This president is not for turning By Denrele Animasaun

To match Interview NIGERIA-BUHARI/

There is a famous speech by the former British Prime Minister, iron lady Margaret Thatcher, she gave  at  her  party  conference in 1980: “If our people feel that they are part of a great nation and they are prepared to will the means to keep it great, then a great nation we shall be, and shall remain. So, what can stop us from achieving this? What then stands in our way?

The prospect of another winter of discontent? I suppose it might. But I prefer to believe that certain lessons have been learned from experience, that we are coming, slowly, painfully, to an autumn of understanding. And I hope that it will be followed by a winter of common sense. If it is not, we shall not be diverted from our course. To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the “U” turn, I have only one thing to say. “You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.” I say that not only to you but to our friends overseas and also to those who not our friends are”.  This  speech marked the  era of this  formidable leader, though, I  am  not  a fan of  the iron lady but no one  can deny that she single-handedly  changed the fortune and  no doubt, restored the pride of the British psyche.

It seems that that PMB’s approach to nation building and style is very similar to that of Thatcher.   There is tough decision to be made and you need someone with a steely determination and mind to change the tide.  This  is the hallmark of a good leader, who will do things that are either popular  or easy, but  they do  knowing  fully well that  it is done  in the best interest of the  country .He  has  a   sense of  purpose  and  determination. Similarly, he has a knack of picking similar people who will do  want he wants  done. Many have derided him of not choosing ministers   as soon as he became president. He has told the press, he will do so in September and he does this amidst ridicule and derision from certain quarters.  He has consistently demonstrated a steely self-restraint even when people attempt to meddle and derail him from his plans, he maintains his stance and so it will be interesting to see the calibre of people who will hold the ministerial positions in his administration.

Some have  argued that it  will be difficult to find  honest  Nigerians to fill the posts, they say that most politicians’ hands  are soiled  with corruption, if that is the case, that does not  say much for us as  a people, if  we have  to  scrap the  barrel to  look for untarnished Nigerians. These people are truly  representation of the Nigerian people and if the truth be told, many are as  corrupt as they say  but there are also Nigerians out there that are thoroughly good and decent people ; they genuinely want to  do their  best, the  environment that Buhari  is cultivating  this, would  make it  conducive  for  such  people to step up to the plate  and  help build the  nation back to  greatness.

In the last  couple of weeks  and  days the ring of change  is  apparent  and it is  getting too much for those  who have thrived for so long  in chaos and swarm in the  in the  ocean of greed and gluttony; they are the ones who are only satisfied to be rich by all means while the majority  suffer. Those days are fast fading if Buhari has anything to do with it and guess what? He does.

Changes are ringing all over Nigeria and it can be felt beyond its shores. For those who have too much, they have a lot to fear, they are fearful that they will be called to account as to their source of intent and stupendous wealth. Some coming forward and surrendering their ill-gotten loot before they are pursued by the change master himself.  He is determined to change the way Nigeria is governed and with it the very essence of what is to be a Nigerian.  This is back to basic mode and the get- rich quick better get used to this change. The change has got to go to the  very foundation;  the core has  been  rotting  for  so  long that people  are convinced that it  cannot  be changed, it  is   what it is. There is no option but to start from the bottom and build up. The problem has taken decades to fester and some people are impatient to see changes in months. That is lunacy and unrealistic. PMB is rebuilding and he will take his time to get it right. All Nigerians will benefit and the younger generation will be handed a legacy to build on. No wonder some people are shaking in their boots.

I understand that this is too much for some that were confident that will eventually come to Nigeria. Ready or not, here it comes and they better get used to it. So he has  made  changes to the  head of the armed Forces and has tasked  them  with strengthening our  borders  and bring  Boko Haram  to its knees within months. Admittedly, this is a tall order but no doubt the shoots of change is paying dividend.  Already some of the displaced are returning home and many more captives are being rescued.  The armed forces are told that they have to be disciplined, professional and would be accountable should they contravene human rights conventions.

The legislative arms of government are discussing reduction in their pay packet, now that is a turn up for the books. Only the ones that are hell bent on milking the gravy train are dragging their feet and holding out to maintain their status quo. Some have even threatened to leave the House if their salary is reduced!  I say good riddance to bad rubbish, they won’t be missed.  So go and never come back.  Don’t they know that they are there to serve the electorate and not the other way round.

It is high time elected people, become truly accountable to the electorate and high time we did away with thinking that elected posts are licence to spend money.  In fact, President Muhammadu Buhari had this week in Abuja declared that the prosecution of persons who have stolen national resources will begin in earnest in fact, in matter of weeks.  He said that his administration was “irrevocably committed to doing all within its powers to break the vicious cycle of corruption, unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria.  Nigeria has to break this vicious cycle before we can make progress” and he promised that his administration was diligently getting facts and figures pertaining to the nation’s stolen funds, before proceeding to the prosecution of identified culprits. He promised that the Federal Government, under his leadership, will not only ask for the return of stolen funds that have been stashed in foreign banks, but will also ensure that those who stole the funds are put on trial in Nigeria. The President also said that as part of its actions to address the national problems it inherited, his administration was reorganising Nigeria’s revenue generating institution. Told you this man is not for turning!

So for those who  have habitually used  their  ill-gotten wealth to oppress the ordinary  Nigerians, it is high  time they realised that ostentatious living  will make them  stand out  like a sore thumb and they will rouse  suspicion , so high  time they  put that private jet and expensive  homes on the market.  The changes afoot and the nation’s mood are prepared for life under the Buhari administration.  I believe he is a man of integrity and I am sure that the recovered money will make such a difference to the country, its future and its fortune. I look forward to an improvement in living standards of majority of Nigerians not just the privileged few.

VANGUARD