My Letter To President Jonathan: Retire And Save Something

Jonathan and late Yar'Adua


With utter sincerity and sober thought, I write this simple letter to the president of Nigeria. It is pertinent I present you with these words and thoughts before it is too late as your god-father said.

There is love, there is respect, there is power and there is nothing. Which do you possess? Which will be your legacy?

General Muhammadu Buhari has love. He is not appreciated for his wealth or power today, but he is loved. His people love him; they will take a bullet for him. They know they may never again directly benefit a single thing from him, yet they love him to death. That Sir is love.

Mujahid Dokubo-Asari has love. People will die for him. They respect him. He speaks for some people; as irrational as what he says is to some, he is recognized as the voice and hope of others. Dokubo has love. If tomorrow he has no money and no power, there will be tons of people who will take him in, vote for him, feed him, listen to him. Dokubo has love. Love is what the poor you have no influence on say about you, not what the wealthy you surround yourself with say to you.

Take a look at General Ibrahim Babangida. Babangida had power and money. These are the few things he had and still struggles to hold on to; but it is not much. Look at him, study his reputation. Few listen to him, he does not himself talk much. Few follow him; many of them for what is left of his wealth. There is not much left to say about Babangida.

Take a look at Obasanjo. Obasanjo has respect. Many hate him, many see him as a greedy thief, but he has respect. People listen to him. People will always listen to him and fear him. Obasanjo left words, left legacies; he earned respect and despite all he stands accused of, he has that one thing – respect.

Then we look at you, Sir. What do you have? Five years in power, perhaps you will succeed and retain it again for another four, making a total of 9 years as president and 12 years in Aso rock. What do you have? If you leave power in 2019, what will you have? What will people say about you? How will they follow you? Apart from for your wealth, do you see anything people relate with you for? Do you have love? Unity in opposition to a perceived enemy, ‘the north’ or ‘APC’ as you condition your fans to be is not love. The minute that perceived enemy is realized to not exist, this all falls away. So what do we credit you with? Are there any statements you have made in 5 years that these first 5 will be remembered by? Have you given any international speeches, written power letters as Obasanjo did to Margaret Thatcher on Apartheid, that the world will remember your tenure for? Have you made notable remarks to Nigerians on pressing issues, apart from repeating ‘transformation,’ and “I will keep Nigerian one unless you kick me out?’

Money can buy crowds, can attract people and bring electoral victories including yours in 2015 and who knows, in 2019 if you decide to pay for the re-writing of the constitution and contest for a fourth term,  but money cannot buy love.

Dear Sir, I wish you seriously think about this. You have succeeded in deeply dividing the nation along all type of lines. This you will be remembered for. You are known for your preference to appoint indicted criminals. You will be remembered long for this. You are known for your dining with and protection of terror sponsors and inability to arrest a single one. You will be remembered long for this. Victims of terror, of economical sabotage, the 100 million Nigerians who live under a dollar-a-day will never forget you. Those whose legs got blown off by Boko Haram limitless terror through your five or 9 years, those who lost their families, whose daughters were abducted and raped; they will never forget you. But I am interested in seeing if you know of nice things you will be remembered by. And that’s not by beautiful Diezani; and not for basic facets of governance – like building roads and repairing trains, or establishing cabal controlled businesses and privatizing national assets to the cabal; I mean substantial things you will be remembered for as the president of the biggest economy in Africa? Apart from the Cabal will the poor remember you and write fondly about you?

In reflection of this, I will suggest strongly you take some time to reflect. You unplug yourself from intoxication of wealth, get sober and think about you. What will you like your legacy to be? If you carefully plan your resignation now and set-up a strong system of community represented and people’s committee based democracy (which involves direct selection from all social groups to represent themselves in Abuja leadership – market women, teachers, students, activists, pastors etc), handing over to not just a single morally upright and intelligent person, but to a committee of decent Nigerians not from the current political block that gets you happily confused and deluded into thinking all is well as Diezani stays there stealing $4 million a day in kerosene subsidy from the poor and all is well as Boko Haram keeps killing and the sponsors remain free, and all is well as the poor get poorer and you all buy more private jets; you will preserve for yourself a name, legacy and reputation that will possibly be remembered in the ranks of the Nelson Mandelas, as you were recently touted to aspire for.

As Nigerians keep getting used to the shame, suffering and dying, the window of redemption fast closes.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: [email protected] Twitter: @EveryNigerian