I am writing this letter during one of your several medical trips abroad. I have lost counts of your medical trips overseas in twenty months of taking office, because, previously, some of your official journeys were converted to medical circuits. However, in all sincerity, sir, I wish you a quick recovery, and a safe trip back home, timeously.
My worry, just like every suffering and well-intentioned citizens, if truly, we are citizens and not subjects, is that this country has sunk into dystopia, and you know it. Evidently, even careless optimists, at present, have nowhere to anchor their confidence. I am also aware that the insincere tiniest minority, which is exactly where you belong, that sits atop the wealth and power of this nation is still orating a message of hope to the downtrodden people without a clear-cut plan and work.
A short trip down the path of history, quickly conjures up the picture of a young, successful coup plotter, you who trod across the nation, tortured, and arbitrarily jailed and in many instances, liquidated perceived enemies. You did not fail to pulverize the poor through the disdain and ignorance with which you treated Nigeria’s economy, 32 years ago. In a brutal reenactment of history, Nigerians today, in the most agonising manner, are whirling around and around hardships, because of your malicious handling of affairs, once again.
Out of that transient, totalitarian, and blood-stained regime, you managed to build a controversial personality brand equity. Some believed your military government meant well but was cut short by Ibrahim Babangida and his gang who needed to protect and perpetuate their filthy cabal. Others, including I, thought and still think that you rode on the rubble of violated human rights and the unassuming diligence of your deputy, late Tunde Idiagbon to pocket the conflicting honour of an anti-corruption Titan.
Fast-forward to 2015, after you had given up every hope of ruling Nigeria but was egged-on by some cabal who had their own game plan. Your horrendous record of tyranny, vindictiveness, human rights abuses and fanatical religious set of mind, was unearthed. To the former ruling party, PDP, which raped this country for sixteen painful years, your brutal record was a campaign weapon. But to a few historically conscious folks including I, your second coming was a bad dream that shouldn’t have repeated itself, even in the face of a very disastrous choice.
The APC amalgam saw all the loopholes in the PDP government and even deployed the press and social media to blow things out of proportion. Do not forget, sir, that APC is a veritable motley of former PDP defectors. To successfully reposition you in the mind of the electorate, they hired some smooth image enhancement agency. Professionally, they deceptively framed your image and character in a penitent portrait, and deceived Nigerians. That singular political gambit has turned to an absurd and horrifying drama, inexorably driving the country to its nadir of despair in the last twenty months.
They went as far as portraying you as an ascetic. But 95 percent of what the purchasable Nigeria press including your rabble-rousing social media combatants fed the electorate was a hopeless deceit. You were perfectly okay with all that, sir. Simply because you wanted power, by all means, for exactly the mess you and your band are making of this country today. Not that everyone fell for their scam but you know the saying that falsehood flies and truth comes limping after it.
You lied that you borrowed money to buy your presidential nomination form. You lied about your assets and overall financial state. It was all revealed when you managed to declare some assets after taking office, that you own properties in choice locations in Nigeria and abroad. Some of those cheap lies practically worked in your favour because many Nigerians did not know what you did with your time for over 30 years of power withdrawal. But my deduction from your responses to events and places, in the last twenty months, (e.g when you referred to The Republic of Germany as West Germany among other gaffes) is that you spent more time with your cattle and with your clans-men than the contemporary world. Your utterances, sir, during and after your crash at the Presidential polls in 2007 and 2011, smelt of a crestfallen personality who suffered from power addiction disorder.
You presented yourself as a man seeking power in order to rupture Nigeria’s sleazy past. Not only that, your image makers succeeded in reforging you as a bloke who had always kept a distance from the rotten Nigerian ruling class, known for its lack of vision, its opportunism, its infatuation with petrodollars and rent-seeking. The gravest threat to Nigeria’s future is not just malfeasance but the “greedy appetites” of Nigeria’s opportunistic ruling class and its racketeer mentality.
You never disguised, in public, your disgust for corruption and corrupt individuals. In fact, when your despotic and narrow-minded past almost ruined your chances during the campaign, it was your hyped dislike and zero tolerance for corruption that saved your day. Aside from the fact that your anti-corruption fight is one-sided, no single case has been successfully prosecuted in twenty months. Your government seems to condone questionable characters of all hues. You keep telling the world that every Nigerian, excluding you, is corrupt yet you are most at ease with alleged sordid characters surrounding you as cabinet members. You sleep and wake, wine and dine with corruption and yet, pummel a clenched fist in demonstration to deal with corruption. What a farce, Mr Predident?
As a president, I must say, managing the gizmo called Nigeria, a venal creation of vulturous colonial Britain is no easy task. However, using the corruption of past governments as a smokescreen for failure and further corruption is more vicious than any alleged sins of the past.
Admittedly, the country was not in the best of shapes when you took the reigns of leadership twenty months ago. But your feckless handling of government affairs at all levels, has been tragic, to say the least.
In all fairness, the world economy has not shown a clean bill of health since 2013. But with cautious governments’ management, clear policy direction, and a command over situation, nations including developing, oil-dependent ones have been able to buffer the impact of global economic downturn on their citizens.
However, Nigeria’s case rapidly worsens under your watch. Prices of everything from motor spirit to food stuff have risen between 120 to 350 percent, and are still rising, since you took office. The nation’s economy hit its first full-year contraction in a quarter-century, in 2016 while inflation at 18.5 percent was at an 11-year high, the same year. In order words, you have taken Nigeria 30 years backwards in less than 2 years of your regime.
Your import ban on 41 items has damaged manufacturing and trade on one hand and encouraged unprecedented inflation, profiteering, and smuggling on the other.
Hundreds of thousands of jobs have been cut. Even the employed population has been impoverished by inflation while over thirty five million urban/semi-urban poor have been pauperised. All these point to your regime’s lack of command over the situation and lack of capacity to deal with the problem. In fact, your government exhibits a complete lack of competence and direction in all fronts.
The most disturbing of your sins, sir, is the witlessness and contempt with which you act toward the economy. You have adamantly refused to consult experts or constitute an effective economic team. You do not rekindle a national interest in local production, management, and consumption in a muddled economy like Nigeria’s by pressing an alarm button that would send all players running for cover. Not even in a planned economy. That was exactly what you’ve done on resumption of office and refused to retrace the events that put the last nail on the nation’s economic coffin. Your CBN monetary policy drove away FDIs, empowered oil marketers to obtain USD at official rate while local manufacturers and importers of key consumer goods sorted themselves out in the parallel market. By so doing, you irretrievably crippled businesses that have nothing to do with government.
Mr President, sir, you do not need a Ph.D. in political economy to know this. Neither does it require the rigors of econometrics to make things happen at that level. It is clear that you would rather ruin the destiny of this country than divest yourself of a prejudiced mindset and realign with current reality.
Why am I addressing you as if you act alone? You may ask. I am aware you are not alone. I am also knowledgable that the present power structure in Nigeria is ridiculously centralised. So, the bulk stops at your desk. You said in an interview with CNN that your appointments would be restricted to persons you’re familiar with. I also know that practically all the troubles which I present herein are in your control. So, touchy issues bordering on nepotism, the economy, security, religion, ethnicity and the wellbeing of the little guy in the street have either been mishandled or criminally ignored by you.
I have also decided to chronicle, albeit sparsely, your roles, contributions, decisions, and actions in our national life and the catastrophic consequences they, in the main, have had and still have on poor people. They are based on researched historical documents, sorted information about you in public domain, your interviews, and day to day activities until your present indisposition. So, if this letter, by way of highlighting your religious, psychological, military, and political temperament and actions somewhat depicts you as ghoulish, it’s only necessary that you realign.
The improvement in security which your media goons tout as your strength and achievement is yet to be seen.
Massive crude production cuts caused by militant attacks in the oil-rich Niger Delta persist because of your earlier refusal to dialogue with the group. Your “media victory” over the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram in the northeast is in sharp contrast with reality as kidnappings and suicide bombings continue.
Since your resumption of office, Fulani herdsmen, which many including I, believe are terrorists have embarked, with your tacit support, on wanton killing sprees and dislodging of indigenous communities across the country. From Benue, Enugu, Abia and Kaduna States, the stories are the same.
Despite the needless bloodbaths by these Fulani terrorists, the most recent being the Kaduna carnage, and the economic adversity that your inept regime has worsened, you still appear cold and distant amidst man-made hardships crucifying the masses. Many describe you as a sadist. Others say you’re an unrepentant jihadist and ethnic jingoist whose goal and vision was never to improve the welfare of Nigerians but to advance fanatical Islam and Fulani territorial ambition.
Despite concerted effort to distance myself from some stories that apparently smell of conspiracy theories, heinous events unfolding in quick succession under your remote watch make it difficult not to gravitate to such unsubstantiated narratives.
Nothing in your speech and action has debunked these allegations.
Nothing in your body or verbal language, either, in the last twenty months, suggests that you have an iota of understanding of a multi-ethnic, culturally balkanised, religiously polarised, and economically ravaged republic, which you constitutionally swore to lead and protect for four democratic years.
Your imprisonment of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOD) on trumped-up charges was your most glaringly prejudicial act of hatred for the Igbo. Your military goons still deny Amnesty International’s report that a nation’s army that lives on taxpayer’s naira, killed and buried in a military Barack, in a mass grave, hundreds of unarmed citizens in the south-east.
How do I explain to you, sir, that Biafra is not, in the least, a mere agitation of the mind. Biafra was a political, cultural, historical, sociological and territorial space and reality. Marriages, births, deaths, New Yam Festivals and Christmases etc. were celebrated in The Republic of Biafra. It does not matter how long it lasted but what mattered and still matters is that Biafra was the ultimate hope and bastion for a systematically despised, butchered, and dispossessed people, the Igbo, about half a century ago in Nigeria. Even a hasty research will inform you that Biafra has been in existence for over 300 years before the Igbo exodus from Nigeria. Like Zion, it remains a fortress in the mind of a historically conscious Igbo anywhere in the world. So, releasing Nnamdi Kanu, now, absolutely, would do you a lot of good, sir.
Practically all your regime’s ministries have been involved in policy somersaults with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) taking the front row. Only a regressive and medieval potentate, with sinister motive could retain the current CBN Governor, Finance Minister and other obsolete personalities surrounding you.
Critics have repeatedly lampooned your regime of lacking in expertise, political gravitas and sincerity of purpose by which serious governments around the world translate their political vision into programmes and actions to deliver desired outcome to the electorate. But you remain unruffled even in the face of unbiased criticisms.
On your academic qualification, many of us still wonder how you managed to scale INEC screening processes. But this is Nigeria where everything and anything happens.
It was alleged that you have an aversion for cerebral matters. It was also reported without any refutation from your office that your trusted kitchen cabinet takes a criminal advantage of the state as a result of your inability to read highly important documents before final approval. I do not make a case that intellectual prowess is the panacea to all society and leadership problems. However, the rigorous business of government at the level of Presidency cannot function properly without the application of a logically trained mind as President.
I will draw my conclusion herewith.
Those who inflicted you on hapless Nigerians through the ballot have all lost the courage to speak out against the prevailing chaos. So calling them out in this letter will amount to giving them unmerited honour. Now that it is clear that you are not the solution to Nigeria’s troubles, could you, please resign? You are not the architect of its woes, either. However, your apocalyptic second coming, sir, has rather certified you as a calculated tormentor and destroyer of the people’s precarious, collective and individual destiny.
Poet Ralph Tathagata
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