Gen Muhammadu Buhari
President – Elect,
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Your Excellency sir,
May I use this opportunity to congratulate you once again on your successful election as the President-Elect of the most populous black nation on the face of the earth after sixteen years of “Loose Rulership” of the People`s Democratic Party(PDP). As we draw closer to a smooth transition of “mis-rule” to a perceived true democracy come May 29th which in itself is an annual holiday for mother Nigeria in celebration of a smooth transition to Civil Rule, I want to as a matter of urgency draw your attention to a number of issues militating against the growth and stability of our great country Nigeria in my own view/opinion. I am sure Your Excellency have received quite a number of public opinions on national issues ranging from Corruption, Finance, Petroleum, Crime and Education. It is on these areas I want to draw your attention to and a few of others that the average Nigerian deserves. The road ahead is still tricky and will require a lot of patience, tolerance and level headedness. The people must be able to rise above divisions and do what is best for the country and not pander to partisan interests of certain individuals or sections of the society. The country is bigger than individuals and must always be given its pride of place. The story changes every now and then and Nigerians are confused if the beautiful ones are not yet born. Man may be a political animal but there comes a time in a person’s life when true service must be the ultimate goal. In the history of our country this is the time because I am convinced you are not like the hyenas we had in the system who are just there to accumulate wealth. Building Mansions they never live in, buying luxurious cars they will never drive. Let me not bore you with an old gained habit of our modern day politician but delve into the issues that prompted this missive.
Your Excellency, this is the root of the underdevelopment of this country called Nigeria and it may interest you to know that the Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan`s led administration allowed so much loopholes for the Nation`s treasury to be ravaged. I listened to your campaign slogan of change and I saw that it is hinged on fighting corruption. Your Excellency sir, with all due respect, your government cannot fight corruption holistically because of some very sensitive issues unless you would also step on toes to achieve this. I am sure of 40% success in this area but not beyond this. I speak the truth because where there is no truth, there is no peace and I am an ambassador for peace. Our country must morally re-arm. We cannot run a country where virtue is vice and vice is virtue. We cannot live in a country where the looters of yester-years assume they have undergone a Pauline conversion because they are in opposition and oppose the Government of the day. Some of our richest men and women are to be found in politics and their creed is, thou shall reap what thou hath not sown. Behind most of our so called successful civil servants who have joined politics and business there is a collapsed or collapsing public institution they once served. How do you tackle this Your Excellency knowing fully well that one problem begets the other? The last time I checked, our justice system in Nigeria have been grounded and now being run by men and women who only think criminals who have the “foolish wisdom” to loot can be spared. I am trying to be as detailed enough as I can and at the same time manage words so as not to bore lazy readers from getting the message though it is meant for Your Excellency for your perusal. At school and from scholarly books on Democracy and Good Governance I have read, we were told that “Democracy” and “Rule of Law” are intertwined but the Nigeria system have rather refuted this scholarly principle. In modern democracy as practiced by Nigerian politicians is hinged on “who knows who” and “who got what”. Your escape from jurisdiction is determined by the weight of your pocket/bank account. We live in a Nigeria where the President is Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and dictates the tune of the pipe as played by the Attorney General & Minister of Justice. This ofcourse implies that he controls the two arms of government. We live in a country where moneys meant for projects are squandered by Ministers and Honourable Members of the National Assembly and we only hear of the project completion on paper but in it`s physical state invisible. We live in a country where the Judiciary is independent on paper but dependent in the field of play. We live in a country where a public officer steals N30billion Naira and the court sentence him to prison with an option of N200,000(Two Hundred Thousand Naira) fine which obviously is carved out of the same money he is confirmed to have stolen from the Nation`s treasury. The list is endless. Your Excellency, this is not Democracy but what I call “Criminocracy” because it is a government that encourages criminals and paints them white in the face of the truth. Corruption today is not only a vice but is gradually becoming a way of life in every sector of our society. From political circles to business board rooms to educational institutions to the health and judicial sectors. This vice is literally dismembering Nigeria as a Democratic State.
The Goodluck Jonathan`s led government’s effort in its fight against corruption is comparable to the efforts of one who digs a hole while simultaneously filling it up. Its efforts will never bear fruit unless it rids itself of those corrupt government officials that were recycled back into the new government from the previous one. I am sure Your Excellency understands Corrution as the bane of our underdevelopment and poverty. It has really eaten deep into the fabrics of our society and now stinks like bad ulcer. If we think corruption is going to stopin Nigeria and indeed Africa, then we have to think again. A police officer in Nigeria would tell his wife to place a pot of water on the cooking stove as he goes down to the traffic stop, and would surely come back with a bag of rice! So tell me, who will enforce the law, when the police are the very leaders in corruption?
Your Excellency sir,the culture of corruption has eaten deep into the very foundation of the society in Nigeria to such an extent that an average passenger in a commercial bus tries to cheat the conductor who collects the money, the conductor in turn tries to cheat the driver and the driver tries to cheat the owner of the bus. Before degenerating to this level however, it was limited to government officials.
What we need to start doing is changing the mentality of Nigerians and this can only be tackled through education and training within the home. We need to focus on the younger generations. I suggest we start implementing courses about corruption and society in schools to educate people on the negative externalities corruption imposes on society and how we harm ourselves only by encouraging it. We need to train law enforcers who easily partake in corruption and most importantly we need to fight poverty.
Your Excellency sir, our educational system is now fraught with unprofessionals. We have often preached that Education should be made job oriented and that learning should be stress free but the reverse is the case. Our institutions have witnessed a downfall trend in it`s academic standard as dedicated Lecturers and teachers are left frustrated in their efforts to raise both moral and academic standards. Their potentials have been stultified. I strongly beg that your state Governors give serious priority to the girl child education as enshrined in the African Youth Charter because this have left many of our young girls frustrated, uneducated and gone into prostitution. We can adore women as our mothers, cherish them as our daughters, love them as our wives and yet downgrade them as human beings politically and academically. I cannot understand this paradox. I am happy we now have a female Governor in Nigeria after Dame Ngozi Virginia Etiaba of Anambra state who sat for four(4) months. Verily, Verily, I tell you; any society that does not pay regard to the girl and her education is built on a foundation of sand. Your Excellency, permit me here to bring to your notice that there is so much fraud happening on our campuses today and our Federal Ministry of Education seem to shy away from them. Your team of experts can dig into that. The very essence of education is no longer sort after as our Universities can no longer produce graduates who can defend their certificates as opposed to the standard of education we had in the 60s and 70s. Even our parents are now most crazy about paper qualification for their children rather than the content of the course studied. The so-called parallel degree may be based on noble ideals but it has also given birth to some students whose interest is the degree certificate without more. Our Universities must have umbilical cords with industry and society otherwise they will remain ivory towers where knowledge is pumped into the minds of our young men and women. One very vital area that needs to be tackled is the quality of teachers employed to take the centre stage of our children`s academic life. With this I am referring to Pre-Primary, Primary and Secondary school teachers round the country. If you can retrospect Your Excellency, sometime in 2011, one of your seating Governors carried out a screening exercise on Primary school teachers and it was discovered that a teacher with over 20years teaching experience could not read her own certificate she submitted to the State Ministry of Education upon her enlistment into the profession. This exercise exposed a lot of discrepancies in the employment of teachers in the country. That report showed that a lot of our Primary School teachers were so gifted that they finished primary school before they were born. In fact, some obtained their Primary School Certificates many years later from the school in which they were employed as teachers. The question is whether they went to Teachers’ Training College or obtained National Certificate of Education (NCE) before they went to primary school. These are facts that have been well documented. It is no longer news that most of our teachers no longer prepare lesson notes before going to class. I still cannot forget how my then Agricultural Science teacher reads directly from textbook to us forgetting that some of us were discerning enough to know it was a wrong thing to do as a trained teacher. The situation is worse in our Universities where you see Lecturers only coming to class the first week of resumption to give out course outline and the next time you see them is on exam day and what they have to tell you is that the University is meant for the matured minds only. The issue of female students being harassed sexually by lecturers is a story for another day. Not forgetting lecturers who are bent on being bribed before passing students. The list is indeed endless Your Excellency.
The incessant ASUU strikes must be checked as it is becoming a tradition that every government must experience it. There must be check and balance; Quality service for good pay.Those who deter every means to have our brothers and sisters have quality education shall continue to retard in their thinking ability. In the utilization of public resources allocated to us we must emulate the Stoics and Spartans of old. Education is the bedrock of every society and must be handled with all seriousness. Admission procedures/requirements into our states and Federal Universities should be reviewed. The Federal Government and the NUC/ASUU should come to a consensus on outstanding issues. Government must also show a keen interest in encouraging Science & Technology in our Universities, Polytechnics and Technical Colleges round the country. Local inventors must not also be left out as an investment in them would take our nation to the next level in Technological advancement.
Your Excellency sir, this is one area Nigerians are looking up to you for an immediate turn around. Within the last years we have lost quite a number of our citizens to Bomb blasts, Assassinations and rival court fracas resulting to destruction of Government properties. Security threats and other unsafe conditions have remained one of Nigeria’s major challenges till date. The mountainous and untamed security threats have converted our beloved country into a death theatre.
Your Excellency, since 1999, approximately 58,000 Nigerians were killed outside the law by our beloved country’s malicious citizens operating as “State actors” and “non-state actors”.The said unlawful deaths arose from Vigilante killings dominant in the Southeast Nigerian States of Anambra and Abia. Others arose from the Police violent crackdown on members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra-MASSOB; intra-communal and inter-communal conflicts; ethno-religious/sectarian conflicts such as Jos killings and Boko Haram insurgency; election related violence; police custody/pretrial killings; political assassinations/killings; kidnap killings; culpable homicides; and excessive use of force by military/police against Nigeria’s malicious entities and members of the civil populace.
Over 15,000 unlawful deaths arose from vigilante killings. The ethno-religious/sectarian killings including the Boko Haram insurgency accounted for over 16,000 unlawful deaths; police/military unlawful or extra-legal killings accounted for 21,000 deaths; and election violence took over 2,000 lives. Beyond this, the in-depth review of the continued unlawful killings in our beloved country from January to May 2013, showed that more 4000 Nigerians may most likely to have been killed outside the law, between January 2012 and May 2013.This brings the total number of unlawful deaths in Nigeria since 1999 to approximately 58,000. For instance, between January and April 2013, over 1000 Nigerians were killed unlawfully by malicious elements within and outside the country’s security forces. The killings arose from police custody killings such as Ezu River Killings; ethno-religious/sectarian violence such as Jos killings; and the Boko Haram insurgency.
In the area of police pretrial/custody killings, over 200 Nigerians may most likely to have been killed between January and April 2013. The unlawful killings included over 50 young Nigerian males of the Igbo-South-East extraction, killed by Anambra State Police SARS in January 2013 and dumped into Ezu River in Awka, Anambra State, South-East Nigeria. On the issue of Boko Haram insurgency, over 2000 Nigerians have been killed since January 2013. The killings included over 220 citizens killed on 16th and 17th of April, 2013 in the Baga (Borno State, North-East Nigeria) violent clashes between Boko Haram militant Islamists and the Multi-national Joint Taskforce led by Nigerian security forces in which 2,275 thatched houses were destroyed, as well as the killing of over 180 citizens, mostly citizens of South-East Igbo extraction, on 18th day of March 2013 at the Sabon Gari Luxury Bus Park in Kano State, North-West Nigeria.
Other unlawful killings that took place between January and April 2013 are the Jos ethno-religious/sectarian violence where over 200 citizens have been killed. In May 2013, alone, up to 200 Nigerians have died in unjustified manners in our beloved country. The May 2013 killings included the death of 90 members of Nigerian security forces on 8th day of May, 2013 in Lafia, Nasarawa State, North-Central, Nigeria and the killing of 55 citizens including 22 police officers, 14 prisons officials, two soldiers, 13 Boko Haram insurgents and four civilians.
Importantly, the killings under reference (58,000 unlawful deaths) did not include those killed in motor accidents. In the five months of 2013 alone, over 300 Nigerians have been killed in motorization mishaps. Between December 19, 2012 and first week of January 2013, according to Nigeria’s Federal Road Safety Corps, 280 Nigerians were killed in road accidents.
Your Excellency, the cases in Delta, Edo, Ondo and Enugu are not left out as they are not far from the mishaps in other states. Cultism took the Centre stage in our secondary schools and Polytechnics in Delta until the Government of Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan brought in Military personnel to quell the situation. May I also use this opportunity to inform you sir that our Police Force needs reformation, refurbishing and total rehabilitation. Most Nigerians would agree with me that some police officers lack manners and it seems they never passed through the Police College. In some developing countries in Africa like Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania that I have been to, their policing is quite modern. Interrogations are not crudely done. It is only in Nigeria that a police officer can call you names like criminal, armed robber, thief etc during an arrest. In Nigeria you hear terms like “ see him eye like thief, na una go rob for that man house yesterday abi?”. “You must go show me that igbo wey make you dey run”. These terms are too derogatory to be used by a law enforcement officer. It`s an indication that they have lost their manners or perhaps ignorant of the fact that they can be sued. One other thing that needs to be corrected about our Police force is their unkept uniforms, stations and vehicles. I really mean no insults but most of our police vehicles are like Vans used to convey cassava from Cassava plantations in Jesse, Mosogar and Abraka villages. This is as a result of lack of proper maintenance. Few months ago, His Excellency Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan paid a surprise visit to the Ikeja Police College and what he was confronted with was an eye-sore. Now the College wears a new look, but the issue is not about renovation but maintenance. These Government properties need to be handled with care like they were our personal properties. Our police personnels should be trained on how to use modern security equipment in checking the activities of criminals in our society as the world is no longer analog but digital. Our policemen and women must be like Boys Scout and Girls Guide. They must act with the firmness that opens eyes and not with the arrogance that inflames anger. The Nigeria I know has a serious problem with the enforcement of laws. Most times, when a criminal is being tried, one politician calls in to say he is interested in the case; from that minute, the case is as good as dead. I have heard someone say “I go kill you and stand by your dead body”. Isn`t this ridiculous? These things cannot be corrected overnight because I know it is no magic Your Excellency, but the Police Service Commission can handle these abnormalities and the National Assembly must be ready to serve the purpose for which it was established else we make nonsense of our dear Nation. Honorable members of the House of Representative and Senate must be ready to obey the laws so enacted by them to set as examples to other citizens of our dear Nation.
Your Excellency, there are too many issues about Nigeria that time and space would not permit me to express here and I am sure many other Nigerians would write much more if given the opportunity to speak out. I am just one aggrieved Nigerian who hopes that your Government would touch on some of these if not all to atleast gladden the hearts of well meaning Nigerians. I know there are so many pharaohs ready to pull you down in achieving success in your administration, my prayer is that God will continue to abbreviate their existence so that the journey to a better Nigeria would be smooth.
God bless Your Excellency’ Gen Muhammadu Buhari(GCFR)
God bless Your Excellency Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan(GCFR)
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
God bless the United States of Africa.
Hon Isiakpere Hope Jasper
African Youths Political Congress(AYOPOCO)