Mr. Acting President Jonathan: It is time to be the Commander-In-Chief

by Kola Alapinni

Dear Mr. Acting President,

I remember meeting you on a courtesy call in your office in Yenagoa a couple of years ago. I was a young lawyer in the company of my bosses and we had wanted to meet your erstwhile boss DSP Alamesiegha who was unavailable. We were prospecting in your territory (Kaiama-Mbiama-Yenagoa axis) as part of our operations in the Niger-Delta. In the little time that I spent in your company you came across as friendly, unassuming and loyal to your boss. These are still character traits that you have displayed particularly in the last 100 days. A 100 days of rubbish that has been displayed to the whole world and has greatly undermined the whole black race. We have been portrayed as a collection of people who do not know their left from the right.

Enough is enough and it is time to end this nonsense. I do not know if in the last few days you have been following the news? I know that when people are in such positions as fate has thrust you into, they are cut away from the reality of the real world. A close knit of people form a tight cordon round you. The result is that you lose touch with the reality of life as being experienced by the normal citizen on the street. In my capacity as a bona fide citizen of our dear country Nigeria, I pose to you a few questions:

(1) Is it true that you as the Acting President and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was unaware that your ‘brother’, President Umaru Yaradua was being discharged from the hospital in Saudi Arabia? Therefore you could not make adequate preparations to meet him and usher him back home even as we hear that he was brought into the country on a stretcher?

(2) Is it true that troops whom you command with powers vested in you as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of our nation were deployed to the Abuja International Airport without your knowledge? If this is true, what have you done about this?

(3)Have you summoned the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Commanding Officer of the Brigade of Guards to explain their action? Are you aware that this action of theirs borders on treasonable felony and it is perceived as such by the wider peoples of Nigeria in whom you derive your powers as invested on you by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

(4)Are you aware, that the person who instructed those troops to the airport without your knowledge can also instruct the troops to cordon you off in your Akinola Aguda residence and quarantine you from the nation? Are you aware that the implication is that foreign troops can land in Nigeria (right under your nose in Abuja) and take over the airport of the country which you preside over and you will not have a clue and proceed up to the Presidential Lodge without your knowledge? You mean nobody (right from the air traffic controller, the watch-tower where the aircraft got clearance to land, the aviation chiefs et cetera) could let the cat out of the bag to you?

(5) Is it true that Mrs. Turai Yaradua (the wife of President Yaradua) has kept you (the President and Commander-In-Chief) from physically seeing your sick friend, colleague, brother, boss et cetera? Are you telling us that one particular woman place a restricting order on you within the Federal Territory of Nigeria? I don’t think so.

Commander-In-Chief Sir, you are playing with fire! If all these allegations are true, now you need to use your Sword of Office before it is used to behead you, so to speak. I would suggest you do the following:

(a) Redeploy all the security that are cordoning off your friend and our President. He is the President of Nigeria and he cannot be held hostage by his wife and cohorts. There must be a change of guards now! Replace them with troops loyal to you. When you do that you will be able to see the true state of health of your friend and brother. Remember that you campaigned for the Presidency together, worked together, dined and wined together. Now that he is ill, you are honour-bound to take care of him. Do as you will be done by. Anybody can take ill, even you and I at any point in time.

(b) When you see him and you are able to ascertain the true state of his health (because all you and I have been hearing is hear-say which is not admissible evidence in law) you must provide the best medical brains available in our country for him. Oh yes! Nigeria has brilliant professors and medical experts who still reside within Nigeria even though previous governments have tried to kill off all our infrastructures. If you spend what has been spent on the trip to Saudi Arabia in the last 100 days on the National Hospital in Abuja or the premier teaching hospital in Nigeria, the University College Hospital Ibadan (UCH) you will be amazed on its transformation. He can be hospitalized there. Do not transform Aso Rock and the Presidential Suites into an ad-hoc infirmary. The Presidency should project vitality, robustness, vibrancy and not this dark cloud of uncertainty, or the gloomy mood of a sick nation or that of a sick President hovering over it. It has a dangerous psychological effect on government and governance and the way we are perceived by foreign dignitaries that come to the Presidential Lodge. We love our President, but he is ill. Sick people go the hospital!

(c) Stop this ‘Office of the first lady’ sham. Start that by redeploying all staff to other quarters where they can be productive to the country. Instruct Mrs. Yaradua to continue looking after her husband as a wife, (emphasis mine) whilst the medical experts continue their job. We did not vote for a first lady. It is unconstitutional, a waste of money and a charade. In our part of the world, it is a virus that must be exterminated immediately by abolishing that office. Mrs. Turai Yaradua can support her husband as he recovers. She can also support him in all other ways. A good wife is a praying wife, not one struggling for presidential power with you by virtue of her association with the holder of the office i.e. her husband. The same goes for State Governors wives. The position is illegal, unconstitutional and potentially damaging to the entity of our country as we have all seen now.

Mrs. Yaradua and your wife as well can take a cue from Mrs. Michelle Obama of the US and Mrs. Sarah Brown of the UK. They are all supportive of their husband without being disruptive. Please end this idiotic parade. The President and Governors wives can be useful without being brash, corrupt and wasting tax payers money. You start that change by leading by example. Curtail your own wife and others will follow. However, if they are interested in power and governance it is their right as enshrined in the constitution of our country . All they have to do is to go through the ballot box. The famous Margaret Thatcher of the UK, Angela Merkel, (the present German Chancellor) and other women have done so and ruled their countries. Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson is next door in Liberia, she can offer them expert opinion in how to run for the presidency in West Africa and win. Therefore capable women will be given a chance, but you must follow the due process and the rule of law.

(d) After your meeting with your service chiefs and the Commander of the Brigade of Guards, you will have known the truth as regards who tried to undermine your authority. You must now address the nation in a very brief speech not more than 10 minutes and brief us of the state of health of the President. You must also dismiss or retire (depending on how grave the treachery was) the responsible persons for that atrocious deployment of troops. You must do this live on television and name their replacements immediately. You must also make sure that there are no unusual movement of troops within the territory of Nigeria whether for training purposes or otherwise until you have consolidated your hold and the polity cools down.

Remember that you did not lobby for this post, therefore you owe less people political favours. Shuffle the cabinet, i

f you need to. Surround yourself with capable hands. There is no reason why you can’t call back Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi to come and reorganise our foreign policy. It is in shambles! Prof. Wole Soyinka should be speaking on behalf of Nigeria either at the UN or as your Presidential Special Envoy to the whole world. Bring back Nuhu Ribadu and Nasir El-Rufai and stop the witch-hunting. These are the kind of people that the wider world will listen to. But they will only come and serve you if you assure them of your seriousness and they know that you are truly serious. Time to get busy and send that signal to the whole world.

Fate and circumstance has thrust power on your shoulders. Now prove to us that you are man enough to lead the most populous, potentially prosperous and brilliant black nation in the world. This is the first time in a very long while that the majority of our country will rally round one man. You must remember that Nigerians are very impatient people. Move fast, swift, and decisively. Reform the electoral commission now by use of a digital biometric register to prevent fraud. Use Option A4 to ensure that people are electable by their own communities before they say they want to lead. Restructure our nation and return it to its rightful place internationally. You have been made the Commander-In-Chief for over two weeks. The only person person who can stop you is yourself. I hasten to remind you that in this instance, only ‘goodluck’ will not suffice. Now talk like a Commander, walk like a Commander, be a Commander. The whole world is watching. Or do you still need us to wish you ‘good luck’?

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