By Comr Amos Kalu
When I picked a new job in Abuja after the Coronavirus menace of 2020, I was constantly vexed and offended by some assertions of my Boss about Buhari. He was always screaming to his friends that what Buhari has done for the Southeast, PDP didn’t do in 16th years.
As the company secretary who sits at the entrance to his office that he always leave ajar, sometimes I get overwhelmed by the unholy feeling and urge to scream “lies” to his face and on some worse occasion, he will call out “Comr come in here…”, that is when he wants to call me as a witness to his claims. Normally, I can’t embarrass my Boss with an argument in front of his friends, so I always escaped with ” faked smiles” in place of unworthy answers. My Boss was an APC Senate Candidate from Imo state. I concluded that his sentiments were borne out of his ambition.
Fundamentally, from 2014 and beyond, I have been an anti-Buhari protagonist and till today I still am, especially when I grew up to understand that the hunger I experienced in 1983 had a name attached to it “Buhari”, a phobia that stuck in my psyche to date.
For the sake of truth, President Buhari gave a face to ethnic bigotry and so far Nigeria is divided along many ethnic and religious lines so much so that many have come to describe Nigeria as “sitting on a keg of gunpowder”.
In order words, we have been so much lost in the argument of his skewed appointments since 2015 that even the inpunity under our noses back home have long been overlooked or ignored in favour of politics of conformity imbued in a conspiracy of silence.
As time passed by, as I, like many other youths who always blamed me for conforming with the silence, began to look beyond the veil of political mumbo jumbo to see that behind this facade of inglorious intrigues of political backwardness that has bedevilled Abia State from day one, Buhari had less role in it as the systematic maladministration was wrath by our brothers, our leaders, not Buhari and his numerous sins.
Subconsciously, at some point, I decided to look into some of the claims that Buhari has done more for Igbos in 6 years than the other leaders in 16 years. This point is not to give credence to the APC Vs PDP and the rest of the political party arguments. I have always believed that good leadership is a function of individual willpower to effect change and not party affiliation. In the process, I discovered that as a youth from Ohafia, I cannot boast of any government presence in my area, courtesy of our own, even little amenities as vital as General Hospitals are deathtraps.
I was also privileged or unfortunate to travel to Uyo through Ikwuano and it rained, no credit to Buhari, but our own hands. Yet the only men that have made some efforts to bring something home to Ohafia happen to be men who embraced the same Buhari, there is no argument that Abia North Senatorial District which Ohafia is part of is having it good on infrastructure since OUK took over, this is not to do image laundering for him, but because I came and saw with my own eyes.
I am also conversant with the intrigues that have bedevilled Enugu-Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway since the days of John the Baptist. The embezzlements, the personal aggrandisement at the detriment of the masses to date. But I was marvelled when I plied that road from Abuja to Aba, I noticed that Enugu to Aba is probably the smoothest road along that route. I have heard several arguments that Goodluck Ebele Jonathan awarded the road, but I also remember that the award of this road started since the time of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, but it was during Buhari time that we saw the political will to do the road, so no matter how much I may dislike or disapprove his style of leadership, it is a credit I must not take away from him.
In the same vein, I was a strong crusader of “Buhari cannot do second Niger Bridge” because of the mentality that he hates Ndigbo. But if he has done 85% of the Bridge and more, then my Buhari-phobia was misplaced. These are incontrovertible truths with glaring evidence.
Most of the states that built their Federal Roads with the state fund has collected their money in full. That is why when we shout about our Federal Roads, I begin to wonder why our case in Abia is always different.
For the sake of the argument on infrastructure in Igbo land, either APC or the PDP States, Buhari has so far not hindered any government from performing well even as he last year released about 15 Billion Naira infrastructure intervention fund for Abia North as well as other zones in Nigeria. I am certain that Buhari should not be blamed for any leaders that fail to do their part. This is a simple truth.
As much as I am anti-Buhari and don’t wish to change, yet in leadership and political will to create infrastructure, I will rather adopt Buhari-Style instead of our glorified army of righteous perfect-failed leaders. You can choose to hate the game or the players, but I chose to be realistic, to give credence when due and chastisement when necessary. In all, I must always stand for the truth and refuse to conform with the crowd mentality of average Abia youth.
Concrete development will continue to elude Abia State to eternity unless we began to venture into telling ourselves some little truths that matter much. Buhari may have his shortcomings that give Ndigbo phobia for him, but the backward state of Abia today is a direct effect of successive maladministration perpetrated by our Igbo leaders. The last time I checked, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Amambra are also southeast states during the Buhari administration yet their case seems different.
Comr Amos Kalu is an advocate of Abia Good Governance, writes from Abuja through email@example.com
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