An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari -By Kennedy Emetulu

Filed under: Letters |

President Muhammadu Buhari upon arrival


Dear Mr President: Welcome back! We are all relieved to see that you look better than the last time you returned. Nigerians believe God is working in your life and for a purpose. Of course, many of us may interpret that purpose differently, but I think we are all united in believing that whatever the purpose, it can only be good for you and our country.

While we await your national broadcast, I urge you to think deeply about yourself as a human being, your feelings for our nation, your love for her people and your belief in its great future. If you reflect on these deeply enough, I think you will reach the same conclusions I have reached about your leadership of the country and what you should do next.

You are a man who has set a worthy paradigm; no matter what some of us who oppose your government say, you have made history. Being the man who spearheaded the removal of a sitting democratic government through a democratic election in the first time in our history is a huge achievement that can never be overemphasised because, if anything, it’s opened up the country to further positive developments in terms of governance. The fact that Nigerians are beginning to feel confident about the idea that a failed and failing government can be successfully removed via the ballot box without any shedding of blood means that democracy has taken another giant step in its growth and development in Nigeria. You helped open that door of possibilities; so, thank you, Mr President.

But now is the hard part. The governance. Even the most ardent of your supporters, if they’re sincere, will tell you that your government’s achievements have been seriously underwhelming. This is because your government has failed so far to deliver on the promise of your election and we are way over the halfway mark in your mandate period of four years. That is why what I want to suggest to you now is important. I am making this suggestion because I believe the failure of the government is directly linked to you as a person, not because you deliberately want to fail, but because you are not physically and intellectually in a position to deliver on the promise of your election. What do I mean?

You did warn us about your age and how we should not expect miracles. We accept that. But we expect more than you have given so far. Of course, if you had the right people in government, people who know how to support you and get the best out of you as a leader, people who aren’t just focused on politics at the expense of good public policy, things would have been different. Unfortunately, those you have around you now are mostly the typical uninspiring politicians and political appointees only interested in themselves and what is in it for them. They all rode on your coattail to power, but they don’t have the foggiest idea what to do with that power for the benefit of the people.

The way I honestly see it, the problem is principally your failing health. If not for that, I have no doubt that you would have revamped your administration and purposed it to deliver on your electoral promises. However, when a man has to contend with what you have had to contend with health-wise in the past two years, every other thing, including governance, becomes secondary and necessarily so.

The Almighty has now given you another chance. I know you are hearing all the hoopla, celebrations and the deafening lionisation going on, all of which I believe is genuine and heartfelt because it’s a great thing God has done to return you to your people. But I don’t think God has given you this fresh chance to continue to be President of Nigeria with all the work that this entails. Yet, I know He’s giving you this chance to once again make history, to give our nation the breath of fresh air it deserves, to set another worthy paradigm. He’s giving you this opportunity to quietly step aside, so you can go take care of your health away from public glare and demands; He’s giving you this opportunity to spend the rest of your days appreciating the good work you have engendered from the elevated sidelines. Yes, that is why He’s given you this new lease of life.

As you can see, the country is a young country. We have over 70 percent of our citizens at the age of 30 and below. The country is in a hurry and it needs the vigour and dynamism of youth in government to match its people’s ambition. It needs that to take us forward as quickly as we deserve. Of course, if you were younger and healthier, there would be no question that you would be taking us there, but you are not. Yet, even if you cannot take us there, you should set us on the way with this singular act of handing over to Professor Yemi Osinbajo, so he can have the free hand to take the nation forward and to do you and Nigerians proud.

Mr President, do not get into this stop-start-stop business of governance anymore because your health situation does not allow it. As it is, God forbid, you will not have any justification to go abroad for further medical treatment or spend time cocooned in Aso Rock because of your illness. Even your most ardent supporters, especially those who truly love you and desire your well-being, will tell you then to resign.

But my advice is that you shouldn’t wait for that to happen or for any of them to tell you. You just do it now. You have an able lieutenant in Professor Yemi Osinbajo. Maybe there are matters of geopolitics in power and succession at play in your party or in your political circle, but whatever these are, Nigeria is bigger. Resign quietly and hand over to Professor Osinbajo, a man who has shown you unflinching loyalty and who strongly believes in the agenda both of you ran on. He needs your strength and support to continue, not as a Vice-President or Acting President or anything behind the scenes; he needs you to place him there as President with the mandate to deliver on your electoral promises in the remainder of your mandate period. Whatever political arrangement you guys would work out as a party or as members of the Nigerian ruling class for 2019, that is irrelevant for the moment. What matters now is you leaving a great legacy for Nigerians. You don’t want to leave a legacy of failure, no matter the excuse.

Mr. President, urging you to resign isn’t because you have committed any offence or have been involved in any scandal. In fact, to a lot of people, you have brought a level of personal integrity into the office and a lot of Nigerians appreciate that. Advising you to resign is out of the love and concern I and I believe a lot of Nigerians have for you. If I were your biological son or relation or someone close to you, this is what I would be telling you, no matter how you feel about it because my main and only concern would be your health, well-being and peace of mind. I can’t see you getting these if you remain under the highly pressurised atmosphere of the Nigerian presidency. I know that you will need the time and space away from public view to address your health going forward. But I also know those around you now who are more concerned with holding onto their political positions given to them by you or by virtue of you being President would be fighting tooth and nail to ensure that you remain President, no matter the cost to your health. They will also express this as love for you, but I know you are wise and experienced enough to see selfishness and wickedness in their eyes.

So, Mr President, in the face of the health challenges you are grappling with and the natural burden of your age, I strongly believe your only chance of establishing a successful legacy is to place Professor Yemi Osinbajo firmly as President now that you still have the chance. I’m urging you to take the decision for your sake, for the sake of your family and for your love of Nigeria. Once you have done that, you can then proudly take your place in the pantheon of our nation, because by that singular act, you would have deserved it without question.