Letter to Mr President

President Muhammadu Buhari


Dear Sir, 
I write to you this letter at the most disturbing epoch. This is glaring. I highly doubt this message will reach you or even any of your numerous aides. But it is the least I can do for the only country I have, I truly believe in, and love a lot.  Even as I write this long letter,  Nigeria is ailing, and oozing blood of the innocent victims of terrorism, kidnapping, ethno-religious crisis, banditry, etc. These are more lethal in the north, where it has become the epicentre of destruction by some devilish people: bandits, kidnappers, Boko Haram among other untamed beasts operating in the northern part of Nigeria. 
The bloodletting in the north has reached its height:  that fear, anxiety, and gloom have taken centre stage in the minds of people, which one can deduced from interactions that have transformed to lamentations in gargantuan magnitude in recent weeks. 
Mr President, Nigerians voted you to address the enormous security challenges bedeviling this country. It was one of the core campaign promises of your administration: security, fighting corruption, and economy. This had apparently underscored the significance you put on security and your grasp of the security challenges confronting the country to have made it a cornerstone of your administration electioneering. 

Once you received the mantle of leadership from Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigerians pinned their hopes on you to address the security concerns, especially with your military background, having led the country before, and stood three times for elections for the highest office in the land. Your Excellency, these gave most patriotic Nigerians the boost to support your candidacy. Thus, your overwhelming victory at the polls. This was somehow rewarded with the successes recorded against the Boko Haram terrorists when you newly became President, which only irredeemable enemies of Nigeria could deny. 

Bombings that had become a new normal at the twilight years of  former President Jonathan’s administration reduced gradually to a point that we hardly hear of bombs being detonated anywhere in Nigeria now, for this I appreciate your efforts. The so many local governments recovered in the north east is something Nigerians, especially those of us from the north east highly commend you for. However,  the security issues in Nigeria have converted into something else. Kidnapping has largely increased across the northern states, bandits turned terrorists have operated on a scale prior unknown to this country. Boko Haram terrorists, though technically said to have been defeated still wreak havoc despite the gains made.  All in all, Nigeria faces numerous security challenges in many parts of the country. Mr President I comprehend this. 
But what I don’t understand is how so called bandits could have the guts to collect levies that only government should impose and definitely not on local farmers in north western communities, as reported by so many newspapers in order to farm or even live, What is the problem Sir? Is it that Nigeria don’t have sufficient manpower and weapons to confront these terrorists for some Nigerians to have resorted to self-help, or trust those maniacs for their safety?  I highly doubt. Where then does the problem lie Mr President? 

As if that isn’t sufficiently horrible, we now have to read, listen, and watch heart-rending, sad stories over and over again. An air of gloom and despondency seemed to have firmly settled over our dear country. The people who voted you for the ideals we believe you stand for:  daily, are losing hope in the leader some of us did everything within the ambit of the law to make President in our own capacities for the betterment of the country we hold so dear. Even as I write this,  I know there are so many who will castigate me for having done what I thought our country needed. This piece will be misconstrued by those who believe everything is politics. Therefore, everything should be about politics. To them the politicisation of terror is normal. 

For me it is entirely wrong and it would be the highest disrespect I could accord to the memories of the victims of this bloodbath, if I play any kind of politics with their lives. It is inhuman, uncalled for, and highly unacceptable to play any type of politics with human lives. Where is our humanity? That is why when those who believe based on their social media comments that it is payback time for people that supported your candidacy, believe in this country, or that didn’t even support you, but respected the wishes of the Nigerian people who did, I know it is politics being played that has exceeded all limits of decency. I honestly don’t lose any sleep because of them. For it speaks volumes of whom those people truly are, what they take politics for, and what human lives mean to them in spite of all the pretence. 

But I have lost too much sleep listening to numerous  Nigerians tell their tale of woe. Shafa’atu? Oh Shafa’atu! Shafa’atu’s sad story is one that you would anticipate only in fiction and even at that it makes such a tragic impression on the readers or audience as the case may be. Unfortunately, Shafa’atu’s was real story. “I lost my four children, three girls who were grown up and my 10-month-old baby. I watched them, including my mother, maternal uncle, nephew and niece burning to ashes while the attackers were watching with delight,” Daily trust wrote.
Here was a woman who lost eight members of her family in what is now trendy as #SokotoHumanBarbercue on social media, Shafa’atu was also reported to have gotten up to 75 percent of her body burnt. All these were compounded by seeing other Nigerians numbering over 30 completely burnt before her very eyes. In the end, we sadly lost Shafa’atu too. This excruciatingly painful experience is one that is part of the so many traumatising occurrences that Nigerians grapple with.  May janatul Firdaus be their final abode.

#Sokotohumanbarbecue? No, my facebook friend, Dr Marzuq Ungogo has advised that it is an incorrect phrase. The phrase “Sokoto Human Barbecue” is wrong, nauseating and underplays the situation. The correct word is immolation.” It should be#SokotoImmolation,” Dr Ungogo wrote on Facebook. Therefore, #Sokotoimmolation is the right phrase, though some self-acclaimed luminaries have objected to that, saying it also doesn’t capture it preferring the former and some other terms to it. I think as a layman #SokotoImmolation is apt. But all the phrases used or that could be used are secondary. The primary thing is the human life which sacredness is blatantly disregarded by the way lives are lost on a daily basis to the acts of terror perpetrated by arch-enemies of the Nigerian state: Boko Haram, bandit terrorists, kidnappers, etc. 

The #Sokotoimmolation is more than sufficient reason to irk anyone. This I saw in even the most unexpected and manifestedly underestimated place, the ‘Teburin Mai Shayi’ tea seller’s stall, a place where almost every issue is dissected, though its place in intellectual discourse or any crucial discussion of whatever nomenclature is lowly thought of. However, I grasped valuable points from this place, which only affirms the sanctity of life that must not be lost anyhow. I think this doesn’t take a security expert, a government official, a university don, or any intellectual to assert. 

Hence, whatever it takes to comprehensively solve the security problems are required. We have been inundated with stories about clandestine efforts by some unknown people or rather masked to the public since former President Jonathan’s tenure, where it was alleged that some people were sponsoring this carnage. This has remained a potent argument up to now.  Nevertheless this highly baffles me. For how can this allegation be going on for two consecutive tenures and yet both administrations have not damned whatever consequences and gone ahead to publicise their names, or even proceed to  prosecute them without their names being published, if indeed it is spot on. 

Whatever needs to be done, and no matter what it takes to truly bring them to book must be done. As a Nigerian let’s say for the sake of argument that there aren’t any sponsors, those nihilistic beasts simply decided to be eliminating people for no reason. Nigeria must also match them and give them exactly what they give Nigerian citizens regularly. It is what absolutely makes sense to me. 

Your Excellency, you rode on the back of unalloyed support from Nigerians across the country, especially the northern part of Nigeria where 12 million votes were almost guaranteed even before electioneering commenced. And we must not forget that it was at the peak of election malpractice that produced a president that saw blatant flaws even in the election that produced him. I know for a fact that the trust, acceptability, support, and goodwill you enjoyed in the north were mainly because of your hallmark integrity and believe to salvage Nigeria. As a Nigerian I do not seek for any preferential treatment for the north or the south, all I ask is that no stone should be left unturned in fighting terrorism, kidnapping, banditry, and all forms of criminality. In a nutshell, we want government to live up to its primary essence of protecting lives and property. 

The issue of local government autonomy must also be thoroughly looked into Mr President. A lot has been said by experts linking the severe security challenges in the country to lack of government presence at the local level. Recently, we heard former President Jonathan concured with that. You have attempted to get it done, President Buhari. But unfortunately, it has not yielded the intended result and I know it is not entirely down to you to get it done. But I urge you to put more efforts for the sake of the masses who are extremely suffering. Please do it for Nigeria. 

Finally, I must salute the gallantry of the security personnel who continue to sacrifice everything for the safety of all Nigerians. No matter what we cannot thank them a lot. It is because of brave Nigerians like them that despite the shortcomings in so many quarters we still dare to dream of victory over terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and reduce all forms of crimes to the barest minimum. Mr President a lot can still be done before your tenure elapses: use the time judiciously. As they say, power is transient, while history is immortal.  May Nigeria succeed against all its enemies. God bless Nigeria. 
Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani Wrote from Turaki B, Jalingo, Taraba State. 

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