By Godwin Etakibuebu,
How would you want to be remembered?
My dearly beloved President, I spoke about two major issues last week before drawing the curtain, albeit the terrorism-like nature of the Hausa/Fulani Herdsman and your unwillingness [not inability] to deal with it as a terrorist organization and the near-Islamization of the Ministry of Internal Affairs [as all the Parastatals of that ministry is now placed under Hausa/Fulani Moslem] by the incumbent Minister; Lt-Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, which many believed, unfortunately though, has your backing.
I equally promised that, though there were more revelations to be made, I would not over-border you with lengthy letters, “having appreciated the stress l already put you through so far with these two” [referring to the first two letters]. In keeping to this promise Sir, l shall be brief and straight to the point in these few inevitable subjects that needs your attention. I must admit however that these “subjects” might not be strange to you but bringing them to your attention here [as l now do] is nothing but telling you about the importance of them [the subjects] to majority of Nigerians. Let us go Sir, with your permission.
When you visited late Lam Adesina, then Executive Governor of Oyo State, on October 13, 2000, in Ibadan in your capacity as the Grand Patron of Miyetti Allah Group [Fulani Association of Cattle Breeders], protesting the killing of one herdsman in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State, not much interpretation was attached, though your angered-mood almost questioned the nationalism/patriotism of a former Head of State [of Nigeria], mostly when you asked that notable question – “why are your people killing my people”?
Though the governor responded with great calmness as he called the heads of all security agencies in the State to respond and give account of what exactly happened concerning that particular incident at Oke-Ogun, which of course reduced tension, the harm was however almost done when a former Nigerian Head of State claimed that some “people are more of his own than others” in the same country.
This episode which took place in Ibadan back in 2010 resonated recently when your plea to the President of the World Bank to “cross over to the North-East to help because of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis caused by Boko Haram insurgence” is now being misinterpreted by “some seditious” elements that you don’t have the interest of the whole country at heart but strictly the North only.
Yes, this interpretation [which the Presidency, Minister Lai Mohammed and Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State called mischievous interpretation] could be perceived as coming from “wicked and misleading people” from other parts of the country. But you have to agree with me that they [the interpreters] are not to be entirely blamed for the simple reason that if your authenticated statement that you would “patronize those who gave you 97% of votes than those that gave you only 5% [or should it be 3%?] is juxtaposed against the World Bank President’s revelation, reading your body-language in being skeptical or suspicious of your utterances can be forgiven.
Sir, this writer is not one of those that give any hook to your Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu’s crocodile tears about award of contracts in the NNPC by the Group Managing Director; Dr Makanti Baru, whom he [Kachikwu] alleged of by-passing him for obvious reason. For me, Dr Ibe Kachikwu did not just know that his portfolio has no legal and constitutional validity. He did not even know that there is a court ruling in the land which categorically stated that the office of the Minister of State in that Petroleum Resources Ministry [I want to believe that this applies to all Ministers of State] is illegal. He interpreted your good humanitarian gesture in naming him to be Minister of State as having so-much power in that capacity.
There are two allegations he made against your [not his] Group Managing Director vis-à-vis the fictitious contract of his [Kachikwu] imagination and recent appointments made in the NNPC without referring the list to him and the Board [which is real and weightier]. It is the list of those appointed that need your attention in this discussion because notification of these recruitments/appointments which was signed by Isa M. Inuwa; COO, Corporate Services of the NNPC, stated that “The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has approved the appointments/redeployments of the under-listed Management staff.”
The said list that got your approval [you have the absolute legal and constitutional authority to do what you did by so approving] consisted of 55 top management positions encumbered with the responsibility of managing the NNPC. Of the 55 Sir, 19 are from the whole South put together while 36, which included the most senior positions, are from the North. If this is true Sir, it made nonsensical of the Board of the NNPC [which latest revelation has proved to be a dead-duck entity] which you earlier constituted with 6 members from the North, 5 from the South-West, 1 from the South-East and one from the South-South.
I promised to end my letters to you with this one and we are coming to the end but not without mentioning very briefly one major concern of Nigerians about your choice of foreign medical treatment. Maybe the monumental fraud that has reduced the Aso Villa Clinic to mere “consulting mortuary”, in the words of late Head of State; General Sanni Abacha, when he announced the Military intrusion of December 31, 1984, as recently revealed by your very patriotic wife, Aisha Buhari, decided your choice of London in the United Kingdom. But Nigerians are not in hurry to forget that you had earlier placed “overseas treatment ban on all public servants”. You are not the only one enjoying this “special privilege but a few of your ministers and your Chief of Staff have been ferried across the Atlantic Ocean for “yafu-yafu” privileged treatment overseas. Don’t blame them if they cannot understand why what is not good for the goose should be good for the gander.
Lastly Sir, your seeming reluctance in bringing judgment against those adjudged to be corrupt within your “trusted” employees is giving some Nigerians sleepless nights. Permit me to mention, just for your ears only Sir, your suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation, David Lawal Babachir and some others [which I respectfully refrain to mention here Sir]. In the same vain the whole world is waiting for your reaction to the allegation that the Hospital created and being sustained by Nigeria’s national budget at the Presidential Villa has no functional X-Ray machine, has no Panadol and not even a single Syringe. You just have to do something about this serious revelation, for it is not just allegation because we believe in the source of the information. Yes, the whole world is waiting for what you will do about it please.
I draw the final curtain by thanking you for your patience with me because l am sure that you read every of the letters, either directly or through your two trusted employees in the persons of Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina. If there is rethinking on your side on some of the issues raised in this discuss, then the excruciating exercise of this work would not have been in vain. It is only then that Nigeria, Nigerians and humanity would have been better off for it. See this work therefore as my little contribution to the strengthening of your office and making you a better President please.
Sir, always be assured of my absolute loyalty and esteemed respectful regards.
Godwin Etakibuebu, a veteran journalist, wrote in from Lagos.