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Mr. President: What legacy do you plan to leave for Nigerians?

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Sir: Mr. President Nigerians under your watch have lost hope for brighter days and live in uncertain times. During your campaign for the presidency which ended in the defeat of then incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan, you offered Nigerians a three-point agenda: to address the disquieting insecurity situation which engulfed the whole country, the improvement of the economy which had practically collapsed in the wake of the fall of the price of oil in the international market and to fight corruption.

There is gloom in Nigeria today. Security has taken a turn for the worse. Although you have been given kudos for degrading Boko Haram, a new menace has emerged which threatens to derail your achievement. Herdsmen have run amok. Unfortunately these raiding and daring herdsmen are your kinsmen and their actions are having a terrible effect on Nigeria’s economy. Farmers have abandoned their farmlands and have become refugees in internal refugee camps. This has had a terrible effect on the economy because the Middle Belt is the food basket of the country. Prices of foodstuffs have hit the roof and there is virtually hunger in the land.

Your body language baffles the nation. It seems you have lost your sangfroid. You attended three elite world class military academies – in the United Kingdom, USA and India. The strategy you deployed as General Officer Commanding 3rd Division to defeat Chadian forces that violated Nigerian territory and the way you crushed an Islamic Jihadist insurrection in Yola as Head of State are in the public domain. In 2014 and 2015, the killer herdsmen were rated as the fourth most deadly terrorists group in the world yet you refuse to nip their madness in the bud. The statements of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association haven’t helped matters. We know that before you became president you were once a chairman or should we say patron of that association, critics believe that your body language has emboldened that organisation to make blasé speeches that have further inflamed the polity. You seem powerless to rein in herders even when they go about slaying people. In 1921, a revolt broke out in Georgia in the Soviet Union. A Georgian named Losif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (Joseph Dugashivli) was the commissar of nationalities.

Vladimir Lenin who was the Head of State was ready to excuse him and send another person to defeat the insurrection but Losif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili insisted in carrying out his duty and he brutally crushed the upheaval against his own people. Lenin was mesmerized by Dzhugashvili self-abnegation that he nicknamed him “Stalin” which means steel in the Russian language.

Russian history today is never complete without mentioning Joseph Stalin. Contrast Stalin’s bravery to Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar who has failed to stop the militants oppressing the Rohingya people because the militants are her people. Why do the massacres in the north seem to bother many people outside the shores of Nigeria more than you: the Bishop of Canterbury and Pope Francis have given their voices more than you have? You take pride in the fact that even your worst enemies can’t accuse you of corruption but corruption is just one problem that Nigeria faces not all. Do not forget that Sir Ahmadu Bello and Sir Tafawa Balewa weren’t corrupt – yet the First Republic buckled. President Shehu Shagari wasn’t corrupt but the Second Republic also collapsed. Being clear as crystal doesn’t put food on the table unless we diversify the economy.

The truth is that human beings would rather support a demon that caters to their basic needs than an Angel that doesn’t. What do you want to be remembered for Mr. President? Isn’t it time you put aside the ego of self and of the APC by harnessing the resourcefulness of Nigerians in order for every tribe to lean on each other, depend on one another to achieve nationalistic goals?
Essien Idiong.


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