Oga Buhari, lamentation time has elapsed!

Sir, when millions of Nigerian citizens have endured your long-running jeremiad, it becomes even more necessary to listen to one of them through this column. There is palpable angst in the land over your do-nothing, nose-in-the-air attitude and its growing by the day. That, by the way, is what informs this missive of mine and it is requires your urgent attention.

My dear President Muhammadu Buhari, it is my hope that this letter meets you in good spirit. Why not, anyway? All things have worked together for your good. In spite of the odds stacked against you in the recently concluded elections, you emerged tops and your party equally won, even in areas where many had thought you would have your nose rubbed on a hard surface. Somehow, you won the vote of confidence and that should mean something to you. Having scaled that hurdle, the entire country now looks on to you to make the difference in their lives and be the leader the country needs at this critical moment where life has become quite brutish, brutal and bloody. To be sincere, Nigerians have been drained by too much pummeling by the vagaries of quotidian living. Most of them barely go through the drill. The other day, a report by the United Nations described your citizens, Your Excellency, as having about the largest gathering of the world’s hungriest. By the way, what does that mean? Does it mean that we have progressively climbed the ladder of infamy from a position of being the happiest people in the world to the unflattering status of having the highest collection of society’s dregs?  And should that be the sad narrative of a nation that is blessed with oil and dozens of untapped mineral resources? No sir!

You may wonder why I am so concerned about the UN report. It is because it has everything to do with the multi-dimensional crises plaguing this Lugardian contraption from insurgency to kidnapping, from banditry to cattle rustling, from armed robbery to the sheer lunacy of ritual killings and political brigandage. You may not like it sir, but the fact remains that our national flag, though decked in luscious green and with pure white, is dripping with the blood of innocent souls that are daily being sent to their early graves while your government continues with its shocking tradition of offering tendentious platitudes. The reality is that such hollow rituals do not matter anymore. They neither bring back the dead nor stop the endless wailing by those mourning the loss of loved ones. They have become used to the lamentations in high places and the endless circle of promises to arrest the situation while the killers just giggle with relish. Our purity has been stained with crimson red signifying doom. Our sanity has been abused and our virginity yanked off by these banal rapists. Oh, never mind my poetry. It is meant for the deep.

Sir, a careful study of the UN 2018 report on food crisis in the country suggests that whatever improvements that may have been recorded could be wiped off by the resurgence in insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and all other forms of despicable activities. When you look at it, the brazenness with which these criminal elements operate in the hinterland should call for a drastic measure by your government and the security agencies. It is not enough for the military and other security agencies to fill our eardrums with how they waylaid bandits, insurgents and cattle rustlers with heavy casualties when the numbers of these blood curdling attacks keep increasing daily. As things stand today, the Abuja/Kaduna road has become a veritable kidnappers’ haven – a route through which bandits earn millions from their abduction – for-ransom activities while citizens literally tread with trepidation all through. It is such bad that high ranking security personnel would rather struggle for space with ordinary citizens at the train stations rather than risk direct confrontation with these criminals – even when they have an option of full militarized convoys. The few who still ply the road do so with their hearts in their mouths. The Abuja/Okene road is not any different. Motorists and passengers have loads of sad tales to recount on how kidnappers randomly kill and make fortunes from their captives. Countless victims hardly survive the ordeal even after ransom had been paid. Many of these hot points where these evils are being perpetrated daily are scattered across the country. When you add that to the acts of criminality in the cities, towns and villages, you would understand why the President cannot afford to continue sitting on his hands with the hope that things would sort themselves out with time. No, it requires more than that, sir!

I read the other day, my President, how you lamented about how these toxic elements have turned you into one of the unhappiest leaders in the world. Awww! That was so touching. You also waxed lyrical, wondering how anyone would have imagined that you were indifferent to the “senseless killings of my fellow citizens by bandits.” You said and I quote: ‘I am human and I understand the pains of the victims and their families who have been traumatized and impoverished by constant ransom demands by bandits. The politicization of the tragedy reveals the darkest sides of our primitive politics. Almost every week, I summon my security chiefs to get an update on the strategies being devised to defeat these mass murderers.”

Read Also: Buhari to security chiefs: be ruthless with bandits

You said so many other heartwarming things, Mr. President. But, sir, words that are not backed by actions that impacted lives positively hardly make any meaning to the right thinking members of the society. The key to making yourself one of the happiest leaders in the world lies not in blowing hollow verbiage but in the action you take to halt the killings and rein in the terrorists, mass murderers and arsonists. Security of lives and property are crucial responsibilities of all governments all over the world and it is part of the very fundamental aspects of Nigeria’s Constitution that you swore to uphold. Yours cannot be an exception. If you have been meeting with your security chiefs constantly like you said, what exactly have they been telling you? If you have been meeting their demands for funding and equipment purchase, why do those murderous elements continue to slaughter, maim and destroy with rapacious gusto? Are the funds being deployed to the appropriate quarters? Do they buy the required equipment to prosecute the war? How much of intelligence gathering do they employ in the discharge of the onerous task before them? Who are the backers and funders of these murderous elements? And why is it difficult to name, shame and prosecute the so-called traditional rulers that connive with these bandits? In short, when would we start reaping positive results from the billions of dollars being spent on the war yearly?

These are the germane questions that millions of Nigerians want answers to. They did not vote the President in for a second term, just for him to fruitlessly continue blaming our “primitive politics” or certain seeming untouchable monarchs for this canvas of blood. When Buhari says he has ordered “rapid and robust deployment of troops to all the areas currently under attack from bandits” and that his administration is, more than ever before, “determined to tackle this challenge ferociously until these remorseless killers are crushed and utterly defeated”, Nigerians want him to walk the talk. Sir, that cannot be asking for too much. Or is it? For many years, they have listened to leaders who say the right things and recline on their chairs as the rot continues to decimate our humanity. Mr. Buhari, they say, would be treading that path if after his emotive outburst earlier in the week, nothing concrete is done to reduce these senseless killings and general insecurity in the land. Simply put, the message is: Buhari should drop this book of lamentation in the closet and begin to clean up this mess. We want results, not mere jeremiads!


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