By Segun Showunmi
Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, Ramadan Kareem. May Almighty Allah guide and be with you, especially at this time with the affairs of our nation Nigeria.
Democracy thrives on a vibrant and viral opposition. I have wondered if the word opposition is an appropriate word to use given that I really do not see those with alternate views as being in opposition. I prefer to see them as partners in progress on the way to getting the country to achieve its destined lofty heights.
Mr. President, the actions and utterances of your aides, especially Minister Lai Mohammed, are tantamount to stifling the opposition. As if the latter’s comments are not unfortunate enough, one just needs to look at the other organizations within the Executive like the EFCC and ICPC, among others, to become curious as to how come, suddenly, under your watch, the main victims of their activities are opposition figures and persons perceived to be close to them.
Your Excellency, whereas I personally love and wish that you bequeath a corruption free country to us as your legacy, I must add that within the period that should come under review in this fight, it is embarrassing to give the impression that none of those in cahoot with you and your government are guilty, if not more, of the same corrupt enrichment and abuse of office that your agents seem so fixated on. The impression every discerning Nigerian gets is that your anti-corruption torch light mainly exposes the main figures of the opposition as the only ones deep in this national malaise.
Mr President, I get the fact that the opposition can come with some form of irritation, but with great respect, this comes with the responsibilities you carry as a civilian president and I hope you understand that it is a great achievement that, like Obasanjo, Like Buhari, you both are the only ones that it has pleased God to grant the grace of serving both as head of state and as president.
I write you this open letter that you might not allow anyone to destroy your legacy or allow them to caste you in the mould of dictators, the likes that, for all of history, sit in a very condemnable place. Unfortunately, history is usually mild on incompetence in leadership, but for those who allow themselves to be painted with the tar of despot, history is never kind and the mess is left for their children and descendants. Now, why should you allow that to be the lot of your people given that deep down, I know you are not a wicked person; you are just firm and perhaps set in your ways as to how to sharpen up this country and its mostly indisciplined citizens.
I honestly don’t want you to allow the extremely incompetent Lai Mohammed, who in my opinion, mismanaged the goodwill with which you came into office in 2015, to destroy whatever is left. I, though in opposition, have wondered why you tolerated them until such a point that your perception audit ebbed so low. I would never know why, but I wish to tell you that the narrative about opposition being responsible for security crisis and treason coming in one press release is extremely dangerous to the country, to opposition elements, but most especially, to you and your reputation!
That is a line that they ought not to cross. I want to suggest that the right approach would be to name specific individuals that credible intelligence fingers in this. To do otherwise is to become the victim of a Frustration-Aggression-Displacement Theory, which posits that once a person is frustrated, mostly as a result of not being able to achieve a task (mostly caused by incompetence) that aggression is what follows and this also is mostly misdirected. In this case, rather than direct it at those you have saddled with the responsibilities of doing a job, sir, you are directing it at the opposition and it is made most unacceptable when they now insinuate that your main opponent in the 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, GCON, is in anyway involved.
This is a dangerous precedence that must stop immediately. We have, as Nigerians, enough challenges at nation building that we do not need to rip the country in halves. You just need to look at the numbers as presented presently to see that between those who were returned for you and those allocated to Atiku, our country is truly divided, a division that runs through the tribal cleavages, the religious tendencies, the social classifications. Indeed, our country is divided.
I believe that once the presidential election tribunal is done with its duty and all is settled, whoever is finally adjudged to have won will need to do a whole lot of work to bring the country together. Statements like those made by Lai Mohammed, your Minister of Information, are most unacceptable and unfortunate.
Mr President, as you are in the holy land of Mecca for prayers during this most holy month of Ramadan, I plead with you to present our country Nigeria before Almighty Allah in supplication and may it please Allah to count you amongst the rightly guided leaders when all is done and dusted. Be assured of my highest regards.
Citizen Segun Showunmi,
Atiku Abubakar, GCON.