By: Basil Jide Fadipe
Medical Surgeon, Teacher, Social Commentator
Justin Fadipe Centre
Commonwealth of Dominica
Dear Mr president Please promise that when you finish reading this piece , you will kindly proceed to watch the video that I have attached. The video will enrich your leadership. But first …with all the winds in my chest, I welcome you back to Nigeria. Welcome out of the U.K. I looked at what recent pictures of you I could get …it is obvious your body/ health did take some beating; In clinical phraseology, your physiology went through a ” low flow phase ….or ebb phase ” whatever the underlying cause. That physiology may now be better ( only your doctors can assert ) but evidently still in transit. I pray …from the bottom of my heart that ….the transit moves in desired direction.
You’re the leader a Nigeria needs but I’m beginning to run scared, the very leader Nigeria may never have. …..May never have, not because your heart is in the wrong place , but Nigerians’ are . Nigerians want progress only if the other person will ‘foot the bill’ … that other person must make the necessary sacrifice whilst they sit hunky-dory reaping the dividends. No one Nigerian wants to believe (let alone behave ) that the national change we all seek can only truly begin with each of us. We want rule of law but from which we are each in our own sphere personally exempted . Corruption is “evil” but only if it excludes us from its harvest . Any corruption that spills favors in our direction is never corruption, …. just divine mercies from an all- knowing God mindful of our personal needs . And we get a man of the cloth to bless it Every Nigerian hates nepotism and tribalism and favoritism and everything else that compromises societies but only so long it favors others and not us.
Mr Buhari, you’re not that kind. …. the Nigerian with a cafeterial virtuosity …. pick and choose from the menu depending on appetite not protocols/ decencies You’re president sui generis Listen to your wife on BBC recently “The president does not know 45 out of 50 of the people he appointed and I don’t know them either, despite being his wife of 27 years.” She then went on to warn “If it continues like this, I’m not going to be part of any [re-election] movement,” says Aisha Buhari. I can, as many would, understand ( and perhaps even sympathize with ) your wife’s sentiments and the logic implied . But there is in my view a bigger message to that ( credible)revelation. Africa ( and the developing world generally ) is replete with leaders ( political or military ) who fill up all the consequential positions with only “their own people ” ….”own people” can be interpreted in many different directions, positive and negative ; If we start with a good leader and “own people” comes to mean only such as are similarly good (however defined) the country benefits …. of course!!
If we start with a bad or merely ambitious leader, “own people” means only such as would embellish his mendacity and perpetuate the mediocrity, the country is doomed ….of course !!!! Most Nigerians ( and non Nigerians alike ) believe Buhari is a very disciplined, almost ascetic leader . “Own people” is unlikely therefore to be of the negative category ( though politics can be the most pernicious converter, re-baptizing the holy into the unholy) .
Therefore I choose to take your wife’s complaint ( what else can I call it ) in a complimentary light. If you happen not to know those filling up the big portfolios inside your government it is clear , no matter the other possible disadvantages of the ‘unknowing’ , ( and there will be some or many ) your style is a priori non-nepotistic, non-tribalistic and non-favouristic; three cardinal sins of all of our leaders so far that have kept back the country; filling up round holes with square pegs just because they are known to the president or presidency. Therefore knowing per se or unknowing are not in themselves the danger.
The danger is what knowing or unknowing brings with it. So far “knowing” has not brought anything good to Nigeria. “Own people” has erstwhile turned out to be just a set of sycophantic square pegs in round holes, each regime running the polity into a snafu. Whilst it is gratifying to think that at your end, unknowing equates to absence of all the nefarious “….tisms ( nepotism/ tribalism, favoritism, etc etc ) it is also frightening to have to think that unknowing may by omission more than commission permit others below you, less idealistic or sanctimonious , to fill positions constrained by those very taints you will not approve . Therefore I would suggest that whilst you start correctly with the right kind of unknowing , you proceed with the right kind of knowing to ensure vertical transmission of the Buhari virtues. that is …..prevent corruption down the heirachical chains. The dangers to filling round holes with square pegs are double edged ; Those appointed not via merit but ‘ knowing’ ( right place right time ) will be incompetent for the job but even more importantly will become your unrepentant sycophants perennially singing your praise even when such adulation is dangerous for national development and detrimental to your own objective self appraisal, tempting you to continue on the wrong path until you are irredeemably perished . This is one sharp edge of the sword. The other, even sharper edge is the revolting bitterness ( and justified rage ) you court from those who were the better or right pegs for the holes but for sheer political expediencies were ignored.
This latter group are just as dangerous to your success as the former; So the nation is carved into two groups both equally poisonous to governance ; …. the sycophants who forever chant your glory even when you deserve none and the haters who forever seek your downfall no matter your merits otherwise ; how does a nation gather the right speed in the right direction inside such a neo-tribalism? Yet you can abort this tailspin right at the start by avoiding the one trigger to both tribes…. wrong selections. If your wife’s complaint about unknowing relates to ( what she and all objective observers consider to be ) wrong selection rather than nepotistic or favouristic ‘squares for rounds’ , you need take heed. But if perchance she is urging that you choose only those known to you or her irrespective of merits otherwise please find it in your heart to forgive and forget such silly advice. Move on if necessary without her consent . Even if the only thing you would have succeeded doing in your short stewardship is bury nepotism/ tribalism/ favouritism, through unknowing , ( appointments blind to connections ) you would have saved the nation those cankerworms and set the country on a workable road to victory.
I do not mind my ‘ enemy’ or even yours selected for the job when once he is the right peg for the hole. If the nation rises , we all rise with it. ….the reverse is never pleasant even to contemplate. You must know as well as I do that Nigerians are by nature and bearing very impatient. They were frustrated enough by the last government’s corrupt ways they voted you in . But they are now just as impatient with your meticulous even if slow approach to purging the system they are beginning to ask for Jonathan’s return. And that is because the very route out of years of the corruption from previous regimes is seeming too long and too tough for our spoilt citizens. ….they want you to open up the very borders you had closed in your attempt to reestablish sanity at the ports. ….they want you to leave foreign reserves regulation to their whims, spending both what they do and don’t have and getting the treasury into deeper graves . ….they want you to rush into ill considered projects even before you have sanitized the mess created by previous governments ….In short they want you to transform Nigeria into their own view of an eldorado in less than few years of Office.
These are the kind of people you have sworn to help; hasty, impulsive , shoot first and then aim … Yet they wonder even annoyed you took ill after few months on such a hot seat !! Some even hoping you don’t come back from your overseas treatment How many honest leaders can have to juggle these demands from a people as variegated as in Nigeria and not go cuckoo or non chalant? Sick must be the turn of leaders whose people are so irrationally impatient and petulant; bent on eating their cake yet having it . I can only wish you luck. And our nation ….even greater luck .
I’m scared Nigerians will run you more sick and God forbid run you into the ground before you turn the boat around. But providence I hope will smile on us not because we deserve but inspite of not deserving. For what it is worth , I remain fully behind your vision and in unison with your efforts for the nation.
Pls watch the below sir