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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hello! Aso Rock! Is Anyone There? An Open Letter To The President Jonathan – By Rufus Kayode Oteniya



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Mrs-jonathan cake

Dear Mr. Jonathan,

With a troubled spirit, a bleeding soul and a broken heart I write you this letter. I pray that you receive the message with an open mind and with little regard to the messenger.

My spirit is troubled by the unprecedented level of insecurity in our fatherland where preventable wanton loss of precious lives in droves is clearly becoming a norm. No one feels safe anymore since we cannot be sure of when, where and how the terrorists will strike next. A nation once the pride of her citizens is fast drifting to a pariah state.

My soul bleeds for the victims of the Monday, 14 April 2014 Nyanya motor park bombings; for the over 70 hardworking Nigerians who met their shocking and untimely death while going out so early in the day in search of their daily bread and the numerous who were wounded, maimed and rendered disabled possibly for the rest of their lives. This barbaric act is highly condemnable and shouldn’t have happened. My heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones and to those who survived but who would have to live with this trauma. My God grant them the fortitude to bear the loss and the strength to carry on. To those who have been widowed and orphaned, may God Almighty be your Helper.

Also my heart still breaks with an overwhelming sorrow and grief over the hundreds of female teenage students abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State on Tuesday, 15 April 2014, just a day after the Abuja blast. The whereabouts of these lasses largely remains a mystery. A Yoruba adage says that ‘omo ku san ju omo s’onu’ meaning that a dead child is better than a missing child. When a child dies, a parent is agonised but this heals with time but when a child misses, the agony increases with time until the child is found. And where the child is not found, the parents and the family never know peace. The thought of not knowing what is happening to the lost ones can kill. I pray that the schoolgirls are found and reunited with their families in no time.

Mr Jonathan, on 29 May 2011, you were sworn in as the president of Nigeria for a new four-year term after completing the term of your predecessor, late President Umar Yar’Adua and after having ‘won’ the April 2011 presidential  poll. You then took a solemn vow to serve the people of Nigeria and uphold her constitution by declaring at a ceremony at Eagle Square, Abuja that:

“I, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan do solemnly swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I will discharge my duties to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and always in the interest of the sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria…………and that I will devote myself to the service and well-being of the people of Nigeria. So help me God.

You made the above declaration in an oath administered by Chief Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, the then CJN while holding the Holy Bible in a ceremony that had a live coverage on our national television (NTA) meaning that you swore before God and man to protect Nigeria and Nigerians.

Leaders are remembered for what they do or what they fail to do. While you have pledged under oath to discharge your duties to the best of your ability, only you can ascertain if your best ability (or not) is being applied to the services you are rendering to nation but if we should assume that you are putting in your best, then we have more than enough reasons to show concerns and frustrations with your best. This best, at best seems not  to be the best for Nigeria. To say it’s inadequate is an understatement.

In all fairness to you, most of the problems in Nigeria today did not start during your regime; many of them have been around – though at much smaller scale – for as long as we can remember.

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You came on board when, more than ever, Nigeria needed a very focused, pragmatic and visionary leader. We believed you as you often stated in your electioneering campaigns that you had been around the corridors of power long enough to understand our national problems and you campaigned on the ground of solving the problems.

Truly, when the 16 April 2011 poll was held, you were no longer a neophyte in Nigerian politics. You had been around for almost 12 years. You had already served 8 years in your state, Bayelsa; first as the deputy governor from 29 May 1999 – 8 December 2005, a period of more than 6 years 6 months and then as the governor from 9 December 2005 – 28 May 2007, a little less than 1 year 6 months. You had also served at the federal level for almost 4 years; first as the vice president from 29 May 2007 – 8 February 2010, then as the acting president from 9 February 2010 – 5 May 2010 and finally as president from 6 May 2010.

It is not foolish not to think somebody like you who had served at some of the highest levels of public service would have no clues about the enormity of the responsibility of the office you were seeking to continue to occupy and the problems ahead.

Following the circumstances under which you initially became the president and having completed a lacklustre 4 year term of your late former boss whose poor health, political naivety and his close gang of cabals caused him not to achieve even a point of his now infamous and dead 7 point agenda, the least Nigerians would have expected is a leader who would roll up his slips and get to work immediately after he had got a new four year term especially without the overbearing effects and efforts of the political godfathers.

Your ‘election’ had caused internal division within your party, PDP having ditched the gentleman agreement of the party to rotate the presidency among the 6 geopolitical zones. Your denial of the agreement to which you were alleged to be a signatory had done more harm than good for the credibility of your government. This has left a region of the country disgruntled because they believed that the second term that death had robbed Yar’adua should have been occupied by someone from their region.

Political wisdom demands your administration to set in motion a reconciliatory process to appease these zones and unite the nation; rather you have chosen the path of complacency and indifference.

To whom much is given, much is expected. Nigerians have given you not much but too much and considering your pedigree and our nature of being easily contended, not so much is even expected from you, just a little will suffice but what do we get? Almost nothing!

You stormed us like a tornado with your shoeless story; promised all, got all, gave none!

When the cabal denied you the occupation of the office of the acting president following the disappearance of Yar’Adua to faraway Saudi Arabia, we all turned out on the streets in an unparalleled manner to demand that which the Nigerian constitution guaranteed to you without any visible and meaningful contribution from you.

Without any record of performance other than projection by good luck, Nigerians gave you a benefit of doubt thinking your good luck might at least rob on the nation. What do we have in return?

Thanks To You

Before your government, there was corruption but thanks to you; it has now been taken to another level never seen here before.

Before your government, corrupt people were stealing millions and a few billions but thanks to you; they now steal hundreds of billions and trillions with utmost impunity.

Before your government, terrorists and fundamentalists would strike occasionally but thanks to you, they you now strike every so often.

Before your government, there was a relative peace in the land, thanks to you; there is now chaos and insecurity everywhere.

Before your government, there was poor accountability, thanks to you; there is no more accountability in the system.

Before your government, there was little orderliness, thanks to you there is total disorder.

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Before your government, there was little shame or guilt for public misdeeds, thanks to you, now shame is dead. Nobody gives a damn; not even you.

It is a shame that a serving Petroleum Resources Minister would even approach a court in an unprecedented way to seek interim injunction stopping the House of Reps from carrying out their constitutional responsibility of probing the N10b she allegedly spent to charter private jets for her exclusive use in only two years.

The popular aphorism is a fact; we know it that people have the kind of leader they deserve yet while Nigerian are not a perfect people, no one – not even the worst pessimists – would have ever imagined in their wildest thoughts, a leadership like this at the most critical point in our history; a time when we most needed a decisive and visionary leader who would steer the country through this critical period of global economic upturn following the downturn of the past few years.

Your administration tends to be representing all that Nigerian shouldn’t have had. While we might not have had in recent past, selfless leaders who could measure up to the dreams of those altruistic leaders who fought for our independence, this administration has taken inefficiency and corruption to inconceivable levels never ever seen before, and which we may never see again.

It is needless reminding you of your numerous promises during the campaigns and your failure to show commitment to achieving them even regardless that your term is winding up.

The stories that were uncovered during the fuel subsidy probe showed the insincerity of your government and the involvement in large scale corruption of people so close to you. It is not strange that no oil subsidy thief has been convicted.

May I ask you:

How much your government value human beings?

How much your government value human lives?

What value does your government place on the life of a Nigerian?

How much does your government value a Nigerian?

Since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 lost contact with air traffic control on 8 March 2014 with 239 people on board, the Ocean has not known peace. Its surface, beneath and shores have been combed ceaselessly with no end in sight even when it had become obvious that there would be no survivors.  Uncountable investigative leads have been followed to unravel what went wrong and how.

The same can be said of the South Korean MS Sewol Ferry disaster. Since the mishap occurred on 16 April 2014, the government has not ceased deploying resources to rescue the survivors, recover the bodies of the victims, give succour to the families affected and investigate what went wrong. Yet the Prime Minister, Chung Hong-won resigned because he felt his government not prevent the tragedy and also felt handling of the disaster was below acceptable standard.

Since the news of the April 15 kidnapping at the Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok broke out, your  government has been conspicuously invisible either in rescuing the remaining of the 234 poor girls abducted by suspected jihadist looking for earthly virgins or even giving relief to the affected families.

How many more of these gory and savagely cruel acts can we accommodate before your administration wakes up from slumber?

Your government should step up to its responsibility, mandate the security operatives to go out there and look for the missing girls and also give the necessary support to the families affected.

We have had enough of this embarrassment!

We have had enough of this high level corruption!

We have had enough of this impunity!

We have had enough of this insecurity!

We have had enough of this cluelessness!

We have had enough of this sleeping on duty!

We have had enough of blaming the opposition!

We have not voted for a president without portfolio.

Whatever you do from now till the end of your term will largely determine where posterity will place you.

Now is time to wake up to the task!


Rufus Kayode Oteniya – RKO – (oteniyark@hotmail.com) craves a better Nigeria

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