Dear Muhammadu Buhari, Now that You Are President... @paulutho

Dear Mr. President, It is with a deep sense of utmost respect that I write to you. I congratulate you on this milestone achievement after th...

Dear Mr. President,

It is with a deep sense of utmost respect that I write to you. I congratulate you on this milestone achievement after three failed attempts of wanting to become the president of our great nation. I salute your doggedness and commitment in the pursuit of your dream and seeing it to a logical conclusion. This is indeed the Nigerian spirit and it is a lesson to all that with patience, determination and hard work, our goals can be achieved in life.

Now that you’re the President, permit me to draw your attention to some issues that Nigerians are concerned about which in turn will be the yardstick by which Nigerians will rate your administration. Some of us may not have the opportunity of a one-on-one meeting with you and this may be the only available medium to share our views.

Now that you’re the President, the first thing I’ll like to draw your attention to is one of your campaign promises, that if elected, you’ll be the president of the whole country. I watched you make that statement on television and I believe you’re a man of your words. As you are very much aware, the unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct and everything must be done to maintain that unity. There should be no preferential treatment in your administration. No South, East, North or West but one Nigeria. Nigerians have always lived in peace with one another and this is one assignment your administration must uphold diligently. You may have been elected on the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC) but your loyalty should be to the Nigerian State. The Nigerian Constitution which you swore to uphold on May 29th should be your operation manual.

Some geopolitical zones may not have given you the desired votes that was required to have a landslide in the 2015 elections but that should not stop those zones from enjoying the dividends of democracy and getting their fair share of projects. In his short but earth moving speech during the xenophobic attacks in the South African parliament, Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said and I quote ‘The Cubans have taught us that body language speaks volumes than prepared speech’. In this regard, your body language, not just what you say, will go a long way in sending the right message to those around you.

Now that you’re the President, the second thing I’ll like to draw to your attention is the fact that this is a democracy, not a military dictatorship, and as such, the fundamental human rights of Nigerians (journalists inclusive) must be respected. The rule of law must be upheld and a clear message sent to the security agencies that no form of impunity will be tolerated under your administration. The Nigerian Constitution recognises and places a high premium on freedom of speech and association. It is said that former President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the most insulted Presidents in the country but he tolerated the insults and focused on his assignment. People may insult or criticize your person/administration but you shouldn’t lose sight of you goals and objectives. Infact, you should expect the criticisms and insults. The press may be quick to publish things that may not fully reflect all angles of a story . They should be responded to in a civilized manner, not hounded down or arrested and thrown into jail. It takes much more than the dropping of the title of General from the prefix of a President to be a democrat. Your media aides must understand their role and not feed Nigerians with propaganda. We had enough of that during the campaigns. Let us not go back to the dark days of military dictatorship when media houses were closed down and journalists imprisoned without recourse to the rule of law. May I suggest a weekly press briefing by your media team. This will help keep Nigerians informed and carried along in the implementation of your program for our great nation.

Now that you’re the President, the third thing Nigerians (myself inclusive) are looking forward to is the fight against corruption. Although some of us are still a bit surprised about how certain individuals got to be so close to you knowing your stand against corruption, we understand that politics is a game of interest and some people cannot be restricted from participating in party politics, but you would do yourself a world of good by distancing yourself and your administration from such individuals. Campaigns are over and it is time to separate the shaft from the wheat. Corrupt individuals can remain in your party but not play active roles in your administration. You shouldn’t speak from both sides of your mouth. Nigerians agree with you that we must kill corruption but corruption is perpetuated by individuals, not ghosts. You can’t kill corruption when it walks, eats and sleeps with you. There should be no sacred cows in your administration. Where a case of corruption is investigated and established against anyone, such a person, no matter how highly placed irrespective of tribe or religion, must be brought to book. The entire world is watching you now. Time to walk your talk.

Now that you’re the President, the fourth thing Nigerians want to see implemented are the economy policies you talked about during your campaign. Nigerians want to see an overhaul in the petroleum sector. We want to see our refineries working again. We want to see an export driven economy, not an import driven one. The last administration made some gains in the agricultural sector. Build on it. Food should be the least of Nigeria’s problem. Let’s diversify our economy. Youth unemployment must be addressed. If you have strategies better than YOUWIN etc that can empower Nigerian youths, you should hit the ground running.

Now that you’re the President, the fifth thing Nigerians will hold you accountable to is the issue of security. With your vast military background, the Boko Haram insurgency should be put to rest perpetually. In the same vein, the continuous attacks by the so called Fulani herdsmen in the middle belt should be addressed urgently. In what appears to be a systematic religious cleansing in that region, thousands of Christians have been rendered homeless, children turned into orphans and businesses destroyed. This is unacceptable. The middle belt has become a hotbed and a keg of gun powder waiting to explode.

Nigerians are not asking for too much neither are they asking for the impossible. Although you sounded like a miracle worker and one that was coming to work some magic during your campaign, they however expect the simple basics and that’s why they have trusted you with the mantle of leadership. It is often said that experience is the best teacher and this applies to you in some ways. You’ve been at the helm of affairs before, albeit, under different circumstances. While it is said that experience is the best teacher, it is also true that a wise man learns from the mistakes of others. Learn from history. Surround yourself with the right people, not experts in money laundering who have also trained others in the act. No more excuses. Be diligent.

The next few weeks will determine if Nigerians indeed made the right choice and I urge you by the mercies of God, not to take the Nigerian people for granted. Power belongs to the people, not those who rule them.

You have my best wishes Mr. President.

God bless Nigeria.

*@paulutho is a political communicator & a strategic planner


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