As the nation enters the transition period of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), it is natural that the discussion begins to tilt toward his legacy.
At several discussion fora, there has been a debate as to what Buhari will leave as a legacy after his eight-year reign as president.
All over the world, outgoing presidents have legacies they want to be remembered for after they leave office. This explains why virtually all ex-US presidents have well-funded presidential libraries to their names. This helped document their activities while they served in the Oval Office. President Buhari has consistently said that he does not want a presidential library because the last time such was done, it ended up being eroded by corruption.
This article is more concerned with what Buhari’s legacy will depend on as he leaves office, especially as an internal source reveals that the biggest conversation around the very few whom Mr President confides in had been the discourse about his legacy sorely dependent now on the quality and character of the person whom he hands over the seat to.
Nigerians believe that President Buhari certainly will not fight corruption for seven years of his regime and then hand over Nigeria to a corrupt leader. I want to make the point that the only thing Mr President has to justify his hard work on the current major issues facing Nigeria is to hand over to a candidate that understands the complexity and continuity but, more importantly, the one who is not coloured by corruption.
The President certainly is distancing himself from any such person and as answered how he wants to be remembered in my opinion, which will be largely dependent on who he will be supporting to succeed him in 2023!
Buhari knows that even if he builds a statue or presidential library or university for himself, that will still not be enough to institutionalise his legacy. If like previous other attempts, it gets embroiled in corruption, then his legacy—which he has worked hard over the years—might be in the mud.
Buhari’s legacy, first, will depend on his demonstration of full commitment to free and credible elections and party primary. He has demonstrated this commitment, especially during the just-concluded All Progressive Congress national convention. His patriotic act of signing the Electoral Act to ensure smooth conduct of the 2023 general elections also shows this.
According to his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, President Buhari will ensure “…there is a free, fair and credible election; that nobody would come to use money and resources to bamboozle his way into the leadership of the country.”
More than just giving us free and fair elections is ensuring that moneybags and prebendal lords don’t fly the party’s flags in 2023.
The collective fortunes of Nigerians which the Buhari-led regime has worked hard to build and protect in the last seven years must not go to the dogs.
This starts with whom he is going to be supporting in the build-up to the forthcoming party primaries.
As APC leader, he must ensure that he hands over the flag of the party to someone who imbibes his virtues of integrity, hard work and patriotism and can sustain the party for the presidency.
Buhari said during his interview with CHANNELS TV in January that he will have to keep his preferred candidate secret because the person “may be eliminated if I mention. I better keep it.”
Buhari knew what he was talking about when he made the statement to Seun Okinbaloye and Maupe Ogun-Yusuf of CHANNELS TV during the interview. He knows he is surrounded by some desperate hawks who are desperate to spend any amount to get the APC ticket.
We recall when a certain then-governor was trying to outspend other presidential aspirants seeking the Peoples Democratic Party in 2006, he got the shock of his life when his counterpart won the day. The rest, as they say, is history.
Mr President is using his influence to protect his legacy of integrity, anti-corruption and hard work, his legacy will depend on whom he supports for the APC ticket in 2023.
The stakes are too high to cast his pearls before the swine.
But if you ask anyone from any region in Nigeria today, it is common knowledge and in my opinion as well that Prof Yemi Osinbajo is the only candidate that can take on this huge assignment, he has the competence, the integrity, the trust of the people and the capacity to win, APC will lose the presidential seat if any other candidate gets the ticket.
- Senator Kabiru Gaya is the lawmaker representing Kano South senatorial district at the National Assembly