After spending fifty one days in the United Kingdom on a medical visit, President Muhammadu Buhari returned to the country to the warm embrace of enthusiastic Nigerians.
Across the country, Nigerians danced, sang songs of joy, made merry and clinked glasses to celebrate the reunion between them and their president.
His absence in the past five weeks had generated much anxiety and conflicting reports, but his intermittent assurances that there was no cause for alarm assuaged the frayed nerves of many Nigerians. Perhaps, what mattered most to Nigerians, apart from the quick recovery of Mr. President from his ailment, was the guarantee that his absence would not wreck the ship of state.
This concern was equally addressed as the president transmitted an official letter to the Senate handing over the reins of power to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo. This singular act of President Buhari ensured that there was no vacuum in power, while he rested in London. Gladly, the vice president discharged the responsibilities of the office creditably.
By ensuring that due process was followed during the period he embarked on his trip abroad, President Buhari has endeavoured to strengthen our democracy and its institution; he has enabled the deepening of the rule of law and due process in Nigeria.
Suffice to note, however, that this approach is not new, as he has since 2003 approached the courts, to the highest level in the country, to seek justice in matters of presidential elections. In all democracies, adherence to the rule of law and obedience to the constitution has always remained the bulwark against impunity, injustice and tyranny.
Since his inauguration, President Buhari has shown leadership by example, and Nigeria will flourish when laws are obeyed by those entrusted with power and responsibilities.
Already his administration has rolled out an ambitious Economic Recovery and Growth Plan which will be vigorously implemented over the next four years to enhance economic growth and enable Nigeria exit from its current economic recession. As a stickler to excellence and the rule of law, it is doubtless that President Muhammadu Buhari will apply the same level of dexterity towards rebuilding the country’s economy.
Going by the numerous policies of his administration, it is obvious that President Buhari is focused on bequeathing a safe country, buoyant economy and rebuilt infrastructure to Nigeria. So far, Nigerians across political divides have offered him unalloyed support in the arduous task of fixing the country.
Though the task remains a daunting one, but if the positive indicators in the economy, fight against corruption, and roll back of the insurgency in the North-East are taking into consideration, there is no doubt that the country will soon be out of the woods.
The failure of past administrations to deliver on the dividends of democracy to Nigerians can be attributed to a lack of political will, disrespect for the rule of law, impunity and unbridled corruption, which pervaded the system.
Therefore, it is a thing of joy that he has returned to the country with better health and more zeal to continue on the path of rescuing the country from the sixteen years of maladministration of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The outpouring of emotions and happiness as President Buhari arrived Nigeria from the United Kingdom was evident on the streets, offices and motor parks, especially in Bauchi, Katsina and Kaduna states. In fact the public reactions, especially among his ardent followers, can only be described as an effusive welcome back.
The only way to interpret this level of joy among the people is that they have hinged their hopes for political and economic emancipation on President Muhammadu Buhari.
His decision to immediately hit the ground running as soon as the Senate resumes is also a testimony of his determination to help actualise the hopes and aspirations of Nigerians within the remaining two years of his tenure, and maybe beyond this.
From all indications, President Buhari’s administration is already delivering on the ‘change’ he promised Nigerians during the electioneering campaign. In various areas such as agriculture, roads and railway infrastructure, power and other sectors we are beginning to witness significant progress, and if the government continues on this trajectory, then Nigerians will have cause to celebrate after his tenure.
Most importantly Nigerians have heaved a sigh of relief, as far as the war against terrorism is concerned, and his commitment in eradicating corruption remains unwavering. The resultant effect of these is that enough resources will be available to provide for the needs of the people.
Without doubt, there have been teething problems in tackling the basic economic and political problems in the country, yet the president’s resolve in providing focused leadership gives room for optimism and hope.
Chukwudi Enekwechi, a journalist and politician, writes from Abuja and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org