By Olusegun Philips-Alonge
Dear Mr. President, I want to start by commending you for the tremendous sacrifice you made to lead Nigeria at this uncertain time. I know the past 19 months has been tough for you, but uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
While you may not have met an ideal Nigeria, the Nigeria that people had on May 29, 2015, is severely degraded. Whether this is right or not is subject to individual experience, interpretation of events, and judgment. The consensus among Nigerians is that your policies has crushed their upward chances and worsened the standards of living.
Nigerians are so confused and scared because your policy direction has been unstable, incoherent, and harmful. Petrol and utility pricing, importation, and currency policies are a few examples of how you have gone two step forwards and thousands backward. The combination of hyperinflation, high prices, low wages, weak Naira, and high unemployment unleashes a perfect genocide by famine storm on Nigerians.
Mr. President, Nigerians en route greener pasture in Europe are perishing on the high seas by the thousand. Unfortunately, the spiritually blind clerics continue to inundate you with the prophecy of a better and brighter tomorrow. Reworking the policy calculus to reduce the economic squeeze on Nigerians is more beneficial than listening to any ungodly, unrealistic, and doomed prophecy.
Nigerians are getting mixed ethnoreligious signals from your high office. You shunned the Southeast Economic Summit with a belated security excuse. By the same token, you have kept silent and turned a blind eye on the ethnoreligious killings in Southern Kaduna, the Southeast, the Southwest, and the deep South. Mr. President, the time is ripe for you to engage and speak directly to all Nigerians about integration and ethnoreligious tolerance, not just “the good people of Bauchi State.”
Mr. President Sir, Kudos to you and the Nigerian Army for smoking Boko Haram out of their strongholds. However, it is very concerning that ethnoreligious distrust and tensions have increased dramatically under your watch. The growing ethnoreligious distrust is a huge security risk that needs to be defused now before the impending elastic limit is breached. Nigerians are waiting for their president to lead a reconciliation effort centered on self-determination, and religious and ethnic harmony.
I never imagined the situation where a Nigerian President must tread cautiously to avoid running into ethnoreligious conflicts or security risks. If our president must forego important events for these reasons, there is indeed fire on the mountain. Instead of remaining on partisan narratives of how the PDP is responsible for everything that ails Nigeria, it is time for Mr. President to own the present difficulties and start providing real solutions.
Mr. President, Biafra agitation and the similar Niger Delta movements are no deferrable child’s play that could be resolved by military interventions. The creation and implementation of a diplomatic reconciliatory apparatus to de-escalate and address the situation is a long overdue responsibility of yours. By every political yardstick, employing the hell or high water tactics on this matter is detrimental to the peace and progress of Nigeria.
Mr. President, democracy and the rule of law include honoring the tenets of separation of powers and respect for civil rights. Consequently, one of your sacred duty is to give Nigerians a real sense of justice and equality before the law. Stopping unlawful detention of Nigerians and respect for civil rights can only happen if you release your political prisoners in compliance with several court orders.
President Buhari Sir, there can be no logical end to corruption by employing a predisposed and procedurally corrupt agency to help eradicate corruption. It is important that you reform the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and bring every corrupt official in your government to justice. Finally, Mr. President, the world is watching and laughing out loud because paying the poor five thousand Naira is not synonymous with a social security program.
On this note, Mr. President, I wish you will find the courage to do right by Nigerians in the year 2017. I also wish you every success in your nation-building efforts. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.