His Excellency sir, I have chosen to write you an open letter, because it appears you have not been reading all that we have been writing.
I am not even certain that you would read this either. But I trust that my friends, Femi Adesinaand Garba Shehu, your spokesmen, would read it and hopefully draw your attention to the issues herein raised; hoping the courage to do so would not fail them.
Sir, let me start by stating that I was one of your avid enthusiasts right from 2014 till last year.
Among other factors, I had assumed that with your military background and no-nonsense posture (at the time) you will literally be the messiah to redeem Nigeria from the grip of those who have held it down for years unend. Like many of your supporters, I campaigned for you , assured people that you are the man for the job, citing history, your ascetic and reticent virtues.
We were too sure that in no time, many of the troubles plaguing us as a nation would be cleared. How naïve we turned out.
Like the soldier that you are, we thought you’d start by rescuing the kidnapped Chibok school girls. But no. It got into lengthy negotiation with the criminals, wherein some huge sums in foreign currency was paid to secure the release of 82 girls, even as the federal government also released many arrested Boko Haram terrorists as condition for the release of the 82 school girls.
While we hoped for the release of the other remaining Chibok girls, more students were again kidnapped in Dapchi, Yobe State.
Although all of them were later released, save Leah Sharibu, the degree of insecurity in the country has been going from bad to worse.
Till today, Leah Sharibu is still in captivity, that is if she is still alive.
And just a week ago, 333 school boys were kidnapped from Government Science Secondary School, Kankara. It is a vexatious irony that the greatest kidnap not only hit your own state, but also on a day you arrived Daura, your home town. Daura, I hear, is about 20 minutes drive from the Kankara. The kidnappers literally took the battle to you. This is ultra sad sir. Thankfully, they were rescued last night.
But sir, as at Wednesday afternoon, you have not even bothered to visit the school or the scene of crime, even when it is literally within a shouting distance from your Daura abode. But you had time on Tuesday to go check on your cows. That seemed rather callous sir.
We are worried sore that you have refused to listen to the cry of Nigerians, especially as it concerns the need to change the service chiefs sir. Everybody except you and perhaps your Chief of Staff has begged you to let the tired Service Chief to go, so we can try the skill and ideas of another set of people. But you have bluntly refused to let them go, even after you had long declared that they (Service Chiefs) have tried their best but that their best is not good enough. What other verdict is keeping them in office sir? Even if their continued stay in office is the effect of Black magic, does it not expire? How many more killings and security embarrassments would be needed to review the security architecture of the country? What else is governance if there is no security of lives and property?
Your intransigence is frustrating even your supporters. You make their defence of your government most difficult. That is why even the National Assembly seems to have come to their wit’s end in their bid to defend and positively project your government. How can they keep defending you when their people are being killed everyday and you do not seem to care? Your eventual refusal to address them last week was a big minus, no matter the casuistic argument of MrMalami, your Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
Already, four states have announced the shut down of all private and public schools.
The Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) is contemplating shutting down all schools in Nigeria if teachers and pupils are no longer safe in their schools.
Earlier, farmers in most parts of the north have shut down because of fear of being beheaded in their farms. The consequences are all so telling. Food inflation is at roof top now. Nigerians are groaning. In the south, kidnappers have besieged our forests and communities. Just everywhere, the plague of insecurity is strong and overwhelming. You cannot or should not be aloof from all these. Your stance of indifference to all these calamities is annoying. Sir you got to do something henceforth. We don’t all have to die before you wake up. It is the raison d’etre of your being in office. We cannot say it louder!
His Excellency sir, do away with this ‘kinetic’stubbornness and free the service chiefs. Let them go. There are many others with greater ideas of how to secure Nigeria and Nigerians. These ones have tried, but they have not saved the nation. Their failure is robbing off on you and it is scoring your government very very low. Or is that you really don’t care what the world thinks about you? Think about the lives of the next victims of insurgency and banditry and do something sir and promptly too. It could be anybody next.
Let me however commend you for finally ordering the re-opening of closed land borders, even though the gains thereof are hardly visible. It may have swelled the revenue inflow for Customs, but sir, it really did not stop the inflow of small arms. For the sevneteen months of the closure, we did not witness less cases of violent crimes. Where did the arms and ammunition all come from?
The re-opening will not only promote inter-regional trade, it will also improve the economy of many Nigerians.
But Mr President sir, life is getting more brutish and nasty with the 14,8% inflation in the country. We hardly can see or even understand what the managers of the economy are doing to make life less burdensome. The culture of saving has been crumbled by the CBN. With banks now giving zero interest for savings or even on Treasury Bills or Fixed Deposits, who is still bothering about bank savings?
The socio-economic interventions by government are far too small and narrow to assuage the harsh and wide effects of the economic crunch Nigerians are facing.
The after-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the #EndSARS protest have jointly combined to further make life and living even more tortous for many Nigerians. Jobs have been lost, salaries have been cut, businesses have either shrunk or closed altogether; sources of income have also shrunk,purchasing power weakened, yet cost of living is even getting higher in the face of all these changes.
But sir, the above is the narrative of the poor and hapless masses. The people in government ,including you sir, do not go through what we are experiencing. And that is why it is needling us. They flaunt their wealth and comfort at us, to our pain. They still go in convoys of long motorcades, live large and spend recklessly, all at our collective expense.
The weakening of the Naira has not helped matters. We understand our foreign reserve is shrinking too.With less earning from oil, the US Dollars has become like gold.
Even the exorbitant cost of onions and tomatoes is blamed on the cost of dollars.
Mr President, you may not be an economist, but it is clear that the poor handling of the economy is making Nigerians to suffer. Already we have slipped into another recession, the second time under your government. The downside of these developments are wrecking our economy. You must intervene decisively and rescue the soul of the economy from the hands of these trial and error “experts”.
Mr President, even your much talked-about anti-corruption stance is also being tainted, with many cases of glaring heist among your appointees. It is no longer a question of Thou Shall Not Steal, it is now Thou shalt not be caught. It is tempting to say nothing has changed in terms of how public funds are being mismanaged and even outrightly stolen by top government officials. Mr President, there are many thieves in your cabinet and many more in the system. Open your eyes a little wider and you’d see them all.
On the political front, you have also not done well. You are to far from the centre. You are rather aloof and detached .
All the hue and cry on restructuring the polity has not received any comment from you.
You have been stuck in the Villa, as it were. You hardly meet Nigerians. That is why you do not know what Nigerians are going through. We are not sure if your advisers are mot misleading you with wrong information.
You do not undertake state visits. You do not entertain media chats. You do not get the benefit of having independent feedback. This style has not helped your public profile.
Your response level on most national issues is slow. Very slow. Sometimes you do not even respond at all.
Even in your own political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) you watch events unfold like an uninterested spectator, not like an iconic referee
Ever since you intervened last year in the crisis rocking the APC leading to the sack of Adams Oshiomhole, as National Chairman, we have not heard anything again from you in the management of the party. Recently the interim status of the national APC Chairman, Alhaji Mai Mala Buniwas extended by another six months.
With the 2023 race technically begun, there is no clear indication of where Mr President is standing .Sir, who would succeed you? Yes, you must ensure a level-playing field among prospective aspirants, but we cannot yet decode anything from your body language. It has not booted. Will it ever?
Finally, Mr President, you have a chance not only to redeem your image this coming year by becoming a listening President, but also reinforcing the confidence of your supporters. They have suffered huge humiliation in the hands of the many critics of your administration.
Sir, let that be your new year gift: that when we speak, you will listen. That your connect with the people will be reworked in the years ahead such that we can be sure that we have a president who knows us, hears us and likes us.
His Excellency, let me wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New year in advance.