Baba,now that you are president – open letter to President Buhari

Your Excellency,

It’s been 2 weeks since your inauguration as president of our dear country, butit still feels like May 29, because Nigerians are still celebrating… they feel that now that you are there, hope has been renewed, and things will finally change for the better. In fact, since you won the presidential elections on April 28, many Nigerians have expressed their hopes and expectations from your administration in novel ways.

Some have trekked lots of kilometres in solidarity with your victory, and others have riddenbicycles across states. Some have climbed high mountains to register their pleasure–one man even climbed a tree and said he wouldn’t come down until you’re sworn in.

All these actions are statements made by Nigerians to demonstrate their hope that with your coming things will really change for the better. I know it seems the expectations are too high, but hey, we are 170million; and, uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.

You don’t need to be told, Your Excellency, that in addition to the crown you have just been given comes great burdens and the expectations of the millions, but I know you can do it.

You can lead in such a way that when you are stepping down from that post, people not say this was a goslow administrationbut will instead say this was an action administration and use your administration as a benchmark for measuring future administrations.

Now I am a believer in that saying of Woodrow Wilson that the ears of the leader must ring with the voices of the people. If you are a listening leader, the people will tell you things you need to know. Let me start by telling the tale of millions of Nigerians using my personal experience, in the last week of May, just before you came into power.

On a certain day that week,due to the fuel scarcity that threatened to shut down the country, I couldn’t get fuel to drive my car to work, so, I had to jump okada- after I promised myself I would not patronise that often dangerous mode of transportation.

The okada kept swerving between cars as if the cars were made of foam and not hard metal that can shatter strong bones on forceful impact. Worse of all, the okada I entered had no mirror, so I kept asking myself how the bike-man hoped to be able to see un-coming vehicles.

‘Oga, no fear, nothing they happen’ was his reply when I voiced out my concern about the way he was driving which I felt a traffic official should have taken adequate notice of. I sure hoped he was right, and was most gratified when Ireached my destination without accident bruises. Baba, these okada people need to be forced to drive with discipline. And furthermore, all okada riders need to be made to buy side mirrors for their motorcycles, as most of them don’t have such at the moment, a state of affairs that has caused numerous accidents in this country.

 

Later at work, when I wanted to send a very important email, the internet connection just refused to work and I was told that the internet service provider had earlier on sent a message that they’re rationing diesel because of the scarcity. (Even diesel; why would diesel be scarce when it isn’t part of the fuels covered by the controversial subsidy?)

Then I got a text message from my bank telling me they would be closing by 12 pm, rather than by 5pm.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, my GSM service providers sent me a text, stating that because of the ubiquitous issue of diesel scarcity they may stop allowing me make calls in a few hours. Then a relation who was to visit us telephoned that he could no longer come due to the fact that the airline he had booked had to cancel the flight due to lack of fuel (even airlines).

Then an acquaintanceworking in the civil service of a state government that hasn’t paid its workers for several months called, and I began to imagine the severe hardship his family and other families in theirsituation would be facing, since there is no social security in Nigeria. Baba please do something about that.

Baba, PHCN power issue is another issue you have to act on quickly. It will not be easy for you to solve the twin problems of perennial fuel scarcity and near comatose supply of power, but you have no choice but to do your utmost best. Whenever there is zero power supply and fuel scarcity, innocent babies in incubators in hospitals are put at inhuman and unacceptable risk; same also for patients undergoing operations.

I know of a shop keeper that no longer sells minerals because people will not buy minerals that are not iced. I know of a woman who has had to stop selling frozen foods because she can’t even find the fuel to power her generator. Sir, this empowered woman who has managed to feed her family well for so long can no longer do so, as a result of the situation. Baba, please do something for her sake.

Baba, you built two of Nigeria’s 4 refineries. Please don’t allow pressure to stop you from making our existing refineries work again in this country. Furthermore, I implore you to make it much easier for entrepreneurs to open up private refineries by reducing the requirements; but there should be a body to regulate them to prevent them from producing substandard fuel.

Baba, last but not the least, make Cabotage a success in Nigeria. There is a lot of money in the Cabotage Vessel Financing Fund that is simply wasting away there. Sir, please ensure that the money is released so that our inland waterways can provide alternative transportation to our people and jobs to our youth. Sir, the same way there is KekeMarwaand also FasholaBuses (BRT)in Lagos, let there be Buhari Ferries in our waterways.

Sai Baba.



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