Merry Christmas Mr. President
Dear Mr. President, It is with a heavy heart that I write to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. There is nothing whatsoever worth celebrating about the Nigerian state of affairs.
The last time I wrote to you was after your inauguration as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2015. Since then, I’ve observed with total disgust at how far we’ve drifted as a nation under your watch.
When Nigerians celebrated Christmas in 2015, it was amidst fuel scarcity & rising cost of foodstuff. We complained but were told it was too early to judge your administration having just returned from your ‘honeymoon’ as described by Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu but after about Nineteen (19) months in office, things have taken a turn for the worst.
Some have postulated that you’re oblivious of some of the actions & events of your administration, and that there’s conspiracy of some sort by a cabal within your administration to make you a laughing stock & to see you fail but a closer view of your tenure as Head of State between 1983-85, throws up so many similarities with your present tenure as President. Some of the highlights of your tenure as Head of State included illegal arrests & detentions, media trial on corruption, massive job losses, collapse of the economy, lack of economic policy & direction, loan acquisition from foreign agencies, Islamic leaning & ethnic division, loss in value of our currency (the naira), untold hardship on the citizenry and queuing up for essential commodities. The only difference between your tenure as Head of State & as President, is your ouster from office, which has or will not happen. History is repeating itself.
This holiday season in particular has been hell for most Nigerians. From the high cost of food stuff to the non-availability of funds at various ATM’s, the story has been that of doom & gloom.
Nigerians have never been as divided as a people under any President or Head of State in our history. You refused to attend the coronation ceremonies of the Ooni of Ife & the Oba of Benin (both in the South of Nigeria) but attended the Tenth (10th) Anniversary of the Sultan of Sokoto. Nigerians have watched with amazement, the imprisonment of the leader of the IPOB & the killing of their members while you negotiate with Boko Haram & treat the murderous Fulani Herdsmen with kid gloves.
While Nigerians acknowledge their religious & ethnic differences, we have always lived together as one & tolerated each other while strengthening our unity in the bond of faith in our fatherland as one entity.
Two major issues happened this Christmas that has further fuelled the ethnic division among us and are capable of inflicting more hatred & bloodshed if not checked immediately.
First is the Genocide going on in Southern Kaduna that has left hundreds of people dead & many others injured. The other is the military occupation of the South East of Nigeria by soldiers. One cannot but wonder why the Nigerian Army would ignore the Genocide taking place in Southern Kaduna where innocent Nigerians are being slaughtered daily but chose to deploy soldiers & custom officials to harass & intimidate Igbos returning home for Christmas.
In the last few months under your watch, the Nigerian Military has launched Operations ‘Crocodile Smile, Python Dance & Show of Force’ all within the Southern part of Nigeria that is not witnessing any form of terrorist attack while Southern Kaduna and the Middlebelt boils continually with activities of Fulani Herdsmen which goes unchecked.
Similar to the lopsided war on terror is your war on corruption which has proved to be selective as only members of the ‘opposition’ seem to be corrupt.
It will be recalled that your Chief Of Staff was engulfed in a N500m bribery scandal with MTN Communications while negotiating a soft landing for them with the NCC. The MTN staff said to have been involved in that bribery scandal has since been sacked but your Chief Of Staff remains in office.
Your Minister of Transport (who many believe was a major financier of your campaign) was indicted by a judicial panel of Inquiry in Rivers State and was mentioned as the arrowhead in the harassment, intimidation & alleged bribery of Supreme Court Justices who have been forced to step down from office and arraigned for corruption. The same Minister of Transport was indicted in violent activities that characterized the Rivers State rerun exercisewhere electoral officers were harassed & intimidated by police officers from SRS as well as soldiers. Your Minister of Transport remains in office till date
Your SGF was recently indicted for diverting about N2.5b meant for IDP’s and another N270m that was said to have been used to clear grass. He remain in office
Your Chairman of the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was indicted for alleged corrupt practices & denied confirmation by the Nigerian Senate. He remains in office and carries on as if the Nigerian State will collapse if he’s not the EFCC Chairman. He remains in office
Other cases abound that involve some other ministers in your cabinet as well as Presidential aides.
These men all remain in office while the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Col. SamboDasuki (Rtd) has been in detention for more than a year on allegations of corruption.
The recent statement by the Minister of Finance on a reward system for whistle-blowers is in itself, a mockery of the anti-corruption war.
It will be recalled that under the last administration of President GoodluckEbele Jonathan GCFR, four (4) serving Ministers were sacked from office on corruption allegations while one other resigned based on ‘conflict of interest’ on a government bidding process.
Suffice it to say sir that the goodwill that brought you to office has fast waned. Your ‘body language’ can no longer stop policemen from demanding bribes at checkpoints. You may have been better off remaining the ‘Best President Nigeria Never Had’ instead of becoming the ‘Worst President Nigeria Ever Had’. But all hope is not lost. There are still about thirty (30) months left with which you can redeem your image.
Dear Mr. President,
You met a Budget on ground on resumption of office in 2015. In 2016 you presented a Budget of N6trillion & got approval for it. You also got an extra budgetary approval some weeks ago but Nigerians are yet to see any tangible evidence of money spent.
Under your watch, inflation rate stood at double digits in the 3rd Quarter of 2016 with Naira exchanging at almost 500/1$. The unemployment rate stood at 13/9%. You promised to create three (3) million jobs per year as one of your campaign promises & pay the unemployed a certain wage but Over four (4) million people have lost their jobs in the organized private sector since you assumed office. Nigeria is now officially in a recession, and if not checked, will lead to depression.
It is unimaginable what would have happened if you & your team were at the helm of affairs during the Global Recession in the 80’s.
Dear Mr. President,
Nigerians are dying. We are not smiling at all. With just a few days to 2017, Nigerians wonder what the future holds for them, especially after one of your media aides stated in November that there will be famine in January.
During your campaign in 2015, you said and I quote ‘If anything goes wrong, I will take responsibility, and I will fix it’. So much has gone wrong under your watch & we expect nothing less from you. FIX THEM.
In a lighter mood Mr. President, as most football clubs get ready to take advantage of the January transfer window to inject new blood & strengthen the performance of their teams, I urge you to take a cue from them. You cannot continue doing the same thing & expect a different result. Be the man that Nigerians think you are. Re-jig your cabinet for optimal performance. I at the end you fail, Nigerians will remember that at least you tried.
God bless Nigeria
I am @paulutho