AN OPEN-SECRET LETTER TO GENERAL BUHARI, APC
I want to start this special letter which is open on one part and secret on the other part by explaining the inherent oxymoron. The voting pattern in Nigeria today is open secret. That is why I am writing to our President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, and the now crowned largest political party in Africa, the All Progressives Party (APC), with this open secret method. During the just concluded general elections that have, for the first time in the last few decades in Nigeria, represented the minds and voices of the majority of Nigerians, most Nigerians changed the voting pattern to open-open balloting. This was occasioned by the confidence the Nigerian populace had developed in the electoral process – a process that that had signaled the weakening of electoral frauds and manipulations.
The electorate overcame the fear of the consequences of openly casting their votes and even announcing their choice candidates before other members of the electorate. It was shocking to hear that during the 28th March presidential polls many Nigerians collected or were forced to collect money from agents of some political parties, around the pooling units as against the electoral procedures, voted for their Presidential choice and openly tore the money after voting in the presence of the bribe givers. What a new trend in our democracy!
The open part of my letter, thus, is that I want to most sincerely congratulate General Muhammadu Buhari four times for his victory in the last four presidential elections. Three times were his victories in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 elections which he, as a patriot and patient servant of God and humanity and for the sake of Nigeria and the citizenry, allowed the riggers to have their ways. He did not contest the 1999 elections so it is not in focus. We can recall that the Supreme Court gave a minority judgment after the 2007 presidential polls were massively rigged in favour of the ruling party.
The fourth congratulation is for the 2015 elections which saw rigging reduced to the barest minimum and his emergence as clear evidence that his presidency and leadership of the nation had been long awaited. So I say congratulations to GMB for the victory of Nigerians at the polls and for the political platform APC whose brooms have, according to military tactical maneuvers, reorganized themselves from merger of some most focused political parties in Nigeria, to sweep corruption and corrupt leaders off the nation's governance. I congratulate the Vice-President elect, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the chairman of the party, John Oyegun, the director general of GMB campaign organization, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the untiring but most brilliant party spokesman of our time, Alhaji Lai Muhammad and all other APC stalwarts who have put in their best in ensuring that the peoples' needed President, GMB, was triumphant in the March 28 polls. My special congrats go to the intelligent, ebullient and bulldozing force of the party, Asiwoji Bola Ahmad Tinubu who I present the award of the best Nigerian mathematician – Professor Chike Obi – for the 2015 general elections. If Rtd. General Ibrahim Gbadamasi Babangida was the Maradona of the Military era, Bola Tinubu is the Pele of Nigerian politics of today. I also hail former President Olusegun Obasanjo who will never compromise anything for the unity of Nigeria.
I wish also congratulate my fellow Nigerians for ensuring that their will manifested this time. It was not a do or dieaffair as it used to be before but a vote and live to ensure that your vote counts. I commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the “jegatic” leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega for the innovations in the electoral system including the introduction of the Personal Voter's Card (PVC) and card readers machines (CRM) which have tracked down electoral malpractices to a very large extent. How great and humble Jega has proved the Nigerian professors despite the eyesore displayed by one or two Professors during the collation of the presidential polls results at the International Conference Center in Abuja. Nigeria needs the “jegalization” of most of the government systems.
The educational system should be “jegalized” by appointing those uncommon professors who were returning officers at the 2015 Presidential elections (exception of one or two) to man the educational sector as Ministers or commissioners in the educational sector. The oil and gas as well as the solid mineral sectors should be “jegalized” by the use of patriotic Nigerian engineers and implementation of the local content programme. The power sector demands 'jegalization” to the fullest. I suggest that the incoming government should constitute a Federal Government Advisory Council (FEGAC) or Federal Government Think-Tank Council (FEGTANK) led by Professor Attahiru Jega. The FEGTANK should be responsible for mapping out programmes for government to implement. The Council should tackle the rots in all the sectors one by one and propose to government the practical ways to solve them.
I want to commend the outgoing President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for creating the environment which saw the demise of the one-time overbearing party in Africa, the Peoples Democratic Party which many Nigerians believed was actually a peoples deceiving party due to the rots recently exposed and its inability to deliver Nigeria. President Jonathan made it possible for states like Bauchi, Kano and a very lot more to detest PDP and welcome APC. However, he made it more possible for the party to fail by engaging the services of failed politicians who spoke carelessly before and throughout the electioneering stages. Needless mentioning names but the President-Elect and APC can learn big lessons from these episodes.
The governorship and state assembly elections on 11th April, 2015 have exposed the uncommon love Nigerians have shown for General Muhammadu Buhari and the APC. During the 28th March President polls, Nigerians defiled rain and heat of the sun, intimidation in some quarters, shortcomings from INEC in terms of late arrival of electoral materials, bamboozling by agents of parties and frustration as tactics to disenfranchise them. They stood very long in queues, voted wisely in turns and waited patiently even in the nights until their votes were counted and announced. But there were reported cases of low turnout of voters across the nation for the state/assembly elections, meaning that Nigerians were more keen in the victory of GMB and in uprooting the PDP at the national level.
The secret parts of my letter are these; it is the assertion of one of the prominent sons of Nigeria Sir Ahmadu Bello that conscience is a wound that only the truth can heal. Therefore the consciences of Nigerians had been under harm for many years and the truth/reality of 2015 general elections has come to heal them. How herculean this task of healing the wounds of Nigerians can be! I can define Nigerians as people who love good but are most impatient to actualize the good they love and yearn for. They have very fantastic laws but are either not upright or rigid in enforcing the laws of their land especially as the laws relate to the political class. So I will number my secret points for our President-Elect.
First, GMB is tested and trusted, no doubt. He is the antithesis of graft/economic indiscipline, nepotism, tribalism, religious bigot, social disorder, name them. But he is not going to be the only person to govern Nigeria during his first tenure of four years. His rigidity in the fight against corruption must not be compromised. It is good news to Nigerians that while the former government throughout its years could not identify what corruption was, not to talk of fighting it, GMB has already drawn a battle line for it and has promised to conquer it or at least reduce it to the barest minimum. And since it has been the bane of Nigeria's development, the expectations that Nigeria will witness tremendous physical transformation, not paper transformational agenda, are high. The sayings that those living in glass house should not throw stones and that those who seek equity must come with clean hands have played Nigerian fortune a great deal. It has been proved that our leaders lived in glass houses, in the world of fantasy and had soiled their hands in the murky soil of vintage Nigerian politics. That is why corruption had been seen or made by them a monster that could not be practically killed. GMB, we know you as a member of a different category of the Nigerian political class. We know you as a man of his words. There is no need checking the pages of your leadership in the past.
Second, GMB has displayed his ability to work with non-Muslims, be they Christians or free thinkers. But I feel obliged to warn against compromising religious ethics for mere worldly chase. Those bad things that are prohibited by the Bible and the Qur'an should remain prohibited and those good things enjoined by the Holy Books of God should be upheld, propagated and encouraged. Gay marriage, war against Muslims and Christians must not be allowed in any form and by any group within or from outside the shores of Nigeria. Muslims and Christians should live freely and associate freely wherever in Nigeria. The fight against terrorism must not be the fight against Islam and Muslims. This was a very dangerous weapon the PDP mis-thought to use against you during the campaigns. But full-time patriotic Christians in APC, Vice President-Elect Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Governor Rochas Okorocha, Governor Chibuike Amaechi, amongst others including GMB himself, proved the PDP very wrong.
Third, GMB's stringency on indiscipline. The war against indiscipline (WAI) is still very relevant to our society of today. Road accidents are still rampant because people over speed, drink, smoke receive/make calls while driving, disobey traffic rule even inside the cities. Police, road safety, VIO and even the army are collecting money from road users as bribes. Contracts are inflated and the jobs are not done. Roads like Abuja-Lokoja, East-West Road of the Niger Delta to mention few have been under construction since the era of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. People litter the streets with waste. Prostitution, child trafficking and abuse, violence against women, sexual harassment and indecency are in the increase. Girls/women move in the streets naked. Life is horrific for true patriots who strive to earn lawful livelihoods.
Fourth, GMB's inflexibility on war against nepotism, tribalism religious bigotry. This is an area GMB has shown keen interest in overcoming. Nigeria is made up of over 350 ethnic groups who have great men and women that can contribute meaningfully to progress of the country. Nigeria has ethnic minorities who have felt underdeveloped or marginalized. Nigeria has religious minorities who have felt underdeveloped or marginalized. They should be carried along in the GMB's government. God should not be undermined or questioned for creaking them in Nigeria.
Fifth and final, GMB's predilection for all-inclusive-government. That is to say that GMB should also appoint minority ethnic groups, minority religious group and minority political in his government. Examples of very clear minorities are:
- a)All other ethnic groups other than Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo
- b)Minority Muslims of South East and South South
- c)Minority Christians of Northern Nigeria
- d)Political parties other than APC, PDP, Accord, Labour, among others
There are enough positions where these minorities can be fixed to feeling the sense of belonging to Nigeria. Such positions are Ministers, chairmen/director general/commissioners and secretaries in Federal Government agencies and parastatals, Senior Special Advisers (SSAs) to Mr. President and the Vice President, ambassadors, amongst others. GMB has done it before. He needs the services of Nigerian patriots, not Nigerian full-time politicians to push Nigeria forward. He should for once use the youths to transform this country. Let GMB not recycle those politicians who have been on the corridor of power since Nigeria's independence and who would continue to prescribe same deadly pills for Nigeria's ailments. He should be mindful of the politicians jumping into APC recently. These are full-time politicians who have nothing to offer Nigeria. As a good captain, a good pilot and a good leader, Nigerians expect so much from GMB's leadership.
Written by Muhammad Ajah, a journalist and writer and an advocate of democracy and the rule of law. [email protected], 08055247005