President Buhari: It’s Time To Sue for Sustaining Peace and Inclusive Governance, By Majeed Dahiru
I join millions of our country men and women in felicitating with you, your family, associates and well-wishers on your return from medical vacation in the United Kingdom. I wish you good health and strength to continue to discharge the enormous responsibilities of your exalted office for the remaining duration of four year mandate, and even beyond.
Mr. President, from my memories of your first coming as head of state and commander in chief between 1983 and 1985, I grew up loving and adoring you. As a young man, you were my hero, my ideal leader. I admired your forthrightness, integrity and sense of patriotism and longed for your return to power.
When eventually in 2003, four years after the transition of Nigeria from military rule to a civil, constitutional democracy in 1999, you indicated interest in becoming Nigeria’s elected president, I threw my modest support, from my obscure corner of the political space, behind you. By 2003, I was like millions of other Nigerians frustrated by the leadership style of then ruling PDP and hence wanted a better secured, governed and managed country for myself and my children.
I trusted in your abilities to deliver the country of my dreams and, therefore, I consistently supported your aspirations lead Nigeria in 2007, 2011 and 2015. I actually predicted your victory in 2015, as far back as 2011, because I knew the younger former President Goodluck Jonathan would perform far below expectation and Nigerians will earnestly yearn for the elder General Muhammadu Buhari. It came to pass that after four attempts, you became the fourth elected president of the fourth republic.
…if you fail to live up to the expectations of your reputable character, it behoves on me to speak out against you because even though I love you, I love Nigeria more. Your ability to move Nigeria forward is a condition precedent for my continued support and fraternity.
However, my romance with you ended on May 29, 2015, the day you assumed full authority and powers over the affairs of state in our dear country. From that day, my expectation of you was performance and not no excuses. So far, my expectation has not been met two years into your administration and I have voiced my disappointment out loudly and widely. Mr President, I didn’t support you aspiration to lead Nigeria because of the complexion of your skin or the colour of your eyes. I didn’t support your aspiration to lead Nigeria because of sentiments of our shared Northern regional heritage and (or) Islamic faith. I have no personal relationship with you, as I have never met you in person. I only supported you because of the content of your character and my conviction of your deep sense of patriotism, which I believed was responsible for your incorruptibility in the discharge of your duties in your first coming as head of state. Then, I supported you because of my undying love for Nigeria, my country. And, this belief was reinforced when the Ibrahim Babangida regime, which overthrew yours, opened the vault of public treasure in a free for all bazaars that laid the foundation for the entrenched institutional corruption that pervades our entire body polity till today. Therefore, if you fail to live up to the expectations of your reputable character, it behoves on me to speak out against you because even though I love you, I love Nigeria more. Your ability to move Nigeria forward is a condition precedent for my continued support and fraternity.
Mr. President, having survived the trials and tribulation of an illness that kept you away from your duty post, the warmth of family and company of friends and associates, I implore you to reflect soberly on the state of affairs in the country and come up with all embracing and comprehensive solutions to the current crisis rocking our nation. The most important task before you is to forge national unity and consensus. My dear president, like my good friend, President Donald Trump is doing in the United States, you are presiding over a divided Nigeria. This division, though not entirely caused by you, was nevertheless accentuated by your non-conciliatory posturing following your victory in the 2015 presidential elections. Your excessive triumphalist declaration of a government reward system based on the proportion of votes received (’97 percent to 5 percent'[sic]), greatly polarised the country, bearing in mind that the voting pattern in the 2015 presidential election was heavily influenced by religious and ethno-geographic sentiments. Without unity nothing positive will be achieved. The lack of unity and national consensus is substantially responsible for the failure of your anti-corruption war and war on terror. Mr. President, all hands are not on deck to help you rescue the economy from the abyss of recession because some Nigerians (your purported ‘five percent’ electorate) are feeling less Nigerian and some other Nigerians (’97’ percent) are feeling more Nigerian under your leadership.
This gesture will be further enhanced if you condemn, in no unclear terms, the quit notice served on the entire Igbo group living in your section of the country by your kinsmen. This certainly goes contrary to your stand on the non-negotiability of the unity of Nigeria.
Mr. President, at 74 it is time to become more of a statesman and less of a partisan politician, by becoming a father to all and reaching out to all in warm embrace, irrespective of ethno-religious and political differences. The first of the many deliberate steps to be taken towards this all important task of uniting this country is to reconstitute the various organs of government, especially your kitchen cabinet and Security Council to include people and areas excluded before, in order to reflect the federal character and ethno-geographic diversity of the Nigerian federation. This step will go a long way in reducing tension in the polity and particularly take the life out of Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB, as the majority of Nigerians of the South-East region will be drawn closer to their first love, Nigeria, away from the alternative they have had to consider, Biafra. This gesture will be further enhanced if you condemn, in no unclear terms, the quit notice served on the entire Igbo group living in your section of the country by your kinsmen. This certainly goes contrary to your stand on the non-negotiability of the unity of Nigeria. The unity of Nigeria cannot be deemed “settled” if elements of anarchy from your home region are threatening the lives and property of fellow citizens of Igbo extraction, through a forceful eviction that has been datelined for October 1. Mr. President a simple condemnation of this quit notice by you and a call to rescind it immediately, at this time that your popularity is soaring high in the North, will save the nation by averting an impending Armageddon. That will make the task of securing Nigeria, which is one of your cardinal objectives, easier and achievable by preventing an avoidable conflagration.
My dear president, the Niger Delta is fractured and in need of healing and development. As the goose that lays the golden egg, nothing is too much to sacrifice for the sake of the development of peoples and lands of the Niger Delta. However, without unity there can never be sustainable peace and development. To this end, as the father of the nation, I implore you to bring together your beloved children and two most influential political leaders of that region today, Rotimi Amaechi, a pillar of the change movement that swept you into power, and Nyesom Wike, the major force behind your closest rival to the office of the president, to the peace table. Use your immense power and privileges to compel these two sons of the Niger Delta to unite for the sake of the easy and smooth development of the long neglected treasure base of the country. Make this demand a condition precedent on the continued cordial personal relationship between you and both of them. Let them know it will gladden your heart most to see constructive collaboration between all the sons and daughters of the Niger Delta towards the development of the region. Furthermore, find time to visit the South-East and the Niger Delta region as frequently as you visit your home region of the North West, because as the president of Nigeria, everywhere within its sovereign borders is home to you, and you should be at home everywhere.
Finally, while wishing you good health and strength in the service our father land, please accept the highest assurances of my love and respect.