What is not changing: A letter to the President
Dear Mr. President,
AS an ardent supporter of change and your candidacy as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2007,2011 and 2015, I have no regret whatsoever for voting you and will surely do the same come 2019 should you indicate interest to come back. Your impressive pedigree as a former Head of State and holder of many important positions in our great country gave me and millions of other Nigerians the hope that you can effectively deliver on the much anticipated change Nigerians are hungry of for decades.
Change is not always about good things, change can be stressful, costly and at times destructive. The most important thing is how we anticipate it and the way we react to it when it finally comes. Nigerians laboured for a change with high expectations mostly for a better living condition, peaceful coexistence, improved power supply, employment among others.
Sir, there is no doubt Nigerians have suffered in the hands of the previous administration. Even with the oil boom during that era, our foreign reserve kept going down due to their ‘I don’t care attitude’ to corruption and notion that stealing is not corruption. It is generally understood that the present economic woes are not unconnected with the way and manner the previous government looted our treasury.
While we understand the monumental fraud and unchecked corruption in the previous government, you were elected with a clear mandate: To rescue our economy, eliminate insurgency and insurgents, create employment, kill corruption before it kills us among other pressing needs. Twenty months after your swearing in, a lot has been done and a lot is yet to be done.
Sir, 2016 was a terrible year in terms of economic growth and development. Inflation, the biggest enemy of the year made life difficult for almost every Nigerian, especially the low income earners. According to a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBC) in January 2016, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 9.6 per cent as at January, the CPI continues to rise steadily and freely. In November 2016, the CPI hits 18.48 per cent (almost double) the highest since 2006, a disturbing trend indeed. The CBN alone seems incapable of containing the situation. Until the prices of sugar, salt, electricity bills, house rent and so on stop rising, a lay man on the street will hardly understand where this government is heading to. For the Consumer Price Index to be rising for the 11th month is not funny at all. It is either we’re not doing enough or we are doing the wrong thing.
Sir, the modus operandi of your anti-graft war need to be sanitised. Most Nigerians appreciate the way and manner your government is fighting corrupt practices which ordinarily supposed to serve as a warning to officials on board. Unfortunately, your government is not doing enough in tracking corrupt officials in your cabinet the way it is done to officials in the previous administrations. I don’t want to mention names here, but I believe as a President who belongs to everybody and belongs to nobody, we expect to see tougher actions against corrupt officials close to you. Corruption is everywhere today in Nigeria, most Nigerians never dream of giving N20 to security personnel on our highways 20 months in a Buhari presidency.
Many Nigerians listen to your speech during the presentation of 2017 budget to the NASS not for the sake of its content alone but to witness how you will caution the NASS on budget padding.To our great dismay nothing was said about it, an action that makes us feel you’ve endorsed the scandal. Abdulmumin Jibrin, the legislator who chaired the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation has said enough to have driven you to act appropriately, nothing serious has been done hitherto. In August last year, Jibrin wrote a comprehensive letter to the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, a committee that is close to your office.Furthermore, in September last year, the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti Corruption, Prof. Itself Sagay said the outcome of the 2016 budget padding scandal would be forwarded to the Presidency and EFCC for the next line of action. The issue of budget padding should not be allowed to go freely unchecked if really change begins with you Sir.
Like the previous administration, secret recruitment continued with passion by MDAs with the beneficiaries mostly children and relatives of highly placed politicians in the centre. Majority of Nigerians never expected this to be happening under a Buhari Presidency. Whether qualified or not, getting a job in Nigeria has been reduced to who you know or who knows you.
Sir, as we say good bye to Boko Haram, another threat of insurgency is looming. The attacks on villages of Zamfara State and the recent crisis in Southern Kaduna need to be given a serious attention to stop its escalation and reignite confidence in the minds of Nigerians. The life of a Nigerian is gradually losing its value in his own country. Something serious needs to be done to tackle the return of insecurity in the country, otherwise we are not safe! Our country is faced with many problems, I urge you to remain fearless, determined and prayerful as most Nigerians are behind you.
Lawan, from Jos.