We don't say Abraham Lincoln, We just say Muhammadu Buhari

I write this message from the depth of my heart to a leader I so much admire. He is an icon of inspiration to the younger generation. He is someone whose story of his rise to leadership will be used to inspire the youths as well as other aspiring leaders in the society from now on. General Muhammadu Buhari is someone with an unimaginable mental state.
His fighting spirit could be likened to the valour of a lion, roaring aloud with the zeal to take charge. His rise to presidency was marred by several challenges ranging from false accusations masterminded by the opposition party, certificate scandal, health issues, historical tribal hatred on the part of the Igbos, fear of religious intolerance as well as tyranny. He ran unsuccessfully for the office of President in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections. Even at an old age of 72 he never lost hope about achieving his dream of leading Nigeria unto greatness. Many people at that age would have quietly retired from all productive activities of life to face business or to get closer to their families but his paramount interest in salvaging the state of the masses pushed him on. I joined the great General’s change train very late. I actually joined towards the end of the year 2014. I could remember vividly my NYSC days in the year 2011 when General Muhammadu Buhari was contesting under the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Then I was working for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as an adhoc staff. We all laughed at him due to the fact that his popularity was only restricted to the northern part of Nigeria. Then I must confess that I admired the love the Hausas and the Fulanis had for him. Going down memory lane a bit, the National Assembly elections preceded the Presidential elections in 2011 as arranged by INEC. The feeling was so relaxed, a lot of the northerners voted wrongly. The number of invalid votes was ridiculously more than the valid votes and this attracted the attention of the collation officer. The presidential election came with an intense atmosphere. To my greatest surprise I saw a lot of Hausa men and women pouring out en masse.

In core Hausa areas, men and women are not allowed to stay together but due to the limited time of the election for the day, the women queued behind me while the men were in front of me. The voting process was alternated between both parties. My greatest shock was when I saw a huge number of Fulani herdsmen who left their precious cows in the bush just to show support for this great General. The electorates mandated a community leader to educate them on the right way to vote. The ballot ink posed a bit of problems due to the spreading nature, I noticed each voter came with a piece of cloth to wipe their fingers to prevent the ballot ink from messing up the ballot paper which renders it invalid. The election ended and at the announcement of Buhari’s victory at my polling unit. There was much celebration in that unit. They followed my motorcycle to the collation centre until it was safely delivered to the collation officer unaltered. That kind of love and passion for a leader was touching to me. With due respect, this kind of attachment will cost a huge amount of money in the south-west part of Nigeria where I grew up.

Seeing the General pioneer the change slogan of the All Progressive Congress (APC) got me smiling. We all felt he needed rest. I could remember vividly when he got attacked by a member of the Boko Haram cell on the 27th of July 2014 in Kaduna; the social media mocked the incident. It was regarded as a staged drama. From the look of everything he was fighting to gain relevance. His success was heavily blurred with failure.

I started giving a listening ear to the General towards the APC presidential primary elections when he sent an open letter to Nigerians. I can’t confirm if he personally wrote it or if it came from a representative in his name but the words struck my heart. I was able to see his heart through his words. I was able to picture the pains of a leader who was relentlessly fighting to liberate his people from political and economic oppression. Attacks came from all angles; notable attacks on his personality came from the campaign spokesman of the People’s Democratic Party, Femi Fani Kayode as well as the Governor of Ekiti state, Ayo Fayose. What about the massive blow dealt on his presidential ambition by the African Independent Television (AIT) from its fabricated documentary. This was a fatal move that almost crippled his campaign, which won the PDP millions of supporters. I am a grounded political scientist and knowing the use of propaganda as a political strategy got me unshaken. The odds were against Buhari, the eminent British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) predicted his loss on the basis of the power of incumbency of President Goodluck Jonathan. Several international bodies joined the bandwagon.

He was tagged an ‘Islamic leader’ we all know the idea of the term ‘Islamic’ in the international scene today. He was out to break a record of the jinx of incumbency in Nigeria at the age of 72. His level of optimism was unimaginable and baffling to me. I could remember General Muhammadu Buhari’s interview on ‘Moments with Mo talk show’ He talked with an assurance of victory, he left chance for failure. Probably, he only did publicly but nursed fear in the corner of his room. Expressing fear is very normal, we all have fears as human beings but to win we just have to manage them rather than succumb to the fears. I downloaded his Chatham speech from Youtube. It was so insightful; I watched it over and over again with tears rolling down my cheeks. I saw a true leader begging for a chance to lead Nigeria out of the wilderness to Canaan land. Several memes surfaced on the internet to mock him, it broke my heart each time I saw them. A lot of hate pages came up on Facebook directly assassinating his character. Someone made a video titled ”Who wants to be a President’ to demean him. It spread over the social media like wild fire. Personally, I couldn’t take it. I saw the page on Facebook and I reported it but Facebook gave me a feedback that it was in accordance with the Facebook rules and regulations. I held onto my stand of supporting him, I never wanted to compromise my stand. 90% of my articles were in support of Buhari. He was trending online and massive views were recorded. Every view gave me a sense of hope. A lot of pro-Jonathan intellectual supporters engaged me in acute arguments on the social media as well as physically. It will amaze my readers that I was the only Buhari supporter among my friends. It was hell but the way I stood my ground got them envying my stand. The heat of the argument encouraged me to read more to enable me win arguments. A times the different commercial motorcyclists who took me to work will engage me in political talks. They were the easiest to convince. I preached Buhari to them battling with the speedy rush of breeze in my mouth. It was worth the pain. I hate it when prayer points are raised in the church for Nigerian leaders who are living in affluence at the detriment of the state but virtually two weeks to the presidential election, on a Sunday; I saw myself ignoring my personal prayer points. I prayed to God to give General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) good health, strength and subsequent victory. After the prayer session, I was amazed at myself. My support for him was almost becoming an obsession but this time it was an obsession for success, the general will of the masses and the liberation of the people. 24hrs to the presidential election, I went to work with a sick feeling and posted some articles. The atmosphere was indeed tensed up on the social media. My boss had to drop me from the team of workers working from their various homes on the Election Day due to my health status. While feeling sick on that day, I couldn’t accept the sickness. I still felt Buhari needed my support. I got my sister’s office wifi details, set out to her office area to get online and encourage people to go out en masse to vote. The turn-out in the north kept my hopes alive. I knew who they were voting for. My 64 years old father got ready to vote as early as 8am and set out. He is an easy going man that hates stress but this time he didn’t only vote but also stayed behind to protect it. That was how bad an old man like him wanted a change.

Even the INEC accreditation machine wanted Buhari. This sounds hilarious and subjective but there is a sense of truth in it. At Otuoke, Bayelsa state, it rejected President Goodluck Jonathan and his first lady for 40 minutes and after several attempts they had to settle for the manual accreditation. For Buhari and his wife Aisha on the other hand at Daura, Katsina state, they were cleared in less than two minutes with the accreditation machine. This is indeed surprising. Even the technological odds were against Goodluck Jonathan. I slept very late with so much fear. I am such an emotional person. That evening, the news of Buhari’s early success took over the social media. The Nation newspaper on their website boldly came out to uphold the rumours. That was a strong reference point for me. I believed all the rumours despite their ridiculous nature. I have been on the social media for years; I know the nature of real pieces of information. They come up initially as rumours but they will later become persistent rumours, failing to go away. Within a short period of time, they become facts. I used this personal theory to follow up on Muhammadu Buhari. A lot of people were banking on me for news. I lifted up their hearts with these rumours. They believed it. While the results were being collated, people on my blackberry messenger list got so emotional that they wanted to deliberately believe false results just to have that momentary peace of mind, joy and probably sound sleep.

Gradually, the victory became so clear with predictability as the Independent National Electoral Commission started to release results. Statistically and mathematically the victory became so obvious. I threw caution to the wind at the office, exhibiting the ‘shoki’ dance. I did that regardless of the office rules and regulations. I was overjoyed. This is the dawn of a new era in Nigeria. A positive change that will touch all the nooks and crannies of this country is imminent. This is a feeling of independence. This is a victory for the people as ordained by God. APC didn’t win, neither did PDP lose. We are one country regardless of your political affiliations. Nigeria won. I will end this piece with a strong advice to APC and the president elect. The broom must not be used without the umbrella. They are both essential, the broom is needed to clean up the environment of dirt to make it safe. On the other hand the umbrella is needed to shield us from rain which could mess up our clothes. The umbrella will also shield us from the heat of the scorching sun in our day to day activities. Nigerians need the umbrella when sweeping otherwise the rains will mess up our sweeping exercise or the sun will hit the sweeper. This simply analogy depicts the essence of both parties working hand in hand to ensure the general success of this political dispensation. Let us be conscious of this fact, I urge the President elect to embrace his opponents because they are his people. He should practice a political principle of reconciliation. This is a no victor, no vanquished case. Other opposing states and the leaders should be embraced like the rich father in the bible embraced his prodigal son. God bless Nigeria.
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About Osahon

I'm a journalist and a Political Scientist undergoing a doctoral programme focused on media, democracy and governance in Africa. My mission is to uphold the role of the media as the 'fourth estate of the realm' and also tell the Nigerian Story to the world. You can contact me on smile2georgex@yahoo.com Phone number: +2347053302356.
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