By Chukwuemeka Otuchikere
Reference: Growing insecurity in Nigeria since 2015 elections.
Mr. Barack H. Obama,
United States of America.
Greetings and my warmest regards to the former First Lady and your entire family. I hope you are enjoying your retirement from the White House away from the pressures of global politics.
I am writing you this letter with so much pain and grieve in my heart. Pain, yes because I have observed my country Nigeria rapidly drifting into total breakdown of Law and Order. As I write, it is likely another set of school children will be abducted somewhere in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram, bandits and other ethnic militia are terrorising the citizenry. What is more? The country has suffered unprecedented decline in every index that makes life bearable. Our currency the naira, many admit is experiencing a free-fall as it loses value everyday compared to the American dollar and other currencies.
These last five years, our nation has literarily being hanging on live support, the bonds that held us together has been stretched to elastic limits. It may interest you to know that we are more balkanized than ever before. Gaping fault-lines have developed along religion, ethnic and other such consideration. We have never been more divided in our national history except during the Nigerian-Biafra war years.
Mr. Obama, you may be wondering why I am writing to you at this critical time. I think it is important I bring to your notice these ugly incidents currently happening in my country.
I can vividly remember your open endorsement of General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) when he visited you prior to the elections in 2015. You praised him among other wonderful things you said concerning him, you called him a man of integrity. This visit helped sway a large percentage of undecided voters to him. Believe me, your Excellency, you command a lot of following in Africa and especially in Nigeria.
Many of my compatriots saw your support for the candidature of GMB as a testament of his global acceptance. This was further reinforced by the immediate recruitment of your former strategist David Axelrod by the All Progressives Congress (APC) party of General Buhari.
The APC and Buhari for president campaign took on a new zest and their ‘Change’ mantra had far reaching penetration into the subconsciousness of a nation in desperate need for change.
Sir, if the anticipated ‘Change’ was delivered I probably will never write to thank you. However, posterity would have been grateful to you for pointing the right way when it mattered. Given that you must have been following the political developments in my country since 2015, even when I know that many in the developed economies are not really bothered with what transpires in sub-Saharan Africa.
Sad to say, that the popular opinion is that GMB has not delivered the promised positive change. Rather than offer leadership, we have a self-opinionated ruler, who operates like a sectional messiah. Mr. Obama, your speech in Ghana when you visited in 2013, still resonates across Africa, ‘that Africa and Africans needed strong institutions and not strongmen……’
The enthronement of GMB is a further negation of that sterling counsel. We have discovered with President M. Buhari, it was the resurgence of the absolute ruler, our institutions are now mere appendages of this strongman government aided by a cabal of ethnic apologisst. The Police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), The Department of State Security (DSS) and even the Judiciary are run by Moslems and all from northern Nigeria as Mr. Buhari. All these is happening in a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria.
These agencies are compromised, as they are now tools in the hands of the president to hound suspected political opponents. The docking of Dr. Bukola Saraki, the ex-senate president was a classic example after he defected from the APC. Some others have been incarcerated since 2015 without trial Col. Sambo Dasuki a former National Security Adviser (NSA) to the past administration was held until released a few months ago.
Mr. Obama, you were elected president of the United States of America (USA) at a youthful age of 48 years, it is interesting to see that you supported GMB, a former military head of state who ruled Nigeria in his prime in 1983 as an army General. This same man ousted a democratic government led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari through military coup. In the US, you must agree with me that a coup plotter is labelled a rebel and not a hero. You had no qualms selling this man to the world as the most qualified for the job of leading Africa’s most populous nation.
Dear Mr. Obama, permit me to point out that the double standards of western nations when Africa is concerned is scandalous. We have at the helm of our nation, a man who has vehemently refused to tell tax payers his health status, who rather than present his secondary school certificate will mobilize a ‘platoon’ of senior advocates of Nigeria, (these are the most experienced lawyers in the land) to court and they will argue that he should not make public these information. Talk about the fabled integrity! In the US, I am sure you operate a much higher standard of transparency and openness.
Dear Mr. Obama, I believe that you are privy to better intelligence reports than those of us here in Nigeria can ever imagine. You may need to explain to us why these new set of terror attacks against Nigerians refuse to abate since 2015. Records show that Nigeria is one of the most unsafe countries of the world right now. The Fulani militia, have become more emboldened as they target non-Muslim communities as their killing fields. Most times they are met with minimal resistance from state security operators and agencies. At the head of these agencies sit people of Fulani extraction most often than not.
Dear Obama, you have multitudes of admirers here and you qualify as the most influential black man alive today. In the same way you added your voice to help support president Buhari’s bid for the highest office in our land, I personally appeal to you to intervene to stop the reign of terror in our land. Buhari’s lopsided appointments and tribal agenda is pushing the nation to the brink of collapse.
The Igbo of southeastern Nigeria have a proverb, ‘that an elder cannot be at home and watch a tethered goat going through labour pains.’ Our people are going through pains, some of our leaders have cried out. T.Y Danjuma, a rather moderate apolitical figure has been forced to protest the systematic killings going on within the middle-belt region of Nigeria. Thousands of souls have perished, many were unarmed and murdered in their sleep including women and children. The sane has been replicated in some communities in southwestern Nigeria. Orlu in the southeast was a recent theater of war.
Mr. Obama your silence is no longer golden, concerning the travails of Nigerians under this administration. Youths cannot protest without risk to life and limb. Some have been hounded out of the country. Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader among others. Sahara Reporters’ publisher, Omoyele Sowore is facing legal intimidation for expressing his views only declaring ‘Revolution Now’. There is no more free speech in our country. IPOB has not killed Nigerians but was quickly proscribed and labelled a terrorist group. While in northern Nigeria youths brandish assault rifles while negotiating with governors and government officials for amnesty and ransom for kidnapping, no arrest recorded.
Nepotism and corruption is the new order of the day! A lot of our people feel that the country needs to be restructured and our continued federation realigned to reflect values of fairness and equity.
Your Excellency, I hope I made my points clear enough; we need your urgent intervention to help rein in the dislocation of this beautiful country before it becomes too late.
I trust you will rise up to the occasion and speak wisdom to your brothers on this side of the world.
Many over here still hold you in very high esteem. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
E. Chukwuemeka Otuchikere,