Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, compliments of the season. I wish that I can have the privilege like my great friend the Minister of Transport to put a word in your ear now and again but it is already well established that wishes are not horses. Besides, my friend, your campaign director-general sacrificed almost everything within his reach for your victory. His effort was supet-human. No one should begrudge him his current position of influence. Indeed, Rivers State deserves a special place in your heart.
I wish to draw your attention to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, your most important political ally, that is, if he is not one of the issues presently dominating your meditation. It would really save you a lot of head-ache, if you can find a grand national assignment to challenge his prodigious capacity for strategic movement. Ofcourse, you conceded to him the honor of picking your vice-president but it was more of a strategic necessity than an act of generosity. It is not fair that your partner in the scheme which made John Odigie Oyegun chairman of the APC should now suffer humiliation due to some rough play kick-started by Oyegun and culminating in the victory of the learned Aketi in Ondo. I must stste here that I have never spoken to Mr. Bola Tinubu.
You may have been accused of many things in history but no one has ever accused you of ingratitude. Your capacity for integrity has been one of the reasons put forward by Bola Tinubu, hi self for selling your candidacy to Western Nigeria. It was therefore a relief, in the aftermath of the Ondo election to hear Mallam Shehu Garba articulate your regard for Tinubu. ‘President Buhari regards Tinubu as a priceless political asset to the party whose immeasurable contributions to the development and progress of the ruling party are known to all,’ he said.
Most Nigerians know that if Bola Tinubu had not agreed to a political alliance with you, you would not be President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria today. Why then is there the sense right now that Bola Tinubu might have made a grave error when he decided, along with his political lieutenants to collapse the ruling party in Western NigeriA into the APC whose ultimate objective in 2015 despite the challenge of Atiku Abubakar was to realise your presidency. It can not ultimately augur well for your reputation if the most distinguished Yoruba political leader of today is humiliated in the APC for his epoch-making decision to back you for a final presidential onslaught after you had been broken down by three unprecedented, life sapping, herculean attempts at becoming president. It took Tinubu, Western Nigeria and the rebel PDP Governors to break Jonathan. Never forget it, sir.
Never forget sir that many forgave that you had been a military dictator. We forgot Decree Four. We forgot many things. The first and only time ever that soldiers came to search my father’s house was after you overthrew the Second Republic. It was an abomination. Your integrity and degree of incorruptibility tripled would never measure up to my father’s despite the fact that you were and remain the general of the war against corruption. When you went to Redemption Camp and parleyed with bishops, we swore that you had been transformed above religious bigotry. We ignored your civil war records and declared you above etnnic sentiments. We were sure that by crushing corruption, you would raise Nigeria to unprecedented prosperity and a better life. When a friend of yours from Rivers State allegedly introduced to you by your foremost nephew boasted that you would bring down the pump price of gasoline to forty naira per liter, we did not think that he was being outrageous, nor did we scorn the claim that you would haul up the naira to the value of the dollar, one for one. We had such high expectations and it has been most painful to see these expectations shattered one by one against the hard rock of your governance. Things are so tough for the average Nigerian. It is an irony that it should be so under the leader renowned to be full of compassion for the poor, the talakawa.
With all due respect Mr. President you have disappointed a lot of Nigerians since you took office on May 29, 2015. You have thoroughly impressed it upon Ibos that there is no love lost between them and yourself. You have not set foot in Iboland since you became their president. You are now ready, it would seem to build a thousand kilometer pipe-line from Kaduna to Niger Republic; this would be sucking crude oil from a country that can not match the production quota from River, Delta, Bayelsa or Akwa Ibom states. Apparently, spending four billion dollars of Niger Delta oil money on this is more convenient to you than reaching an understanding with Niger Delta militants. Umaru Yaradu did it with dialogue. Why can’t PMB?
You enraged southerners by your silence in the face of herdsmen attacks on innocent villages. And as southern Nigerian people were trying to contain their fury, your administration started pushing the idea of turning their farmlands into grazing reserve, haba!. It is difficult to accept that you did not realise that it was an outrage, fraught with suspicions and capable of turning the fields of southern Nigeria into killing fields. Sometimes, it is not just enough to mean well. These decisions and others have raised the suspicion that you are teleguided by a mafia. It has been reassuring to hear you assure Nigerians that the buck ends on your table.
Mr. President, you need to do more. Your administration lacks federal character. Your integrity is not enough. Sections of Nigeria who feel marginalised, should have their fears addressed. It would also seem that the war against corruption has failed in the police force. The security forces have become less couteous, more abusive of people’s human rights; we are as scared as ever and the anti-graft war has been floundering in the face of pedestrian investigation and incompetent prosecution.
The remainder of the Buhari administration must rise or fall on your economic management. Nigerians are already disappointed with your economic team. The economy is not just in recession but full of terror for Nigerians.
It is so bad that even former heads of state are being owed. There are not many states that can claim not to be owing their civil service and teachers in arrears. How will pensioners and workers being owed at this time not be groaning in pain and discomfort in the christmas season. Your popularity rating has crashed badly. The APC won in Edo because of the exertions of Adams Oshomole and in Ondo because the PDP was in court and disarray. Most Nigerians apart from APC stalwarts are not happy with your performance. The economy is the overwhelming consideration and public confidence has severely dwindled on the your ability to turn around this Nigerian situation. Just as it is now believed that you are eyeing a second term; it is also anticipated that failing to turn around the economic situation within the next year and a half, there will be a stiff challenge to the your second term design.
For now it is in the interest of all Nigerians that you succeed to turn around the economy. Economic pain is not selective though the poor are the most endangered. Therefore, one hopes that you may learn something useful from this commentary. I wish you sir and all Nigerians a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
C.c: Mallam Shehu Garba
Media Assistant to Mr. President.