The man who embarked on the 753-kilometre trek from Lagos to Abuja to celebrate the victory of President Buhari must be living in regret today.
During the run in for the 2015 Presidential elections in Nigeria, a certain Suleiman Hashimu hugged all the headlines when he vowed to embark on a journey on foot from Lagos to Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in celebration if the then General Muhammadu Buhari won the election.
The declaration by Hashimu took many by surprise as they did not see how he could possibly walk the 753.54 km road without a breakdown. Others thought he was just making an empty promise and could not walk such a distance.
Others, still, believed he had something up his sleeve and was merely seeking to be noticed by the presidential candidate and probably mark him down for an appointment.
However, supports of Buhari and the All Progressive Congress (APC), gave him all their support and even made a hashtag to support Hashim. Anything for the Buhari campaign team was welcome as long as the bungling President Goodluck Jonathan was ousted.
When Buhari won the election, Hashimu surprised many when he embarked on the long and tortuous journey and took the whole of 20 days to trek to Abuja to commemorate the victory of the president-elect, though many doubted whether he actually made the whole trip on foot.
Trust conspiracy theorists who came up with different conjectures with some saying he took vehicles along the way or that he rode a vehicle to the gate of Abuja and trekked the remaining part to meet Buhari.
However, Hashimu's arrival was witnessed by thousands of people who cheered on as he made his way to meet with his hero who welcomed him with open arms and extolled his commitment and support.
“I want to congratulate you for making it. He is a young man and he was lucky that his health did not fail him. I also heard so many stories that you wore almost half a dozen pair of shoes.
I also understand that there are people who have been quite generous to help you to pay for more pair of shoes,” Buhari had said.
Giving details of his journey to the president-elect, Hashimu had said:
“I made a promise because of the love I have for Mr. President that if Buhari should win the 2015 elections, I will trek from Lagos to Abuja which I have done.
I thank God that I made a promise and I fulfilled the promise. I passed through Kwara and Niger States to Abuja. I was trekking from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm and anywhere I find myself when it is 6.00 pm, I pass the night there. I spent 18 days from Lagos to Abuja.
Once I found myself inside the bush by 6.00 pm and I managed to continue the trek till 9.00 pm to a nearby village.
I made this promise two years ago. I am based in Ibadan and I started my journey from Lagos because Lagos is the most popular city in Nigeria and I started from Berger junction in Lagos.
I am not bothered about what people think. It is a promise between me and my God. I don’t want anybody to believe me. I left Lagos because I made a promise.
Right from Kwara state, I never walked alone for five kilometers. People always walk with me to the next village. I work with a construction company based in Ibadan.”
Hashimu's supposed feat also kick-started the trekking movement as every imaginable supporter of the new government and the outgoing regime also embarked on all kinds of treks to show their support one way or the other.
It was the trekking era which caught up like wildfire as even married women were not left out of the new venture.
But barely a year into the regime, Hashimu had threatened to embark on another round of trekking in protest as the change the APC had promised was not what he expected.
He described his endeavour as a big mistake, saying he regretted trekking for Buhari who has now made life unbearable for the masses.
Laughable right? Trust Nigerians as he came in for serious bashing with many saying he was disappointed because he did not get an appointment from Buhari like he had envisaged.
But with the situation of things on the ground right now, one wonders if Hashimu would not be blaming himself eternally especially with the recession the country is facing, the job losses, the economic hardship, the lack of direction of the government and a President who has been in the sick bay longer than he is actually working.
All the promises the APC made are either recanted or discarded completely while they have spent two years blaming the past government for their failures. The change they promised Nigerians have all been that of pains and sorrow with many Nigerians slipping into the poverty level.
Many have committed suicide because their means of livelihoods have been taken away while companies have either folded up or move out of the country because of the harsh environment and in the process, making millions lose their jobs.
So where are Suleiman Hashimu and his fellow trekkers today? Has he gone underground because his heroics have been made a mockery of? What happened to the hordes of trekkers who took delight in joining the bandwagon?
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