Monday, March 1, 2010

Naija Mondays Post: A Letter to the New President, "Dear President Goodluck Jonathan, Please Restore Our Sanity!"

Dear President Goodluck Jonathan,

We crown you as president, since we don't want to be a "headless" country. We rejoiced when we observed Dora Akunyili's courageous memo where she suggested power should switch hands to you, and we saw the boldness in your grasp of power after almost three months of absence of our former (now ailing) president Yar'Adua. Thanks for firing some folk immediately you got to your throne. We understand that many political insurgents have been debating about whether or not what the senate did was constitutionally right, elevating you to your rightful position like that. But you know what, this is not our plight today. We have looked at section 145 of the Nigerian constitution which says that the president must send in a vacation letter to the Nigerian Senate, which former president Yar'Adua did not do (a major political crime with all due respect).

So, this is where we stand today: the younger generation cares more about the stability of the country, and yes our heads are nodding away to your boldness and courage. Your elevation has indeed saved the green-white-green flag from descending into the abys of socio-political conflagration and the shame of the international community.

So dear president Jonathan, please let us speed things up a little bit. It is getting rather slow at your end as we write. These are some things the country requires of you right now:

1) Remove the fear and anxiety in the international world and begin to have "real intelligent conversations" about Nigeria. Presidents talk all the time, or they make sure the Minister of Information and Communications (in this case, Dora Akunyili) is armed with powerful information about the country. Hillary Clinton blames Nigeria for extremism and radicalization (because of the Christmas day bomber maybe?); On January 4th Nigeria was added to the U.S terrorist list--there's nothing you can do about this other than to improve the security of Nigeria. You may want to start from the airport where the bomber took off. Maybe make the international airport(s) more presentable, appealing, and with consistent air-conditioning to liberate the brains of security officials.

2) Bolaji Aluko raises some very interesting points in his USAAfricaDialogue, and they actually make sense: "Abandon Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda," he says. After all, you are the new acting President, you need to sit down, prioritize and act fast.

This is his excerpt:

[President Jonathan] should abandon some of PDP's/Yar'Adua's 7-point agenda items.* [Power & Energy, Food, Security and Agriculture; Wealth Creation and Employment; Mass Transportation; Land Reform; Security, Qualitative and Functional Education] and Two Special Interests [Niger-Delta and Disadvantaged Groups] and concentrate on Five Priority Areas - Electoral Reform, Security, Power & Fuel, Major-Roads Infrastructure (East-West, North-South routes) and the Niger-Delta. Electoral Reform should really be TOP on his agenda, with a focus on implementing the Uwais Report, adopting some of the recommendations even by Executive order. He should abandon all constitutional reform not related to electoral reform for later. With regard to security, he could choose investigations into the heinous Dipo Dina murder in Ogun State, and the recent Jos riot in Plateau State as templates for future action. The Amnesty program of the Niger-Delta in all its social and economic ramifications should also be an important focus point.

3) Be transparent to the people. It is a democratic country. Yar'Adua did not put that into consideration when he took off, and obviously when he returned the news was heard first from Al Jazeera. We no longer want "he said, she said" rumors. Talk to your people. Please at least show Nigerians that you care. Have you heard of the #LightUpNigeria campaign?

We don't expect you to do all these in one day, but you need to speed it up because there's a lot of work to be done.

Thanks for reading our letter.

Humble regards,
The N4C team.

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