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(OPINION) Who are Buhari’s strong men? By Idang Alibi

President Buhari
President Buhari

The incidents, stories and some seemingly meaningless narratives recounted in the Bible, Koran and other Holy Books are not just told there as stories to captivate the imagination of both children and adults alike who are fascinated by stories. They are there for us to learn very useful lessons to help us run our lives more successfully. In the Bible, the story of King David and how he became one of the world’s most successful leaders of all time is recounted.
One of what helped to make David such an awesome leader is that he had what the Bible described as his mighty men or what we now in our time call strong men— men who make things happen and the leader just claims the credit.
While he ran away from Saul for his life and dwelt in the wilderness, David managed to attract to himself several outlaws from all tribes and nations. They came to seek his protection and they in turn were ready to serve his cause even at the expense of their lives. David was said to have had 37 mighty men in all in a concentric circle of the one most mighty of the mightiest, the three most mighty of the mightiest, the 30 most mighty of the mightiest and the 37 of the mightiest among the multitude that followed David and believed in his leadership.
He numbered among his mighty men an ambidexter, a man who could wield the spear and shoot with both his right and left hands with equal deadly efficiency; he had men of courage and creativity; he had men of wisdom and insight; he had a crazy lot who could risk even their lives to make their leader succeed. Most importantly, they were not all from one tribe or one section of the nation of Israel. He had under his command a sort of United Nations with a sprinkling of some from outside the nation of Israel.
The story is to teach us that leadership cannot be a one man show and that a leader needs people, competent people of all character and complexions who may not necessarily be righteous men to help him succeed. He does not require saints to do so because he may not find those saints here on earth and he cannot commandeer saints to come down from heaven to help him work. They do not need to come from only one tribe or section. This is because if you have only Fulani, Ibo or Yoruba around you they will tend to think in a peculiarly Fulani, Ibo or Yoruba manner. The advantage in having a united nations around you is that each brings to the table a unique perspective that would not have occurred to anyone if they were only thinking from one perspective. This explains why universities go out of their way to get students and faculties from the ‘universe’.
All that is needed by a leader who is intent on succeeding is to find men of whatever moral character and from whatever geographical location who are available to be used. He then infuses his own spirit into them and releases them into their various areas of competencies and charges them to succeed and bring glory to the land.
Why am I pointing this out? It is to enable me to pose the question: who are Buhari’s strong men who he can rely upon to restore Nigeria to glory? Possibly because Buhari has been criticized by some that in his last two public offices as head of state and then as chairman of the Abacha created Petroleum Trust Fund, the man over-delegated responsibilities to his subordinates and became more or less like a ceremonial president/ head, the man now wants to be seen to be fully in charge, yielding no quarters to anyone. In the process, he has now swung from one extreme of the pendulum to another extreme. But Nigeria is too big and complex a country to be governed effectively and efficiently by one man no matter how competent, righteous and courageous he is.
I do not yet see a secret or public team he is working with to make Nigeria great. It is not too early for any observer to identify a discernable team he has assembled to work with him. Some of us expect that by now, the president should have several teams of people working on his appointments; working on power supply; working on wealth generation and assault on poverty; working on agriculture and how to protect the farmers who are now subsidizing Nigerians by helping them to have market for their produce, access to credit, legal rights that can give them access to credit. If he has such a team, by now it should have become obvious.
The Bible also teaches us about the Lord Jesus Christ (Prophet Isa in the Koran). Jesus appointed 12 disciples (ministers) to help him in his earthly ministry. We now know that out of these 12 ministers, more than a half had issues with their character. Judas Iscariot, the Accountant-General and Minister of Finance of his Christian Federation was a thief; Thomas was a doubter; Peter whom he later ordained as the cornerstone of his Kingdom, was a betrayer; Simon, James and John were position seekers. This is to teach us that you cannot get only saints to help you work.
Yet, it was these same people, some of them illiterate fishermen and unscrupulous tax collectors; some with grave moral defects in their character whom when he infused with his spirit, who later in the book of Acts turned out to be persons whom unbelievers testified “had turned Jerusalem upside down” with Jesus’ revolutionary message. These same men were the people who carried his message of love, peace and progress as far as India and the rest of the Gentile world.
What is this to teach us? Let no leader who wants to succeed and quickly too, be afraid of picking helpers for fear that you may have unclean men among them. What really matters is that you should work out the policy thrusts of your administration, provide a broad policy guideline, pick your team, give them their job schedules, charge them to deliver within a stipulated time line, monitor them and anyone who falls short, show him the way out. Let not the fear of having bad eggs within your team intimidate you into inaction. The polity suffers and you suffer too because you will be accused of slowness and lack of direction as many have started accusing Buhari of being now.
If Buhari wants to succeed now, not to talk of running successfully for a second term, what he needs to do urgently is to bring ‘corrupt’ men like Bola Tinubu, Rotimi Amaechi, Babatunde Fashola, Timipre Sylva, Atiku Abubakar and all those who helped master mind his victory, close to himself to help run his politics so that he can have his eyes firmly fixed on delivering development to Nigeria. If he succeeds in bringing about rapid development, he needs not fear what these men can do to harm him politically because he would have succeeded in winning the love and support of the people who really matter in an electoral democracy. Buhari was once a victim of a palace coup and he knows how that hurts terribly. In a democracy, a palace coup can be so deadly efficient and bloodless because all you need do is that in one day, all your men can defect to an opposition party and leave you to be an impotent leader and no father of the nation because you will not be re-elected or you can even be impeached before you have a chance to want to seek re-election!
The President so far looks cagey. He trusts no one and does not feel he must consult with a team. He does not want to falter by appointing tainted men into his cabinet. The result: stagnation. The man people expected to act like a hurricane is behaving like a mudslide.

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