Mr President-Elect: Time To Right The Old Wrongs
Your Excellency,many people in my generation were either not born or too tender when you ruled the country in the 80's .Our parents told us and we equally read for ourselves of the different violations of Human rights that took place when you superintended over the affairs of our dear nation. During one of your campaigns for the just concluded presidential election ,you acknowledged that, by telling us that we should not judge you by what transpired during the era of military junta.
My generation never witnessed the controversial decrees number two and four. Many writers opined that,' they are better imagined than experienced. ' They created a gory picture of those decrees . We heard and read that the decree number four empowered your government to arrest any journalist that published any article/news against your government whether the contents of the news/article were true or not.
That means during your era as a military head of state,the publication of the truth was a punishable offence unless the truth favoured your government . In view of this,many innocent journalists were jailed during your administration as the military head of state. However,many fearful journalists then had to comply with the business of the day,making independent reportage of government events and activities an extended part of the lopsided activities of federal ministry of information .
The recent order to African Independent Television (AIT) not to cover your events ,is sending a wrong signal to the public. My grandmother always tells me that somebody that was once bitten by a snake always fears the earthworm. The people that experienced your decree number four are currently smelling a rat . They are at the verge of concluding that though a snake may change its colour but the character remains intrinsic. Meanwhile,your aides have tried to justify that under the guise of ,' Ethics and Standards.' My beloved grandmother always tells me that lies are better told in English language because telling lies is alien to our culture. This is why when our military,before the purchase of the state-of-the-art weapons by the federal government, ran away from the Boko Haram terrorists in one of their operations,the military then did not want to tell us that they met a superior 'fire' from the terrorists hence they decided to use English language to confuse and convince us under the guise of tactical withdrawal and manoeuvring .
No matter the grammar used to justify your recent action of barring AIT from covering your events,every Nigerian is aware that it is not unconnected with the hate campaign aired in their different stations. I am aware that many of the politicians around you must have given you a long list of names of Nigerians and organisations( which AIT ,expectedly is integral part of) that must be punished when you assume office as number one citizen. I want to remind you of the life of Nelson Mandela, the whole world celebrated him when he died not because he spent 27 years in prison or that he was determined in his struggle to liberate his people from the shackles of apartheid government but because when he finally became the president of his country,he never pursued any political vendetta,as a father he forgave everybody .Above all, he refused to go for a second term even when he was sure of winning with a very wide margin. That is incredible for an African president!
Your Excellency,don't you think that many Nigerians will love you the more when you ignore those people and organisations that were involved in hate campaign against your candidacy during the just concluded presidential campaign ? I want to quickly remind you that no past leader in our country who did not mean well for the country but the problems for each administration were mainly caused by those around the leaders. This made General Ibrahim Babangida once to complain that,' those that caused the annulment of the June 23,1993 presidential election are still in the government of the day.' Yes,General Babangida's observation was( and is still) correct but it was in his administration that the event took place hence he must be held responsible for that hence Nigerians need not to call the names of those that convince Babagida to annul the election that was adjudged the freest,fairest and most credible in Nigerian electoral history by international observers . Those in the corridors of power during IBB era have deserted him now and as political 'prostitutes' are already singing praises for the current government in power.
The youths that voted you in, did not do so for you to start pursuing political vendetta , they want your administration to provide jobs for them,construct new roads for them while rehabilitating the ones in deplorable states,fight the current insurgency and to eradicate all forms of corruption in the ministry of power and other aspects of our civil service.
(To be continued).
Dr Paul John