• Eminent Nigerians eulogise president at book launch
• Campbell urges more U.S. interest in Nigeria
Eminent Nigerians including former Heads of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday extolled the virtues of President Muhammadu Buhari whom they described as a dogged fighter for good governance.
The occasion was the public presentation of a book titled Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria by Prof. John Paden, an American author with special interest in developments in Nigeria, including its economic and political affairs.
Gowon, who was the chairman of the occasion told the gathering that President Buhari deserved commendation and criticism by Nigerians. He described him as a fighter and a man of destiny working to get things right with the economy despite the huge challenges being faced by the country. “As a combat politician, he fought to take over the Presidential Villa despite being told he would never see it.”
Obasanjo who said the book, an authorised biography, was a confirmation of the true person of Buhari whom he knew, described it as a must read for those who are interested in catching a full glimpse of Nigeria of yesterday and its leaders piloting the affairs of the country today. He said though the book confirmed what he knew about Buhari, it did not represent a definitive assessment of the president.
In his review of the book, the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, waved off critics of Buhari’s governance style, declaring that the president is on an assignment against time, to undo the wrongs of nearly two decades of bad governance in the country.
Tinubu, who was among the four reviewers of the book, recalled how Buhari emerged as the APC’s candidate, and maintained that Buhari is on an assignment to set Nigeria on a better path.
The APC leader noted that Buhari’s professional career as a military man, his personal life and prior experiences in government prepared him for his current assignment. Tinubu said Buhari lived his life on assignments that always intersected with vital moments in the nation’s history.
He told the gathering that when the president ventured into politics and contested for the presidency, culminating in his 2015 election victory, he was still on an assignment, showing that there was no other way for this nation to go but that of democracy, no matter how difficult the path may be.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell who also reviewed the book said that America should be more interested in the politics of Nigeria.
“America has not shown enough interest in investing in Nigeria,” he noted.
Another reviewer, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, a former Nigerian Representative at the United Nations, urged Buhari to show leadership and carry all Nigerians along in piloting the affairs of the country. He specifically advised Buhari to practise politics of inclusion, warning that development without unity would be tough. Gambari noted that Buhari faced a challenge of bringing immediate change to the thousands of his supporters who voted for him during the elections.
Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Ogbonaya Onu, who also reviewed the book said that despite the fact that the judiciary let him down three times when the courts rejected his petitions to upturn elections in which his opponents were declared winner, he did not lose faith in the judiciary.
Author of the book, Paden, in his remarks, explained that “the biography seeks to answer the question of who Buhari is and the frantic efforts he is making with a view to addressing Nigeria’s challenges.”
Paden who said that the biography was work in progress, explained that it was tailored towards introducing Buhari to the international community, while addressing the challenges of leadership which include ensuring national unity, security, fighting corruption and protecting the independence of the judiciary especially during tensions.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar who was absent from the occasion explained that he could not make it to the book presentation because of the late arrival of the invitation to the event.
Atiku’s Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, in a statement made available to State House correspondents, said that “for inexplicable reason, the former vice president only received his invitation today (Monday) after the event had started.”
He explained that the invitation was delivered to the Atiku Centre on October 1, forty hours before the event, and only after the former Vice President had travelled to Gombe to honour the invitation for the celebrations of the 20th anniversary of the creation of creation of Gombe State.
“The former vice president returned to Abuja on Sunday night, 2nd October. The invitation letter signed 30th September, 2016, the last working day of the week was handed over to Atiku Abubakar today (Monday), after the programme had commenced.
“As a former vice president well-schooled in the demands of protocol, it would have been inappropriate of the Turakin Adamawa to storm into the event while Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-chief was already seated with other dignitaries, including visiting heads of government to the occasion,” he said.
Presidents of Benin, Chad, and Niger Republic were present at the book presentation, while their counterparts in Cameroun and Guinea Bissau were represented. Also present were Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, state governors, former Vice President Nemadi Sambo, and APC National Chairman, John Odigie-Oyegun.