By Philip Agbese
Only a few foreigners really decode the new wave of regeneration in Nigeria at the moment under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari. The actions and policies of the APC-led Federal Government of Nigeria are not mere window-dressing or sloganeering about the change mantra. The impacts are felt and the results palpable everywhere.
Quite early in the life of his administration, President Buhari sought to animate the minds of Nigerians toward attitudinal change by launching the #ChangeBeginsWithMe campaigns. It was designed to inspire an innately positive radical reordering or reorientation of our perceptions and behavioral patterns as a people and a nation. Some Nigerians never saw any sense in it; others even ridiculed the Presidency.
But today, the consistency of the leadership style of the Buhari Presidency has changed the narrative. It has spurred the collective desire of majority of Nigerians to see a better nation under a leader prepared to lead the people on the path of redemption, which has voluntarily compelled the people to adopt the ideologies of change. And three years after, there are visible and delightful changes in the psyche of Nigerians.
Nevertheless, there are some foreign nationals whose years of romance with Nigeria at different levels feel the country is still that dark jungle where nothing was done aright. They posture as being more catholic than the Pope. The ex-Ambassador of America to Nigeria, Mr. John Campbell belongs to this clan of foreigners who have refused to purge themselves of the mentality of a stereotyped Nigeria. They are pleasured more in negative profiling of the country, where current indices insistently resists such categorizations.
Campbell betrayed his concealed mindset on Nigeria with the recent comments concerning the 2019 general elections. He described as flawed the just concluded elections, which got the nod or certification of applause from even international observers. To market himself as a confused old dude, he dishonestly claimed the 2019 general elections was a step-back for Nigeria’s democratic journey from what was obtained in 2015.
The ex-Ambassador very untruthfully alleged that during electioneering campaigns both Buhari and his main challenger in the polls , former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, “…offered little that was new to address security breakdown caused by Boko Haram in the country’s North-East; conflict over land use, ethnicity and religion in the Middle Belt; and the division of oil revenue in the Delta.”
It was the most idiotic comments from anybody who actually followed the robust campaigns of the leading presidential candidates. Even if Campbell monitored it, spewing such nonsensical emotions only bespeaks of his waning capacity to reason with his thinking faculties intact. There is every reason to believe senility has exalted a dangerous influence on Campbell.
Or how else can anybody rationalize or reconcile his outbursts, which decried the absence of generational shift in leadership of Nigeria, because the leading candidates, Buhari and Atiku are in their octogenarian ages? But the current President of America, his home country, Mr. Donald Trump is also an oldie of the octogenarian circle. Are there no new or young generation leaders in America?
What is his concern with the choice of Nigerians on the age of the leaders they prefer to pilot the affairs of their country? What stopped Campbell from prodding America to emulate the France example in electing a youngster like Mr. Emmanuel Macron?
Meanwhile, the 2019 presidential contest was not closed-shop to any aspirant. Nigeria has 91 registered political parties which participated in the elections from the party primary elections level to the general elections. And most of the presidential candidates were youngsters, who were in their early or mid- forties.
For instance, Saharareporters publisher and human rights activist, Mr. Omoleye Sowore in his mid-40s ran the 2019 presidential contest on the platform of the African Action Congress (AAC). But if majority of Nigerians didn’t see the array of youngsters in the race as ideal choice of their leaders at this point in history, why should Campbell insult our sensibilities by fawning this gibberish?
Its obvious Campbell needs to be quarantined in a gerontocracy rehabilitation home before his verbal virus completely smears the cherished image of America through such careless utterances. A diplomat of his standing should comment on international affairs because he has something worthwhile to say; as against mouthing for the sake of it.
It is deducible from Campbell’s remarks that he preferred the presidential candidature of Atiku against majority of Nigerians preference for the retention of President Buhari. The reelection of Buhari by Nigerians is not because he is considered the best leader in the whole world, but based on his proven character of integrity and dogged resistance in sustaining the festering monster of corruption, which Atiku lacks. Nigerians know the efforts and public resources’ Buhari has invested in taming Boko Haram terrorism and allied insurrections to berth the prevailing peace in Nigeria.
President Buhari’s impeccable leadership credentials are not hidden to Nigerians who feel the level Nigeria was pushed into the ditch of degeneration; only the continuation of a Buhari Presidency can restore sanity to national life. No foreigner, including Campbell should think of abusing the hospitality of Nigerians by being ludicrous to the people over their choices of how they want to exist.
Campbell has no moral or lawful right to question the sanctity of the ballot, which re-enthroned President Buhari for another four years tenure; he is devoid of the locus standi to disparage the leadership choice of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians. Defeating a rival as done by Buhari in an election that invoked feverish emotions and tensions with nearly five million votes difference is not a tea party.
Whether the likes of Campbell admits it or not, Nigeria is on the path of recovery in all facets of national life. The people are not prepared to slip back to the dark days nor go back to Egypt as he is shamelessly and discreetly promoting in an Atiku candidature. Therefore, no attempt to ridicule the people and Nigeria is potent enough to distract from this focus.
Campbell and his ilk should be sufficiently informed that there is a new Nigeria and new hope for the people. The people cannot please the Campbells of the world before they affirm their liberties and humanity.
The likes of Campbell never wished Nigeria should come to this moment of a steady odyssey on the path of liberation. He is sad at the incredible changes under Buhari, which has frustrated dubious foreign allies in conniving with Nigerians to milk the country. From Campbell’s latest outburst, it’s very clear he tacitly supported the Atiku presidential candidature, which failed to get the popular endorsement of Nigerians at the polls and naturally lamenting.
And the reason can be gleaned from his veiled excitement that the country would have been thrown back to the PDP and its power mongers like Atiku to rape and plunder. Campbell is angling for the return of the PDP era of mindless stealing/looting of the peoples commonwealth; and the opening of floodgates for some public officials to indulge in doing illicit deals with Americans like him or other foreigners.
But Nigerians are wiser and so, have rejected these destructive plots on the nation. Campbell is free to lick his wounds quietly; he can woof over it in his privacy. But to burden the ears of Nigerians with such perverse arguments is unacceptable and only exposes his deranged state of mind.
Agbese, a public affairs analyst wrote from the United Kingdom.