My Dear President
Permit me to allocate 10 minutes of your precious time to myself and to all concerned citizens this morning.
I listened to your televised address yesterday and my initial shock gave way to outrage.
You seemed to be angry with Nigerians when many of us are actually not impressed that you offered no honest explanations for being away from the country for 103 consecutive days. I read the transcript of your speech over and over again just to be sure I had not been misled by my own ears.
Your opening was patronizing but I would not dwell upon it.
A second or so into your speech, you declared that in the course of your STAY in the United Kingdom, you had been kept in daily touch with events at home. You went ahead to state that Nigerians are robust and lively in discussing their affairs, but that you were DISTRESSED to notice that some of the comments, especially in the social media have crossed our NATIONAL RED LINES by daring to question our collective existence as a nation. You arrogantly declared that Nigerians expressing their opinions on nationhood was a step too far.
Mr. President, Nigerians expected to hear about your hospitalization in the UK, your state of health, what progress you have made in getting appropriate treatment, and what it has cost you in personal or public funds to seek medical care from one of the best public health systems in the world.
Instead, you regaled us with tales of your annoyance with our social media debates on nationhood.
Mr. President, if you have been reading the news from other parts of the world, you would learn that a foremost American politician, Senator John McCain, was recently diagnosed with a rare cancer and that he himself made that information public. You would also learn that he has had brain surgery at Mayo Clinic and has started chemotherapy treatment. Senator John McCain, a public servant, could have spent up to $76000 on his surgery if he did not have health insurance, just like many Americans. Even more interesting is the fact that Senator McCain, days after his brain surgery, and in defiance of his own party which is also the ruling party, was instrumental to blocking a healthcare law that could have made many Americans lose health insurance.
Mr. President, we hear that Aso Clinic is to receive more than ₦3 billion this year, a sum which exceeds what all federal hospitals put together will get this year. While a majority of Nigerians (with no health insurance) must pay out of their pockets to assess basic, specialist and even emergent medical care in poorly equipped public hospitals, you are entitled to medical care free of charge, from a well funded clinic built for you and other members of the presidency. You ought to explain to Nigerians why you have let public resources rot in the manner you have done. Nigerians are also not pleased that you let rats devour your office following your long absence from work. They wonder if rodents also ate up your official residence which you are now too ashamed to admit in public.
Mr. President, you alluded to a meeting between you and late Chief Emeka Ojukwu. You claimed that both of you discussed Nigeria’s problems and concluded that Nigeria must remain one. Please permit me to ask when you and a dead man, who cannot tell his own side of the story, became the sole decision-making body of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You rightly stated that the National Assembly and the National Council of State are the legitimate and appropriate bodies for national discourse. Did you represent the National Assembly or the National Council of State in your private conference with late Emeka Ojukwu?
Sir, while you were getting alarmed over diverse opinions on a subject that has formed the basis for debates since the birth of this country, a certain group of people from one region were issuing quit notices to other citizens. You appear not to notice that they crossed those national red lines. You refused to acknowledge that what caused trouble the last time was violence against Igbos, rather than mere opinions on Nigeria’s unity. Instead you blandly stated that what we all know, that every Nigerian has the right to live and pursue his business anywhere in Nigeria without let or hindrance.
Mr. President, while opinions on Nigeria’s unity caused you distress, criminals murdered 18 Fulani people in Taraba, and bandits killed a dozen worshippers in a church in Ozubulu. You were not distressed enough to condole with the families of the victims, never mind condemning the perpetrators of horrific acts of violence. You have reiterated your commitment to eradicating violence and terror, especially elements of Boko Haram, yet you have put farmers and terrorist herdsmen on an equal footing. Farmers and law abiding cattle herdsmen are not reassured by your equivocation and ambivalence.
Finally Mr. President, I wish to emphasise that your employers, the good people of Nigeria, demand your medical report in order to know whether to ask you to continue serving us, or whether to thank you for your meritorious service and let you go. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
A Very Concerned Citizen