PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, RIP
Dear President Jonathan: I, for one, don't wish you dead. But from the reprisals Governor Fayose's “death wish” advertorial procreated, one thing is crescent clear: A pint of our one-hundred-and-seventy-something countrymen do. For very obvious reasons, might I add.
Being your kith and kin, I naturally share in your sorrows. I'm heavily saddened Nigeria turned out to be a farce under your reign. I'm deeply pained corruption not only developed a life of its own under your sentry, it assumed a new meaning, at a greater depth.
It is rather unfortunate that too many a people have genuine grievances, animosities, and hence, issues to join with you. But that is all. The fact that those whose 'good days' your inactions and haughty decisions have put in the past tense; descents of those your hasty decisions denied a final moment of endearment, and a significant many of Nigerians have bided you a safe return to heaven, hell, or wherever, is your own cup of kunu – a locally made Nigerian drink. As humans, more often than not, we get served what we deserve.
Mr. President Sir, it is widely speculated that you are the most criticized president in Nigeria's history. I have also heard arguments of serving you as Late President Musa Yaradua's running mate in the 2007 elections being the greatest tragedy that have befallen the Nigerian state, second only to the civil war, that is. Well, I'm in no place to adjudge it a fact, statement or conjecture. But everyone, your very self, and even those with a copious telemetry for sycophancy would agree that the right running mate would have stayed true to his/her electoral promises, make Nigeria better, I mean not only on paper, and abated or better managed the unending spate of killings in Baga, Monguno, Bama, Yobe, Konduga, Biu and other insurgents encroached areas.
More so, if that choice was right, Nigerians would have been spared the luxury of shopping for aspirin due to an obligate, bad-leadership induced headache. The NIS recruitment tragedy wouldn't have occurred, unemployment wouldn't have been this rife, and Nigerians wouldn't have been left to deal with such a lengthy menu of failed promises; an uncompleted second River Niger bridge, failing to explore the coal deposits in Benue and Kogi, failing to reduce the usage of generator sets to less than twice, weekly, failing to construct 2 world scale petrochemical plants, 2 fertilizer plants, and 2 fertilizer blending plants, failing to revamp mining activities in Jos, Plateau, failing to fight corruption, regardless of whose ox would be gored, and failing to make solid mineral a key revenue source, just to mention a selected few.
From the foregoing, your undoing – which in a sense makes opposition parties more tinselly to the electorate – one is safe in asserting that your ascension to the seat of our nation's helmsman has meant everything but success to the Nigerian state, and our reality attests to it.
Your Excellency Sir, the Nigeria you inherited never used to be lyric-worthy in the rue songs of American pop sensations. President Olusegun Obasanjo left USD43 billion in our external reserves before leaving office in 2007, after writing off our external debt with a whooping sum of USD12 billion. But today, despite the oil boom we experienced before now, our reserves have without fail, experienced a steady and continuous hemorrhage. Barring that, according to our National Bureau of Statistics, in 2011, our poverty level reached its all time high of 71% – which amounts to about 112 million poverty stricken Nigerians. Is this what the transformation you so much espouse is all about?
To add salt to injury, our territorial integrity has never been this compromised. Pensioners, just like our old old men and women, still stand in those horribly long and dehumanizing queues. They still get exposed to unholy elements in the winter of their lives marathon. Some of them even have to make very weighty decisions, as whether to spend their last penny on rent or medications. Well, if you ask me, neither is palatable. Yes, we are inured to strikes. And you've done very well in making sure that almost all instruments of government from ASUU to NUT, ASUP to RATTAWU, JOHESU to JUSUN, NMA, COEASU, and you just name it, have gone on this obligatory hiatus.
The sad reality that university students had to sit at home for half a year, while their polytechnic and college of education counterparts did theirs for almost one year, under the administration of their very own – a hitherto university don, bemused a great many of us. It made many argue that your Ph.D. can't be a terminal research degree. A fellow was so certain of this impossibility that he swore with his life that it must either connote “Port Harcourt Diploma” or “Power Holding Degree.” Another very interesting writer went further to say that until he sees your dissertation, your PhD standing and profile is just another exaggerated claim.
We understand that we aren't the only country with challenges, and our challenges aren't peculiar. Just like our dear, dear Nigeria, in our private lives, we experience challenges. And in as much as we wish our woes death, we know that they wouldn't die a natural death. Hence, the need to look inwards, awaken the giant within us and doggedly fight them to decimation. On the national front however, a central steward: A “hero” or “shero” who'd fly us out of this age long morass, to a place in the sun greater than we've ever been.
Our nation's locomotive do not need a driver who'd insult the dead by dancing “Sekem” or was it “Shoki,” some minutes after we were sentenced to yet another year time of grief. Neither do we need a C-in-C who'd grant pardon to a convicted looter, trade places with a thesaurus – by telling us the synonyms and antonyms of “corruption” – excellently fail in redeeming his campaign promises with a demeanor and presumptuousness that makes average Nigerians mistake reneging as one of his statutory duties. Or, flaunt our bragging rights as home to the highest number of private jet owners in Africa.
Nigerians are not persnickety. If there is improvement in the power sector, everybody, even your critics, will praise you for it. If you haven't handled the pensions scam, Armored Personnel Carriers incident of Stella Oduah, the ridiculously pathetic sums our Minister of Petroleum Resources spends, monthly, on private jet maintenance, and other corruption cases with kid gloves, you would have earned yourself some cheap points for it. The railway you revived, aren't your adversaries commending you for it? The Ebola infections you curbed, are accolades still not pouring in for it? What of the Polio infections you're on the verge of eradicating and the life expectancy you've upped? These achievements speaks for themselves!
We don't want you to be a superman, no. We don't want you to be a pagan Ijaw wizard who'd fix our roads, economy, and all other purulent mass of sores with a single wave of his wand, no. We don't expect you to “abracadabra style” block the gaping hole through which our fast dwindling petrodollars disappear into perpetual oblivion. We understand the fact that as humans there is a limit to what we can do. We acknowledge you analytic and oratory limitations. We wish you peace, good luck, and everything you wish yourself. Sir, please, don't mistake us for Oliver Twists. All we want is a heroic representation, a better Nigeria chiseled and forged, if by nothing, your nondescript and anonymous tortured past. Mr. President, Realize It Please(RIP).
Written by Joel Pereyi, a Freelance Writer.
Email: [email protected]