May 29 and the handing over phenomenon, by Kehinde Aderemi

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May 29, 2023, is still about 132 calendar days from today.

But for Nigerians, it is like 1001 days away. Nigerians are counting the days as if it is still an eternity.

We are counting the days as if our entire lives depend largely on it.

Nigerians are tired,waiting with bated breath for the expiration of this administration.

We are counting the days like a Nursery school kindergarten that is eagerly waiting to go home after school hours.

We are counting the days because the spate of insecurity has left us with little or no hope.

Nigerians are counting the days because the present economic situation in the country is still harsh on ordinary Nigerian citizens.

We are counting the days because we are tired of long queues in our filling stations.

We are counting the days because Nigerians are tired of bad news- of people being abducted and killed by bandits and kidnappers.

We are counting the days because we are tired of the rate of corruption that had eaten deep into the fabrics of this country.

We are tired of the endless foreign loans that had literally been used as tools to mortgage the future of the coming generations.

We are counting the days because of the Nigerian politics that is truly coloured with uncertainties.

Nigerians are tired of prolonged industrial action by our university lecturers.We are tired of unfulfilled agreements between the Federal Government and stakeholders in our education sector.

We are tired of losing our best brains-Doctors in the health sector to other countries of the world.

Nigerians are waiting for May 29 handing over date with renewed hope,believing that things might change for the better.

I am happy President Muhammadu Buhari had never disappointed us on the actualisation of this date.

Mr.President had adopted the popular slogan of :”Let My People Go”,an indication that he is truly ready to vacate the exalted position that had earned him more trouble and public blame than he had bargained for in his entire life.

Buhari had told us that he would never extend his days beyond May 29.

I think Mr.President is also tired of the mess the country had turned to under his watch.

He had promised to retire to Daura, his homestead, to take care of his Cows.

Trust the great farmer,a man of his words.Buhari would not buy more time like one of his predecessors that spent several billions of our common wealth just to extend his tenure and buy the third term agenda.

Even,after the expiration of his administration in 2007,the old man still believes the Aso Rock is like his Otta farm where he could saunter in and out.

That is the politics behind the recent endorsement cards thrown at us from here and there.

It is like a seasoned film that wouldn’t last beyond February 25.

May 29 is very phenomenal in the history of Nigeria.The handing over date started with Former Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, in
1999.

As the military Head of State, Abubakar handed over to former president Olusegun Obasanjo as a democratically elected president.

After eight years as president of Nigeria, Obasanjo also handed over to the late Umar Musa Yar’Adua of blessed memory.

The late president Yar’Adua lost the battle to death and vice president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan took over and succeeded his late boss till the expiration of their administration that ended formally on May 29,2011

That same day, President Jonathan was handed another four year term in an election held earlier in the year.

That gave president Jonathan the opportunity to actualize his dream as an elected president of Nigeria.

His administration ended also on May 29 2015,when he handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Now Nigerians are waiting.

Buhari is also waiting for the May 29 phenomenon and all his team are also preparing to go.

And history beckons on another leader, who will formally take the baton of leadership from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The irony of May 29 as a special day is that when somebody will be handing over the mantle of power and leadership, relieving himself of the burden of service,another person will be inheriting the burden.

For instance,in 2015, though, very unexpected,former president Good luck Jonathan was happier on May 29 2015, because his words were his bond.

He said:”My second term ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.And he stuck to his guns.

He was determined to hand over power after the loss of the 2015 election.

And as fate would have it, president Jonathan became an instant hero when he made a call through to president Buhari as the president- elect in 2015.

Jonathan congratulated Buhari on his victory,a few hours before the official announcement of the results of the 2015 elections.

That patriotic move settled it.It saved the nation from possible implosion.

And that rare gesture had always earned former president Good luck Jonathan global applause till date.

Besides,it is unusual in this part of the world for a sitting president to achieve such a feat.

On that very day-May 29 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari was the happiest man.

Having contested for the exalted office thrice without any headway, he later became the ‘saviour of the mass of the people’.

I remembered in 2015,when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office,our hopes were high and we believed strongly that Nigeria would breathe a sigh of relief from the various problems of the country.

Former president Good luck Jonathan’s administration had been accused of corruption and
mismanagement of public funds.

Those that did the damage on president Jonathan’s image and character then were smarter.

They sold the dummy to us that Jonathan was evil,and did not mean well for Nigeria and Nigerians.

They told us that we need to change his administration for Nigeria to be safe and secured financially.

We believed erroneously that the change mantra sold to us by the political allies of the Daura General was genuine and real.

We sought the change badly and we are already witnessing the results of the change.

Today, after eight good years of his handing over,Jonathan years had become history and the situation
during his administration was even better than what we are witnessing today, especially,with the present spate of insecurity and the poor economic situation in the country.

Let me begin from the obvious.

For instance, during the Jonathan administration,how much do we buy a bag of rice? How much are we buying it now?

How much do we buy Premium Motor Spirit (Fuel) then? How much do we buy it now?

How much is the value of our naira to the American dollar or United Kingdom Pounds?

We have really experienced the change, which to me, is not the kind of change we bargained for in 2015.

Buhari had told us to tighten our belt because hard times were imminent then.

Nigerians had it all in multiple -insecurity, economic woes, political instability.Even the health and education sectors became our albatross.

So, as we move into another important milestone in the history of Nigeria.

This is the season of endorsement from right to left, back and forth.

That is why we need to look deeper into the minds of the three prominent candidates of the three political parties- the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party(PDP) and the Labour Party (LP) that are selling their manifesto to us.

We need to measure their past with their present ‘change of attitude’.

Buhari had tried his best, however, his best is not even the best for Nigerians.

Therefore,as he is at the tail end of his administration,we should be wary of who he will be handing over to come May 29.

Finally, February 25 election will usher in another administration that will begin from where he stopped.

But Nigerians must not be deceived by the antics of these politicians.

*Aderemi is the Special Assistant on Media to the Aareonakakanfo of Yorubaland.

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