President Buhari

I exhort Nigerians that it is high time we changed this skewed political psyche of politicking. We must exercise our rights and play our role to further the growth of democracy in Nigeria. It is what good citizens do in democracy.


“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a president and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari is a man described as a proponent of integrity capable of tackling Nigeria’s security and economic challenges by many. As everyone recalls, he recently returned ffrom his second medical leave for over 100 days in London, being said to be suffering from an ailment that remains undisclosed. His absence sparked a public uproar and gave birth to an opposition movement and street rallies in Abuja, the nations’ capital, where participants carried banners calling that he should either “Resume or Resign.”

Although the medical leave had not in any way violated any provision of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, concerns about his health have prompted early speculations on his medical fitness to further lead Nigeria by contesting the 2019 presidential election on the platform of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The late Nelson Mandela served as president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and although he was eligible to run again for president after his first term in office, the anti-Apartheid hero rather stepped down in the hope of setting a good example.

At that time, the news came as a big surprise to the world, considering that African leaders have the reputation of amending the electoral provisions in their constitutions just to hold on to power.

In a country like Nigeria where the freedom of speech is a constitutional right (or so we think), expressing views such as advocating that the president should not run for office, come 2019, due to his health condition, will quickly earn one the title of being ‘Anti-Buhari’.

As you read this piece, “Pro-Buhari 2019” keyboarded warriors and foot soldiers are currently in skirmishes with people who question the viability of the president’s 2019 candidacy on medical grounds.

That is not all. One is left in a state of consternation as to why “pro-Buhari” and “anti-Buhari” factions bicker over the president’s private issues instead of uniting to hold all politicians who tend to shirk their obligations to voters accountable.

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Democracy, which is globally adjudged to be the foremost form of decorous governing, is being constantly assaulted in Nigeria by its people.

All too often, many analysts have been quick to relate Nigeria’s current political struggle to the theory that no political or electoral system is perfect. But then there is the deeper issue: The political system in Nigeria, which from the look of things, is designed to encourage intimidation and indoctrination, such that religion, tribalism and power, are placed over and above the national interest.

While it may seem to “Pro-Buharists” that “ex-Buharists” are now apostates, I should like to pass the word that the electorate have the right to accord or withdraw their support for any party or candidate if they so wish to. That is the beauty of democracy.


Expectations were high, only two years ago, when the APC won the hearts of Nigerians with its ‘change’ mantra and alluring campaign promises. Unfortunately, events in the past two years have, for the most part, left some section of the electorate with mixed reactions on the ruling party’s approach to its campaign promises. In fact, a large number of members of the public now believe that the campaign promises are far from being realisable.

In like fashion, the ensuing mixed feelings have created a perennial gap between citizens and the government. It has also raised disenchantment, with the excuses or embellished falsehood being crafted for the diminutive “Change” being rolled out to them.

As a consequence, these aggrieved Nigerians who voted for incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 elections are now ardent to vote for an alternative. This, as explained by some of the “ex-Buharists”, is due to the corrosive loss of trust in the commander-in chief’s ability to carry out his duties effectively.

While it may seem to “Pro-Buharists” that “ex-Buharists” are now apostates, I should like to pass the word that the electorate have the right to accord or withdraw their support for any party or candidate if they so wish to. That is the beauty of democracy.

As a matter of fact, there is more to democracy than just elections or loyalty to a candidate. There is the principle of liberty and respect for the will of citizens. In the same vein, there is the place of respect for the rule of law and accountability.

Let us not continue to aid a system in which leaders disunite us through intimidation, conspiracy theories, propaganda and bigotry. These systems of politicking have, for too long, muzzled citizens to vote along ill-advised lines. It is a system that engendered a political structure through which ineligible candidates were elected into office, to join errant government workers in stealing government revenues and resources for political gains.

Interestingly, the only people who benefit from this skewed system of politicking are political office-holders. The same people who loot to benefit their supporters, co-religionists and members of their ethnic group at the expense of millions of poor Nigerians in need of security, clean drinking water, food, shelter, health care, power supply, education and jobs.

To this end, I exhort Nigerians that it is high time we changed this skewed political psyche of politicking. We must exercise our rights and play our role to further the growth of democracy in Nigeria. It is what good citizens do in democracy.

David Dimas, a author, blogger and inspirational speaker, writes from Laurel, Maryland, U.S.A. Email: ddimas01@yahoo.com; Twitter: @dimas4real.