by Mark Amaza
Dear General Buhari,
As I write this, I am absolutely ecstatic about the events of the past few days, and there is no doubt that so are you. After four attempts, you have finally triumphed and emerged victorious at the polls. This has established you as a resilient and dogged politician. You overcame various hurdles thrown at you and battled the dreaded ‘power of incumbency’.
Hardly ever will an elected president come into office with so much expectations and this reflects in the overwhelming response of excitement to your election. It says a whole lot about how Nigerians are tired of the status quo and are desperately searching for change. The amount of goodwill you have at the moment is immense.
Indeed, as it is said, one campaigns in poetry and governs in prose. The work has only just begun for you.
You are inheriting a country that it is at one of the most critical junctures in its history – deep fractures exacerbated by this election, insurgency in the North-East and sectarian violence in the Middle Belt, an economy in crisis following the fall in the price of oil, a falling naira and high unemployment. This means that you have to hit the ground running, as the very high expectations means that patience will be thin. Nigerians want change and they want to see the change now.
You have to show that your government is a departure from the past in as clear a way as possible, starting from those you nominate into your government and the decisions you make in the first 100 days at least. You need to make quick wins to consolidate this confidence the people have in you.
It is also very important to borrow from the acceptance speech of US President Barack Obama in 2008: “And to those I have not earned your votes yet, I am still your president.”
Close to half of those who voted did not vote for you, and many of them covering entire regions. For many of these voters, they were led by their fears of a future under you and memories of the past that are rather unsavoury. Those reasons, in many ways, are justified. It is your responsibility to make sure that a Nigeria under you dispels their fears, heals the wounds of the past and gives them a bright future to look forward to.
Mr. President-elect, do keep in mind that the passion that Nigerians, especially Nigerians have foryou will be the same passion they will use to criticize you. They do not just desire that you meet their expectations, but that you listen to them. Let your government be one led for the people and by the people.
There is a lot more I wish to say, but I am drained of energy due to so much celebrations. So I will just end with this: I will support you and when I feel the need, I will criticize you. But above all, I will always pray for that you receive wisdom and guidance from above.
May the next 4 years be the best Nigeria has ever had.
Congratulations once again.
Long live Federal Republic of Nigeria.