Dear Sir: I don’t know where, and how really, to begin this without coming out as yet another cultural dissident. For once, perhaps because of my recognition of your heightened illusion of patriotism, the temptation to ask an elder to shut up, is no longer resistible. I want, dear Sir, for the sake of everything sane, and also for the sake of your old age, to beg you to desist from ridiculing the intelligence the pawns of this political chessboard we call a nation. This country may be a haven of chastised criminals, with too many boisterous opportunists, emergency heroes, uncomplicated underclass and sycophantic middle-class, but we’re not entirely stupid.
I follow your self-initiated deification these days, and how an amnesic nation embraces yours as expressions of genuine intention, but memories of your days in power persist: we have not forgotten the electoral malpractices that returned you to power in 2003, and, having failed in your Third Term bid, you prevailed in bringing the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua to power in 2007; we have not forgotten the failed promises that characterised your administration, including giving up a false hope of redeeming our power problem, especially with that unnecessary gimmick of $16 Billion electricity scheme; we have not forgotten, also, the Halliburton scandals which really indicts, the PTDF and Transcorp scams, and all the dubious economic reforms and privatisations designed to loot the nation. Can you, my dear sir, explain now how Abacha’s recovered loots were expended for the development of this nation? And how much, exactly, was recovered? There was neither transparency nor evidence that Abacha’s billions were judiciously used. Also, what did you do in reforming the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and related agencies, in which the biggest of the nation’s Oil scams continue to be carried out? Too many questions, and these are just from a single citizen. Others may have more to ask!
You may devise several ways to atone for your misdeeds and decisions while in office, but coming out as an achiever and seeking to present yourself as “Father of Modern Nigeria” or, more accurately, “The Father of Modern Nigerian Democracy”, which you had opportunities to become, remains what it is: a delusion of grandeur. Because, in case you want to pretend that don’t know, let me spell it out that you’re the architect of the ongoing political chaos in Nigeria; your selfish decisions paved the way for the emergence of this man, this political son of yours, this President being derided as “holder of Port Harcourt Diploma”. Through President Yar’adua, whom you “anointed” in a hall of courageous Nigerian politicians and technocrats, you set the country on a Backward mode. Note that no Nigerian has ever had the opportunities you’ve had to change the destiny of this nation!
We know that the Nigerian is an amnesiac person who loves political dramas for the fun of it, and it’s patherically so now that we are desperately in need of change, angrily against the symbols of everything that represents your legacies. We have formed a dangerous system in which we leave the struggles for the redemption of the country to the people in government, hence our heroes are just the people who rebel against an incumbent government they’re no longer in good terms with, a trend you understand quite well, and now trying to exploit. While it’s advisable to not dismiss the revelations of rebels who expose the wrongs of a government they once served, we refuse to forget their complicity in the creation and fostering of our difficulties. We know that we’ll soon be consumed by our “listen to the message, not the messenger” principle, with which expired devils are made saints for vilifying their successors or on falling out with their accomplices. The messenger matters, Sir. It’s morally insulting to join an oppressed people in speaking out against a trend you didn’t try to stop while you were still relevant!
I look forward to a Nigeria where a reigning devil will be sure that he’ll never, even if s/he attempts to polarise the people, be welcome anytime s/he’s no longer relevant in the establishment. We all know that Nigeria is being looted, every day, every minute, but we’re wingless canaries, singing a familiar tune, transfixed. But we don’t need an Obasanjo who contributed to intensifying our misery to tell us so.
Sir, the Good Books, of which you’re a devious reader, preach about forgiveness, and I think we’ve shown you that grace and accepted you into our fold again. But, Sir, do not insult our intelligence with your newfound patriotism, crying louder than those you have failed to redeem when you had the opportunity to do so. Just, do not assault our sensibilities or try our sensitivities. Kindly concentrate on your PhD studies, dear Sir, for which we wish you “Goodluck”, while preparing your future self-glorifying memoirs, and leave us alone.
My God save us from us!
Gimba Kakanda is a vibrant author and poet, a socio-political essayist. Follow him on Twitter @gimbakakanda.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.