By Promise Adiele
I greet you sir. Ordinarily, I should genuflect and grovel before you but, like millions of Nigerians, I am not happy. Therefore, I wave aside all obsequious behaviour associated with presidential contact. I wrote my first letter to you on the 11th of September 2017. It was published as an opinion essay in the Sun Newspaper. Recall that the Sun Newspaper is reputed for objective, professional, unbiased news coverage. After the letter, some people commended me for speaking truth to power while others attacked me through vitriolic, acerbic, hate-filled emails. Well, events in our country today have vindicated me. Perhaps, you can read that letter again or kindly visit Google to refresh your mind. It is simply titled “Letter to Buhari”. Again, I am compelled, as a matter of responsibility, to write another letter to you because I campaigned and voted for you in 2015. I spent my money, held meetings, and convinced people that you were the messiah Nigeria had been waiting for. But alas, Nigerians made the greatest mistake of their political experience by voting for you. But we can forgive ourselves because we didn’t have a choice back then given PDP’s reckless prodigality.
Sir, I do not know if you read newspapers. I am also not convinced your aides and assistants tell you the truth. If they do, or if you listen to the news and read newspapers, you will realize Nigerians think you are the worst president in the country’s history. Sir, I just told you the truth. I am embarrassed because I was part of the human machinery that foisted this hellish APC government on Nigerians. On your watch sir, Nigeria has unfortunately regressed beyond anybody’s wildest imagination. Your leadership of Nigeria affirms the position that countries can exist without leadership. Nigeria does not seem to have a leader except in principles. Sir, we wail, we shout, we complain, yet nothing happens. You hardly communicate or talk to Nigerians. You are so aloof. The distance between you and Nigerians makes a caricature of the Bermuda Triangle. When you were aspiring to occupy Aso Rock, you shed tears which we can now call crocodile tears. Nigerians thought you were genuinely weeping for a country you love. Nigerians thought you had something to offer. But after seven years, your administration has inflicted anguish and insufferable conditions on the populace. Your shedding of tears was absolutely for nothing. You knew you had nothing to offer Nigerians yet you were insisting to occupy Aso Rock. My Oga at the top let us look at the issues.
One of the distinguishable mantras of your campaign in 2014/2015 was the fight against corruption. You promised to deal with corrupt persons and block all the channels through which the country’s resources were siphoned. We believed you given your antecedent as a no-nonsense former military Head of State who dealt with corrupt persons in 1984 after you dislocated a democratic dispensation through a coup d’état. In 2014/2015, given that the PDP administration was famous for pillaging the treasury, Nigerians fell for the change bait and swallowed it. We welcomed you with open arms, trusting you to make corruption in the corridors of power a thing of the past. But we were wrong. Under you, corruption in Nigeria has graduated to monumental proportions. PDP politicians who plundered the resources of our land migrated to your party, the APC to be free from a corruption probe. If PDP embraced corruption in Nigeria’s political and economic hierarchies, your government has entrenched it. Your government has elevated nepotism to a different level. The shocking thing is that you do not care. Your appointments are skewed to favour persons from your ethnic extraction. You defended this objectionable practice by avowing that you can only work with people you trust. Due to your enthronement of nepotism, Nigerians have lost faith in your commitment as an honest leader. You lack the will to sack incompetent public officers. You lack the resolve and determination to deal with erring public officers. The implication is that politicians and public officers carry on audaciously in a free-for-all macabre show of despicable criminality.
There are no words to describe Nigeria’s security situation under you. Many people would have sworn with their lives that, even if you failed on all fronts, you will secure Nigeria and cleanse the land of marauding bandits and terrorists. But regrettably, on your watch, insecurity has grown to enterprising dimensions. Bandits and terrorists now flourish like trees in a mangrove. Let us consider the following sir. On 2nd November 2012, the Nation Newspaper reported that the terrorist group Boko Haram picked you to moderate talks between them and the federal government. On the 2nd of June 2013, Pointblank news online quoted you as telling the federal government to stop killing Boko Haram members. On the 2nd June 2013, The Nation Newspaper quoted you as faulting the clampdown on Boko Haram members. On 3rd of June 2013, All Africa News quoted you as saying that the military offensive against Boko Haram is anti-North. On the 26th of November 2018, The Guardian Newspaper reported how South African mercenaries declared that you stopped them from fighting Boko Haram. On the 11th of February 2020, The Cable news reported that your government was setting Boko Haram terrorists free. On the 12th of July 2020, The Punch Newspaper reported that 356 soldiers resigned from the Nigerian army citing a loss of sincerity in the fight against Boko Haram. The list goes on and on.
Sir, if the above reports are true, it will be difficult to exonerate your government of complicities in the current wave of terrorism and banditry in the country. Ironically, you respond differently when there are cases of banditry or violence in other parts of the country. You immediately deploy a battalion of soldiers to kill and maim. Recently, your convoy was attacked and the Kuje correctional facility was invaded by terrorists. They operated there for more than three hours without resistance from any quarters. How possible is that? The personal assistant to Sheikh Ahmad Gumi confirmed that he alerted the military intelligence about the impending terrorist attack but his warnings were ignored. Also, it was reported that military officers on duty were removed shortly before the attack on Kuje prison. Why were they removed? Who removed them? Not long ago, news outlets reported that you gave $1,000,000 (One million US Dollars) to the terrorist government in Afghanistan when other countries were condemning their rise to power. Your empathy for terrorism is inexplicable. I do not relate to mathematics much but I can comfortably do some subtraction and addition to arrive at what is playing out on your watch. Since the Kuje prison attack, no one has been sacked, arrested or held responsible. The height of indifference was your immediate travel to Senegal while your country’s security architecture was being compromised by terrorists. Sir, you no dey try at all.
There are no words to describe Nigeria’s security situation under you. Many people would have sworn with their lives that, even if you failed on all fronts, you will secure Nigeria and cleanse the land of marauding bandits and terrorists. But regrettably, on your watch, insecurity has grown to enterprising dimensions. Bandits and terrorists now flourish like trees in a mangrove
Nigeria’s education sector is in a tailspin. As I write this letter to you, universities across the country are closed because lecturers are on strike. When you joined politics, you promised Nigerians that you have become a progressive democrat. But your treatment of university lecturers and the education sector does not portray you as a progressive. Sir, how do you go to bed and sleep when universities across the country are closed? Have you considered how the lecturers are feeding and taking care of their families? Have you considered what millions of Nigerian undergraduates and their parents are going through? Has it occurred to you that with universities closed, research is suffering and laboratories have been taken over by rats and other rodents? Interestingly, you and your fellow politicians don’t patronize Nigerian universities, therefore the pain is not deep. What is it that university lecturers are asking for that your government cannot provide? What?
The health sector is an eyesore. The economy has become a graveyard that welcomes new tenants every day. On your watch, Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world. Currently, your government owes 41 trillion naira. The Accountant General recently alerted Nigerians that the country borrows money to pay salaries. The question is – what do you do with all the money you borrow? Universities are closed because you can’t pay lecturers. Federal government teaching hospitals are empty which is why you and politicians traffic to foreign countries for Medicare. Of course, we all understand the global economic meltdown but in Nigeria, there is an evident lack of direction to stem the tide of suffering amid excruciating inflation. Sir, Nigerians are angry, very angry. I must not fail to acknowledge your appreciable improvement in infrastructural revival in the country. But it appears that our neighbours, the Niger Republic, have received more of your attention in that regard than Nigeria. Sir, the verdict is that you have failed Nigerians. But there is hope. There is a little chance that you can redeem yourself and have your name etched positively on the country’s historical calendar.
Nigerians are getting ready for the 2023 elections. Sir, please, we want you to allow the choice of the people to emerge in next year’s election. Nigerians do not trust the electoral umpire much. But we know that if you insist on honesty and transparency, your APC will never get near Aso Rock next year. Nigerians have rejected APC. We will all be termed sick if we don’t reject APC, a party that has dragged Nigerians from top to bottom by your admission. If you watch closely, you will notice the new wave of consciousness across the country driven by the youths. Please, sir, let the will of the people prevail. There are rumours and unconfirmed reports that APC has earmarked a humongous amount of money in USD to rig next year’s election. Do not be like Okonkwo in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart who killed Ikemefuna, a boy that called him father. You are like a father in Nigeria. Please do not bear a hand in the death of millions of Nigerian youths by inflicting more misery on them through the wilful manipulation of the 2023 elections. Help us to usher in a government of the people. That way posterity will judge you kindly. May Almighty God protect you and your family, grant you good health, and long life.
Ndewo Sir! Nagode!
Yours OBIDIENT citizen,
Promise Adiele PhD
Mountain Top University