Dear Yusuf Buhari,
How are you? How has life as the President’s son treated you so far? I’m sure you are not complaining like I am currently doing concerning the issues plaguing this country. I want you to help me deliver this letter to the President. It seems you sister didn’t deliver the one I wrote to her last year.
Let me go straight to the point.
On the morning of Friday, May 29, 2015, I was very low on cash. I had to ring my boss at the newspaper I work for to help me out with some money to fuel my generator so I can fully concentrate and cover the event of that day.
Nigeria was swearing in a new president… your father, Muhammadu Buhari. It was a day that brought hope to the lives of any, excluding myself and many others. Many had the hope that he would bring CHANGE to their living condition. They were not wrong; a lot has CHANGED since May 29, 2015.
In any case, Monday, February 29, 2016 would make it 9 months since Muhammadu Buhari became President. 9 months in human terms is the normal gestation period, so it is not out of place to ask of the result of your dad’s stay in Aso Rock, because I honestly have not seen any worth mentioning. Maybe I did not put that properly. I have not seen any POSITIVE result of your father’s 9 month-stay as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
See Yusuf, people are always asking me why I am always critical of your father. The answer is simple: Your father, Muhammadu Buhari carried out a coup on the night of my parents’ wedding! Why in the world would I not be interested in the activities of a man that made them leave the bliss they were to enjoy that night and put on the radio (I was not there but I’m sure that must have been my late father’s reaction, considering the fact that he loved being in the know always)
In order not to sound biased or prejudiced about Buhari, I would like to list a few of the major “highpoints” of his administration so far.
NATIONAL ASSEMBLY AND PARTY SUPREMACY HIGI-HAGA
Shortly after the election, both chambers of the National Assembly resumed plenary with their first agenda being the election of leaders of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Naturally, the election of the officers should be done without rancour, considering the fact that most of the legislators were not new to the system and had gone through the process in time past. Since the end of the Olusegun Obasanjo era, election into National Assembly offices had largely gone without squabbles, which is something that can be termed good for our democracy.
Then comes your father and the APC warlords, spoiling for the entrenchment of “party supremacy,” a term that was hitherto alien to my somewhat rich repertoire of political jargons. But Bukola Saraki was having none of that. We all know how that episode panned out and how he connived with the PDP legislators and emerged as Senate President. We must all not forget the role your father played in indirectly making Saraki’s ambition a reality. I’ve been wanting to ask what he had in mind when he called the anti-Saraki Senators for that meeting at a time when plenary was supposed to be in session. Please help me ask him, please.
To add insult to injury, Yakubu Dogara did a similar performance in the House of Representatives, although from the looks of things, he retraced his steps quickly by handing Jagaban’s man (or boy), Femi Gbajabiamila the House Leadership, unlike Saraki. At least the House of Representatives members were honourable enough to degenerate into fisticuffs, unlike the Senators who refused to give us a dose of some home-made WWE action.
ANTI-CORRUPTION: THE RESURRECTION OF THE ASSET AND THE GATE, BEYOND THE EYEGLASS, PDP AND THE CASPER RECOVERY
Before the election, Muhammadu Buhari promised to destroy corruption and many people started applauding him. As a good history student, I was not swayed by that assertion and so far, I have not been proven wrong given his escapades in the movie, Buhari vs. Corruption 1.0.
Is it Alex Ekwueme, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti or the famous Umaru Dikko Saga? (Oh Ye Nigerian youth, read up that Umaru Dikko bit, it’s nothing short of legendary!) Buhari’s style of FIGHTING corruption is “CIA-style.” The man does not play! But… but… but the sincerity of this FIGHT is something that is yet to be proven overtime because it is currently panning out the same way it did in 1984. The masses always suffer severe economic turmoil.
Long gist, let me talk about Buhari vs Corruption 2.0.
As part of the fallout of the Senate Presidency tussle, the Federal Government suddenly woke up and slammed a 13-count chare on Saraki, accusing him of false asset declaration. I reeled with laughter when I saw the headline. What I could not understand is how the Federal Government expected Nigerians not to see that issue as a case of witch hunting, even if it’s not, or is… Whatever the case may be the matter is still in court. A 2003 issue was resurrected in 2015! I’m beginning to believe the bible verse that talks about the sins of the father visiting the children, even up to the 4th generation. Some schools of thought also find it useful to note that Saraki’s father, Olusola, was the Senate Leader when the probe of the petroleum ministry Buhari headed was on going. That was the one Fela talked about when he said “$2.8 billion, oil money is still missing.” We might as well watch out for Buhari vs Corruption 3.0!
We also had the Sambo Dasuki and his gate is flying round in the media. When Dasuki was first arrested, the DSS searched his premises and that of his father in Sokoto. Then we heard that he was accused of ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF FIREARMS – You know Hitler said the masses have short term memory so I’m not surprised that people do not remember this.
Next, we started hearing $2.1 billion (please write that amount somewhere, please). And from there we know the rest of the alleged sharing of the arms fund that happened, right? Some people say the Dasuki matter is as a result of bad blood between both men right from the time Babangida ended Buhari’s military government. I also heard tales of Dasuki and Buhari’s wife, but that is not my business.
We also had the case of those two women that were given two of the most powerful ministries – Petroleum (Mind you Buhari is the current Minister of Petroleum, again) and Finance. Both women wear eyeglass and have eyes!
The case of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala can be summarised thus: A report emerges in the media of her complicity in one scam or the other and she issues a prompt reply. She has gotten a number of international jobs at the same time. Let’s move on to the oil woman, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
You remember that Dasuki amount I told you to write down? Add 13 billion pounds to that list – that is the amount of money she was accused of laundering. Her case has died down for now. Maybe it will be resurrected later, Saraki-style. Convert both amounts to its naira equivalent and convince me why Buhari is interested in Dasuki’s paltry $2.1 billion when we have a potential gold mine in the Alison-Madueke story.
Then the arrests started rolling in, all but one were either former officials in the past administration or members of the PDP. People started screaming blue murder and understandably too. Do Buhari and the EFCC mean that no APC chieftain has engaged in any act of corruption? No need to mention names. We all know the number of PDP people that have been arrested so far.
Then from the blues, the issue of Jafaru Isa sprung up. Within a space of 48 hours, he was arrested, interrogated, allegedly confessed to being in possession of N170 million of the Dasuki money and returned N100 million and he was released, all in less than 48 hours. That is some unbelievable sequence of events with results achieved with supersonic speed and alacrity. Well it was also reported that Mr. Isa was properly compensated with a N300 million contract for his sacrificial role. But, what do I know?
GULLIVER, REMITA, THE GATE AGAIN, MORE ASSETS, WILLI WILLI BUDGET AND THE BUTTON
While Buhari might still be applauded in some quarters for his anti-corruption antics, I would like to point out some things that have been giving me the notion that the President should walk to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja for questioning, at least he can do so when next he visits the country.
Talking about visiting the country, Yusuf, do you agree with me that your father is on a flying spree? Men that man is looking like he has a particular record he is trying to smash. Have you taken time to check out how much a single of those trips cost? Does he know that many of these trips do not have to be done by the President himself? Let’s keep that aside because if you ask me, that is corruption.
The REMITA issue is not a funny one either. While some people were busy hailing Buhari for insisting on implementing the Treasury Single Account (TSA), the Senate raised the alarm of big money hanky-panky going on in the implementation of the scheme. By big money I mean N25 billion (I also read N60 billion) DAILY!!!
Yusuf, please help me tell your father to address this issue. The amount is capable of causing a cardiac arrest. I recently read that the senate has already announced that the REMITA contract would be scrapped. Can this episode be termed a corruption case? If yes, why hasn’t it been treated as such? Let us keep that somewhere in our memory while we move on to other matters.
Let us go back to the gate. There is the story of President Buhari being a beneficiary to the party at the gate. Although we heard the President said he only received 2 bullet-proof cars as after he was allegedly attacked by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, there’s the curious case of his personal assistant, Sabi’u Yusuf receiving the sum of about N850 million into an Access bank account with account number 0045586381 (anyone who does intenet banking can confirm the account number). Over to the anti-corruption agencies, if only they will take a break from their “Ramboism” and read this useless letter.
Yusuf, do you remember that time your father was campaigning? Do you remember the APC manifesto? Do you remember that your father promised to declare his assets? I remember he did, but in the end, did he? I woke up one morning to see a list of belongings which was ludicrously labelled an asset declaration. Houses and other assets were mentioned without their monetary equivalents. Buhari’s house in Abuja might as well be worth more than a billion naira, who knows? Many funny items were mentioned in that list, sorry declaration, but the funniest has got to be the parcel of land in Rivers State which the president says he cannot locate. Bloody Obadiah! How does he expect us to trust him when he does not know where his property is? After we overlooked his certificate brouhaha? What if that parcel of land is one of the juiciest in the whole of the South? What if the land in question has oil underneath? Many questions unanswered, but our president has declared his assets and we are supposed to hail him for his TRANSPARENCY and join in condemning Saraki for his FALSE ASSET DECLARATION.
Let’s talk about the 2016 budget a little. Yusuf, have you gone through the budget that your father submitted to the Senate? Have you seen the figures? I will just reel out a few so that I don’t sound like a frustrated girlfriend:
N536,295,924– Linking Cables to Driver’s Rest Room at Aso Rock
N33,277,595– Stage Curtains + Electrical Drive at Aso Rock
N3,914,197,062– Annual routine maintenance at Aso Rock
N1,559,911,748 Electrical work at Aso Rock
N259,015,000 Purchase of Tyres, Batteries, Fuses, Toolboxes, Car Jacks, Tyre Changing ‘Machines’, etc. for Aso Rock vehicles.
N618,000,000 Purchase of 5 BMW Saloons, 5 BMW SUVs, 16 & 33 Seater Toyota Hiace Buses and pick up vans for Aso Rock.
N27,000,000 Purchase of C-Caution Signs, Fire Extinguishers, Towing Ropes and Booster Cables for Aso Rock fleet.
N904,015,000 Cost of Acquisition of BRAND NEW automobile fleet and Fleet Maintenance Equipment for Aso Rock.
N500,000,000- Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority- 6 Aviation Family Centers-
N308,000,000- VIP Wing at State House Medical Center-
N400,000,000- Hostel at Nigerian-Benin International School-
Ministry of Works, Power & Housing HQ:
N400,000,000- Solar Borehole
N161,500,000- Motorized Borehole
With all the above in mind, isn’t it clear that the President is a two-sided man? How do we reconcile his words and his actions, seeing that he is condemning people for crimes that he seems to be committing? He is claiming austerity and the budget is befitting of King Solomon!
Then there’s the Halliburton scandal! That scandal runs into about $182 million. Let me try not to talk about that one now.
ECONOMIC SKUS SKWAM
I have a copy of the APC manifesto. It is rich with promises. Promises of how the economy will be revamped under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari. Very colourful stuff, but what do we have today?
The naira has started having human feelings and is FALLING for the dollar. This singular factor has caused a ripple effect which has seen the price of household commodities go through the roof in a matter of weeks. Yusuf when last did you go outside to buy anything in Nigeria? I’m sure you don’t do that so often. If you do you will see that things have really CHANGED since your father became President. That’s just one.
At the beginning of the year, your father’s government increased the electricity tariff. As I type this, there is no light here. My laptop’s battery will die in a few minutes and there is no hope of electricity until maybe tomorrow, maybe! But at the end of the month, we receive an electricity bill that is almost as big as the amount we have used in purchasing fuel for our generator in the course of the month.
That’s not all; oil subsidy has been removed by Buhari (I remember when economic activities were grounded because Goodluck Jonathan removed the same subsidy). As a result of the removal 50 kobo was removed from the official pump price of petrol (I said official because petrol actually goes for between N100 and N200 depending on the part of the country you stay) while N33 was added to the price of kerosene. It is worthy to note that no measures have been put in place to cushion the effect of the numerous policies that are currently causing economic tsunami and drilling boreholes in the bank accounts of poor Nigerians like myself. Should I mention the N50 bank charge or other economic decrees, sorry policies that is working against the sanity of hustling Nigerians? Let me move on to what we were pretending to expect.
THE TECHNICAL PROMISES, THE GIRLS AND TRIBAL JIBI JABA
Like I earlier mentioned, I was given a copy of the APC manifesto. What I did not mention was that it was handed to me by Professor Yemi Osinbajo on December 24, 2014 at the Oriental Hotel, Lekki, where I was one the guests of a campaign event put together by the APC. I have since perused and re-perused the manifesto and these are a few of the promises that were made in that manifesto that have been broken, unfulfilled or “unfulfillable”:
Within the first year, employ 740,000 (20,000 + FCT) young graduates in immediate employment and empowerment scheme (UNFULFILLED… This is 9 months and not one Federal Government scheme is visible, no not one)
After NYSC, pay graduates stipends for 1 year under a vocational scheme (UNFULFILLABLE)
Provide free meals in schools to drastically reduce the number of out of school children (BROKEN, I heard NASCO biscuits were shared sometime back… hahaha)
Target up to 20% of our annual budget for education (BROKEN… Hello! Have you seen the 2016 budget?)
Create an additional middle class of at least 4 million new home owners by 2019 (UNFULFILLABLE, Unless Fashola wants to pull off some god-like miracle)
Ban Medical trips for government officials (BROKEN by Buhari himself! He even opened his mouth to say he has been using one doctor in the UK since 1978)
In different phases over 4 years, APC will make monthly direct cash transfer of N5,000 to the 25 million poorest citizens (BROKEN… Buhari recently said this will not be done over the weekend in faraway Saudi Arabia)
Generate, transmit and distribute electricity on a 24/7 basis by 2019 (UNFULFILLABLE… Fashola, over to you to prove me wrong)
Build up to 6,800 kilometers of modern railway to be completed by 2019 (UNFULFILLABLE… Amaechi, over to you)
Asides the aforementioned, during the campaign period, Buhari spoke tough when it came to Boko Haram and the Chibok girls’ saga. I remember Osinbajo singing praises of how much of a military strategist Buhari is. To make things worse, Buhari gave a deadline for the defeat of Boko Haram – December 2015. Well we all know that the story has changed. We now have another word to be added to our vocabulary – TECHNICALLY DEFEATED. Backed by the ever-loquacious Lie, sorry Lai Mohammed, we started hearing that word, even when the insurgents were busy killing Nigerians with reckless abandon. What about the Chibok girls? Should I mention the events of the meeting the President had with Oby Ezekwesili and her Bring Back Our Girls Group which had some of the Chibok parents therein? Buhari was said to be visibly angry at the meeting and even walked out on them at some point! Let me borrow the former First lady, Patience Jonathan’s exclamation … CHAI!
My dear Yusuf, as if that is not enough headache for your father, Nnamdi Kanu and the pro-Biafra agitators started rearing their heads, same with the Niger Delta militants. What did Buhari do? Commando-style suppression of the agitation as usual. Tompolo is a wanted man. Kanu has been in DSS custody since October 2015. Buhari sure knows how to make use of the military and other security agencies, right? Hell no, in my opinion.
Why hasn’t such military approach been used to silence Boko Haram insurgents? Okay that’s asking for too much. You know these Fulani militia, sorry herdsmen? Yusuf, do you know that they have been wreaking havoc indiscriminately in recent times? From the South West where they kidnapped Olu Falae to the South South where they killed a monarch in Delta State to the South East where they waylay road users and make away with their possession. The list is endless. We have not even talked about their activities in the North, not to talk of the North Central, or Middle Belt where they have always been a torn in the flesh of the minority groups residing in that area of Nigeria.
Yusuf, please tell your dad that people on the street are beginning to see him as an ethnic bigot. He himself is not helping matters with the kind of appointments he is making. There are too many examples to be mentioned but I have only two to point out here – Hameed Ali and Lawal Daura.
Col. Ali is NOT a Customs officer but is currently the head of the Nigerian Customs Service. This in my opinion is a severe injustice to the hierarchy of Customs officers who have over the years toiled to get to the top of their field. We should not also forget that Ali was the head of the 3-man military panel that convicted and sentenced Ogoni leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa to death. Please do not forget.
Yusuf, I’m sure you are aware that Daura hails from your hometown, Daura. He is in charge of the DSS. I don’t know how Buhari expects Nigerians to applaud him for employing his kinsman into such a sensitive office. I just don’t know.
ON THE FRINGES: INCONCLUSIVE CHATTER AND OTHER STORIES
Goodluck Jonathan’s INEC organised elections in 36 States for Presidential and national Assembly elections. The same INEC held elections for Governorship and State Assembly elections all within a 2 week period. Almost all elections were concluded on the same day, except special cases like that of Taraba and Imo which had to go into a run-off owing to the close proximity in the number of votes separating the winner and the runner-up.
Buhari becomes President and inherits the same INEC and the same election materials. Two gubernatorial elections were held – Kogi and Bayelsa States – and the results were the same, INCONCLUSIVE (Nigerians should begin to thank this administration for this new lexicons being introduced to us). The case of Kogi is understandable to some extent, but Bayelsa? That State has only eight Local Government Areas. How hard could it possibly be to conduct an election in that state?
Let me be conclusive by mentioning a few more HIGHPOINTS of Buhari’s 9-month stay in government:
Ministerial nomination that took months to come to fruition and the lack of surprise it brought to the hearts of Nigerians, considering the fact that the cabinet is made up of people we naturally expected to be there.
Buhari insulting the integrity of Nigerians while on foreign trips. What President does that? A president who is supposed to be the number Public Relations Officer of the country is busy calling his countrymen thieves and criminals while on foreign trips? That smirks of naivety! I wonder what the president plans to achieve by bad-mouthing his countrymen in foreign lands.
The social media gag bill. Saraki says it’s DEAD ON ARRIVAL. So let me keep quiet on the matter. I also expect Lie, sorry Lai Mohammed to also keep quiet, that man forgets he is no longer the Spokesman of the APC and now a Minister. Yusuf, please tell that man to attend a tutorial on how to be an information minister.
Benin military invading Kogi State. Benin Republic o!
There are many more HIGPOINTS to be highlighted, but this is long enough. I’m sure you get the picture. Please tell your father that his 9-month-old government has delivered nothing but media drama and economic hardship for Nigerians. Tell him we need productive economic policies. We need to be able to go to the markets and come back smiling. We need welfare programs for the people. It is shameful that in 9 months, NO SINGLE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SCHEME HAS BEEN INITIATED… NO NOT ONE!
Tell Buhari, we need CHANGE! Not the negative one he is currently giving us! We need positive CHANGE.
Ephraim Adiele is the Associate Editor of The Trent Online.Reach him via the following avenues:
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.