Editor's note: The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on February 27, declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, the winner of Saturday, February 23 presidential election.
In this article sent to Legit.ng, an Abuja based social commentator, Bernard Balogun, writes an open letter to President Buhari, and highlights areas that urgently need the president's attention.
“…The mentality of retaliation destroys states while the mentality of tolerance builds nations…” - Nelson Mandela, former South African president.
I write to congratulate you, Your Excellency, on your re-election for another term of four years by the Nigerian electorate. It is important, Your Excellency, to add that your victory is a victory emanating from the Nigerian masses, through divine approval of God Almighty.
The Nigerian elites were obviously against your re-election and their attitude is understandable. The elites kept their distance or the pattern of the result showed they voted for the opposition, and no-one can begrudge them.
That is their inalienable right. Despite their persistent and numerous internet permutations and academic exercises in the media, your victory implies that it is God that ordains leaders and by same token such leaders shall be answerable to God at the end.
The rigorous negative campaigns notwithstanding, strenuously attempted to de-market, devalue and de-mean your worth by some men of God, still you triumphed in the election.
It amply shows that their pernicious and asinine campaigns in their respective Churches and media, God has revealed Himself that His covenant with the Nigerian masses remains sacrosanct.
On this score, they have not appropriately expressed God ordained decision. They fragrantly promoted falsehood, falsehood which they unfortunately repeatedly sold to their followers and this is bad enough.
As you begin to prepare for your second tenure, come May 29, 2019, I respectfully like to draw your attention to some urgent national burning issues. First, Mr. President, your policy direction must and should be masses driven.
Baring all economic challenges and “hue and cry” in the land, the masses massively voted for your party, the All Progressives Congress and your worthy self.
I am indeed glad to note that you have repeatedly assured Nigerians that your administration ''gives serious attention to the provision of critical infrastructure and stabilization of the economy as well as the political environment….” I have my reservation.
Would this …critical infrastructure and stabilization of the economy…..have direct benefit or impact in the lives of the masses, who overwhelmingly and gleefully voted for you and your party? This is payback time.
Needless to remind you, because I know you know that your first tenure did not appropriately address their well-being.
For me, I know your first tenure was a period of “brick-laying process for a solid foundation” for the overall interest of the Nigerian people irrespective of their political persuasion. Your attention at that time was squarely to pursue the looters of our common patrimony and you have done fairly well in that direction, though much is left to be done.
At this juncture, I passionately appeal to you not to give the masses the unpleasant opportunity to regret electing you as their president for a second time.
At this point, I like to make it explicitly clear, and I say this without any residual reservation in my heart that this article is in no way an advert stint for a political appointment.
That is certainly not my intention and I truly hope some of my compatriots will not attach any asinine interpretation to this effort. My loyalty resides largely with the “voiceless” Nigerians irrespective of their political inclination, tribes or religion, whether they gave you their votes or not.
And this brings me to the critical reminder. Before your assumption of office as president of the federal republic of Nigeria in 2015, our respected elder statesman, diplomat and Dan Masannin Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule of blessed and unforgotten memory gave you these pieces of advice.
Since our revered papa has transited into glory, permit me to recall the advice once again to serve as a guide as you prepare towards May 29, a date you are expected to commence the new mandate.
“It is the same Buhari that gave this country a sense of direction when he was a military leader…..this time around Allah (God) has brought him, to correct the ills of the past and reform.''
But sir, it is easy and you know it was easy when you were there as a military leader. But what made it easy? Justice.
With justice, you can rule Nigeria well. Justice is the key if you do justice to all and sundry. If you are going to judge between people, please do justice, irrespective of their tribes, religion or political inclination. Justice must be done to whosoever deserves it.
Power shall remain in the hand of an infidel if he is just and fair. But it will not remain in the hand of a believer if he is unjust and unfair. Behind every crisis, anywhere in the world is injustice. The solution to that crisis is justice.
The world per se cannot be governed by force, never by fear, even never by power. In the end, what governs is the mind, what conquers is the spirit and what governs the mind and conquers the spirit are justice and fair-play. You are known to be a man of justice. Please do not change…. do not compromise justice with anything.
May Allah help you.
Mr. President sir, you know what we have gone through in this country. I am not asking you, and I know, you will not, to discriminate against any part of Nigeria but I am asking you to do justice to all parts of Nigeria.
Justice will bring about peace. Peace and stability are the prerequisite for development, development will bring about employment. With employment, we will not have idle people. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
An idle mind thinks nothing but evil. He plans nothing but evil. Justice will do away with all of these. I know you can do it. Do justice to us. Do justice to them. Do justice to everybody. And Allah will reward you for that.
Having drawn your attention to this valuable advice, I shall proceed to enumerate some urgent challenges that the masses want you to appropriately address in this your second coming.
I therefore owe it a responsibility to respectfully remind you, and this is no attempt to play sycophancy with sensitive issues such as these:
Payment of workers’ salaries
Late last year, I had a chance meeting with the Vice President on a radio programme (Brekete) in Abuja where I asked thus “…….Vice President sir, I used to know during the Obasanjo’s presidency, all states’ governors used to report to the office of the Vice President. Is that the practice now? The VP confidently assured that that practice has not changed….”
At this point, I had to tell the VP why I asked that question. The federal government had advanced to the various states’ governments refunds I, II, III; Paris refunds I, II, III and other CBN interventions, previously unknown to Nigerians that such windows exist but introduced by this administration to mitigate payment of workers’ salaries across the land.
Out of the 36-states’ governments plus FCT administration, allegedly, only 8-states are paying salaries as at when due.
The rest 28-states are not paying, yet the federal government seems not be interested or not doing enough to encourage these Governors to clear the backlog of salaries. This sordid silence on the part of the federal government seems to create a negative narrative that the FG supports the satanic manipulation of workers’ salaries by these Governors.
This is obviously the feelings of the Nigerian people which must be appropriately addressed. However, on that occasion, I must say this; the Vice President assured that they are working on that. How much of a result has been achieved in that direction is left to be seen.
It is therefore very critical to the success of your second tenure, if this nagging issue of non-payment of workers’ salaries in states across the land is not seriously addressed and settled once and for all. I am reliably informed that the Federal government does not owe salaries and in fact, is not borrowing to pay its Federal civil servants which hitherto were the practice. This is indeed commendable.
The issue of the herdsmen killings especially in the states of Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau, Taraba, Kaduna, Kogi and other adjoining states need to be urgently and holistically addressed. If that is not urgently addressed, it will tantamount to a draw-down on your administration credibility.
In the last presidential election, be reminded, you lost in Benue. Plateau, Taraba and almost lost in Nasarawa because the electorates’ thoughts you did not appropriately address or give the prompt presidential attention the matter urgently deserves.
People of this region felt you were unfeeling and partisan to a very large extend. Kindly do justice to all, irrespective of their tribes and religion or even political inclination. So admonished by our revered papa Alhaji Maitama Sule of blessed memory.
Nigerians think your first tenure witnessed massive lopsided appointments. I shall not elaborate on this obvious nagging issue but to respectfully encourage you, address this. ''You are known to be a man of justice.
Please do not change, do not compromise justice with anything… I am not asking you, and I know, you will not, to discriminate against any part of Nigeria…” (whether they vote for you or not – additional emphasis mine), so admonished by our revered papa, the Dan Masannin Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule of blessed memory.
The issue of insecurity cu.m kidnapping had assumed increasingly frightening and rampant dimensions in the land, so much so that travelling by roads these days have become a dreadful experience.
The roads are no longer safe. This has consequently led to the astronomical increase in air-fare and in domestic air travels and how many Nigerians can afford this.
This calls for drastic action in a military fashion. The fearless approach, two days back, by the Kaduna State Governor in frontally confronting these criminals right into the bush is indeed commendable and applauded.
Demerge of ministries
Government exists for the people and not the people for the government. I respectfully like to suggest that by demerging ministries your administration is not only opening space for more employment but indeed reduce the unemployment.
To increase productivity in the ministries, it is also important to look at the possibility of harmonizing the salaries of the ministries, those of parastatals and agencies.
The current discrepancy in salary structure is crassly discouraging to Ministry staff while it makes staff of parastalats and agencies superior.
The power generation in the country has not improved significantly as we had thought. It is still a far cry from satisfaction.
Finally to encourage domestic production as it is being done in the agricultural sector now, kindly organize “intervention package” for the textile industries in Nigeria to be revamped.
This sub-sector is a huge market which government unfriendly policy had hitherto driven under-ground. If this is done, it will go a long way to reduce and offer employment to the large army of our unemployed youths in the country.
The effort of your administration in this first tenure in the area of rail transportation and progress on the 2nd Niger Bridge are indeed commendable and applauded.
Bernard Balogun (BenPino) writes from Wuse district of Abuja and could be reached via email@example.com – 0818.181.2456
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