There is a loftier ambition in life than to stand tall in the world; it is to stoop and lift mankind a little higher (Van Dyke). These words have had a lasting impact on my life and would have had a lasting impact on Nigeria as a nation only if we had selfless leaders. A leader who would be truly a servant leader and not a paper one like what the ruling party preaches, a leader whose priority in governance will not be to replenish his pockets but to focus on the development of the sleeping giant. Talking about all what is wrong with Nigeria here, will be too boring as even a primary school kid knows there is a problem with his country when he wakes up every morning with no electricity, dilapidated classrooms, bad roads and insecurity just to mention few.

Everyone in our beloved country wants Nigeria to move forward except the ruling elite who account for just 0.1% of the population. This percentage is insignificant in terms of numbers but powerful in terms of financial muscle and political will to preserve the status quo. For over 50 years of independence, a big chunk of those years have witnessed the same kind of people, lord over our country┬┤s affairs. We have sung the same song every year and politicians have always preached the same thing in their campaigns year in year out. It is shameful that politicians have to promise good roads, water and electricity to get votes while these amenities are basic human rights of Nigerians.

The election date is getting closer and electioneering activities are increasing with pace but the question that remains unanswered and I yearn to know is if we Nigerians are ready to put our money where our mouth is, if majority of Nigerians are ready to choose a leader based on quality as against tribal or religious solidarity, if we Nigerians are ready to protect our votes and make our decision count, if we Nigerians are ready to stand up to injustice and fight for our children┬┤s future. Currently, we have four main aspirants in the persons of the incumbent president Jonathan, Buhari, Ribadu, Shekarau and Utomi with due respect to other candidates not mentioned here. My humble self have to come the conclusion that the man to lead the radical change Nigeria requires at this moment is General Muhammad Buhari GCON. The dire urgency of the moment requires a man of character, a fearless leader who has seen it all, done it all and has nothing to prove except the sole purpose of kick starting the real change Nigeria requires.

God has blessed us all with the ability to differentiate between truth and falsehood, honesty from dishonesty, light from darkness, dependability from hopelessness, integrity from immorality and good from bad. Nigerians should rise up and utilize this ability in the forthcoming election; it is clear as daylight that GEJ cannot bring about the required change that Nigerians desire. My observation is simply because he is surrounded by the same old politicians who ruined Nigeria, the same old politicians who are entrenched in the life of corruption, old men who can never change again, men of questionable character, men who have failed to provide us with good roads even as a minister of works, politicians whom their only abode in civilized countries would be in the hallows of a prison or in some countries like china would have been sent to the abyss of extinction by the way of hanging.

Buhari said "It is true that there is a worldwide economic recession. However, in the case of Nigeria, its impact was aggravated by mismanagement. We believe the appropriate government agencies have good advice but the leadership disregarded their advice. The situation could have been avoided if the legislators were alive to their constitutional responsibilities; instead, the legislators were preoccupied with determining their salary scales, fringe benefit and unnecessary foreign travels, et al, which took no account of the state of the economy and the welfare of the people they represented. As a result of our inability to cultivate financial discipline and prudent management of the economy, we have come to depend largely on internal and external borrowing to execute government projects with attendant domestic pressure and soaring external debts, thus aggravating the propensity of the outgoing civilian administration to mismanage our financial resources. Nigeria was already condemned perpetually with the twin problem of heavy budget deficits and weak balance of payments position, with the prospect of building a virile and viable economy." It would be interesting to note that these words are extracts from the First speech Buhari made to Nigerians as a Head of State on 1, January 1984. It is a shame that to see how his speech fits perfectly into the reality of current Nigeria which leaves us to wonder the kind of progress we have achieved as a nation in the last 27 years since Buhari left power.

Buhari talked about leaders having good advice but lacking the political will to implement it, the perfect example is the damning report of the Danjuma led PAC which castigated the GEJ government for running a massive and inefficient government. GEJ not only ignored it but went on to appoint additional special advisers and assistants to feed fat on our national wealth at a time governments all over the world are cutting wasteful spending.

Buhari talked about excessive borrowing and lack of financial discipline, the GEJ government is running a budget with a great percentage focused on recurrent expenditure while the capital expenditure accounts for a smaller share at a time when the whole country is in dire need of infrastructural development.

The general further said, "The last general election was anything but free and fair. The only political parties that could complain of election rigging are those parties that lacked the resources to rig. There is ample evidence that rigging and thuggery were relative to the resources available to the parties. This conclusively proved to us that the parties have not developed confidence in the presidential system of government on which the nation invested so much material and human resources. While corruption and indiscipline have been associated with our state of under-development, these two evils in our body politic have attained unprecedented height in the past few years. The corrupt, inept and insensitive leadership in the last four years has been the source of immorality and impropriety in our society. Since what happens in any society is largely a reflection of the leadership of that society, we deplore corruption in all its facets. This government will not tolerate kick-backs, inflation of contracts and over-invoicing of imports etc. Nor will it condone forgery, fraud, embezzlement, misuse and abuse of office and illegal dealings in foreign exchange and smuggling." I came close to tears reading the sincere analysis of Buhari in 1983 but crux of the matter here, is that the situation buhari painted 27 years ago has quadrupled in our political system and in fact it has been imprinted in Nigeria┬┤s DNA.

It is unfortunate that ruling elite cutting across the regions of Nigeria will never be comfortable with Buhari as his principles stand against the very ideology of bad governance the ruling elite stand for. The intention of the corrupt elite is to use a smoke screen of religion and ethnicity to split us, while they stuff their bank accounts! They seek medical services abroad while our hospitals are dilapidated, their children study in private universities or abroad while the government universities and schools are not worth a penny. They all have accounts are abroad in case of trouble they flee like Umaru Dikko did in the early 80s.

Nigeria is on the verge of collapse and this collapse will spell doom for Nigerians with the exception of the very people who are the cause of our imminent collapse. Our destiny is in our hands and now is the time we have to act, or else we would forever suffer in silence. Let us all vote for Buhari Bakare in order for them to lift Nigeria a little higher to where it rightly belongs.

Jamal Akinade

United Kingdom

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