Bye-bye Baba Buhari-Bala Ibrahim
“My fellow Nigerian brothers, sisters and friends of Nigeria. I address you today, in my last assignment as a democratically elected President of our great and well-endowed nation, with a deep sense of gratitude to God, a great deal of appreciation to the Nigerian people and a modest sense of fulfilment”-PMB.
If the statement above does not humble you about the transience of power, then perhaps nothing would ever do. Power is transient and no condition is permanent. The transience of power exposes the futility of unending opulence in our world of vanity. Indeed, the verdict of history always awaits every political actor to give account of his or her life in service. For some it can be thrilling and inspiring, while for others, it may be terrible and insipid. As we say bye-bye to Baba Buhari, I pray to God, to permit posterity, to give him a good verdict.
According to Jack Kornfield, the American writer and teacher, whatever has a beginning must have an end. The metaphor in the message is to know that there is always a time when we must say goodbye to what we do. It can come by way of loss or grief, which we must see as constant in our lives. Indeed in life, nature has made destiny to compel us to say goodbye many times to people, situations or beloved belongings. Everything is temporary, nothing lasts forever, not even our own lives, they say. And whenever the time to say goodbye comes, it comes with the emission of emotions.
Today, as President Muhammadu Buhari signs out, through a farewell broadcast to Nigeria and Nigerians, and as I watched him speak, that emotion evinced in me a mixture of sympathy, satisfaction and bewilderment. I couldn’t but shed tears, not for Baba Buhari, but perhaps for myself and my country. To console myself however, I quickly took solace in a poem that says, Every new beginning comes from the end of other beginnings. So today marks the end of Baba Buhari’s official tenure in office, and the dawn for the beginning of the tenure of Tinubu.
Late Dele Giwa, the famous Nigerian journalist, editor and founder of the famous Newswatch magazine once wrote and I quote, “Everyone must travel along his own path, constructed by that unseen contractor of mankind’s highway, called destiny”. From that quote, and the circumstances surrounding the death of the same Dele Giwa, I came to understand that the journey of life is filled with wonders, challenges, broken hearts, extreme highs and lows, celebrations, special moments and memories that define our experiences as Human Beings.
It is these events or moments, planned or unplanned, that impact our travels and define the purpose of our existence. For Baba Buhari, who had travelled many times on this road, in fact, no Nigerian, living or dead, had passed the ladder of leadership more times than him, today, marks the end of his official tenure in office as Nigeria’s President, and the dawn of the tenure of Tinubu. Buhari was twice at the pinnacle of power in Nigeria, having been a military Head of state and an elected President. He was a minister. He was a Governor. He was also the first and the last head of the most powerful parastatal ever created by the Government of Nigeria- the Petroleum Technology Development Fund, PTDF.
As he bows out, there may be terrible tales to tell about the suspicion of corruptly acquired wealth of his wife, Aisha Buhari, but unlike his predecessors, who moved out of the Villa to other palaces that belong to them in Abuja, Buhari is leaving behind a special legacy, which is the legacy of no known, or such identified property. From the Villa, he is moving straight to his old abode in Daura. Only last Friday, he received from Professor Isah Mohammed, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau, the form for the declaration of assets, where he said, “I signed, collected and acknowledged receiving my form. From here, I will ask my bank Manager in Kaduna to show me what has gone in and out of my account.
By the provision of the law, declarants are required to state their assets/liability, including that of their spouse who is not a Public Officer, and children under 18 years of age, and submit same to the Bureau within 30 days of the receipt of the forms. As we say bye-bye to Baba Buhari, and as he awaits the reply of his banker in Kaduna, methinks, there would not be much change from what he has been declaring ever since he started the official journey of leadership.
The area of concern and certain curiosity however is, that of his wife, Aisha Buhari. Many eyes would be opening widely, to see if there is any change in her wealth. It is the result of that change in wealth, if there is any, that would justify Baba’s closing remarks, where he said, “As I retire home to Daura, Katsina State, I feel fulfilled that we have started the Nigeria Re-Birth by taking the initial critical steps…….”
I say a big bye-bye to Baba. As a Human Being, you have your strengths and weaknesses. May history come kind on you as an officer that came to conquer corruption and a Gentleman that served the state well, ameen.