Stand And Deliver – A Short Note To President-Elect Umar Yar'Adua

Having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader” – Ruddy Guiliani (Former Mayor New York)

You have attained the Presidency of our nation Nigeria at a very crucial point in our history. The challenges are many and failure is definitely not an option. You are a “new breed” and represent a break from the past genre of leadership. The first University graduate to rule, you are deemed to possess what in late Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s terms the “mental magnitude” for the task and you cannot afford to let your alma mater down. Believe it or not, by virtue of this precedent, you have set a standard and it will be practically difficult for a less-than University-educated to make our Presidency again. In the same vein, no serving or ex-military dictator will get Nigeria’s Presidency again. For the sake of our nation’s democratic growth President Olusegun Obasanjo is the last ex-Military dictator we will take. It is also implied that the power rotation formula is North-South not the impracticable geo-political theory that has been brandished in our faces for so long. (See 1995 Constitution). You have to show that it is possible for a North-South President-Vice President to work in harmony. It has been done before e.g. Murtala-Obasanjo and Obasanjo-Musa Ya’Ardua. Help us get over the trauma of Vice President Atiku’s assault on our unity and the institution of the Presidency.

Declare your assets again as you did in 1999 and 2003, for this singular act took you head above shoulders over every other contestant both within the PDP and outside. No matter how much they launder their image or conceal their atrocities, Nigeria’s looters are known to the discerning public and it is to the singular credit of the Peoples’ Democratic Party that most of them were disallowed from succeeding the President and others. You also need to work hard to eliminate corruption, tribalism nepotism and social and religious discrimination. The developmental issues of poverty, ignorance and disease must be confronted frontally and Nigerians would be anxious to evaluate performance of your Presidency in education, health, housing, unemployment, inflation control/economic management and even diplomacy. Right now, you will need to take some urgent temporary palliative measures to reduce hunger in the homeland. A hungry man is an angry man. Murtala imported meat from Chad and Niger in 1975. You may need to follow through your predecessor’s program to import grains including beans from Niger. The common man must be able to “feel” your Presidency.

More importantly, you must deliver on the manifesto of your Party and the Nigerian Constitution. A more secure environment will encourage foreign investment and boost productivity in the homeland. Its time for fresh ideas in the area of homeland security. Major roads must be fixed and something drastic done to the problem of epileptic power supply. Do not play into the hands of your detractors by sitting down doing nothing in the first 100 days for it is better to do something and be accused of mistaken acts than have nothing done to report. The consequences of inactivity are unimaginable but dire. It is not in the character of a PRP Member/Mallam Aminu Kano follower to do nothing. It is not in the character of a People’s Front Member to implement anti-people program. You cannot afford to be a let-down to those who have staked their reputation on you. Failure to perform is a ready excuse for military intervention even though that is now history in this chapter of our national life. A civilian i.e. non-soldier President must be a “talakawa” President and make the difference to be clear. Act as if there is no second chance or term.

Like your predecessor, make Constitutional Amendment a priority of your Presidency. Secure the co-operation of the Legislative and Judicial Arms and pay your dues to the Members of the fourth estate of the realm. Appreciate that your failure will spell doom to our generation and kill our democracy as lazy ones are already looking for excuse to go back to Military Dictatorship.

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