, with the support of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP became obstacles to his programmes. “What happened in the last Senate and so on is regrettable because I still feel it shouldn’t take seven months to pass a budget,” the President said while acknowledging the self-inflicted problem during the dinner.
Ready For Another Four Years

Nigerians are waiting to see how Buhari will navigate the fight for positions among the lawmakers to ensure an outcome that will be favourable for meeting the yearnings of Nigerians during his second tenure. The President has also assured that he is in the right frame – health wise to meet the aspirations of Nigerian. Speaking to members of his cabinet who were on congratulatory visit to him few days after he received his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Buhari said the fact that he was able to physically go around all the states of the country during the campaign for election had proven the opposition wrong that he was unfit to govern the nation as well as an indication that he was ready to continue in leading Nigeria for the next four years.

While promising that he will continue with his three-point agenda of fighting insecurity, corruption and fixing the economy, the President was forthright about what to expect: “My last lap of four years, I think, is going to be tough because people are being forgetful. That was why wherever I went; I reminded them of the campaign promise of our party, particularly security, as I kept on saying that you have to secure the country well and institutions. If you don’t secure the country, you can’t achieve anything no matter how many programmes you put in place,” the President told his cabinet members led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

He also spoke about the need to respond to the yearnings and aspirations of the youths who constitute 60 per cent of Nigerian population as well as the need to continue to explore alternative means of revenue due to volatility in the price of crude oil. “The new Administration will intensify its efforts in Security, Restructuring the Economy and Fighting Corruption. We have laid down the foundation and we are committed to seeing matters to the end. We will strive to strengthen our unity and inclusiveness so that no section or group will feel left behind or left out,” the President promised while speaking in the first statement he made after he was declared the winner of the presidential election in the early morning of Tuesday, 27 February.

A Victory Against Gang-Up

The President will begin a journey to actualize all his promises when he is sworn – in for his second and final tenure on 29, May. Buhari had secured the ticket for his second term of office with 15,191, 847 votes to defeat his main rival and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who scored 11,262, 978 votes in the presidential election.

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