Before it is too late
•A letter of appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
I am constrained to make this an open letter to you for a number of reasons.��� One,� the� current� situation� and� consequent� possible� outcome dictate that I should,� before the door� closes on reason� and promotion of national� interest,� alert� you� to� the� danger� that� may� be� lurking� in� the corner.��� Two, none of� the� four� or more� letters� that I� have� written to� you in� the� past� two� years� or� so� has� elicited� an� acknowledgment �or� any response.��� Three,� people� close� to� you,� if� not� yourself,� have� been asking,� what� does� Obasanjo� want?��� Four,� I� could� sense� a� semblance between� the situation that� we are� gradually getting into and the situation we fell into as a nation during the Abacha era.��� Five, everything must be done� to� guard,� protect� and� defend� our� fledgling� democracy,� nourish� it and� prevent� bloodshed.��� Six,� we� must� move� away� from� advertently� or inadvertently� dividing� the country along� weak seams� of North-South and Christian-Moslem.��� Seven,� nothing� should be� done to� allow� the� country to� degenerate� into� economic� dormancy,� stagnation� or� retrogression.
Eight,� some� of� our� international� friends� and� development� partners� are genuinely� worried� about� signs� and� signals� that� are� coming� out� of Nigeria.��� Nine,� Nigeria� should� be in a� position to� take� advantage� of� the present� favourable� international� interest� to� invest� in� Africa� -� an opportunity� that� will� not� be� open� for� too� long.��� Ten,� I� am� concerned about your legacy and your climb-down which you alone can best be the manager of, whenever you so decide.
Mr. President, you have on� a� number of� occasions� acknowledged the� role God� enabled� me� to� play� in� your� ascension� to� power.� You� put me� third� after� God� and� your� parents� among� those� that� have� impacted� most� on� your� life.��� I� have� always� retorted� that� God� only put� you� where you are and� those� that� could be regarded� as having� played� a� role were only instruments of God to achieve God’s purpose in your life.��� For me, I believe� that� politically,� it� was� in� the� best� interest� of� Nigeria� that� you,� a Nigerian� from� minority� group� in� the� South, could� rise� to� the� highest pinnacle� of� political� leadership. If� Obasanjo� could� get� there,� Yar’Adua could get there and Jonathan can get there, any Nigerian can. It is now not a matter� of the� turn� of any section or� geographical area� but the best interest of Nigeria and all� Nigerians.��� It has been� proved that no group � ethnic,� linguistic,� religious� or� geographical� location� �� has� monopoly� of materials� for� leadership� of� our� country.� And� no� group� solely� by� itself can crown any� of its members the� Nigerian CEO.��� It is� good for� Nigeria.
I� have� also� always� told� you� that� God� has� graciously� been� kind, generous,� merciful� and� compassionate� to� me� and� He� has� done� more than� I� could� have� ever� hoped� for.��� I� want� nothing� from� you� personally except that you should run the affairs of Nigeria not only to make Nigeria good,� but� to� make� Nigeria� great� for� which� I� have� always� pleaded� with you and I will� always do so.��� And it is �yet to� be� done for� most Nigerians to see. 2
For five capacities in which you find yourself, you must hold yourself most significantly responsible for what happens or fails to happen in Nigeria and in any case, most others will hold you responsible and God who put you there� will� surely� hold� you� responsible� and� accountable.��� I� have� had opportunity, in recent times, to interact closely with you and I have come to the conclusion painfully� or happily that� if� you can shun yourself to a great extent� of� personal� and� political� interests� and� dwell� more� on� the� national interest� and� also� draw� the� line� between� advice� from� selfish� and self-centered aides and advice from those who in the interest of the nation may� not� tell� you� what� you� will� want� to� hear,� it� will� be� well.��� The� five positions� which� you� share� with nobody� except� with� God� and� which� place great� and� grave� responsibility� on� you� are� leadership� of� the� ruling� party, headship� of� the� Federal �Government� or� national� government, Commander-in-Chief� of� the� Military,� Chief� Security� Officer� of� the� nation, and� the� political leader� of the country.��� Those positions go with being� the President of our country and while depending� on your� disposition, you can delegate� or� devolve� responsibility,� but� the� buck� must� stop� on� your� table� whether you like it or not.
Let me start with the leadership of the ruling party.��� Many of us were puzzled over what was going on in the party.� ��Most party members blamed the� National Chairman.��� I understand� that some in� the presidency tried to create the impression that some of us were to blame. The situation became clear� only� when� the� National� Chairman� spoke� out� that� he� never� did anything� or� acted� in� any� way� without� the� approval� or� concurrence� of� the Party� Leader� and� that� where� the� Party� Leader� disapproved,� he� made correction� or amendment, that we realised most actions were� those of the Chairman� but� the �motivation� and� direction� were� those� of� the� Leader.��� It would be unfair to continue to level full blames on the Chairman for all that goes wrong with the Party.��� The Chairman is playing the tune dictated by the� Paymaster.��� But� the� Paymaster� is� acting� for� a� definitive� purpose� for� which deceit� and deception seem to be the major ingredients.��� Up till two months ago, Mr. President, you told me that you have not told anybody that you would contest in 2015.��� I quickly pointed out to you that the signs and the measures on the ground do not tally with your statement.� You said the same to one other person who shared his observation with me.��� And only a� fool� would� believe� that� statement� you� made� to� me� judging� by� what� is going� on.��� I� must say that it is not ingenious.��� You may wish to pursue a more credible and more honourable path.��� Although you have not formally informed� me� one� way� or� the� other,� it� will� be� necessary� to� refresh� your��� memory� of� what� transpired� in� 2011.��� I� had� gone� to� Benue� State� for� the marriage� of� one� of� my� staff,� Vitalis� Ortese,� in� the� State.��� Governor Suswam� was� my� hospitable� host.� He� told� me� that� you� had� accepted� a one-term presidency to allow for� ease of getting support across� the board in the� North.��� I decided� to cross-check with� you.��� You� did� not� hesitate to confirm to me that you are a strong believer in a one-term of six� years for the� President� and� that� by� the� time� you� have� used� the� unexpired� time� of your� predecessor� and� the� four� years� of� your� first� term,� you� would� have almost used up to six years and you would not need any more term or time.
Later, I� heard from� other sources� including� sources� close to� you� that� you made� the� same� commitment� elsewhere,� hence,� my� inclusion� of� it� in� my� address at the finale of your campaign in 2011 as follows:
�…PDP� should� be� praised� for� being� the� only� party� that� enshrines� federal character,� zoning� and� rotation� in� its� Constitution� and practises� it.� PDP� has brought� stability and substantial predictability to the polity and� to the system.��� I do not know who will be President of Nigeria after Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.� That is in the hand of God.��� But with PDP policy and practice, I can reasonably guess from� where,� in� term� of� section� of� the� country,� the� successor� to� President Jonathan� will come.��� And no� internal democracy or competition will� thereby� be destroyed.� The� recent� resort� to� sentiments� and� emotions� of� religion� and regionalism� is� self-serving,� unpatriotic� and� mischievous,� to� say� the� least.��� It� is also preying on dangerous emotive issues that can ignite uncontrollable passion and� can� distabilise� if� not� destroy� our� country.�� This� is� being� oblivious� to� the sacrifices� others� have� made� in� the� past� for� unity,� stability� and� democracy� in Nigeria� in� giving� up� their� lives,� shedding their blood,� and� in� going to prison. ���I personally have done two out of those three sacrifices and I am ready to do the third if it will� serve the best interest� of Nigerian dream.��� Let me appeal to those who have embarked on this dangerous road to reflect and desist from taking us on a perishable journey.
With common identity as Nigerians, there is more that binds� us� than� separates� us.��� I� am� a� Nigerian,� born� a� Yoruba� man,� and� I� am proud� of� both� identities� as� they� are� for� me� complementary.� Our� duties, responsibilities and obligations to our country as citizens and, indeed, as leaders must� go� side� by� side� with� our� rights� and� demands. There� must� be� certain values and virtues� that� must go� concomitantly with our� dream.� Thomas� Paine said �my country is the world”; for me, my country I hold dear.
On� two� occasions,� I� have� had� opportunity� to� work� for� my� successors� to� the government� of� Nigeria. On� both� occasions,� I� never� took� the� easy� and distabilising route of� ethnic,� regional or religious� consideration,� rather I� took� the enduring� route� of� national,� uniting� and� stabilising� route.��� I� worked� for� both President Shagari and President Yar’Adua to succeed me not just because they are� Moslems, Northerners� or� Hausa-Fulani, but� because� they could strengthen the� unity,� stability� and� democracy� in� Nigeria. We� incurred� the� displeasure� of ethnic chauvinists for doing what was right for the country.� That is in the nature of burden of leadership.� A leader must lead, no matter whose ox is gored.
In� the� present� circumstance,� let� me� reiterate� what I have� said� on a� number� of occasions.��� Electing Dr. Goodluck Jonathan,� in� his own� right� and on his own� merit,� as� the� President� of� Nigeria� will� enhance� and� strengthen� our� unity, stability� and� democracy.��� And� it� will� lead� us� towards� the� achievement� of� our Nigerian dream.
There is a press report that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has already taken a unique and unprecedented� step� of� declaring� that� he� would� only� want� to� be� a� one-term President.��� If� so,� whether� we� know� it� or� not,� that� is� a� sacrifice� and� it� is statesmanly.� Rather than� vilify him� and pull� him down,� we, as a� Party,� should applaud and commend him and Nigerians should reward and venerate him.��� He has taken the first good step.
Let� us encourage� him� to� take� more good� steps by voting him� in� with� landslide victory� as� the� fourth� elected� President� of� Nigeria� on� the� basis� of� our� common Nigerian identity and for the purpose of actualising Nigerian dream…”
When you won the election, one of the issues you very early pursued was that of one term of six years.��� That convinced me that you meant what you� told me before my Speech at the campaign.��� Mr. President, whatever may be your intention or plan, I cannot comment much on the constitutional aspect� of� your� second term� or� what� some� people call� third term.��� That is for� both� legal� and� judicial� attention.��� But� if� constitutionally� you� are� on� a strong wicket if you so decide, it will be fatally and morally flawed.��� As a leader, two� things� you� must� cherish� and� hold� dear� among� others� are� trust� and honour both of which are important ingredients of character.��� I will want to see anyone in the Office of the Presidency of Nigeria as a man or woman who can be trusted, a person of honour in his words and character.��� I will respect� you� for� upholding� these� attributes� and� for� dignifying� that� Office.
Chinua Achebe said, �One of the truest test of integrity is its blunt refusal to be� compromised.”��� It� is� a� lesson� for� all� leaders� including� you� and� me.
However, Mr. President, let me hope that as you claimed that you have not told anybody that you are contesting and that what we see� and hear� is a rumbling� of� overzealous� aides,� you� will� remain� a� leader� that� can� be believed and trusted without unduly passing the buck or engaging in game of denials.
Maybe� you� also� need� to� know� that� many� party� members� feel disappointed� in� the� double� game� you� were� alleged� to� play� in� support� of party� gubernatorial� candidates� in� some� States� where� you� surreptitiously supported� non-PDP� candidates� against� PDP� candidates� in� exchange� for promise� or� act� of� those� non-PDP� Governors� supporting� you� for� your election� in� the� past� or� for� the� one� that� you� are� yet� to� formally� declare.� It happened� in Lagos in� 2011 when� Bola Tinubu was� nocturnally� brought to Abuja to strike a� deal for support for your� personal� election� at� great� price materially� and� in� the� fortune� of� PDP� gubernatorial� candidate.
As Chairman of BOT, I spoke to you at that time.� It happened in Ondo State where� there was� in addition� evidence of� cover-up� and� non-prosecution of fraud� of� fake� security� report� against� the� non-PDP� candidate� and� his collaborators for the purpose of extracting personal electoral advantage for you.��� In fact, I have raised with you the story of those in other States in the South-West� where� some disgruntled PDP members� were going� around to recruit people into the Labour Party for you, because, for electoral purpose at the national� level, Labour Party� will have no candidate but you. It also happened� in� Edo� State� and� those� who� know� the� detail� never� stopped talking� about it.��� And you know it.��� Ditto in Anambra State with the� fiasco coming� from undue� interference.��� If you� as leader� of� the� Party� cannot� be seen� to �be loyal to the PDP in support of� the candidates of the Party� and the interests of such Party candidates have to be sacrificed on the altar of your� personal and political� interest,� then� good� luck to� the� Party� and� I� will also say as I have had occasions to say in the past, good luck to Goodluck.
If� on� the� altar� of� the� Party� you� go� for� broke,� the� Party� may� be� broken beyond� repairs.��� And� when� in� a� dispute� between� two� sides,� they� both stubbornly� decide to� fight� to the �last� drop� of� blood,� no one knows� whose blood� would� be� the� last to� drop.��� In such� a� situation,� Nigeria� as a� nation may� also� be adversely affected, not just the� PDP. I wish to see� no more bloodshed� occasioned� by� politics� in� Nigeria.� Please,� Mr.� President,� be mindful of that.� You were exemplary in words when during the campaign and the 2011 elections, you said, �My election is not worth spilling the blood of� any� Nigerian.”� From� you,� it� should� not� be� if� it� has� to� be,� let� it� be.� It should� be� from� you,� let� peace,� security,� harmony,� good� governance, development� and� progress be� for� Nigeria.� That� is� also� your� responsibility and mandate.��� You can do it and I plead that you do it. We all have to be mindful� of� not� securing� pyrrhic� victory� on� the� ashes� of� great� values, attributes� and� issues� that� matter� as� it� would� amount� to� hollow� victory without honour and integrity.
Whatever� may� be� the� feud �in PDP� and� no� matter what� you� or� your aides� may� feel,� you,� as� the� Party� Leader,� have� the� responsibility� to� find solution,� resolve� and� fix� it.��� Your� legacy� is� involved.� If� PDP� as� a� ruling Party� collapses,� it� will� be� the� first� time� in� an� independent� Nigeria� that� a ruling political party would collapse not as a result of a military coup.��� It is food� for� thought. At� the� prompting� of� Governors� on� both� sides of the divide, and on encouragement from you, I spent two nights to intervene in the dispute of the PDP Governors.��� I kept you fully briefed at every stage.
I deliberately chose Banquet Hall at the Villa to ensure transparency.��� Your aides studied all the recordings of the two nights.��� But I told you at the end of� the� exercise� that� I� observed� five� reactions� among� the� Governors� that required your immediate attention as you are the only one from the vantage point of your five positions that could deal effectively with the five reactions which� were� bitterness,� anger,� mistrust,� fear� and� deep� suspicion.��� I� could only� hope� that� you� made� efforts� to� deal� with� these� unpleasant� reactions.
The feud leading to the factionalisation of the Party made me to invite some select� elders� of� the� Party� to� mediate� again.� Since I� was� engaged� in assignment outside the country, I was not able to join the three members of the elders group that presented the report of� our mediation� to you. I was briefed� that� you� agreed� to� work� on� the� report.� It� would� appear� that� for now, the� ball� is in your court� as� the Leader of the Party.� I can only wish you� every� success� in� your� handling� of� the� issue.� But� time� is� not� your friend or that of the Party in this respect. With leadership come� not just power� and� authority� to� do� and� to� undo,� but� also� responsibility� and accountability� to� do� and� to� undo� rightly,� well� and� justly.��� Time� and� opportunity� are treasure that� must be appreciated� and shared to enhance their value and utilitarianism.
It is instructive that after half a dozen African Presidents have spoken to me� to� help you� with� unifying� the� Party� based� on� your� request� to� them and� I came in company of� Senator Amadu Ali to discuss the whole issue with� you� again,� strangely,� you� denied� ever� requesting� or� authorising� any President to talk to me.��� I was not surprised because I am used to such a situation of denial coming from you.��� Of course, I was not deterred.��� I have done� and I will continue to do and� say� what is first,� in the best interest of Nigeria and second, what is in the best interest of the Party.��� I stand for the aims, objectives, mission and vision of the founding fathers of the Party, to use it as a wholesome instrument of unity, good governance, development, prosperity and progress of Nigeria and all Nigerians.��� I have contributed to this� goal� in� the� past� and� no� one� who� has� been raised� to� position� on� the platform� of� the� Party� should� shy� away� from� further� contribution� to� avoid division and destruction of the Party on any altar whatsoever.
Debates� and� dialogues� are� necessary� to� promote� the� interest� and work for� the progress of any� human institution or organisation.��� In such a situation, agreements and disagreements will occur but in the final analysis, leadership� will� pursue� the� course� of� action� that� benefit� the� majority� and serve the purpose of the organisation, not the purpose of an individual or a minority.��� In� that� process,� unity� is� sustained� and� everybody� becomes� a winner.��� The so-called crisis in the PDP can be turned to an opportunity of unity,� mutual� understanding� and� respect� with� the� Party� emerging� with enhanced strength and victory.��� It will be a win-win for all members of the Party and for the� country.��� By� that,� PDP� would have� proved� that� it� could have� internal disagreement and emerge stronger.��� The calamity� of� failure can still be avoided.��� Please, move away from fringes or the extremes and move to the centre and carry ALL along.��� Time is running out.
I� will� only� state� that� as� far� as� your� responsibility� as� Chief� Security Officer� of� the� nation� is� concerned� for� Nigerians,� a� lot� more� needs� to� be done to enhance the feeling of security amongst them.��� Whether one talks of the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, the underlying causes of which have� not� been� adequately� addressed,� if� addressed� at� all,� kidnapping, piracy, abductions and armed robberies which rather than abate are on the increase and� Boko� Haram which requires carrot and stick approach to lay its� ghost� to� rest,� the� general� security� situation� cannot� be� described� as comforting.��� Knowing� the� genesis� of� Boko� Haram� and� the� reasons� for escalation of violence from that sector with the widespread and ramification of� the� menace��� of� Boko� Haram� within� and� outside� the� Nigerian� borders, conventional� military� actions� based� on� standard� phases� of� military operations alone will not permanently and effectively deal with the issue of Boko� Haram.��� There� are� many� strands� or� layers� of� causes� that� require different� solutions,� approaches� or� antidotes.��� Drug,� indoctrination, fundamentalism,� gun� trafficking,� hate� culture,� human� trafficking,� money laundering,� religion, poverty, unemployment, poor� education,� revenge� and� international terrorism are among factors that have effect on Boko Haram.
One single prescription cannot cure all these ailments that combine in Boko Haram.��� Should we pursue war against violence without understanding the root� causes� of� the� violence� and� applying� solutions� to� deal� with� all underlying factors � root, stem and branches?� Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage� must� be� stopped.� I� am� convinced� that� you� can� initiate measures that will bring all hands on deck to deal effectively with this great� menace.
Mr.� President,� the� most� important� qualification� for� your� present position� is� your� being� a� Nigerian. Whatever� else� you� may� be� besides being� a� Nigerian� is� only� secondary� for� this� purpose.� And� if� majority� of Nigerians� who� voted� had� not cast their votes for you,� you� could� not� have been there.��� For you to allow yourself to be �possessed”, so to say, to the exclusion of most of the rest of Nigerians as an ‘Ijaw man’ is a mistake that should never� have been allowed to� happen.��� Yes,� you have� to be born in one� part� of� Nigeria� to� be� a� Nigerian� if� not� naturalised, but� the� Nigerian President must be above ethnic factionalism.��� And those who prop you up as� of,� and� for� ‘Ijaw� nation’� are� not� your� friends� genuinely,� not� friends� of Nigeria� nor� friends� of� ‘Ijaw� nation’,� they� tout� about.��� To� allow� or� tacitly encourage� people of ‘Ijaw nation’ to throw insults� on� other� Nigerians from other� parts of� the� country� and threaten fire and brimstone to� protect� your interest� as� an� Ijaw� man� is� myopic� and� your� not� openly� quieting� them� is even� more� unfortunate.��� You� know� that� I� have� expressed� my� views� and feelings� to� you� on� this� issue� in� the� past� but� I� have� come� to� realise� that many others feel the way I have earlier expressed to you. It is not the best way� of� making� friendship� among� all� sections� of� Nigeria.��� You� don’t� have shared� and� wholesome� society� without� inclusive� political,� economic� and social� sustainable� development� and� good� governance. Also� declaring that� one section of� the� country voted for� you� as if� you� got� no� votes� from other sections can� only� be� an� unnecessary� talk, to� put it� mildly.��� After� all and at the end of the day, democracy is a game of numbers.� Even, if you would not need people’s vote across the country again, your political Party will.
Allegation of keeping over 1,000 people on political watch� list� rather than� criminal� or� security� watch� list� and� training� snipers� and� other� armed personnel� secretly� and� clandestinely� acquiring� weapons� to� match� for political purposes like Abacha, and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and� the� people� of� Nigeria.��� Here� again,� there� is� the� lesson� of� history� to learn� from� for� anybody� who� cares� to� learn� from� history.��� Mr.� President would� always� remember� that� he� was� elected� to� maintain� security� for� all Nigerians� and� protect� them.��� And� no� one� should� prepare� to� kill� or� maim Nigerians� for� personal� or� political� ambition� or� interest� of� anyone.��� The Yoruba adage says, �The man with whose head the coconut is broken may not live to savour the taste of the succulent fruit.”��� Those who advise you to go hard� on� those� who� oppose� you� are� your� worst� enemies.��� Democratic politics admits and is� permissive of supporters and opponents.� When the consequences come, those who have wrongly advised you will not be there to help carry the can.� Egypt must teach some lesson.
Presidential� assistance� for� a� murderer� to� evade� justice� and presidential� delegation� to� welcome� him� home� can� only� be� in� bad� taste generally but� particularly to the family� of� his victim.� Assisting criminals to evade� justice� cannot� be� part� of� the� job� of� the Presidency.��� Or,� as� it� is viewed� in some� quarters, is he being recruited to do for you� what� he� had done� for� Abacha� in� the� past?��� Hopefully,� he� should� have� learned� his lesson.��� Let us continue to watch.
As� Head� of� Government,� the� buck� of� the� performance� and non-performance� stops� on� your� table� and� let� nobody� tell� you� anything� to the� contrary. Most� of� our� friends� and� development� partners� are� worried and they see what we pretend to cover up.� They are worried about issue of� security� internally� and� on� our� coastal� waters,� including� heavy� oil� theft, alias� bunkering� and� piracy.� They� are� worried� about� corruption� and� what we� are� doing� or� not� doing� about� it.��� Corruption� has� reached� the� level� of impunity.��� It� is� also� necessary� to� be� mindful� that� corruption� and� injustice are fertile breeding ground for terrorism and political instability.��� And if you are� not �ready� to� name,� shame,� prosecute� and� stoutly� fight� against corruption,� whatever� you� do� will� be� hollow.��� It� will� be� a� laughing� matter.
They� are worried� about how we� play� our� role in� our� region� and,� indeed, in the� world.� In� a� way,� I� share� some� of� their� concerns� because� there� are notable� areas we can do more� or� do� better than� we� are� doing. Some of our� development� partners� were� politically� frustrated� to� withdraw� from� the Olokola� LNG� project,� which� happily� was� not� yet� the� same� with� the Brass.� I initiated� them� both.� They� were viable� and� would� have taken us� close to� Qatar as LNG producing country.� Please do not frustrate Brass LNG and in� the� interest� of� what� is best� for� Nigerian� economy,� bring� back the OK LNG into� active� implementation. The� major� international� oil� companies� have withheld� investment� in� projects� in� Nigeria.� If� they� have� not� completely moved out, they are divesting.� Nigeria, which is the Saudi of Africa in oil and� gas� terms,� is� being� overtaken� by� Angola� only� because� necessary decisions� are� not� made� timely� and� appropriately.��� Mr.� President,� let� me again plead with you to be decisive on the oil and gas sector so that Nigeria may not lag behind.��� Oil with gas is being discovered all over Africa. New technology� is� producing� oil� from� shale� elsewhere.� We� should� make� hay while the sun shines.� I hope we can still save the OK and Brass LNG projects.
Three� things� are� imperative� in� the� oil� and� gas� sector� �� stop� oil� stealing, encourage� investment, especially� by� the� IOCs� and� improve� the� present poor management of the industry.� On the economy generally, it suffices to say that we� could� do� better than� we are doing. The signs� are there� and the� expectations� are� high. The� most� dangerous� ticking� bomb� is� youth unemployment, particularly in the face of unbridled corruption and obscene rulers’ opulence.
Let� me� repeat that as far as the� issue� of corruption, security� and oil stealing is concerned, it is only apt to say that when the guard becomes the� thief,� nothing� is� safe,� secure� nor� protected� in� the� house.��� We� must� all remember� that� corruption,� inequity� and� injustice� breed� poverty, unemployment,� conflict,� violence� and� wittingly� or� unwittingly� create terrorists� because� the� opulence� of� the� governor� can� only� lead� to� the leanness of the governed.��� But God never sleeps, He is watching, waiting and bidding His time to dispense justice.
The serious and strong allegation of non-remittance of about $7bn from the NNPC to central bank occurring from export of some 300,000 barrels per day, amounting to $900 million a month, to be refined and with refined products� of� only� $400m�� returned� and� Atlantic� Oil� loading� about 130,000� barrels� sold� by� Shell� and� managed� on� behalf� of� NPDC� with� no sale� proceeds� paid� into NPDC� account� is incredible. The allegation� was buttressed� by the� letter of the Governor of� Central� Bank� of Nigeria to you on non-remittance� to the central bank.� This� allegation� will� not� fly� away� by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators.��� Please deal with this allegation transparently and let the truth be known.
The dramatis personae in this allegation and who they are working for will� one� day� be� public knowledge.��� Those� who� know� are� watching� if� the National� Assembly will not be accomplice in the heinous crime� and naked grand corruption.��� May God grant� you� the grace� for at least one effective corrective� action� against� high� corruption,� which� seems� to� stink� all� around you in your government.
The� international� community� knows� us� as� we� are� and� maybe� more than we claim to know ourselves. And a good friend will tell you the truth no� matter� how bitter. Denials and� cover-up� of� what� is� obvious,� true� and factual� can� detract� from� honour,� dignity� and� respect.� Truth� and transparency� dignify� and� earn� respect.� And� life� without� passion� for something� can� only� achieve� little.��� I� was� taken� aback� when� an� African Development� Bank� Director� informed� me� that� the� water� project� for Port Harcourt, originally initiated by the Federal Government and to be financed� by the bank, is being put in the cooler by the Federal Government because of the Amaechi-Jonathan face-off.� Amaechi, whether he likes it or not, will cease to be governor over Rivers State, which Port Harcourt is part by the end of May 2015, but residents of Port Harcourt will continue to need improvement of� their� water� supply. President� Jonathan� should� rise� above� such pettiness and unpresidential act, if it is coming from him.��� But if not, and it is� the� action� of overzealous� officials� reading the situation, he� should� give appropriate instruction for the project to be pursued. And there are other projects� anywhere� suffering� the� same� coolness� as� a� result� of� similar situation,� let� national interest supercede personal or political feud� and� the machinations of satanic officials.
Mr.� President,� let� me� plead� with� you for a� few� things� that� will� stand you in good stead for the rest of your life.��� Don’t always consider critics on national� issues� as� enemies.��� Some� of� them� may� be� as� patriotic� and nationalistic� as� you� and� I� who� have� been� in� government. Some� of� them have� as� much� passion� for� Nigeria� as� we� have.� I� saw� that� among Nigerians� living� abroad,� hence, I initiated Nigerians� in� Diaspora Organisation,� NIDO.� You� must� also� differentiate� between� malevolent, mischievous� and� objective� criticism.��� Analyses,� criticisms� and commentaries on government actions and policies are sinew of democracy.
Please, Mr. President,� be very� wary of assistants,� aides and collaborators who look for enemies for you.��� I have seen them with you and some were around� me� when� I� was� in� your� position.� I� knew� how� not� to� allow� them create� enemies for� me.� If� you allow� them,� everybody� except� them� will be your enemy.� They are more dangerous than identified adversaries.� May God� save� leaders� from� sycophants.��� They� know� what� you� want� to� hear and they feed you with it essentially for their own selfish interest. As far as you� and� Nigeria� are� concerned,� they� are� wreckers.��� Where� were� they when� God� used� others� to� achieve� His� will� in� your� life.��� They� possess you now for their interest. No interest should be higher or more important than the Nigerian interest to you.��� You have already made history and please do nothing to mar history.��� I supported you as I supported Yar’Adua.��� For me, there is neither North-South divide nor Christian-Moslem divide but one Nigeria.
Let� me� put� it,� that� talks,� loose� and� serious,� abound� about� possible abuse and misuse of the military and the legitimate security apparatus for unwholesome personal and political interest to the detriment of the honour, dignity, oath and professionalism� of these� honourable and patriotic forces.
Let� me urge the authorities not to embark on such� destructive� path for� an important� element of our national� make-up. The roles� of the military and the security agencies should be held sacrosanct in the best interest of the nation.��� Again, let not history repeat itself here.
I� believe� that� with� what� Nigeria� went� through� in� the� past,� the worst should have already happened. It must be your responsibility as the captain� of� the� ship� to� prevent� the� ship� from �going� aground� or� from� a shipwreck.��� For anybody close to you saying that if the worst happens, he or she would not be involved is idle and loose talk.��� If we leave God to do His will and� we don’t� rely� only� on our own� efforts, plans� and� wisdom, God will always� do� His� best.��� And the� power� of� money and� belief� in it� is satanically tempting.��� As I go around Nigeria and the world, I always come across Nigerians who are first-class citizens of the world and who are doing well� where� they� are� and� who� are� passionate� to� do� well� for� Nigeria.��� My hope for our country lies in these people.��� They abound and I hope that all of us will realise that they are the jewels of Nigeria wherever they may be and not those who arrogate to themselves eternal for ephemeral.
Also,� to� my� embarrassment� at� times,� I� learned� more� about� what� is going on in the public and private sectors of Nigeria from our development partners, international institutions and those transacting business in Nigeria most times I was abroad.��� On returning home to verify the veracity of these stories,� I� found some� of� them not� only� to� be true but� more horrifying� than they� were� presented� abroad.��� Other� countries� look� up� to� Nigeria� for regional leadership.��� Failure on the part of Nigeria will create a schism that will be bad for the region.
Knowing what happens� around� you,� most� of� which you know of� and condone or deny, this letter will provoke cacophony from hired and unhired attackers but I will maintain my serenity because by this letter, I have done my duty to� you� as� I have always done,� to your� government, to� the� Party, PDP, and to our country, Nigeria.��� If I stuck out my neck and God used me and others as instrument to work hard for you to reach where you are today in� what� I� considered� the� best� political� interest� of� Nigeria,� tagging� me� as your� enemy or� the� enemy� of� your administration by you,� your kin� or� your aides can� only be regarded as ridiculous to extreme.��� If I see any danger to your life, I will point it out to you or ward it off as I have done in the past.
But I will not support what I believe is not in the best interest of Nigeria, no matter who� is putting it forward� or who is behind it.��� Mr. President, I have passed� the� stage� of� being� flattered,� intimidated,� threatened,� frightened, induced or bought.�� I am never afraid to agree or disagree but it will always 13 be on principles, and if on politics, in the national interest. After my prison experience in the close proximity of and sharing facilities with an asylum in Yola, there is nothing worse for anyone alive and well.��� And that was for a military� dictator� to� perpetuate� himself� in� power.��� Death� is� the� end� of� all human� beings� and� may� it� come� when� God� wills� it� to� come.� The harassment of my relations and friends and innuendo that are coming from the Government security apparatus on whether they belong to new PDP or supporters of defected Governors and which are possibly authorised or are� the� work� of� overzealous� aides� and� those� reading� your� lips� to� act� in� your interest will be counter-productive.� It is abuse of security apparatus. Such abuse took place� last� in� the time of� Abacha.
Lies and untruths� about me emanating from the presidency is too absurd to contemplate. Saying that I recommended a wanted criminal by UK and USA authorities to you or your aides to supplant legitimately elected PDP leader in South-West is not only unwise� and� crude� but� also� disingenuous.��� Nobody� in� his� or� her� right senses� will� believe� such� a� story� and� surely� nobody� in� Ogun� State� or South-West zone will believe such nonsense. It is a clear indication of how unscrupulous and unethical the presidency can go to pursue your personal and political interest.��� Nothing else matters.��� What a pity!� Nothing at this stage of my life would prevent me from standing for whatever I consider to be in the best interest of Nigeria � all Nigeria, Africa and� the� world in� that order. I believe strongly that a united and strong PDP at all costs is in the best� interest� of� Nigeria. In� these� respects,� if� our� interests� and� views coincide,� together� we� will� march.� Putting� a� certified� unashamed� criminal wanted abroad to face justice and who has greatly contributed to corruption within the judiciary on a high profile of politics as you and your aides have done with the man you enthrone as PDP Zonal leader in the South-West is the height of disservice to this country politically and height of insult to the people� of� South-West� in� general� and� members� of� PDP� in� that� zone� in particular.
For me, my politics goes with principles and morality and I will not be a party to highly� profiling criminals in politics, not to say one� would be� my� zonal� leader.��� It� destroys� what� PDP� stands� for� from� its� inception…
God is never a supporter of evil and will surely save PDP and Nigeria from the hands of destroyers.��� If everything fails and the Party cannot��� be retrieved� from� the� hands� of� criminals� and� commercial� jobbers� and discredited� touts,� men� and� women� of� honour,� principles,� morality� and integrity must step aside to rethink.
Let me also appeal to and urge defected, dissatisfied, disgruntled and in any way displeased PDP Governors, legislators, party officials and party members to respond positively if the President seriously takes the initiative to� find� mutually� agreeable� solution� to� the� current� problems� for� which� he alone has the key and the initiative.��� I have heard it said particularly within the presidency circle that the disaffected� Governors and members of PDP are� my� children.��� I� begin� to� wonder� if, �from� top� to� bottom,� any� PDP� 15��� member� in� elective� office� today� is� not� directly� or� indirectly� a� beneficiary� and, so to say, my political child.��� Anyone who may claim otherwise will be like a river that has forgotten its source.��� But like a good father, all I seek is peaceful� and amicable solution� that� will� re-unite� the� family� for� victory� and progress of the family and the nation and nothing else.
In� a� democracy,� leaders� are� elected� to� lighten� the� burden� of� the people,� give� them� freedom,� choice� and� equity� and� ensure� good governance� and not to deceive� them, burden them, oppress them,� render them� hopeless� and� helpless.��� Nothing� should� be� done� to� undermine� the tenets, and values of democratic principles and practice.��� Tyranny in all its manifestation may be appealing to a leader in trying times of political feud or� disagreement.��� Democracy� must,� however,� prevail� and� be� held� as sacrosanct.��� Today,� you� are� the� President� of Nigeria, I� acknowledge� you and respect you as such.
The� act of� an� individual� has� a� way� of� rubbing� off� on� the� generality.
May it never be the wish of majority of Nigerians that Goodluck Jonathan, by� his� acts� of� omission� or� commission,� would� be� the� first� and� the� last Nigerian� President� ever� to� come� from� Ijaw� tribe.��� The� idea� and� the possibility� must� give� all� of� us� food� for� thought.��� That� was� never� what� I worked� for� and� that� would� never� be� what� I� will� work� for.��� But� legacy� is made of such or the opposite.
My� last� piece� of� advice,� Mr.� President,� is� that� you� should� learn� the lesson of history and please do not take Nigeria and Nigerians for granted.
Move� away� from� culture� of� denials,� cover-ups� and� proxies� and� deal honesty, sincerely and transparently with Nigerians to regain their trust and confidence.��� Nigerians are no fools, they can see, they can hear, they can talk among themselves, they can think, they can compare and they can act� in the interest� of� their country� and in� their� own� self-interest.��� They� keenly watch� all� actions� and� deeds� that� are� associated� with� you� if� they� cannot believe� your� words.� I� know� you� have� the� power� to� save� PDP� and� the country.��� I beg you to have the courage and the will with patriotism to use the� power� for� the� good� of� the� country.��� Please� uphold� some� form� of national core values.� I will appeal to all Nigerians particularly all members of� PDP� to� respect� and� dignify� the� Office� of� the� President.� We� must� all know that individuals will come and go but the Office will remain.
Once again, time is of the essence.��� Investors are already retreating 16��� from� Nigeria,� adopting� ‘wait� and� see� attitude’� and� knowing� what� we� are deficient� of,� it� will� take time� to� reverse� the� trend� and� we� may� miss� some golden opportunities.
Finally, your later-day conversion into National Conference is fraught with danger of disunity, confusion and chaos if not well handled.��� I believe in� debate� and� dialogue� but� it� must� be� purposeful,� directed� and� managed well without ulterior motives.��� The ovation has not died out yet and there is always life after a decent descent.
Accept, Dear� Mr.� President,� the� assurances� of� my� highest consideration.
I� crave� your� indulgence� to� share� the� contents� of� this� letter,� in� the� first instance,� with� General� Ibrahim� Babangida� and� General� Abdulsalami� Abubakar, who,� on� a� number� of� occasions� in� recent� times,� have� shared� with� me� their agonising� thoughts,� concerns� and� expressions� on� most� of� the� issues� I� have raised� in� this� letter� concerning� the� situation� and� future� of� our� country. �I also crave your indulgence� to� share the contents with General Yakubu� Danjuma and Dr.� Alex Ekwueme, whose� concerns� for and commitments to the� good of Nigeria have� been� known� to� be� strong.
The limit� of� sharing� of� the� contents� may� be extended as time goes on.
Culled from Punch