Dear Mr. President, I write this letter to you with a heavy heart. With a heavy heart I find it hard or impossible to push my mind away from the recent societal happenings threatening to tear our country apart, most of which by large through your inactions, detachments and offhandedness are snowballed. I remember, Your Excellency, that you promised us the Nigeria of our dreams. Was that not the reason we chanted Sai Baba despite your old age? As Nigerians, we saw the cloak of integrity on you, and we supported you so you can wash the country from all her iniquities. But sadly, no! Nigeria is becoming a dreadful cubicle. Nobody wants to live here any longer. Many patriotic citizens have written out-of-national interest to call you to order on certain needfuls that should be done, but it seemed you are rendered impervious of the unfortunate happenings of the country. But I hope when my letter gets to you (if it does), you would act upon it with utmost urgency and not regard it as a mere epistolary narrative.
I write this letter to call your attention to three problems that threaten the existence of this country. These problems when listed, I hope would not sound cliché. They are; insecurity, dwindling standard of education and ethnic rivalry. These problems are probably what you have known but have not solved. It is said that there is no problem without solution, but when the problem persists then one can only think that the solution has vanished into thin air.
I shall start with insecurity. One major agendum that made Nigerians voted you for the first and second term, Mr. President, is your promise to curb insecurity to the barest minimal. As Nigerians, we were delighted that if a retired general—trustworthy—assume the mantle of leadership, the issue of insecurity would be finally eradicated. But we were wrong! Multiple insurgents’ attacks keep escalating day by day. It has become even worse that the new reports reel off unfortunate citizens caught in the melee of these unfriendly security forces. For the sake of emphasis, shall we talk about the Bokoharam terrorists that have colonized territories in the north? Or the Fulani herdsmen that have proven too superior for the Nigerian army to the extent that the federal government has to create a radio station to reach them—plead with them, that they should not strike again? Or the rampant cases of kidnapping that have become a commonplace here in the West, East and South, while gaining ground rapidly in the North? Insecurity has now become a daily event in the country. These dreadful scenarios have painted a dark image of our fatherland to the outside world, such that the British government warned her citizens to stay clear of 21 states out of 36 states in the country.
Maybe because the poor mostly get affected; was that the reason this issue was taken with levity? Should we just conclude that security is only for the plutocrats who can afford it? I dare ask, Your Excellency; is this the true democracy that you promised us? You have said countlessly that this madness of insecurity will stop, but it hasn’t. Rather the madness has profligate to all parts across the country and everyone is scared to live here as if our beloved country is greeted with an imaginary inscription that reads: NIGERIAN IS NO SAFE HARBOUR, FLEE FOR YOUR DEAR LIVES.
On the issue of the dwindling standard of education in Nigeria, I must confess that the fault lies with Your Excellency. It puzzles me why you should allocate such slim budget to the educational sector. This attitude is synonymous with the federal government’s claim that ‘there is no hope in Nigeria’s education, so why should we waste the country’s scare resources on one sector that is not profitable’. Didn’t most of your cabinet ministers send their children to schools abroad? Or didn’t our African leader, Nelson Mandela, say ‘education is the most powerful weapon you can use to rule the world’. It appears as if your Excellency has discarded this quote. Perhaps, education is of no value to Nigeria as a country.
In the last budget, about 462 billion naira was allocated to the educational sector. Such meager sum of money for that invaluable sector! The question that aroused from the lips of concerned Nigerians is how this slim budget will cater for over 100 federal universities in the country, even while many universities need urgent intervention. Now, most youths are not concerned with education. Education to most of them is just a waste of time and resources. Or is it not the Nigeria that first class graduates become unemployed? Then the federal government will say the youth should not leave the country. This is tantamount to cajoling a crying child to stop crying when there are no chocolate to give. When the youth leave the country, they are better employed by foreign countries that use the intelligence to expand in all ramifications, while using different forms of incentives to tie them down and leave them with no reason to leave.
Lastly, Mr. President, the third issue is ethnic rivalry. How ethnic rivalry became a major issue in the Nigerian polity baffles me. I am pretty sure that our founding fathers were not of the same tribe when they fought for independence. Where is that love, unity, peace and cooperation that existed among us? Rumour has it that your Excellency plans to fulanise Nigeria and probably change the nomenclature to The Federal Republic of the Fulani. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo testified to this. To some extent one may be left without a choice but to accept that this is true. Most Nigerians say you silenced the IPOB with an iron hand as soon as it began to agitate for a self government, but kept mute while your kins and kiths, the Herdsmen slaughter innocent citizens wantonly and dispossessed them of the lands and wealth. Moreover, Mr. President, there has not been any official statement plus proof that you run a holistic governance. Aggrieved Nigerians say your appointments are nepotistic.
The Easterners are crying out that they have been marginalized. The Yorubas are saying they are short of appointment. Sadly, ethnic groups in the country see themselves as antagonists. No one wants the other to rule. Since we belong to the same nation, why can’t we act as one? Why can’t appointments cut across all regions in the country? But, no, Nigeria operates on dirty politics. Every ethnic group favours themselves while in power only to marginalized the others. You could have proved yourself an exception.
I hope, Your Excellency, will address this issue. I hope you will give these problems the full immediate attention. Nigerians didn’t elect you to become partial or nepotistic. Nigerians didn’t chant of Sai Baba shouldn’t be changed to Sai Babarians. Nigerian didn’t elect you to evade pressing issues. We voted for your mantra—change. Your ‘promise of change’, your Excellency shouldn’t be allowed to become ‘a change of promise’.
Mr. President, please bring the change we want. God bless you. Long live the federal republic of Nigeria!