An Open Letter to President Buhari

March 1, 2019 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS

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By

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

 

 

Your Excellency,

 

Permit me to start by congratulating you on your victory at the just concluded presidential election in this vast country of ours, Nigeria; and secondly on the peaceful conduct of the election. It is a victory for Nigerians and democracy by extension.

 

As I am writing this letter to you, Sir, as millions of other well-meaning Nigerians, with hope-laden egos, I have started floating on the surf of “Next Level” hoping to arrive safely at the promised land. Its wind is beating against my face and chest. Its flowery fragrance is everywhere. I wish you could see the smiley faces of those masses, who summoned an extraordinary courage, came out en masse and built the solid steps to “Next Level” with their votes. They are very proud they have done this civic duty.

 

From the onset of your re-election bid to February 15 when the elections slated for February 16 were postponed by a week a few hours prior to its commencement, hundreds of thousands of Nigerians had been keenly following the events that led to your re-election. Their adrenaline, ours indeed, as if performing live, got going.

 

On Monday when you paid a surprised visit to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) perhaps to find out about the development and appreciate the council’s performance as the presidential race became tenser and was moving at breakneck speed, hundreds of thousands more Nigerians were glued to their radios listening patiently as results from different states trickled in. Others were fiddling with their phones in search of reliable sources to cushion their already scattered minds.

 

I received tens of calls and called tens of others in my attempt to keep abreast with the announcement of the results and to put down the uneasiness within visible on the faces of hapless Nigerians.

 

When I called Rabiu Biyora, one of your party’s steadfast field marshals, he told me he was in a situation room of some sort tirelessly working to add figures from different states. People independently created situation rooms on their beds, in the toilets, by the streets, whatnot. All you could see were their perspiring faces. They were doing this not for any monetary gain. Indeed not for that. It is for one reason: the future of their children.

 

Sir, I cannot engraft perfection to your administration, neither will I ever be a party, or encourage others to be, to those who think in your first term, almost four years now, you have nothing to show to the people that gave you everything to become president in 2015 and have given you once more for two reasons:

 

One, before your coming into power in 2015, I was a student at Bayero University, Kano. Only the Almighty Allah knows how many times my mother called a day to inquire of my well-being. Why? People were not safe at home, nor at school. Bomb attacks might catch up with someone at the hospital or in one’s market stall. We were so terrified.

 

It was one of those days I heard a deafening ambulance siren on my way back home. It was conveying the remains of some students from the Federal College of Education, Kano. Sad, their journey on this earth was made short; from school to the grave.

 

The Kano Central Mosque attack is still fresh in my mind and in the minds of countless others. Conversely, today I can pray in congregation with ease. Many churches have taken off the barricades there placed at their gates.

 

Two, I am a witness to some of the infrastructural projects you have brought to the northern part of country. From the back to farm programme to fertilizer revolution, from Baro Inland Water Port to the on-going oil exploration in Yobe State, I have seen a lot.

 

Sir, thank you for that day. I witnessed the coming of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godswill Emifiele and the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh, to Kano State, in your administration’s attempt to partner with Kano Sate government as well as Dangote Tomato Industry to localize tomato production. It is good news to our farmers and our state.

 

Of course, to others, they may look tiny compared to projects your administration initiated, especially the South West. They are Nigerians too. All I care about is my region’s share. And I will pursue this to the very end.

 

I think, sir, my decision to toe the line of Oliver Twist and ask for more will not be translated into ingratitude.

 

I have read your full speech shortly after the declaration of the winner of the 2019 presidential election and you say, “The new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption.”

 

However, I, too, commend our security forces. They have been outstretched severely. Their rewards are with their Lord and I fervently pray for their success. But it really pricks my conscience when I remember the critical situation our brothers and sisters are in in Zamfara and Katsina states.

 

On Thursday the Daily Trust reported that suspected armed robbers (perhaps bandits) on Tuesday killed 13 people in an attack in Kwaye Village in Anka Local Government Area. As usual, they came on motorcycles firing at the residents. Many have fled.

 

These regular bandits’ attacks have spilled over to Katsina State. A report by the Daily Trust this month claims that the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) taking refuge at Batsari Model Primary School has risen to 2,685. The unfortunate attacks are snowballing.

 

Meanwhile, if we put together the situation in the North East, although subsiding, bandits’ attacks in Zamfara and Katsina States, communal clashes in Kaduna State, ethnic cleansing in Plateau State and the high rise of kidnappings in Niger-Nassarawa-Kaduna axis, one may not be totally wrong to say “insecurity is gradually becoming the bane of development of Northern Nigeria.”

 

In the same vein, Sir, economic recession that had paid us an ugly visit in 2016 up to early 2017 has dragged with it many people, especially in this part of the country, into the gutter of abject poverty. They are yet to be lifted out of the vicious cycle of penury. Only a brutal revitalization of the economy will end hunger, create jobs and resuscitate our dying industries.

 

Sir, I cannot close this without commending you for the N-Power programme. It has removed that negative “un” from unemployed, which was the status of many of my friends and many able-bodied Nigerians as well. Sir, I suggest similar programmes should be initiated.

 

Despite the hiccups, the hurdles, and the challenges we are marching into the “next level” at last. I pray to the Almighty Allah to make it Next Level of hope, to secure the nation and be a guide to this administration.

 

 

 

 

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid

Abdulyassar Abdulhamid, Kano based, is graduate of B.A English from Bayero University, Kano. He is a budding writer, social analyst, freelancer at Sunrise Language Practitioner (SLP) and regular contributor to Nigerian dailies. 
His writings have appeared in The Communicator, a magazine published by Kano State Polytechnic and in Dailytrust, The Triumph and The cable newspapers. He has a strong interest in literary theory.

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