An open letter to President Mohammadu Buhari, by Dele Aina
Our dearly beloved president, I hope this letter meets you well. As one of your ‘200 million children in Nigeria, I am compelled to write you this open letter as we celebrate our 62nd National Independence Anniversary.
For a fact, you are the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria today, and that makes you the ‘father’ over all Nigerians – home and abroad. So, I wouldn’t be wrong calling you “daddy”, daddy!?
Daddy, sometime in 2019 and 2021, you expressed concern about what historians would write about you and your administration. Sir, we need not wait for the historians and their history. I am deeply concerned about what the people, Nigerians, and non-Nigerians, are saying and writing about you now!
I know you are too busy to go online and read all the terrible things millions say about you daily, but do you ever read any of the top three Nigerian newspapers? Does your media crew hide these things from you? Do your special advisers tell you about the suffering, insecurity, apprehension, poverty, apathy, and general hopelessness in the land? Do they?
Daddy, sincerely speaking, 200 million Nigerians (minus the presidency, the lawmakers, and your other friends over there in Abuja) and the top three newspapers in Nigeria can’t be wrong O! Sir, you know that I’ll always tell you the truth, even when it’s hard to swallow, only that I’ll never join those ‘noisemakers’ online to lambast you. But daddy, you have not done well O! You have not done well at all, at all! That’s the truth! That’s history today!
However, you still have some seven months to do a lot of damage control, and possibly rewrite history between now and May 2023. Yes, sir, all hope is not lost for you! But, it will take a lot of courage, strong will, hard work, determination, and humility to make the necessary changes.
Too many bad people around you
And, I know that you have all these qualities, but you have surrounded yourself for far too long with too many bad people who have misguided and misdirected you over the last seven years. Sack them all! Do it now! Replace them with tested, result-oriented, and trustworthy men and women of proven integrity.
Nigerians with such esteemed qualities abound within and outside the country. If you call them, they’ll come to you. That’s where humility comes in: first, to accept that you and your team have not done well; and second, to ask for the help of those who know how to turn things around for you and the entire country.
It’s not so hard sir. You just need to get the right people in the right places, after you must have, as a matter of urgency, removed all the square pegs from their current round holes. Do it now! Just do it! I believe in you daddy!
When you have the right thinkers in place, right actions and transformations shall commence. First and foremost, charge them with the responsibility of restructuring Nigeria. Daddy! There are no two ways about it, Nigeria is too big and too multicultural to continue with this kind of ineffective and inefficient leadership system. It’s not your fault O!
Ah, no sir! We all know that you didn’t create this oppressive, retrogressive and divisive system, only that it has escalated astronomically under your regime. But, you can change it! You should change it! At least, set the machinery in motion as you prepare to exit the presidency, and you would have jumped to the cushioned side of history……a bit!
Do more to alleviate poverty; provide security; reopen and revamp our tertiary institutions (the entire education sector actually); encourage our doctors, lecturers, and other professionals to remain in Nigeria; truly fight corruption, and stand up for all Nigerians (one Nigeria), and the historians would have no choice but to change whatever they may have documented about you so far. These things are not rocket science, sir. You can still leave a good legacy. It is not too late! Make the next seven months count!
We had great expectations
‘Sai Baba’, as I wrap up my letter, let me remind you of the great expectations we had as the elections of 2015 drew near. Remember that the presidential election was initially scheduled for February of that year. O, the ingenuity of our campaign slogan for you – ‘Febuhari 2015’ – meaning, ‘We love Buhari.’ When the opposition became jittery, they changed the date (because they were in power), and moved it to March.
We simply came up with another brilliant slogan, ‘We March for Buhari!’ Eventually, (even though I didn’t vote at all that year because I was confused over who to choose), you beat them hands down, and their ‘leader’ was magnanimous enough to vacate office peacefully. What a good man. But we didn’t know it then.
Sir, since you became president, several Nigerians have lost their minds; countless more have lost their lives, needlessly; and much more have lost their jobs, businesses, properties, and other fortunes! Daddy, between 2015 and now, more Nigerians have relocated abroad than at any other time in our history.
Just visit any of the passport offices in Abuja, Lagos, Rivers, Oyo, or any other State, and see the sea of heads jostling for the traveling document. Everybody wants to leave Nigeria, including villagers who never thought of owning passports before.
Daddy, many of my friends are relocating abroad in their late forties and early fifties. Can you imagine? They are giving up careers and selling homes that have taken them upwards of twenty years to build, only to go and start afresh elsewhere. They tell me, “Anywhere but here!” It’s a serious matter, sir. It’s that bad!
Our people have migrated
Today, there are communities in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, where you would think you are still in Nigeria because of the myriads of our nationals who now live there. Daddy, your children are wilfully ‘selling’ themselves into another round of slavery in the Western world.
They are selling their properties and emptying their bank accounts at home just so they can ‘escape’ to Europe and America. Sir, something is fundamentally wrong when your own children feel safer outside their father’s house than inside. Nigeria has become increasingly unlivable in the last seven years sir! That’s the truth! That’s history today!
I have said enough sir. I know that a lot of people reading this will be laughing and will consider this exercise a huge waste of my own time for thinking I could possibly reason with you to rethink, reconsider and reroute. They say you are a crayfish that can no longer be bent, that you are irresponsive and irredeemable, that your ship has since sailed and sunk, that you are the biggest mistake Nigerians ever made, that your administration is the bloodiest and biggest failure (disappointment) of all time, etc.
But daddy, I know you. I know you can do better than this. Please, let’s prove them wrong. Let’s return Nigeria to the prosperous days of the regional system. Let the restructuring, repositioning and reconstruction begin now. You may have started poorly and run badly, but you can still finish well. You can!
You still have the office and the power, and you have seven more months. You can do it, daddy. Yes, you can! I believe in you.
Daddy, I wish you and all Nigerians a glorious 62nd Independence Anniversary celebration. May this independence day anniversary mark the beginning of refreshing, true unity, brotherly kindness, peace, joy, progress, prosperity, and sincere patriotism in Nigeria. It’s all in your hands’ sir. Do the right thing. Do it now!
So help us, God. Amen!