When Idiots Rule - An Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari (Part 2)
By Adeleke Adefioye
Mr. President. You may remember me from 2015. Maybe not. I was the concerned Nigerian who presented to you and your delegation a fancifully collated document titled ‘An Open Letter to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Gen Muhammadu Buhari (RTD.)’ in Washington D.C. at an event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace.
In the letter, I succinctly elucidated Nigeria’s historical antecedent, issues faced by Nigerians, mistakes made by past administrations, the expectations of Nigerians and suggestions on the right solutions you could possibly proffer. These were addressed in the letter under the following topics: The Blame Game, Military Rule, Common Ground, Failed Promise, The Missing Rib, Trust, Expectations and Focus.
Five years after, the events that have unfolded in Nigeria have necessitated the need to write you a follow-up letter. Like every progressive Nigerian, I’ve watched the youths take to the streets in an unprecedented peaceful protest like no other across all the major cities in the country. Aside from Nigerians, the entire world also joined in watching these youths with keen interest. The cloud over the way and manner with which these youths began and sustained the peaceful protest had gathered and become a blueprint for future peaceful protests around the globe.
The youths, like other demographics in Nigeria, have been psychologically battered and emotionally traumatized by an irresponsible and unresponsive government led by you. Yet, they were able to organize themselves in a determined bid to express their grievances which have accumulated over the years. To the surprise of all and sundry, these youths choose peace over chaos. They chose readiness to dialogue over being recalcitrant. They chose maturity over exuberance that folks in their age range are synonymous with.
These youths taught you what administration is all about by creating different sub-teams within the protest team with all units run concurrently for smooth operations of the peaceful protest. They had a Medical Team that took care of protesters with emergency medical needs. They had a Power Team that provided solar-powered chargers for their phones and other PDAs. They had a Catering Team that provided meals for them on the streets. They had a Communication Team that projected their agitations through placards and spoken words via hand-held speakers. With no specific defined leadership, these youths were so organized.
I believe you must have learned from them. They must have taught you what accountability is all about when they publicly gave responsible stewardship of how cash donations into their coffers were disbursed. These youths must have taught you what service to humanity is all about by feeding police officers and soldiers at the different protest bases. The same officers in whose hands they (the youths) suffered heinous intimidation and flagrant brutality. Ironically, they also fought for the Nigeria Police Force and the Nigeria Army by pushing for reforms that’ll completely overhaul these forces and ensure better living conditions through significant pay raises and enhance good relationships between them and the general populace. What a pleasant display of selflessness by the youths of Nigeria.
Mr. President. For all the days these youths took to the streets in peaceful protests teaching you basic Accountability 101, Administration 101 and Governance 101 while sending signals to you that they were ready for dialogue, you turned your back at them. You never deemed it necessary to address them.
Interestingly, they had a clear direction, a distinct purpose, a passionate drive, committed efforts and astonishingly, from the swamps of the Niger Delta to the mountains of the North East and from the equatorial climate in the South to the tropical region of the North Central, the youths all spoke with one voice. One voice against injustice meted out to them by your government. One voice against SARS’ (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) oppression which your government never rescued them from. One voice against the unchecked rising rate of unemployment that continually crushes their hope for survival years after graduating from college. One voice against your visionless leadership. One voice against SARS that profiles them for petty and frivolous allegations that range from dressing good, driving good cars, wearing dreadlocks to using an iPhone.
Over and over again, through glaring lopsided nominations and appointments of your fellow Hausa/Fulani kinsmen into top public offices which is an aberration of the act that established The Federal Character Commission (Section 153 (1) of the 1999 Constitution). Indeed, you have chosen to be a Fulani President in Nigeria as against being a Nigeria President who is of a Fulani extraction. Permit me to use a Lagos parlance here: I knew Nigeria had entered one chance when you couldn’t answer a simple question on what your plans were to constitute an all-inclusive government during that event at the United States Institute of Peace. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to update the letter I brought you.
Unlike you, these youths never pushed ethnic agenda. All teams within the movement were formed and populated by the Nigerian youths with no ethnic affiliations. Unlike you, they all trusted one another. Unlike you, they did not give nepotism a chance to creep into their operations. Unlike you who never deemed it necessary to publicly address the people of Nigeria with the several bouts of issues they contend with ranging from security of lives to epileptic power supply, the youths spoke articulately with a great deal of clarity on how bleak their future is under your leadership.
Mr. President, like most Nigerians, my heart bled when I discovered that under your watch, security operatives infiltrated one of the bases of the protesting youths at Lekki Toll Plaza in Lagos on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 and mercilessly massacred peaceful protesters. Ironically, these same folks came out enthusiastically to cast their votes for you in 2015 when you promised them change. These young compatriots were mowed down in cold blood while peacefully asking you to redeem your change promise. It was a case of responding to a peaceful clarion call against police brutality with a more fierce police brutality. Yet, you never deemed it necessary to address this reckless impunity publicly. What exactly is the value of life to you? Where exactly is your heart? How could you be so taciturn when the country you preside over is literally boiling, disintegrating and falling apart? Why would you not address the nation and show a little empathy if you still have any left. Does blood flow in your veins?
My question to you is this. If you’ve had these trigger-happy security operatives all along, why did you not deploy them to combat Boko Haram and the notorious Fulani herdsmen who have continued to slaughter innocent citizens across the nooks and crannies of the country?
Mr. President. You may have forgotten so soon, but I’ll remind you. In 2017, Yusuf, your son broke a limb and sustained a serious head injury from a gory bike accident. As a father, you were emotionally devastated and promptly flew Yusuf to Germany on taxpayers' dime for surgery as you couldn’t imagine losing your dear son. Yusuf left the shores of Nigeria for Germany in December 2017 in a terrible condition. I still vividly remember the broad smile on your face when your son returned to your waiting hands in Nigeria on February 18, 2018 hale and hearty.
The mothers of these young fallen heroes who were gunned down like animals last Tuesday are humans as well. They loved their kids the exact way you love Yusuf and your other kids. These mothers did not go through a hectic nine-month period of pregnancy, painful labor and the long tedious years of nurturing their kids just to produce victims for your trigger-happy soldiers. The lives of your kids aren’t, in any way, more important than the lives of these youths who bravely stood up to ask for a new Nigeria.
To all of your cohorts and cheerleaders like the mischievous Amb. Hussaini Coomasie who shamelessly announced the need for your irresponsible government to deal decisively with these young peaceful protesters publicly shortly before they were massacred as he rightly recommended as well as your crony, Adamu Garba, a former presidential aspirant, who has, in the most ridiculous shameless manner, instituted a $1billion lawsuit against Jack Dorsey, Twitter Founder, for supporting the peaceful protest of Nigeria’s finest hero youths. Nigerians are patiently waiting to see which of you would emerge a winner in the show of shame that you have embarked upon.
It is particularly annoying to hear Amb. Hussaini Coomasie made a case for what he referred to as a democratically elected government of Buhari and as such, no one should stage a peaceful protest when their fundamental rights are trampled upon. Mr. President, Coomasie seems to have forgotten that you’re not a democrat. He seems to have forgotten that you truncated a democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983 and constituted an illegal government which was forced on the people.
It now looks more like you are taking the magnanimity of the people of Nigeria for granted. Had they not been magnanimous, you wouldn’t have been able to show up at any public event as a guest for fear of being lynched for disrupting the country’s political landscape illegally and truncating the will of the people in 1983, let alone coming out to run for the highest office in the country. However, Nigerians did not only forgive you, they gave you a mandate to lead the nation believing and holding on tightly to the change you promised them which has turned out to be a hoax. Ironically, it is your government that has turned around lynching innocent peaceful protesters under your watch in conjunction with all of your collaborators across some of the states. Your emergence as the country’s president presented you a rare golden opportunity to right all the wrongs, but you messed it all up by being genocidal and exhibiting religious bigotry.
All the same, Nigerians are so grateful to you for promising them a change and delivering anarchy. Nigerians are so grateful to you for promising an outright eradication of corruption and delivering a systemic fraud. Nigerians are so very grateful to you for promising a better standard of living and delivering an exorbitantly high cost of living. Muhammadu – Let the Almighty God be the incorruptible judge between you and the people of Nigeria who have been negatively impacted by your dastardly unpatriotic attitude.
Mr. President. Please, be gracious enough to sign the petitions below.
In line with the last four words of Nigeria’s national pledge – SO HELP YOU GOD when your immunity runs out after you leave office.
Petition for President Buhari to be charged before the ICC for Crimes against Humanity
Strip Amb. Hussaini I.H Coomassie of his UN Peace and Social Justice Title