President Buhari Writes Nigerians By SOC Okenwa

Fellow Nigerians,

It has given me tremendous delight to address you all, my compatriots, through this open letter. As you all know I am a man of few words. I am not a professional letter-writer like those who used stolen funds to construct a ‘wonderful’ presidential library where they retired. And English (nay grammar) is not my language — apology to Sir Shina Peters. Hausa is the language of my birth as English is to the English, French to the French and German to the Germans. I make bold to say that I speak Hausa more fluently than any other foreign language!

When you overwhelmingly elected me in 2015 to preside over our national affairs there was great hope in the future in a nation ravaged by mind-boggling corruption and leadership mediocrity. Almost four years down the line we have made some significant progress in some critical areas of our national life. 

We have technically defeated Boko Haram terrorism even though the terrorists still succeed in attacking our villages and towns up north in a guerrilla warfare. We have worked hard on the economy improving the fortunes of our people. We have employed thousands of our jobless youths in different sectors besides empowering other artisans and petty traders through soft micro-credit schemes. Thousands of our farmers are having it good with bumper harvests — smiling to the banks happily.

On graft we have fought institutional and individual corruption with determination and vigour expected of us. Billions of Naira has thus far been recovered from glorified criminals and looters. Some folks are cooling their heels in different prisons across the federation. Though corruption is fighting back furiously we are determined to continue weeding out of the system those practices inimical to our collective development.

As we approach interestingly the presidential election of Saturday (16th February) we, of the ruling APC coalition, are very confident of sweeping the polls as we did during the Jonathanian era. We are looking forward to yet another landslide victory with your expected massive support. On the D-Day this weekend I personally implore you all, fellow countrymen and women of voting age, to troop to the polls to cast your votes.

Of course we recognise that power belongs to you, the people! Therefore, it is pertinent that all of you should exercise your constitutional right to elect your leaders without let or hindrance. Please do not forget to remember where we were when we came to office and where we are now. Before we came in corruption had eaten deeply into the national fabric that solution ought to have been found to confront and defeat the cankerworm without compromise.

Before we came on board security was a huge challenge. Boko Haram elements had taken over many of our towns and villages hoisting their Islamic black flags and ruling as they pleased. Though there exists still a security challenge nationwide we have done well to protect lives and properties of Nigerians. Before we assumed office unemployment was rife and the economy was in poor state but today we have effortfully stabilized the economy attracting foreign investments and growing businesses.

Those who spent a humongous 16 billion Dollars to provide electricity but ended up producing darkness while in power are saying that this administration has failed! They say we are incompetent, sectional and slow. But when they were here they never performed better than us. We challenge them to prove us wrong on this score.

Indeed we have delivered on some of our promises but we recognise that not all promises made have been fulfilled in full given the time constraints. That is why we are seeking another mandate of four years from you to consolidate our achievements and achieve even more.

Fellow Nigerians, we are seeking a second constitutional term and not unconstitutional third term as some hypocrites ‘Babacratically’ did but failed in the past. I assure you that the upcoming general elections would be transparent, free and fair. Some opposition elements are crying wolf where there is none in sight. We, in the APC, do not believe in “do-or-die” politics of their godfathers or the fixing syndrome that characterised their 16 giddy years in the saddle.

My people, let me emphasize more on the three cardinal programmes of change we promised you, something that led to your massive votes for the APC last four years. On security we are still having problems contending with both Boko Haram and herdsmen/farmers clashes. But we have done our very best to secure your lives and properties. There is no nation (including America, Britain, France, Russia and China) without one security challenge or another.

On the economy we have dutifully positioned and repositioned the economy for a steady growth in the years ahead. On corruption our committed war on graft has yielded bountiful dividends. Today, corruption is no longer as pervasive as it was before we ‘swept’ our way to Aso Villa. So far we have done well to deserve another four years to be able to build upon our accomplishments.

Some addicted critics of this administration had accused my presidency of ceding power to the so-called ‘cabal’ in the Villa. My wife, Aisha, our First Lady, had not helped matters by alluding to this ludicrous claim. Believe me I am in full charge! No cabal exists in the Villa to the best of my knowledge. Please disregard, therefore, the nonsense being peddled by the disgruntled opposition. I take full responsibility for whatever happens in this government.

Some uncharitable critics equally say conveniently that I am going senile or suffering from dementia. But that is not true! Perhaps my difficulty during the campaign rallies to correctly pronounce the word ‘gubernatorial’ or recollect the exact date we assumed official duties must have informed their erroneous conclusions. As I said before I regretted coming back to power at this age. 

When I was a military dictator post-Shagari, decades ago, you would agree with me that age was on my side then. Now the reverse is the case! I was then as active as President Macron or Prime Minister Trudeau. But today age has taken a toll on my physical and intellectual abilities! No one can cheat nature. At 76 I believe Allah has been kind to me and Nigeria has favoured me immensely. I am proud to be one of you.

A fellow old soldier who had the rare opportunity of ruling this great nation twice takes pleasure in painting me black before you all and the international community. I refuse to join issues with him on many unfounded allegations and vituperations he had heaped on my person. I leave him to his conscience (if he has any) and God (if he believes truly in One).

Some idiots who address themselves as critics had alleged criminally that I was cloned in London and that a certain “Jubril from Sudan or Chad” is the one running our national affairs on behalf of an imagined ‘dead’ Buhari. That is the height of insolence taken to the extreme! The fugitive boy, the terrorist Nnamdi Kanu, who first made the unsubstantiated allegation is known to be a rabble-rouser without base. Today he is a Nigerian, tomorrow he is a British citizen and next tomorrow he fancies himself as a Jew from Israel! I hold him in absolute scorn.

As we go to the polls come Saturday and beyond we must endeavour to behave ourselves as good democrats and patriots. The security forces across the federation have been fully mobilized to guarantee peace and tranquility. However, they have my instructions to deal decisively with anyone (no matter how lowly or highly placed in the society) who tries to disrupt the electoral process in particular or jeopardise democracy in general.

Conclusively I urge you to vote wisely. Please vote APC so that we can, together as one political family, take ourselves to the Next Level! Long live democracy! Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!

SOC Okenwa
[email protected]


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