A letter to President Umaru Musa Yar’dua

by Bayo Olupohunda

Mr. President, I join other ordinary and suffering masses of our bewildered nation to sympathise with you on your very grave ill-health. As you lie on your hospital bed at this moment in Saudi Arabia. Our heart goes to your immediate family especially our First Lady Turai for holding fort playing the dual role as the mother of our very stunted and traumatized nation and having to care for your immediate family.

We are much pained that you are not here to physically celebrate this very difficult and dismal festive season with us. How we wish you are here with us Mr. President to share in our sufferings? But we hope in the joy that you empathize with us much as we do with you. Our prayer is for you to return hale and hearty in spite of what we have been told about the terminal nature of your ailment.

We also pray to see you return not to Abuja Mr. President, but to the warm embrace of your family and well-wishers in Kastina, where you will live the remaining part of your life as an elder statesman rather than to this demanding, rigorous and thankless job as the president of our complex and volatile country.

But Mr. President, though we acknowledge our frailties as mortals, we have never ceased to ask why you allowed yourself to be goaded into taking this job in the first place. We thought you should not have taken this highly demanding job as the number one citizen of this country knowing fully well that your health condition cannot withstand the rigours of the office.

We suspect that the demands of the office aggravated the symptoms of this ailment. We thought you should have rejected the offer and nurse your health instead. By now you would have known that governing 150 million people with a complex and combustible socio-political history is no tea party.

At this time in our nation’s history, we require a president that will be strong enough and have a presence of mind to know the challenges that lay ahead of us. Our country particularly lags behind in all development parameters. This is the time that calls for a strong and virile leadership to pull us out of the development quagmire that has been our lot for many decades. Mr. President, we regret to say that you are not the man for this job.

Dear Sir, we believe you have great plans for our dear country; we regard seriously all the Development Plans. The Seven Point Agenda, the Vision 20-2020, 6,000 mega watts and many others. We are however saddened that you did not achieve any of those plans listed in your many development agendas.

But we have also got used to your famed and legendary slow style of governance that we have learnt not to expect anything! Even at that we are worried, very worried Mr. President of what the implication your absence will be in our national life. And the sign of your absence are already manifesting in the polity.

But before we go into the implication of your continued absence, we are very much appalled that you did not think it wise to empower your Vice President, Goodluck Jonathan to act in your place before you left. We thought the two of you enjoyed a good working relationship Mr. President. Even if you don’t, the constitution is clear on succession procedures. What happened to your rule of law Mr. President?

We were very embarrassed to see and hear what unpleasant vacuum your absence has created due to your failure to do what is constitutional by writing the National Assembly. Regrettably, this action of yours has caused a lot of dirty politicking, intrigues and power play in Abuja. Right now Mr. President, we Nigerians are confused and traumatized because we do not know who is in charge.

We are told of many nocturnal meetings by men who call you in the day to wish you well but plot at night to replace you unconstitutionally. But you are to be blamed for this sir because you gave room for these mischievous speculations and because you did not protect your Vice President. Not many have wondered if your action was also not a part of a grand plot to perpetuate an illegality.

Now we know you and your vice were never a team after all, your coming together was just a contractual ethnic balancing. And to think you were both academics. Obviously, that was not enough to govern a complex geographical expression like our country. Nigeria is now like a ship in the high seas without a captain, a country on auto-pilot.

Our nation is adrift and managed by greedy, vicious men who are intent on sinking it. As you may now be aware, we are currently in the throes of another debilitating fuel scarcity. Your combative Minister of Information, Professor Dora Akunyuli has blamed this scarcity on unnamed, “wicked” saboteurs but she has not been bold enough to name names.

This is what happens every time there is scarcity of a resource that has become more of a curse than a blessing to our country. Your Ministers are blaming others but themselves. And we have just read that your point man in the Petroleum Ministry Alhaji Rilwanu Lukman has jetted out on Christmas to Austria on holiday as the fuel scarcity bites harder.

This is a failure of leadership Mr. President. We are not sure if your presence would have made a difference because this scarcity has become a yearly Christmas affair. And the last time, you yourself blamed it on faceless saboteurs. So we are helpless. Oil mafias are having a free reign and the government throws its hands up in despair. What can we ordinary Nigerians do?

In your absence Mr. President, the Niger Delta is in turmoil again. The Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) has resumed hostility. We know this will hurt you deeply to see the amnesty accord you put in place falling to pieces like a pack of cards. Mr. President; Nigerians appreciate your effort in bringing a pyrrhic peace to the Delta but what you did not reckon is that the men you left behind to manage the amnesty are incompetent and greedy lot who are only interested in short changing the repentant militants.

Mr. President, do you know that the funds for post amnesty rehab have ended up in private pockets? So when the militants left the rehab, they were let loose on the public without being empowered to fund a vocation. There have been several skirmishes in the Delta by former militants who only a few months ago renounced militancy. So what happens now? Your Vice President is powerless; your political party is disorganized and full of power mongers who will just be happy for the accord to collapse so they could take unholy advantage of the militants to consolidate on 2011.

Mr. President, your rule of law mantra is on trial in Anambra State where desperate candidates in your party are sworn to roll out the war drums in February 2010 governorship election to cause maximum mayhem in the state. Nigerians are worried about what will become of Anambra in 2010. We only pray that the state will not go up in flames and consume all of us.

In your absence Mr. President, we have been hugely disappointed that the 6,000mega watts you promised us this December has become a mirage. Now we have been told that this is not achievable after we have waited for this long to enjoy electricity. We have not had any new development. But we are used to these promises Mr. President; it’s just that this is one promise too many. We are helpless. The country is in darkness in the 21st century, industries are relocating and those in the country are closing down.

In your absence too, Bode George continues to ask for bail after he has been convicted of looting our country blind. His appeal was however thrown out much to our relief but we know he will try again. The indicted former Governor of Delta State James Ibori has been discharged and acquitted of all corruption charges in spite of overwhelming evidence to nail him.

We read somewhere that he is also eyeing the presidency. As I was writing this sir, a twenty three year old Nigerian named Umar Farouk AbdulMutal

lab was caught attempting to detonate a bomb in Detroit, Michigan on a plane he boarded to the United States of America from Lagos on Christmas Day. The Al Qaeda terrorist organization has claimed responsibility for the attack. Nigerians are shocked. This is indeed interesting times.

More worrisome Mr. President is that we do not know the present state of your health, the treatment plan or when you will return. This is not fair for us to be kept in the dark because your life is our lives and ours yours. They only told us to continue to pray. Meanwhile, businesses of state continue to suffer. The Chief Justice cannot be sworn in, the 2010 appropriation bill cannot be presented and the National Assemblies are peopled by selfish individuals who are too engrossed in their own political future and survival than to bother with our confused state.

Only recently, your controversial Minister of Justice Michael Aadonkaa was alleged to have instructed the Vice President to act on your behalf, though he has denied this to high heaveans. See? This is one of the many fallouts of your not handing over properly as the constitution demanded.

Now Mr. President, we marched into 2010 without a leader to direct our affairs, not that your presence would have made any difference. Now we have also been told that you can govern us from any part of the world! We marched into 2010 without a budget. We marched into 2010 with a confused and befuddled Federal Executive Council whose men and women are equally as confused as ordinary Nigerians. Mr. President, we continue to pray for your health, but our country needs more than prayers to rescue us from our present “ailments” (no pun intended pun intended Mr. President).

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1 comment

Igwe D Okonkwo April 9, 2010 - 2:07 pm

I thank the writer of that passage.i am not happy with the situation of my dear country Nigeria last year i was looking foward to see a better Nigeria in 2010 but my expectations turn out to being the worst ever we who look foward to a politican in the nearest feature are beging to lost interest with what is happning now there is no more rule of law in the country i pray and look foward to God Almighty to save us from our problem cos it is not the of president or no presiden but it start long time ago before Nigeria /biafria crisis so its a matter of God helpinp us.


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