June 2nd, 2015 – Open Letter to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari: The Way Forward for Nigerian Prosperity, Security, Unity, and Good Governance that Benefit All Nigerians
Great Nigerian people from all sections of the nation have spoken loudly with their votes on March 28th, 2015; they have overwhelmingly elected you as the next president that will bring about positive changes that will transform our beloved nation to a stable, secure, and prosperous nation.
The last presidential election was a referendum and total rejection of sixteen years of failure, setbacks, corruption, bad governance, mismanagement, and gross abuse of power under PDP administrations. Sir, you were elected because Nigerians are counting on your experience, patriotism, integrity, visions, and love for Nigerian unity, security, and progress.
Just because you are determined to govern Nigeria with integrity and honor doesn’t mean that everyone is on board with you. Sir, you should not only expect but must be prepared for great obstacles, challenges, and oppositions because every good thing, plan, or idea must attract enemies, oppositions, and negative criticisms.
Why? There are mighty but very few Nigerians who have benefited and profited from Nigerian chaotic situations, corruption, looting mismanagement and bad governance of many years. They are called “Enemies of the Nation’s Progress”.
General, you will be tested greatly by these enemies because they dislike Nigerian unity, security, progress and stability. But when those storms come, you should remain focus, calm, be more determined, and fear not.
According to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy.”
Sir, no matter the challenges and uncertainties, a great leader remains committed to people’s wellbeing, national security, good governance, and actualization of his/her set goals or agenda for the nation. As a true father of the nation with integrity and credibility, you cannot afford to fail or give up on your promises to over 180 millions struggling Nigerians due to obstacles, challenges, and discouragements that will surely come your way as the new President of Nigeria.
It is also important that you have both the short term and long term goals for your presidency in order to deliver the dividend of democracy to all Nigerians. Election has come and gone, but your promises to God Almighty and to Nigerian people must be honored. According to Arthur Gordan, “Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them day after day.”
Mr. President, I am of the opinion that if you work on certain areas and courageously tackle critical issues affecting us, Nigerians will witness great achievements, peace, and success like never before seen in any administration since independent.
They include the following:
National Security and Military Reform:
It is impossible for any nation or government to be successful in the areas of economy growth, commerce and balance of trade, tourism, and education without adequate security for her citizens, visitors, foreigners and their investments. Sir, your most important duty as Commander in Chief is to protect lives and properties of your citizens. Any president who fails in this responsibility will surely fail in all. Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast must be dismantled and be destroyed at all cost.
It is crucial that you reform Nigerian Army from the top to the bottom in order to have victory over Boko Haram (BH) insurgents. You must do whatever it takes to stabilize northeast, restore back the residents that have been displaced by this evil forces of Boko Haram, and bring to justice those that are sponsoring activities of Boko Haram in the north.
Sir, you must do all within your power to bring back those kidnapped school girls to their parents alive. You must also restore the morale of our young men and women in uniforms who have committed themselves to our safety and security. Our military men, Nigerian Police Force, Custom and Immigration Officials and other security agencies must be reformed. They must be provided with modern war equipments, good intelligent gathering, good salaries with great benefits, and must be provided with adequate training to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. Sir, don’t ever be persuaded to negotiate with Boko Haram terrorists. The only language they understand is force and fire for fire.
Nigerians and the International community will perceive your negotiations with Boko Haram as weakness and clueless on how to destroy and dismantle those criminals. But those members of Boko Haram who are ready and sincerely willing to disarm and give the government intelligent information on the activities and operations of this terror must be protected with possible amnesty. Those in this category can be integrated back into the society as police officers, army intelligent operatives, and civil servants.
Investment in Agriculture:
For us to reduce our dependent on crude oil with fluctuation in prices at the International oil market, the federal, states and private investors must invest in agriculture, research and development, farming, fishery, forestry, and poultry. Federal government should invest heavily on agriculture and encourage more participation of foreign and local investors in order to reduce our dependent on crude oil as the main source of Nigerian revenue. Investment in agricultural products will create millions of good jobs, drastically reduce our importation of food products, and give us surplus balance of trade with an increase ability to export food products to neighboring countries. Investment in agriculture is also good for national security and economic stability. Before the discovery and exportation of crude oil in Nigeria, our economy depends mainly on agriculture and mineral resources exportation as our source of revenue.
Where are the cocoa and palm kernel plantations in the Southwest region? And where are the groundnut pyramids in the North? Likewise, where are the rubber and cotton plantations in the Southeast? Nigerian politicians must go back to the drawing board and map out ways to better serve our beloved nation by turning it to economic power of Africa with great ideas instead of pulling the nation down by mismanagement, looting, corruption, and abuse of power. Sir, investment in agriculture must be a priority of your administration with more and more stable and robust economy. We can subsidize agricultural equipments, fertilizers and manures to low scale farmers at reasonable prices. Middleman should be eliminated from the sales and distribution of those subsidized agricultural equipments and chemicals. Both the state and federal government should encourage commercial banks to give loans to qualify farmers with the right collateral and no middlemen to boost their production. Finally, the federal and state government should invest in agricultural research and development at our various universities and colleges of technology across the country. This will cause an increase in our GDP and it will turn us to major food exporters in West Africa, and boost Nigerian economy greatly.
Stable and Uninterrupted Power Supply:
Our country will not attain its full potential in areas of economic growth, commerce and trade, tourism, national security, and infrastructural development if the issue of power shortage is not fully addressed by your administration. Nigerian economy and social growth will remain stagnant until we can boast of stable electricity supply in the nation. Creator of heavens and the earth, God Almighty cannot function properly in darkness and shapeless situations. He commanded light before he began the creation of all the contents of planet earth. Genesis 1:3-6. Mr. President-elect, your administration must invest huge capital on clean and renewable sources of energy with our diverse natural endowment from the south to the north of our nation. Hydroelectric source of electricity generation is highly unreliable, unsustainable and unreasonable for current energy demand. Nigerian population has greatly increased from the 70s and 80s when Kainji Dam was built, we need to generate more electric power from other sources of energy in order to meet up with the demand of our ever increasing population.
I believe that you will be committed to more energy generation and encourage foreign investors in energy sector around the globe to invest in Nigeria by providing them tax incentives, land allocations, and business friendly environment. This action will enable Nigeria to generate more than enough electricity for our use and become a reliable exporter of electricity to neighboring nations of Ghana, Niger, and Benin Republic just to mention a few. Sir, I suggest that we invest in and encourage nuclear power generating stations like in South Africa. There has not been any incident of nuclear issues since the inception of nuclear power plants in South Africa. Moreover, we can invest in electricity generation from our natural gas deposits across the nation. We have more than enough natural gas deposits to build Gas powered plants across the country. We can also invest in wind and solar energy for individual consumption on a small scale. It is high time that Nigerians embraced nuclear and gas powered plants for stable electricity supply. This is crucial for many reasons: (i) First, it reduces cost of doing business in Nigeria. (ii) It puts an end to importation of bad and unwanted generators from China that are badly polluting our air. We must act very fast to prevent our air from getting polluted like that of China. (iii) It gives us an edge in trade and commerce (IV) it will also help us to generate cleaner, more dependable, and uninterrupted energy supply that will power our economy for the 21st century need. I believe that nothing can stop a totally committed individual or government from achieving carefully thought out goals.
Sir, there are so many Nigerian citizens confined in our various prisons across the nation like wide animals. It is so shameful that the wellbeing of Nigerian prisoners and the terrible state of our prisons have been ignored for so long by many regimes/administrations before you. Many innocent Nigerian citizens are held in prison awaiting trials against their will. What make the matter worse is that, the prison staffs and warders are not motivated to do a good job. Their salaries and working conditions are not different from that of beggars on the street. Prisoners are not to be subjected to inhumane treatment just because they are in confinement, but they are supposed to be changed for good so that they can easily be integrated back to society after serving their jail terms. It is important for your administration to build more prison system, renovate the existing ones, give adequate and paid trainings to our prison staff, and speed up the trial process for all accused people. Our prisons must be decongested, the prisoners should have access to education, vocational studies, and technical education to live on after serving their jail terms. Sir, hope to see improvement in this very area in your incoming administration. It will be more honorable for us to treat our prisoners with respect, dignity and in a humanely way.
Sir, the bed rocks of good governance in a true democracy are accountability, transparency, leadership skills, honesty, integrity, adequate planning, freedom of the press, well-defined objectives or goals, and corruption free administration just to mention a few. It is crucial that you reduce the cost of running your government by eliminating wasteful spending, misappropriation, mismanagement, unwanted appointments like all the ministers of states of various government ministries; eliminate all unnecessary traveling expenses of government officials, and reducing the size of your government by closing down unprofitable government agencies across the country. Each branch of government agency and ministry must operate and function well within the assigned budget. We must eliminate all forms of borrowing that are not for emergency or urgent needs. General, it will be almost impossible for you to deliver on your promises to millions of struggling Nigerians if you choose wrong political advisers and criminal minded political appointees.
Why? As a father and president of the nation, you will be judged not only by what you say or do, but also by what people around you (your political appointees) do or say. Therefore, pick, vet correctly and choose all your appointees with great caution. It is crucial that your administration vet all your political appointees vigorously so as to eliminate people of questionable characters and those with criminal backgrounds from your government. You can setup a committee of great Nigerian people with backgrounds in law, ethnic, politics, retired civil servants, and in law enforcement to do the vetting of all your political appointees. Assign positions of responsibility in your government to people with great ideas, highly patriotic, competent, and those with burning passions and desire to help you achieve your goals. One of many reasons why President Jonathan failed woefully is that he surrounded himself with former drug trafficker, looters, low IQ, highly corrupt individuals that do not care if he fails or succeeds as Nigerian president. Avoid such trap in your government. It is very important that you surround yourself with people of great visions, integrity and ideas that will help you to deliver the dividends of democracy to millions of struggling Nigerian people who overwhelmingly elected you to be their president. The Bible says, “where there is no vision, the people perish.” My prayer is that God Almighty will give you His wisdom, understanding, and discernment to pick a winning team that will help you achieve your good agenda for Nigeria. According to Henry Bergson, “we must think as people of action and act as people of thought.” Carefully choose likeminded people that will edge your efforts to deliver the dividend of democracy to millions of our people.
Tackle Corruption From the Top to the Bottom:
Sir, you have to challenge and defeat all existing power of corruption that is rooted in Nigerian society. Nigerian political crisis, terrorism, instability, setbacks, failures, international ridicules and economy decline that we are currently experiencing is because we have lost basic moral values and the fear of God that are supposed to be a lamp unto our paths. I’m hopeful that with your kind of leadership and total commitment to good governance, Nigeria can rise and shine again among the nations of the world. If we embrace change that your government will introduce and embrace our lost moral values back, our beloved nation will experience great achievement, progress, and more political stability in your administration. Nothing good comes out of a nation where people in positions of authority have no regard for the rules of law. Corruption deprives ordinary people the dividend of democracy, progress and good governance. If corruption is not tackled and defeat in Nigeria, it will eventually destroy the nation’s wellbeing. If you defeat corruption, you will have the most successful and prosperous government in Nigerian history, but if it goes the other way, your administration will not make any meaningful impacts. In order for you to successfully fight and defeat that demon of corruption in your administration, you have to disappoint, and drop some politicians and power brokers in your party who expect your government to do business as usual. General, you must realize that the fight against corruption by your administration will be a very tough and difficult fight that is winnable with determination, commitment, focus, and godly principles. EFCC must be empowered to enforce economic fraud and corrupt practices laws of both the private sector and public officials at all levels of government. The current leadership of EFCC is rotten, corrupt and has been rendered ineffective by President Jonathan administration. The new EFCC should not be used for any political intimidation by hurting down only opposition party members. This law enforcement agency should not be used as political machine; it should follow the rules of law, and discharge its responsibilities with fairness, professionalism, honesty, and integrity. Choose a fearless lion as the new director of EFCC that will fight corruption with the hope of restoring sanity in public service and private sector that will be free of fraud and corruption. Make corruption a serious crime in your administration, and ensure that the existing laws against this demon of corruption are dually enforced by EFCC without favoritism, sentiments or bias. Appoint credible, competent, highly qualified individuals with integrity to various positions of authority. You must avoid the trap of appointing people based on tribalism, favoritism, influence, religious and other sentiments. Moreover, you should avoid the trap of befriending corrupt religious and traditional leaders who care more about their personal interests than the interests of millions of suffering Nigerian people. Trust no man but God Almighty, and your administration will be very successful. The vice president-elect, Professor Yemi Osinbajo is a gift from God to you. He is a man of great characters, highly patriotic, smart, highly intelligent and a true child of God. Don’t ever underestimate him because the wisdom of God dwells in him. Give zero tolerant to any form of corruption, indiscipline, mismanagement, and other forms of lawlessness by all your political appointees and government officials.
If Nigeria must rise to the challenges of 21st Century in business, technology, economy growth, medicine, tourism, security, and trade, we must reform our declining educational system from the primary to university level. For us to be competitive in the 21st century, every Nigerian child should have access to sound education, qualified teachers, and good teaching and science materials of the 21st century. The Bible says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” Education, be it formal or informal is the key to building a strong and prosperous nation by using sound education to create people of great ideas. Nigerian education is no longer recognized by majority of Nigerian parents and the international community anymore because of great decline in the quality of education at our various institutions of learning across the nation. Last year alone, Nigerian parents spent billions of dollars in tuitions fee to educate their children overseas. What would happen to our economy and our schools if that money is spent on our existing schools here at home? In the 70s, 80s, and up to early 90s, Nigerian universities are highly rated internationally because of good quality of education. In those good days, there were thousands of international students attending majority of our higher institutions of learning mostly at the 1st generation of Nigerian universities; OAU, UI, ABU, UNN, and UNILAG. The reverse in the case today, it is so shameful today that thousands of Nigerian students are now stocked in Ghana. All the universities in Ghana combined are no match to ABU, Zaria in size, structure, and outdated equipment. This is shameful and unacceptable, and this disgraceful threads must be reversed for the good of Nigerian youths and many generations to come. New private universities that do not meet educational standards set by Nigerian Ministry of Education should be denied accreditation until the conditions are met. Our teachers and lecturers should be mandated to attend paid training or conferences, participate in educational research and development, and undergo annual recertification in their various field. Corruption, embezzlement, cult activities, and examination fraud should be banned and eliminated from our public schools and higher institutions of learning. Nigerian teachers in our public schools deserve better salaries and other incentives that will encourage them to deliver quality education to our children. Both the federal and state government should reform our public schools by bringing and restoring hope, trust, quality education, and credibility to our declining schools. There should be government sponsored scholarships to exceptional students in the fields of science, medicine, agriculture, and technology. We must also encourage more participations of private sector in delivering quality education to our children. Finally, Nigerian higher institutions should encourage more of students exchange programs with other recognized schools in the U.S, Europe, Canada, and Australia.
The Jumbo Pay of Nigerian Legislators must be stopped:
The looting of Nigerian public funds by few legislators in both “Houses of the Looters” must come to an end in your administration. Nigerian legislators or law makers are the highest paid in the world in a nation where over 170 millions of her citizens live in abject poverty. This is the peak of immorality, highly insensitivity, and looting of the national funds that an average Nigerian legislator makes more than four times of the salary of the President of United States. Over 95% of struggling Nigerian people live on less than a dollar per day while our law makers are ranking in millions of dollars in salaries and benefits annually. I strongly believe that nothing good is done in darkness, therefore, every public issue addressed in secrecy and in darkness is evil, bad, and anti electorate and is a disaster to our young democracy. Sir, the salaries and bonuses of all Nigerian legislators should become a public record in your administration. Every money spent on official trips, feeding allowances, and other costs should be made public to Nigerian people. After all, president Obama and all American law makers’ salaries are in public records that can be googled by anyone on the network. Nigerian legislative arm of government should operate within their budget with no option of borrowing money at the expense of Nigerian taxpayers to finance their corrupt practices. Sir, I know the fact that you are no longer a military dictator and lack the veto power to subdue these powerful people looting our money. Why? Former president Olusegun Obasanjo picked up unwinnable fight with those crooks in 1999 with the furniture allowance issue, but he lost the fight. However, you can adopt the tactics of former Governor of Central Bank (CBN) of Nigeria, His Excellency Emir Sanusi to deal with and stop the looting by our legislators. As a governor of CBN, Emir Sanusi fought against economic injustice against poor Nigerians; he fought against corruption and looting by our legislators by exposing their deals to Nigerian public, and he also stood up against the looting of Nigerian funds by President Jonathan and his allies by publicly exposing the stolen 20 billion dollars from the NNPC account. I strongly believe that this great Nigerian citizen should be honored by your administration for his selfless service that rescued Nigerian banking sector from total collapse and impending destruction. Sir, you have to take their case of immorality and looting to Nigerian public if they refuse to take a drastic pay cut for the good of the nation. They have turned noble call to serve the interests of the electorate to an avenue for making ungodly wealth while more Nigerians have driven to abject poverty and economic setbacks. They must cut down their salaries and bonuses, and eventually reduce their overhead costs of operation. I want to give the new majority of APC senators and representatives from both houses the benefit of the doubt that they will work with President-elect Buhari to stop corruption and looting of the peoples’ money that we have all seen in the past sixteen years under PDP majority. They should be aware that Nigerian people are watching all their moves from now on. They must cooperate with the General for the betterment of the masses who voted for them to represent the peoples’ interests.
Rebuilding Our Declining and Outdated Infrastructure:
The task of renovating and building new roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, railway system, police stations, drainages, and other useful infrastructure is a long term goal, capital intensive, and it takes time to accomplished. With good governance, this task will take a minimum of 10 to 20 years to accomplish. Sir, your administration can lay the foundation of building new projects and the renovation of the existing ones. Embarking on repair of our outdated infrastructures and rebuilding of new projects will create thousands of good paying jobs in construction, survey, and engineering sectors. In addition to that, it will create economic prosperity that attracts both domestic and foreign investments. More importantly, it enables easy transportation of goods and services from the rural areas to our cities. The task of building and renovating our roads, bridges, drainage system and other important projects are key to economic growth, job creation, and foreign investments.
The Roles of First Lady in your Administration:
The incoming First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will play non-policy roles in your administration. The participation of Mrs. Aisha Buhari in your administration cannot be ignored. It is true that there is nothing like the “Office of the First Lady” in Nigerian constitution and is the same for many advance democracies in the world. There is no such office in the best democracies of the world like the United States of America, Britain, Germany, Israel, and Canada just to mention a few. However, the First Lady is the number one adviser to the president. Mrs. Aisha Buhari will play a crucial role by pushing for certain government programs that help elevate poverty in the lives of millions of suffering Nigerian children, mothers, and widows in our society. She has to play a motherly and social activism role with the help of private donations and other charitable organizations by pushing for early child education program in Nigeria, poverty eradication programs for women, become a strong voice to eliminate child labor, educate our young girls on danger of early pregnancies, and be a strong voice against child prostitution in Nigerian society. She is also going to be the hostess of Aso Rock Villa. She will play other crucial roles that will come her way as the first lady of the nation. I believe that with her humble background, strong moral values, a great mother, and coupled with her education, she will restore sanity back to the People’s House-Aso Rock Villa.
In conclusion, Nigerian people should bear it in mind that thirty years of misrule, corruption, embezzlement, and mismanagement since Babangida regime to the worst administration of President Jonathan cannot be corrected in four to eight years. General Muhammad Buhari is not a miracle worker that has the power to change things overnight. Rebuilding of damage things always take time, planning, resources, great efforts, patient, and good and effective leadership. However, it is also important for the President-elect to do all he can to honor and fulfill all promises he made to Nigerian people. The General should know that he cannot afford to disappoint or fail millions of Nigerian people who trusted him with their votes. Sir, your lifetime credibility, respect, and honor are on the line, it is my prayer that God Almighty will give you the strength, wisdom, knowledge, and long life to restore our beloved nation from the brink of destruction and economic collapse. The task of digging Nigeria out from many years of moulds and cleaning it up with dedication, integrity, patriotism, and good governance will take more than three great and sincere presidents with a minimum of twenty years. And it might take less or more than twenty years to attain with subsequent election of great leaders like you. Once again Sir, congratulations for your election victory on March 28th, 2015. May God Almighty keep, guide, bless and protect you and professor Osinbajo for the task ahead. May God Bless Federal Republic of Nigeria. Amen.
[BY: Omokehinde, [email protected]]