Can Buhari be the Abraham Lincoln of Nigeria?

Nigerian Insight

General Buhari’s visit to the Chatham House, London penultimate week and his impending visits to Atlanta and Washington, D.C and possibly to the South Florida in the United States will offer the best opportunity to make his case to the world. Nigeria is indeed a nation in crisis. The debates leading up to March 28, 2015 have been mixed with uncertainly about the nation’s preparedness to be a democratic nation.

The interests within and outside the country for a peaceful and fair election cannot be underestimated. Elections anywhere are not easy undertakings. The stakes are high. Abraham Lincoln, one of the outstanding presidents of the United States faced a nation at the brink of collapse. America in 1861 was ready to break apart. Nigeria in 1961 was dealing with the challenges of a new nation and attempting to redefine itself from the yoke of colonialism. The First Republic ushered in our first experiment with democracy but six years later the experiment failed.

Lincoln fought to save a nation: slavery ended and the south did not secede. Nigeria will not break up but Buhari can save the nation with the resolve of Lincoln. The international community may or may not want Nigeria to succeed, given the increasing global interests and linkages. As a former military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months, Buhari knows the issues too well as Lincoln did. Can Buhari give his life for Nigeria as he did during the Civil War?

Buhari has assured us that “if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilizing role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas.”

On corruption, Buhari said, “there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.”

America today is reaping the benefit of a great leader. The journey for a prosperous Nigeria is long and hard, but it should turn toward reconciliation, nationalism, patriotism, hard work, discipline, freedom, and respect for others. These are ideals every American will die for. These are the ideals all Nigerians should be ready to fight for. Buhari should lead and we shall follow.

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