Open Letter To The Outgoing President, By Eugene Enahoro


Your Excellency, one day you will be able to dispassionately reconcile yourself with the political tragedy that befell you, but for the moment rest assured that the nation is grateful that you conceded defeat and dampened the palpable tension which threatened to escalate into uncontrollable violence. The appointment of Femi Fani-Kayode as Director of Media and Publicity for your campaign was an unmitigated disaster. His despicable campaign strategy would have set a dangerous precedent if you had won, but he lost you votes instead. You have described citizens rejoicing over your defeat as “indulging in negative triumphalism”. The adage “don’t kick a man when he is down” is very apt in your case. While triumphalism or kicks may indeed not be appropriate, a few observations are very much in order. Your decision not to contest the election result in Court though commendable is only commonsense. 
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has never conducted perfect elections and the lapses and irregularities of 2015 were the same as in 2011 when you won. If you had gone to court your petition would be almost identical to all of General Buhari’s previous failed election petitions, therefore your chances of winning would be minimal. That widespread bloodshed has been avoided is a plus, but it certainly doesn’t make up for all the minuses you earned for bad policies, poor judgment and outright feeble leadership. Having earned a Doctorate Degree and won election into the office of the president of our country, no one can refer to you as a personal failure. However in spite of personal success, your government was a lamentable disappointment. As your relevance in public life diminishes, and you find time to travel round the nation and ponder events, you will appreciate the stark reality. Truthfully, in six years you were unable to make any discernible impact on the lives of citizens. The majority of Nigerians didn’t want continuity and rejected your government because it was unable to ensure equity and justice. All nations regularly go through economic and social turmoil, what really differentiates successful governments from others isn’t the absence of poverty and deprivation it’s the presence of fairness and strict adherence to democratic ideals. 
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Disappointingly rather than use your office to make significant contributions to the true spirit of democracy you did exactly the opposite. The roots of your election fiasco were planted when you interfered in the affairs of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, incredulously recognizing their election loser as the winner. To compound matters your disastrous outing at the polls commenced with your unwillingness to face internal opposition in party primaries. It was clear the majority of Nigerians wanted change, but unfortunately for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) rather than bring about change from within you ensured maintenance of the status quo by placing your personal ambition above the interests and indeed constitution of the party.  Upon sober reflection you will realize that your government didn’t make a single sacrifice in order to show compassion or empathize with citizens. While governments of other nations sold off their presidential aircraft to build schools and hospitals, yours ordered more. In spite of our environmental degradation, unhygienic living conditions and widespread poverty, your government saw nothing wrong in spending billions on its feeding, travelling, junketing.
Your government saw nothing wrong in budgeting for new regal banquet halls, palatial residences and lavish guest houses for political office holders. Your government turned a blind eye to corruption in the management of our oil industry and to the way and manner in which our legislators milk democracy dry. Your personal attitude towards the rampant corruption surrounding you was puzzling. You surrounded yourself with people lacking in dignified principles, and in all truthfulness your presidency was all about you being used for other people’s selfish ends.
The praise singers who deceived you are still at it now, referring to you as a statesman and champion of democracy. It’s laughable for anyone to ascribe your prompt acceptance of defeat to statesmanship. Statesmen are not defined by one single act and the only time you showed a statesmanlike disposition was belatedly during the election postponement when, as Daily Trust’s columnist Sanusi Abubakar correctly pointed out, you tried to do six years’ work in six weeks! Your most famous quote is “I don’t give a damn!” and truthfully you didn’t. Your supporters claimed you were not responsible for the uncontrolled corruption; the poor security situation; the immigration recruitment scandal; the falling standards of education; NNPC’s failure to remit funds; the botched NEPA privatization, the increasing insecurity, or indeed any of the ills in our society. Your presidency merely entailed banqueting, attending conferences, travelling overseas and awarding contracts, with no meaningful attempt at social engineering. Your perambulating from one Church to other making political statements indicated a spiritual poverty.
Piteously you fell victim to self-appointed “anointed men of God” whose financially induced visions “revealed” that you were the chosen one. The campaign blasphemy went as far televised advertisements warning the electorate not to incur God’s wrath by voting against you. The truth is your path to the presidency wasn’t cleared by “God”, but by the insincerity prevalent in our politics. You were never leadership material and attained the highest office in the land simply because a cabal wanted to ensure the person at the helm of affairs was someone that they could cage. Although your government was a failure history will not condemn you, rather it will absolve you. The lesson to be learnt from your sojourn in political office is one that has been proved to be true time and again – a man cannot exceed his limitations.
Culled from Daily Trust
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