My Christmas Present to President Yar'Adua

by Chinedu Vincent Akuta

Mr. President (Musa Yar’Adua), please permit me the fact that I am sending you an early Christmas present. I want to be the first Nigerian this year (2009) to send you this seasonal gift. That is, if you have not started receiving presents. I don’t have gold neither do I have silver, but what I have is what I will give you. My present is simply my piece of advice below. I have decided to make my advice known to Nigerians because, I want to follow the examples of what Obama said in Egypt. When President Obama gave his speech on June 4 2009, at the Cairo University, he said that the advice he gave to Israeli leaders in private, that he will say it in public before his largely Moslem audience. He went ahead and told the audience what he has been telling the Israeli leaders.

May I also challenge your advisers to tell Nigerians what they have been telling you in private. But sensitive issues, particularly on national security should not be shared publicly. My argument is that, Nigerians have the right to know the quality of advice that you have been getting. After all, you’re our president and it will not be a bad idea to know how you govern the most populous black nation in the world. I know that you’re not under any obligation to accept their advices. Ex President Obasanjo once said that, it was not compulsory for him to take the advice of his advisers.

Mr. President, with due respect to you and your office, I think that you owe Nigerians an apology for some of your past and recent conducts. I will comment on very few of such conducts. In your last year’s (2008) sallah message to Nigerians, you confirmed your administration’s determination to reform the electoral process in order for us to have transparent elections. Your actions and inactions during the Ekiti re-run election and your attempts to doctor the Justice Uwais electoral recommendations spoke volumes of your actual intentions. Please you can prove me wrong by reforming the electoral process or give it the kind of attention that you’re giving the Niger Delta amnesty deal. Nigerians are getting negative signs of what will happen in Anambra governorship election come next year 2010. This will be another test for you. If Anambra State governorship election goes the way of Ekiti, then we should prepare for the worst in 2011

Mr. President, you betrayed Nigerians when you embarked on a two day state visit to Brazil when the Boko Haram crisis started. I watched you on the television in April of this year (2009) as you expressed sadness that Nigeria was not invited to the G20 summit in London. I did advise you on an article I wrote which I titled; London G20 Minus Nigeria. Part of the advice that I gave was that, “Mr. President (Musa Yar’Adua), since you have expressed regret over the exclusion of Nigeria from the G20, the task is now on your desk to put Nigeria on the right track so that the outside world would take us serious. Another G20 summit is coming up again in September 2009, perhaps if you can steer the ship of Nigerian state with transparency, honesty and selflessness the world might decide to invite Nigeria”.

Your deliberate absence from the just concluded United Nations summit showed that the sadness you expressed about the exclusion of Nigeria from London G20 summit in April 2009 was not a true one. After all there was another G20 summit in Pittsburgh America, immediately after the United Nations heads of state meeting. With good arrangements, Nigeria could have at least attended as an observer in this last G20. As number one public servant in Nigeria, you should always be sensitive to the yearnings of Nigerian people. The people whom you’re supposed to be serving. I suggest you use the coming Sallah, Christmas or New Year celebrations to apologize to Nigerians. The mood of the nation will be most ideal to forgive you.

Mr. President (Musa Yar’Adua), you will do Nigeria and Nigerians a great service if you could stop going overseas for your treatment. Why can’t you equip our hospitals to international standard? Or is it that Nigeria cannot build a specialist hospital that can take care of you with all the oil money, if the answer is in the affirmative which I doubt, it then means we have finally failed as a nation. It’s even a security risk having our president treated abroad or don’t your security advisers tell you this. These and more are why Nigerians deserve to know the quality of advice that you get.

Not too long ago, the director general of the Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA) Mr. Emmanuel Enaruna Imohe was relieved of his duties. I was expecting you to do same to some of your cabinet members/ministers. Sincerely speaking, your present cabinet is long overdue for reshuffling. Many of your ministers have outlived their usefulness. Your attorney general and minister for justice (Anodoakaa), education minister (Egwu), information minister (Dora) etc are no longer fit for purpose. Information minister (Dora) in particular has no business in that ministry. Mr. President, if you love Nigeria like you claim, you should have left Madam Dora Akunyili to continue with NAFDAC. The greatest disservice you did to Nigeria was to remove her from the fight against fake drugs. Her war on fake drugs was far more important than the information ministry that she is mismanaging.

Some of your ministers are actually liabilities to you and the country at large. I understood that, you ordered the probe of the sacked Nigeria Intelligence Agency boss (Mr. Emmanuel Enaruna Imohe). Mr. President, Nigerians have lost count of how many probe panels you have constituted. Amongst many probe panels your administration has set up, may I ask you only about the Halliburton? Please could you tell Nigerians what happened to Halliburton’s probe?

The federal government claimed that the proposed deregulation of the oil sector will be done to help fight corruption in this sector. Interpreting this further, means that larger population of Nigerians will simply bear additional economic hardship, because government could not fight a small cabal in the oil sector. You should consider a stimulus package for people who will suffer from petroleum poverty as this measure will increase the number of people in that category. This takes me to another point that I want to let you know. Your seven point agenda should be narrowed down to only one point agenda and that should be the fight against corruption. As you know, corruption has ruined all government ventures. Even your emergency as the president were through corrupt process which you acknowledged. Other examples are; Independent National Electoral Commission, former Nigerian airways, Nigerian National Shipping Line, Halliburton, and National ID card project etc. Space will not permit here to list failed government projects owning to corruption.

May I also remind you to champion the course of saving the environment in Nigeria. You should know the dangers of desert encroachment by virtue of your state of origin and the larger Northern region. You have to physically and actively lead the campaign to plant trees in Nigeria. May I advise you to always switch off lights at Aso Rock when not in use. Introduce energy saving bulbs. Give instructions to your numerous subordinates to do so. Nigerians must be able to see you going green. Fidel Castro of Cuba was televised live, for many hours where he was cutting sugar cane. May God bless Nigeria.

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