AN OPEN LETTER TO THE APC PRESIDENTIAL FLAGBEARER, MAJOR GENERAL MOHAMMADU BUHARI.
Compliments of the season to you sir. How is the presidential campaign going?
Sir, I commend your tenacity and undying commitment to serving your people. Such display of courage and determination is born of stuffs of legends and brings readily to mind the erstwhile president of the United States of America famed to have lost eight elections before he emerged as the president eventually. I am sure his name has already crept into your thoughts sir but for avoidance of doubt, he is no other than Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of America. His persistence knew no bounds. But sir, you cannot but agree with me that you do not have enough years left to break his record. Furthermore sir, between you and me, it is really nothing worthy of emulation. It is usually better to bow out when the ovation is loudest. But then who am I to dare suggest you were trying to emulate him?
Major General sir, you have served this country of ours in more ways than one over the course of time. You were the 7th Head of State, Federal Commissioner for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Governor of North Eastern State… At your age sir, I am inclined to believe you are better suited to spending your time being consulted over state issues while spending the bulk of your time with your grand-children and imparting the needed knowledge and wisdom that old-age is famed for imparting and I do not for a minute doubt that you are both old and wise. This is why I have a question for you sir, must you become president? You once ruled as a Head of State and this should have satiated any thirst or hunger for leadership at the federal or national level. I am of the informed view that you are too old for the position of the president of this great country. You are an elder statesman, please sir retain that position.
There is a saying sir that ‘those who live in glass houses should not throw stones’. I am reminding you of this saying sir because Governor Fashola of Lagos State, one of the golden boy or should I say man of APC stated on record that Jimi Agbaje, a gubernatorial aspirant contesting on the platform of PDP was too old to be the governor of Lagos State at 57 years of age. He cited reasons behind his assertion and of course that is expected of him after all he is a lawyer. At first sir, I argued with myself that Governor Fashola could not have uttered those statements. Why? Because the man who holds the Presidential ticket for his beloved APC is a very young 72 year old man who is older than my father, some of my uncles and my aunts who have been deemed too old to be in active civil service and as such had to retire or be retired. One of the institutions with the highest retirement age in Nigeria is the judiciary and even at that, only Supreme Court Justices are allowed to get to the ripe old age of 70 before being retired. Justices of other courts do not enjoy such luxury. As such sir, I could not but wonder if he had forgotten your age when he made that statement? Or perhaps such age limits apply to only contestants on platforms of political parties other than APC. I had to console myself that no matter his laudable achievements in the development and advancement of Lagos State, he remains a politician given to twisting their words per occasion although it is a tad disheartening that a product of APC could throw pebbles while cocooned in his glass house.
I also read somewhere that you promised Nigerians while vying for this same office in 2011 that it was going to be your last attempt at contesting for the post of the president. The writer of the article was quite vituperative and labeled you all sorts of things including a liar. Permit me sir to inform you that I was not taken in by his vilification of your good self. I am sure you have your reasons. Meanwhile it is not inhuman to lie nor is it uncommon of Nigerian politicians to twist their facts. In my experience, they do not possess the ability to lie, they merely twist facts.
I was not born when you ruled Nigeria as a military Head of State sir but I have heard and read enough of your good actions. Some books said you sponsored draconian decrees and assassinated sorry, executed some drug-peddling youth for offences which were yet to carry death penalty at the time of commission. I am also sure you have your reasons too. In fact sir, there is a list compiled of your activities as a military ruler with accompanying claim that you were high-handed and almost if not totally autocratic. In my opinions sir, you have your reasons too. Such cannot but be expected of military rule or dictatorship. Military men are renowned for their abilities and trainings for fighting wars not leadership or diplomacy. As such sir, it is not in my place to fault your actions as a military man.
However sir, I share in their concern that you may still be a military man at heart and not yet given to the finesse of civilian or democratic rule. The disdain with which you and some other military men greeted the fact finding commission of the Oputa Panel still rings a bell sir. It is undoubtedly a pointer to your convictions sir.
May I at this juncture state for the record that I am not a member of any political party. I have refused to be taken in by the chameleonic disposition of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). One is not really different from the other. In my reckoning sir, PDP AND APC/CAN/AC/AD/ANPP are like bed-bug and mosquito respectively. They are both insects, annoying pests, blood-sucking vermin and harbinger of ill-health. I had to state the above sir so you do not see this letter as a cheap attempt at politicking by the opposition party. Both parties are like the proverbial child adept at dangling carrot before the unsuspecting lamb. I am therefore proudly partially apolitical as I still carry out my civic obligations by casting my vote during election period.
I have not been impressed with you or most of the other Northern leaders over the debacle of insurgency bedeviling our country at the moment. I am convinced that a lot is left to be desired from your conducts sir. I shall explain my meaning sir. At the moment, Boko Haram is located in the northern axis of Nigeria particularly the north-eastern parts. This presupposed that the impacts of their activities are felt more at this region than any other part of Nigeria. I have often had the course to wonder why the elder statesmen and governors in northern Nigeria could not take it upon themselves to visit this troubled region and hold discussions with the insurgents so that Nigeria can have more peace than it has now. I recall readily that when the Niger-Delta boys were at their destructive peak, the governors and elder statesmen of this region took it upon themselves to visit the creeks and hold deliberations with the militants. The peace the region experiences at the moment is a bye product of the decision made and step taken by leaders of the region. This is a step worthy of emulation sir. The fight against the scourge should not be left to the presidency alone because should he act too decisively, it can readily be tagged as an attack on the ‘north’ and I am sure nobody wants such or we will be on our way to another war in this country. This is one of the ways some of us expect you to serve this country sir as against your unrepentant drive to occupy aso-rock.
There is a rumour going round town spread I am sure by the opposition bordering on the presence or absence of a Secondary School Certificate in your name. I can see the maneuver for exactly what it is sir. It is nothing but a cheap attempt by your detractors at tampering with your good image because I find it incredulous at best that someone of your pedigree, experience and exposure found it difficult to pass all your promotional exams. In this sir, you have my sympathy. I have also heard that should the votes align in your favour come February 14, 2015, you may end up Islamising the whole country. However, it is also my take that such statement is just unconcealed politicking. You sir are made of finer materials to lure yourself into such indiscretion.
Furthermore sir, the ‘change’ your party peddles and drums down our throat is an overused expression. For someone of your pedigree one would think Nigerians would be regaled with something innovative. Change has been the same thing everybody preaches when seeking for office. Some of them have been lucky to earn the mandate upon such promise only for the change they promised to create to end up as mere lip service. It is not uncommon for politicians to promise building of bridges where no rivers exist. So sir, if change is all you promise, you may well be on your way to loosing again because I have had enough taste of the kind of change every Nigerian government has been dishing to us since 1999. Sir I want something better than change and I am yet to be convinced you the one who can deliver it.
Should it be that in spite of the reservations against your candidacy that many of us have, you were voted into power. I would like to implore you sir that you should not jail me as you may be wont to doing. Military rule is now over sir, I have been some years into our enjoyment of the dividends of democracy and I assure you sir, I am not done yet. However sir, I would be in your debt sir if you can prove me wrong in a good way. I know you love this country and I am open to proof in a good way.
Major General sir, please be advised that the immense followership you have incurred on all the social media may not necessarily transcend into votes. This is Nigeria, some things just do not work that way here yet sir.
Sir, in the name of everything and everyone that you hold dear to you, may I plead that you keep your supporters and your support force in check in all the events leading up to and during the elections. By the day sir, we are receiving increasingly swelling reports of how members of party A or party B are burning houses, schools, killing themselves all because of your ambition. Elections will come and go sir, and I wish that you do all that is in your power to ensure that it goes without bloodshed. We have had too much of this recently in this country.
I am but one of the over 120million Nigerians but I know sir that a lot of Nigerians share my sentiments.
LONG LIVE THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA!!!
Written by: Wole Ayodele-Fash (firstname.lastname@example.org; wolespeaks.blogspot.com)