He is not my pal. I could reduce him to ashes at the slightest opportunity anytime, any day. I detest his brand of politics and leadership. I am repulsive to politics that seeks justification or righteousness only in actions and decisions which lubricates personal ego as exhibited by Nigeria’s main opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP).

But PDP’s national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus stole my heart last week, after reading his congratulatory message to our fallen heroes on the occasion of the 2018 Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebrations. He came out marvelously appealing, as a patriotic and loyal Nigerian. Emphatically, on that day, Prince Secondus dusted his party or partisan robes and rendered himself bare before Nigerians by thunderously declaring that the issue at stake now is defending Nigeria against forces of destruction.

The climax of his message tacitly cautioned and admonished Nigerians who drag every national problem into politics to have a rethink. In mouthfuls, the party boss and number one opposition figure in the country, articulately praised and crowned the Nigerian Army in superb garlands for sacrifices in quelling acts of terrorism to ensure peace and unity of the country.

But really, I ambled on the stage and into the same realm with him, when he reeled out unbiased and selfless advice to Nigerians. Secondus implored all and sundry, especially political leaders, to appreciate the huge contributions of soldiers and other Nigerians donating huge energy and making supreme sacrifices for the unity of the nation. He minced no words in trumpeting that Nigerians should show more patriotism, fraternity and hospitality to one another in this critical time of Nigeria’s travails and support the political leadership to succeed.

As I read Secondus resonating on the colour of understanding and support Nigerians were obligatorily supposed to extend to President Buhari and Nigeria, in the time of tribulations, I doffed my cap for him. It was necessary because much earlier, I had wept in the confinement of my room about the failure of some Nigerians to understand what is happening to us and the burden of sacrificial lamb shouldered by President Buhari.

President Buhari

I recounted images of last week, when I saw our President on TV, crestfallen, gloomy and pensive. Indignation wrecked his soul and face; the facial contortions had arrows squirreling at deep-seated and unexpressed anger. Effortlessly, it was easy for a thoughtful mind to sense he is not an excited soul. Of course naturally, no king, whose kingdom is consumed by the inferno of ruination, would prance with excitement.

No one needs to search far to know the source of the kings restlessness. Inexplicably, Nigerians again have revived barbarity and beastly instincts. So, swords, daggers, knives, machetes and even guns are pulled in the most senseless manner against the cord and bond of fraternity. Bloodletting, deaths have assumed new heights and the tentacles have whirled unimaginably.

In Benue, Taraba, Rivers, Kaduna, Adamawa and much more, tears and lamentations flowed aplenty. Both civilians and security agents fell prey to the might of the swords and fury of violence. These are problems that predates the Buhari Presidency. And we shall be making grave mistakes if support to him is rescinded.

But citizens are understandably angry with their President. He has tried his best to contain the anger, the angst and halt the bloodbath on the land, but some have adjudged his best as not good enough. So, we seem to withdraw our support which he needs desperately to apply enduring solutions. We regrettably posture as a people cast in the waves of a deadly sea, drowning, but still hesitant to grab the stalk at our disposal to swim to safety.

But unrelenting, Buhari has unburdened heart and stepped out with a strong determination to resolve all brazen acts of insecurity and threats to lives. He has not blinked a second yet. He is happier, when Nigerians are happy and saddest, when Nigerians groan in pains and sorrows.

No doubt, Nigeria is at the most difficult phase in the history of nation-building. After 57 years of independence, the country is still wobbling and groping in the dark. We all can admit that the solid foundations laid by the founding fathers of modern Nigeria have developed ugly cracks; so fearfully deep. Nigeria has been consciously ruined. So, it is necessary to first amend these cracks before laying fresh blocks.

And the task is onerous and demanding from both leaders and followers. Only a thoughtful mind can appreciate the depth of the burden. It throws up painful moments momentarily, as reflected by the galore of bloodbath on the land. The drivers of this country are bound to face frustrations and even sabotage by demonic forces who believe the nation ought not to be redeemed.

It is unbelievable. But we have some Nigerians who actually fund crisis; some of us are community and opinion leaders in our immediate domains. But we are not patriotic enough to caution kinsmen who take up arms against themselves or other Nigerians. They decline intervention to nip crisis in the bud, but prefer to allow it blossom.

What sort of unpatriotic inclination could lead to extents of compelling groups or sects to take up arms against their own country? Ask yourself again, why would some people go the extra mile to destroy their own country? You would never be served a justifiable answer. It’s both a favorite past time and a trade. That’s the unfortunate level we have chosen to compromise ourselves and the pride of our nation.

We shall be damn too wrong to follow these incendiaries to sing dirges of hate and rejection of the Buhari Presidency primed on nothing, but emptiness. In the frenzy of condemnations and the haze to have a paradise erected in ONE day, we prefer not to endure the inherent pains and sufferings of the tortuous journey to the Promised Land.

In such plotted evil against ourselves and the nation, we easily forget that Nigeria is not the only nation which has sojourned on this thorny path to redemption. Citizens of other nations who share the same experiences with Nigeria also encountered similar problems, especially in crises and conflicts, but endured and stood by their country and its leaders. They survived it because of the steadfastness of the people and collective support to their leaders to diminish the common enemy.

Could our plight and hope for a better tomorrow be any better, if we allow the tide swallow our conscience, sense of judgment and foresight?

We have insecurity in virtually all parts of the country. Insane killings, kidnaps, terrorism, ethnic and religious extremism, armed robberies and cultism are all assailing the peace and unity of the nation simultaneously. This is in addition to other national malaises and challenges posed by the economy, power, infrastructure and a lot more.

Time has come for Nigerians to understand that re-fixing Nigeria is a gradual process. No amount of haste and anxiety would rectify the problems because it involves conscious planning, implementation of policies and much more, some reliefs are even tied to time. It is easier to sight the attraction evil and destruction offers; but very difficult to spot the glimmer of hope and prosperity offered by the rainbow of redemption.

And all hopes are not lost yet. Some foresighted Nigerians are beginning to look beyond the veneer. They have dusted all togas of influence to boldly and publicly proclaim support for President Buhari and the nation, plunged into this mirage of problems. That’s all Mr. President needs from his country men and women to succeed; to turn sadness into joy or gloom into excitement.

To deprive him the support at this critical time is unconscionable and disservice to our nation. Are we not bothered when we visit our country homes and villages to see the grim of carnage against our own kith and kin? Does it not touch our hearts that the departed souls of victims would be restless and bereaved families eternally sorrowful?

We shall do ourselves much good to have a rethink. Deception is easy; but truth is hard-sale and life has repeatedly reminded that good would always triumph over evil. Those still holding unto the straw of destruction must realize that their priceless support is what President Buhari needs to take Nigeria to the next level.

It’s really the only good way to stand with Mr. President and the country. No nation is built on the wisdom of one leader. All Nigerians are leaders of this country in their respective capacities; small homes, enclaves, communities, offices and states or regions. With everyone standing by President Buhari, Nigeria is sure to overcome all the multifarious and debilitating challenges. It is sure to emerge as a stronger and more prosperous nation.

God is certainly blessing Nigeria and only time is standing on the path of the full consummation of the blessings, which will not elude us, if we ignore distractions to sustain support and encouragement of Nigeria’s leadership.

Okanga contributed this piece from Agila, Benue State.