Dear President Buhari,
I have written a few letters to you on Facebook. I doubt that you had time to read them. Would you find time to read this one? I keep writing to you to prove to myself that your government is not like an ostrich that becomes deaf to truth when its ears are buried in sand.
I was in “dot-land” on Saturday, 3rd July 2021 when the Yoruba Nation agitators gathered in Lagos to declare that they had lost faith in Nigeria.
On my way from Abakiliki to Port Harcourt, I monitored happenings in Lagos on my Android phone. As you must have been briefed, some arrests were made. But the rally went on.
A 14-year old girl was killed. Who killed her? We may never know. There are conflicting accounts on how she died. Some online media houses have said that the child’s name is Jumoke. I do not know what a death like this one means to an army general, an agbada politician, and a father in one mould. For me, the pictures and videos of that child’s lifeless body are lodged in my head.
Nigeria has killed many children. In 1966 -1970, many were killed in a pogrom and in a civil war. There were no consequences for all the massacres and carnage. The war ended with bygones are bygones. The country loves to sweep the evil of its predators under the banner of mob action, unknown gunmen, unknown butchers, and unknown soldiers as if such atrocities are committed under unknown governments. That is perhaps the point: the bloodstained history (of unknown governments) which has allowed murderers to walk free or earn bragging rights and accolades.
The country has remained a site of treachery and bloodlust. A few days ago, I saw pictures of school children butchered in their school uniforms. Such sights appear normalized in the psyche of the nation-state: thugs, ritualists, cultists, armed robbers, militiamen, kidnappers, bandits, terrorists, police officers, military personnel, politicians, etc are constantly inflicting tragedies and trauma on the nation-state. Let me add that the most horrible act of violence (in this country) is the mis-governance of Nigeria by the political class.
The assaults on the citizenry is common knowledge. The original sin of every Nigerian is to be born Nigerian. It was Jumoke’s sin for which her life was taken. Children are not safe in their homes, not safe in their schools, not safe in their churches, not safe in their mosques, not safe anywhere in this disaster-republic you preside over today.
When you threatened that the monkey and the baboon would be soaked in blood if anyone rigged the 2015 election against you, we did not expect the ants and the elephants to be soaked in blood after you won. Nigeria dey where e dey; blood just dey flow everywhere. Nigeria is the way is; your government is in the old mode. Typically Nigerian: in sync with generations of obdurate power, chaotic leadership, and kleptomania. Is that where you want your government to stand in the plagues of Nigeria?
In 2015 when you were elected, many persons allowed their hearts to leap up. Hope was a thing in the gutter of doubt. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had been haughty and abusive from the beginning. After 16 years of anything-goes, many were genuinely fed up with a party that boasted loudly that it would govern Nigeria for 50 years. Such roughshod triumphalism; such hubris.
So when you were rebranded as a democrat, some Nigerians wanted a change. They should have been vigilant enough to note that the All Progressives Congress (APC) was a party filled with men and women who had been part of a swarm of locusts since 1999 and beyond. Nigerians should have been careful with your ultra self-righteousness which makes you the man you are. You have little or no room for dissent and alternative viewpoints. Once you select a gear, you give in to the autopilot of your fandom. Your sense of entitlement requires everyone to bow to the singleness of your own perception and bias.
History is full of generals who led their people to defeat and slaughter rather than listen to the cry of the “dots,” rather than adjust a preconceived notion, rather than dialogue and refashion the rules of engagement.
You are angry with all troublemakers, the likes of Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho. It appears that you have sworn to crush them. After that, what next? What will you do with the call and cry for a restructured Nigeria? What will you do with the call and cry for a national dialogue? Can the might of the nation-state shoot or crush the discontent of Nigeria’s component units once and for all? How many persons will die before Nigeria will achieve the perpetual submission of its components?
Could you have imagined that characters like Kanu and Igboho will be considered as heroes by many? It is not the propriety of their language or method that has endeared them to many. Nigerian masses do not love violence, threats, and insults. So, why are the likes of Kanu and Igboho increasingly popular? It is the audacity of their dissidence in a country that protects its dysfunctional status quo by any means necessary. In a community where the king’s dog is at liberty to bite people, a madman becomes a hero for having the audacity to bite the king’s dog. In a system where citizens are denied the right to dialogue and progress, madmen become spokesmen because they are mad enough to speak the language the system understands. What are the madmen saying to you, Mr President? Are they calling your attention to your party’s unfulfilled promise?
I have heard that the manifesto that marketed you made a promise to restructure Nigeria. Is that true? When will you fulfill that promise?
I pray that Allah will give you the wisdom, willpower, and courage to renegotiate, reform, and restructure Nigeria. I pray that you should succeed to bring true peace, prosperity, and unity to Nigeria. Your success will be the success of all Nigerians.
Obari Gomba (PhD)