By Yahaya Balogun
Dear President Buhari,
“Leaders don’t rule; they lead.” – Yahaya Balogun.
“If you look at great human civilizations, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union, you will see that most do not fail simply due to external threats but because of internal weakness, corruption, or a failure to manifest the values and ideals they espouse.” – Cory Booker.
“I will shock those seeking to destroy my administration.” – President Buhari.
Mr. President, leaders, don’t rule; they lead. A tyrannical ruler can kill and consign to mass grave the victims of his heinous actions, but history is not bunk. You cannot bury history. The spurs or causes of some circumstances are always more critical than the situations themselves.
Mr. President, this is the auspicious time to go to the corner of your inner room and do self-talk with your roommate—your roommate is your self-consciousness, conscience, and mind. Take honest stock of your administration and personal dispositions to various national crises in the last 6 years. Listen to this critical and patriotic message from your concerned and disgruntled citizen. Ask yourself if you’ve genuinely delivered the dividends of democracy to the plebeians that gave you their mandate.
Mr. President, you seem to be “losing your cool.” Do not slide into an authoritarian and despotic leadership. Be advised, sir, as a disgruntled, aggrieved and dispirited former staunch Buharist, I still stand by the sacred convictions of my patriotic stance for the success of your administration. We still want you to rewrite history and succeed in our confused and contradictory country. Time is fast running against you. The situation in Nigeria is cataclysmic and very dire for the entire citizenry, including you. We are ignorantly and collectively journeying on a famished road to nowhere in Nigeria.
Though I am a resident and privileged citizen of the United States, I remained a rooted son of the soil of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. No matter the comfort and beautiful life we live outside Nigeria, home-is-home. As a Correctional Officer in one of the penitentiary institutions in the United States, offenders in our custody are treated with deliberate care as human beings. Inmates under my supervision live in a decent and humane environment, or parallel universe better than most of my contemporary citizens in Nigeria. An officer’s job is on the line if inmates feel threatened by an officer’s deliberate indifference in the course of performing his duties. While Offenders in the US are human beings, Nigerians are human beings. Sir, I hope you will understand the juxtaposition of this subtle expression.
Sir, I crave your indulgence to paraphrase one of the principles of programming for inmates in my workplace: consistency and enforcement of expectations provide the basis for effective (programming) governance. Mr. President, your administration has been a glorified success and failure with a lack of consistency and efficiency. Your government has squandered an excellent opportunity to bring the much-needed change and unity we yearn for in our luckless and beleaguered country.
For your information, Mr. President, this writer is a former staunch Buharist. Though he resides in the USA, his heart and soul are embedded in the soul of Nigeria. He believed very strongly in you to revive Nigeria. He worked doggedly along with other Buharists and stakeholders to ensure your victory in 2015 and 2019. We campaigned, cajoled, wooed, and mobilized the deprived citizens, hungry men, and women, wailing wailers, disgruntled, and other well-meaning Nigerians to vote for you in those two defining moments in our nation’s history. Some of your political adversaries thought we were campaigning for you with political opportunism and selfish aspiration to eke personally from your government. Alas, what we did was premised on our wishes and aspirations to see a better Nigeria. Some of us are morally and existentially contented with where we are and what we have achieved in our lives. Our concern and restlessness are premised on our love and patriotism for Nigeria.
We, the conscientized former Buharists, renounced our loyalty from an indifferent and seemingly tribalized Buhari. Your deliberate indifference and heedless dispositions to Fulani’s brutality are very concerning. The heinous behavior of bandits has blighted your highfalutin or artificially elevated integrity and statesmanship. The conscientized Buharits are now in moral trenches to fight and redirect your actions and inactions. The chunk of your admirers has deliberately abdicated their trust in your government. We reposed our mandate in you. We believed strongly in you based on your moral antecedents and frugal dispositions to materialism and the ephemerality of life. Your disciplined nature explained to some of us the concept of life being transitory or existing only for a brief period. But you have thrown all these moral leverages into the fuming flame of sighs.
During the presidential campaigns, the author of this message reassured all Nigerians that your reentry into the fouled Nigerian political terrains would change Nigeria for good. We thought your administration would restructure, redirect the country from the famished road, rewrite our contentious history, and deodorize the Nigerian political miasma. But crime is now at an alarming rate under your administration. Political assassination, hunger, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other crimes for ransom are on the rise. Our beloved country is politically etching into a question of time and flammable conditions. It would be best if you drove us back to the basics as a leader, not ruler, but as our President and the Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, While we thought your immediate predecessor’s government would be our last collective journey to the ugly past. When you won in the presidential election in 2015, we jubilated that you would rewrite our ugly history and reassured our bright future. Six years after your administration, the miasma of Nigeria is melting into a boiling point, and we are witnessing the most adverse security situation in the history of Nigeria. No one is saved in a nation that used to be one of Africa’s best secured and prosperous nations.
Furthermore, it saddens our hearts to hear bunkum from a man who should have made an apparent attempt to pacify a divided nation. Your deliberate indifference and inefficiency to unite and bring a polarized nation together are regrettable. Security is not convenient. Security and prosperity are eluding a prosperous nation with poor people. The country you are administering is under needless crisis. You recently said that “those misbehaving in certain parts of the country were too young to know the travails and loss of lives that attended the Nigerian civil war.” Yes, sir! Some of us had read the horrible history of the Nigerian civil war when more than 3.5 million Igbos were killed in a needless war. Your young hapless, and the most deprived citizens did not witness the pogroms of the Civil War in Nigeria, but they are the products of a mismanaged “no victor and no vanquish.” In the recent past, you have branded the boisterous and situational unemployed Nigerian youth as “lazy youth with freebies.” In contrast, the past leaders’ inefficiency and corruption are breeding young Nigerians “misbehaving” in all countries. Without being equivocal in questioning, can we blame the “misbehaving” youths in Nigeria without moral justification and indictment of our present and past leaders?
Again, with the grotesque deliberate indifference to the plight of these youth, Mr. President, you reportedly said: “We are going to be very hard sooner than later,” on the aggrieved youths who have been pushed to the swaddle of hopelessness. You reportedly went further that: “Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them (the aggrieved youths) in the language they understand.” Really? “The the language they understand?” This is unstatesmanlike, sir. The statement was widely said to have been muttered by you. Mr. President, in your abundance of wisdom, you should note that a hungry man is an angry man. Sir, according to Wikipedia, “A threat is a communicated intent to inflict harm or loss on another person.” These aggrieved Nigerians are your beloved and deprived citizens—you are their leader, not a ruler. They shouldn’t be hurt or get killed. You cannot afford to be unnecessarily harsh on the innocent and underprivileged people living in abject poverty and under severe conditions. Nigeria is under the resurgent of Boko Haram, rogue politicians, and Fulani’s herders’ malfeasance and criminality. It is mentally tough to make intrastate and interstate journeys in Nigeria–attempting travels within Nigeria is like trying to commit suicide.
Mr. President, a leadership position you hold is a combination of responsibility and accountability to the people you govern. No threats and intimidation can dissuade or calm the nerves of the hopeless, despondent, and dejected individuals. Your disgruntled citizens are yearning for recourse and respite away from their dehumanizing situations. From all geopolitical enclaves in Nigeria, the common denominator is a state of anomie (confusion and lawlessness). Mr. President, this is the ripening time and opportunity for you to veer away from the famished road we are collectively journeying through your leadership. Nigeria needs urgent and honest conversations. This would help if you can earnestly punctuate this dangerous journey. This imminent and foreseeable destination of political cataclysm must be averted. Your muteness and the lethargic government are running out of time.
Thanks in anticipation of this onerous and mentally burdensome requests from you.
Your Concerned Diaspora Citizen.
Yahaya Balogun wrote from Arizona, the United States of America.