Opinion: Bring Back Our Girls And Our Stolen Dreams; Dear President Jonathan, Dare To Be Presidential

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Toyosi Akerele

“Useless is a wonderful milk-yield, From a cow which kicks the pail over” – – Hadrat Muinudin Chishti

Greetings Mr. President!!!

It’s become a recognizable fact that the geographical land masse hitherto known as Nigeria, often described as the giant of Africa, whether towering or lame, is almost not a Nation anymore. Ours is now a safe haven for Terrorism, a dungeon for unemployed, job seeking Nigerian Youth, a grappling economy and a hellish transportation bureau for the abduction and possible trading of our children, especially girls.

I have never been President hence I may not possess the locus standi or requisite experience to advise you on the how-to’s of a Presidency. I may not know what it feels like to sit on, dine in or hand down orders to subjects from a Rock but I sure know what it means to be a beneficiary of effective governance or on the flipside, be a recipient of pangs of pain, shame and molestation of my emotions by gutless, needless strangulation of my fellow citizens, day in, day out.

I do not write you this Missive with any rancor or disregard, rather I commiserate with you. I am also non-Partisan so that is out of the question. I have deep reverence for the office you occupy as bestowed on you by the Votes and Sacrificial exertion of physical and mental power by Nigerians. Like a porous substance, I hope this piece percolates through your Spirit.

It is intended to compel you to ruminate deeply on how our Nation deteriorated from the sublime to the ridiculous under your watch. How did we get here, President Jonathan? If you as much as admire anything in the nature of truism, you will “man-up” after reading this to prove that the ultimate testament of your manhood is not just a male erection that I presume, is often interrupted by “urgent state matters”,  but that you possess virile masculinity which holds an inward sense of conscience, gusto, courage and discernment.

President Jonathan, personally, you have left me disappointed. I know several of your close allies who are befuddled by your inaction too but are too confounded to advise you for the fear of losing “their chop money”. For many months now, I have wondered what has gone wrong or where things went wrong in your calculations and objectives for a greater Nigeria.

20days ago, news broke up hill and down dale that a sizeable number of Nigerian School Girls had been captured and bundled away from their Classes as they prepared to write their Exams in a Community simply known as “Chibok” in Maiduguri, North East Nigeria, a state which, as it were, is currently in a state of Emergency, by your declaration.

This, we know as a Nation is not the first of this kind when it comes to the inane kidnapping, killing and maiming of Nigeria’s Peoples. What is downright disturbing is the deafening, almost unwritten conspiracy of silence of our Governments at various levels  and the elites of our Country to a sadistic, sinister occurrence as this one. Your tendency to vacillate and stay irresolute on matters of National Urgency further underscores and lends credence to some assertions by your foes that you are ill-prepared for the responsibilities of a Presidency.

On May 1, Workers’ Day, in Nigeria, various protests were staged across the Country by concerned citizens who have had enough of the injustices meted out to innocent Nigerians which has now extended to undeserving, children of Nigerian Heritage. Our stolen dreams are endless. Seun Kuti who was a toddler when his Father, FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI, in his hey-days waxed records to lampoon the Leadership of Nigeria, years ago was back on the streets protesting for the same fundamental human rights his Father’s music addressed with such clarity of thought. And then your May 1 Workers’ day Speech made me sleepless in Lagos, not that it still doesn’t inspire Nightmares. Your measure of our poverty indices is by the number of private Jets Nigerians own and by Dangote’s unparalleled affluence as he sits pretty on the Forbes’ List. It is un-presidential to assume so, Sir. Assumption is the lowest form of knowledge hence I advise that you please engage with ordinary Nigerians in Towns and Villages to understand the steep inequality that pervades our entire system. You forget that an injury to one is an injury to all and that Nigeria is technically an aristocracy and an oligarchy where our common wealth is being mismanaged, exploited and enjoyed by only a few people. One would have expected you to understand the state of numbness that the deprivation and lack of a good meal deals to an Individual given that you, as a child had no shoes at all, as you informed us in your 2011 campaigns. You must not forget, Mr Prez, that a River that forgets its source will dry and soon too. You have let us down as a Nation and a People.

The other day, I watched in utter dismay, as you and your cohorts went “twerking” to sonorous, sumptuous music of different genres only 24 hours after the dastardly act of terrorists left hundreds dead and injured in the Nyanya Bomb Blast. You were even pictured wriggling your waist in close radius to another Woman who is not your wife. How did you allow that to happen? It is un-presidential, Sir. How can you keep sleeping while your Bed is Burning Sir? That singular act of yours made me conclude that you had Joy unspeakable, dancing on the graves of your own citizens, a People who gave up their nuances, convictions and fixated idiosyncrasies to get you elected as President of Nigeria in 2011. Yours, aside from the Abiola/Kingibe Elections of 1993, has been acclaimed probably the freest and fairest elections in the history of Nigeria. We, they thought and accepted you as a “breath of fresh air”. That air now smells foul, very pungently. Your Administration is more Transfixed than it’s Transformational. A lot of activity, not much movement and if there is movement, we the masses are not aware so enlighten us with information.

As if your macabre dance was not enough insult to Nigerians, you went ahead to cancel the weekly Federal Executive Council Meeting in honour of the Vice President’s younger Brother who died in a Car Crash last week. We, the People of Nigeria empathize with VP Sambo but his Brother as things stand is in no way more important or deserving of greater honour than the scores of Nigerians being massacred almost on a weekly basis across Communities in Nigeria. ‘Asise’ is a Yoruba word for ‘error’ or ‘mistakes’. If one is afflicted with ‘asise’, the fellow will continually make mistakes/errors deliberately to cause his/her own downfall. How does one justify the fact that Mr. Abba Moro, who whimsically spearheaded the botched, exploitative, criminal immigration recruitment Exercise is still harboured in your Cabinet as Minister of Interior when by now, he should have been thrown into the Exterior or tossed into a nearby Trash Can as your expression of disapproval of his thoughtless manipulation of almost 1million unemployed Nigerians? How do I comprehend your directive to shut down all Government Offices and Schools in the Federal Capital Territory, expect those on essential services, from Wednesday, 7th to Friday, 9th May, 2014 for the easy flow of traffic within the city to enable participants carry out their assigned roles and participate actively at the World Economic Forum Africa. You must think the Political and Business elites who are now the oracles and idols who safeguard the Four Corners of Nigeria deserve more Security than the generality of Nigerians Sir? How could you have removed a Performing Sports Minister like Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi who won us several laurels and restored the glory of Nigerian Sports? My greatest bewilderment stems out of the fact that I have yet to see a Man or Public Office Holder who has squandered such widespread Goodwill as you have. There is indeed a thin line between Love and Hate and that comes alive eloquently in the reaction and resistance and abhorrence of Nigerians towards you as against the love, excitement and hope you inspired in 2011? Just when you’ve gathered adequate momentum to achieve a master-stroke, you ruin it with an inconceivable act that lingers for a long time.

Mr. President, you make the reprehensible decisions in the worst seasons of this age. Your insensitivity to our plights as fellow Nigerians is indecent. You seem to be out of touch with reality and your inability to even feign empathy to our common impasse as a People makes one assume that the despotic, totalitarian Abacha was a Saint, compared to your Person.

Your choices of Aides are ludicrous. I suggest you purge your Administration with all of them save for certain intellectuals who work in your strategy war room, document your narratives and haven’t lost touch with their constituencies or sold their consciences for a mess of pottage. Others continue to dress up in arrogant ignorance and ridiculous self importance. They discharge their duties so grudgingly one would think plotting your destruction is the highlight of their Job Description. They run errands you either sent them for which they should advise you otherwise or they just merely carry out their own bidding, doing more damage than good to your Public Image. Their postures are to consistently stay on the defensive lane acting like attack Dogs in a Military Barracks. They know nothing about the Accountability, Decorum and liberty of all Men that epitomize a truly burgeoning Democracy. The collective complacence of your Cabinet and Team Members is coagulating nicely into cooperative imbecility. It is either they are too timid to confront you with the verisimilitudes of the actual state of the Nation or you are not a Listening Leader at all. Please fire your Speech writer too. Simple. If you conduct a Poll on this, it will reveal same. Literate Nigerians will concur. Thank you Sir.

Blood is in our Territory, on your hands, Mr. President. This plentiful carnage, spate of bombings and incessant bloodbaths  have ushered in Pandemonium into our Homes and agony in our hearts. Our Land should be Green not bloody red. International Press and NGOs are drumming and mobilizing support from the four corners of God’s green earth on the missing Chibok Children. This newsy reports about Nigeria has put us in bad light non-stop for Years. Like 20billion Dollars that was said to be missing some months ago, we cannot afford to flush these Nigeria’s Daughters down the drain. It is un-presidential to keep mum, Sir

President Jonathan, there is no effulgence in you pushing and shoving our humanity like a Supreme Sultan or sauntering like a Sovereign Commander with a Swagger Staff when Youth and Children of the same age range of your own direct offspring are vanishing from the surface of the Earth, with such quotidian frequency. You are the Commander-in-Chief, Do something. Don’t alienate us. Speak to your People. Show some Human Vulnerability. Deploy the Military. Come clean with us. You should not be able to sleep or eat or attend any Social Functions until those Children are found. You are a Father. The Parents of those missing Children are in Anguish. Those Girls stand the risk of Rape, Early Marriage, Vesico Vaginal Fistula {VVF}, Ritual Sacrifice etc. Our Security as a Nation has been compromised. Do Something, Mr. President. You swore the oath to the Constitution of Nigeria to protect our Sovereignty, I beg your pardon, but you are not acting like a Commander-in-Chief. I am not sure the average Nigerians care about the your cosmetic solutions to our National woes. You are the President, it is a weighty charge that you have, you can make or mar, the buck stops at your Table. How can Boko Haram have more Fire Power than the Nigerian Military? Nigerians are less concerned about whether this is a Northern or Southern Agenda, it doesn’t even matter if it is opposition fanning the embers of terror; we only know that we voted in a President in whom all our collective predominant powers are vested in. The much we understand is that the entire State Security apparatus is at your disposal and under your control. It therefore leaves us browbeaten that the dreaded Terrorist Gang is winning our People. You cannot be irritated by the missiles Nigerians direct at you.  You sought the Job, you got it and now, you must deliver on it. You are the President,DARE TO BE PRESIDENTIAL. 

A friend of mind posted a poll online asking, “If Shekau, Boko Haram’s Leader promises to attack a part of Lagos and President  Jonathan assures you otherwise, who will you believe?”, your guess is as good as mine Sir, everyone on the thread voted that they would believe the Terrorist Gang Leader when we have a sitting President.

What happened to the Trillions of Naira that has been earmarked and spent on our National Security in the last 2-3 Years? I hope you also realize, that in due course, the urgent imperative of the establishment of State and Community Police. Without State Police, we are winking in the Dark. There can never be the Executive Capacity to police the vast and disparate populace from a central command.

Will you rather RULE THE DEAD, Mr. President? Is 2015 a greater priority for you than the peace and stability of our Nation? Nigerians are being perceived as Cast-Offs by the global society and we now need Foreign Musicians like Chris Brown, Mary J Blige, Wyclef Jean, Keri Hilson, Laecrae amongst others to hold on to the beak of the chirping bird in solidarity, tweeting support for #BringBackourGirls, whereas the meritorious efforts that emerge from Nigeria are stifled by an incompetent Film and Video Censors’ Board who has since disallowed “Half of a Yellow Sun” a blockbuster tale and theatrical production, out of Home, written by the brilliant Chimamanda Adichie, produced by Biyi Bandele and stars the Oscar nominated Chiwetel Ejiofor from being shown in our Cinemas.

Some of your Loyalists also have to be called to order. Many of them whose criminal craving for Bread and Bribe like Judas Iscariot have misled you and insulted the sensibilities of Nations who know Tranquility and Good Leadership by likening you to Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jnr and the rest of such noble men.

No Sir, you are not in the class of those immortal men, yet you share a strong metaphorical similarity with them, in that you, like them, are on the verge of your own type of History, one very distant in proportion, intensity and space from that which symbolizes those aforementioned World Heroes. MLK, Mandela and Mahatma were kind men who did not have to ascend to elevated positions to put their lives on the line and shed their blood in the face of injustices against their Country Men. Kindness is Love in Action and this defined the greater portrait of the loyalty of these Men and their godlike prowess and benevolence in the struggle for the triumph of their Nationhood over Politics and oppression in their Countries.

It is YOU, who went on an “eminado grinding” and rallying in Kano while fingers, eyes, noses and teeth were still being picked up and packed off from the grounds where the Bombs went off in Nyanya, Abuja and killed Nigerians. It is un-presidential Sir. Your body language does not embrace even the lowest levels of human development. You have retained perpetually, the most awkward, inefficient and brashest Merchants of Political gimmicks and atrocious characterization of a Government for the People, in the most crucial Ministries to manage Education, Labour and Productivity, Youth Development in such maladroit way. How does that tell us that you care about the future of Nigeria’s successor Generation?

234, no 276 Teenage Girls are missing from Borno State; our Military is whining, egoistic, patronizing statements are being thrown around by ignoble politicians, the world has joined in the search using Facebook Posts, Twitter, Beer Parlour Arguments, Hashtags, Prayers, Protests, Threats, Marches, Songs and all what not.  The sycophants around you should let you alone for a bit. You need time off, Mr. President. I recommend Harvard- Kennedy School of Government. They offer an extensive Course on Public Administration.

In all these, where is Madam Patience Jonathan, Mama Peace- Mother of the Nation? One would think that with all the Presidential splurging and opulent Marriage celebrations you treated your adopted daughter to, weeks ago, she would be the one at the forefront of the Presidential Rescue of the missing Chibok Girls. It may not be her constitutional duty to interfere in Government matters but we have felt her impact in more ways than ten on Political/State Issues in which she has fixed Personal Interests. This should be one of them.

Maybe you can ponder for a while and do the needful as The Lord of the Manor in this Animal Farm or weigh the consequences, throw in the gauntlet, and leave the Kitchen, if the heat therein is too hot to bear. You may eventually decide to pick up your Mat, and walk, AWAY, Sir or develop within yourself the “audacity to bring back our girls and restore our stolen dreams”.

And this is not Politics. If you see it from that lens view, you will probably lose the useful and didactic Lessons in it Sir. If you do not heed this call, yours may go down in the annals of History as the most treacherous, discordant and disconnected Government in Nigeria’s Memories. No one can afford to have paid or induced me to write this. The APC and other Opposition Parties should not jump on this and analyze it till its soul fades. The ruling PDP should not antagonize the shed blood of innocent Nigerians that speaks through this message.

I have heard Nigerians whisper to one another that we all need to purchase and own Cutlasses and Guns, Qurans, Bibles, Anointing Oil Bottles and Holy Water. If your Government cannot protect and provide us Security from Boko Haram and other insurgencies, we shouldn’t cower in trepidation against those toothless bull dogs and since the US Embassy in Nigeria has provided first hand warning that Boko Haram may invade Lagos, we might as well, make hay while the sun shines after all, we cannot deny, that WE ARE UNDER SIEGE AND WE ARE ON THE PATH OF A RAGING WAR and it may be coming soon, to a town, nearby. My own supplication at this time is not just to bring back our Girls but to bring back our GirlsALIVE.

I wish you and my Country Men, halcyon times of peace. You have my warm respects always, Mr. President.

Toyosi, who wrote from Lagos, is an Entrepreneur with ardent interest in Human Development, Advocacy, Media and Technology.

Ada Igboanugo

Ada Igboanugo

Unorthodox Female | Writer | PR Consultant. I am Titanium

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