By Ismaila Chafe
At the presentation of the book on President Mohammadu Buhari, his Niger counterpart, Mohammadou Issoufou, commended Nigeria for fighting the Boko Haram insurgents to a standstill.
Issoufou made the commendation on Monday in Abuja at the public presentation of the book, in three parts and 24 chapters titled: “Muhammadu Buhari – The challenges of leadership in Nigeria,’’ was written by Prof. John Paden.
The Nigerien president, who spoke in French, saluted Buhari’s leadership qualities, saying that Nigerians and Nigeriens had a lot to learn from the Nigerian leader.
He, particularly, acknowledged the achievements of Buhari in the areas of security, good governance and the fight against corruption.
According to Issoufou, Niger Republic will continue to partner with Nigeria and other countries in the Lake Chad Basin in checking the menace of Boko Haram in Nigeria and beyond.
Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the National leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) who was one of the four reviewers of the book, commended the author.
The former governor of Lagos State, described the book as “educative and informative reading and timely narrative.’’
He described President Buhari “as a true democrat, a disciplined and focused person right from his youthful days till his present position.’’
Tinubu said that Buhari was in haste to bring changes as a young leader, while “Buhari as an older leader is now slow and steady.’’
He said: “this authorised biography of Nigeria’s leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, attempts a broad characterization of the different stages of his life and professional career.
“Essentially, the book explores how his professional career, his personal life and prior experiences in government shaped and prepared him for the momentous assignment he now has.
“From the pages of the book, we see a man who has lived his life on assignments that always intersected with vital moments in the nation’s history.’’
The APC leader said that Buhari was a man on assignment when he served bravely in the military in a civil war to keep Nigeria united.
He added that the Nigerian leader was also on national assignment when he became military head of state in a well-intentioned effort to straighten things out and set Nigeria on a better path.
“When he (Buhari) ventured into politics and competed for the Presidency, culminating in his 2015 election victory, he was still on assignment, showing that there was no other way for this nation to go but the way of democracy, no matter how difficult the path may be.
“Now, as sitting President, he is on assignment, against time, to undo the wrongs of nearly two decades of bad governance.
“Such is the life of this man. Always in the public eye doing things in his different, disciplined and Spartan way.
“From this compelling narrative, neatly demarcated into three parts and 24 chapters, the reader is able to glean the quintessential Buhari,’’ he said.
Tinubu used the opportunity of the book launch to call for the immediate re-introduction of history in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
He said the call had become imperative in order to expose students to the biographies of great leaders within and outside the country.
Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, who also reviewed the book, observed that the author should have consulted widely.
He said that the author should have spoken to people like him, who served as minister of Foreign Affairs under the military administration of president Buhari, former President Olusegun Obasanjo amongst others.
Gambari, who frowned at the activities of those he described as “enemies of the Nigerian State,’’ said that all the governors elected on the platform of the APC must support president Buhari’s efforts to realize the Change mantra of the APC manifesto.
According to him, Buhari seems to have been left alone in executing the Nigeria Project, saying that the president deserves the support and encouragement of all Nigerians irrespective of their socio-political backgrounds.
Mrs Nike Akande, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, delivered a goodwill message at the event.
She said that the business community in Nigeria remained greatful to Buhari for establishing the Presidential Enabling Business Environment under the chairmanship of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
“This is a clear demonstration of the Buhari-led administration’s resolve to fix the investment climate issues in the economy and enhance private sector competitiveness.
“He has given Nigeria a leadership that the country deserves at this critical moment of our history,’’ she added.
Other leaders including former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon also eulogized Buhari at the occasion.
The author of the book, John Paden, said that the book was an attempt to introduce Buhari to the international audience “since Nigerians already know who Buhari is.’’
According to him, the book seeks to answer the questions: who is president Buhari and how he is grappling with the many challenges of Nigeria.
“My initial motivation was to introduce president Buhari to the international audience on the assumption that Nigerians already knew their president.
“But increasingly, I came to feel that, perhaps, Nigerians might find it useful to review.”
Paden said: “the book follows Buhari through his challenges in and out of the office, his military training in UK and elsewhere, his roles in military regime including his time as military head of state for 20 months.
“It also follows his detention, his re-emergence as a civil society leader and his eventual engagement in politics in the fourth republic since 1999.
“The book is clearly a work in progress.
“Let me note that over the years, I witness the emergence of president Buhari as a charismatic figure to millions of young people.
“Since taken office, I have also witnessed his emergence as an internal statesman.
“I tried to remain objective since over the years I have worked with Nigerians on all points of political spectrum.”
President Buhari, who expressed appreciation to the author of the book, described his relation with the author as `genuine friendship.’
The president, who also lauded the author’s professionalism and intellect, thanked all those who attended the event.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the two presenters of the book, Tunde Folawiyo and Abdulsamad Rabiu jointly bought two copies of the book for each tertiary institution in country.
Others notable dignitaries who graced the book launch, included President Idris Derby of Chad, President Patrice Talon of Benin Republic,
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara.
The presidents of Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea sent representatives to the event which attracted other personalities like former Vice-President Namadi Sambo and traditional rulers from across the country.
Members of the Diplomatic Corps and business community, several state governors, friends and well wishers of the president also attended the event. (NAN)