Nigeria’s Growth: Chances that Tinubu may end like Obasanjo, Buhari if…Open letter to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu by Oluwole Akinloye


Winning an election, especially, the presidency of a country as big as Nigeria, ordinary and normally, calls for celebrations. But given the situation we find ourselves in Nigeria, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, your electoral victory does not really calls for such celebrations. With almost N77 trillion external debts hanging on the country, the controversy over the election and the total collapse of all the departments of human life, there is certainly no cause for clinking of glasses. The results of the election do not help matters at all. Leading your other contestants in only 12 states out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory is nothing to gloat about by a serious minded person. All these notwithstanding, I wish you the very best in the coming months and years.


Going down memory lane, I vividly remember the inauguration speeches of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 and that of outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. They both captured the mood of the nation and of the people. In fairness to Chief Obasanjo, he tried his very best, but this was not good enough for the ordinary Nigerians.
The case of President Buhari is worse. Given the brief period of his leadership of the country between 1984 and 1985, very many Nigerians believed very strongly that he would give them a new lease of life during his presidency. His eight years tenure has made life more miserable for the people. He demonstrated incompetence, which made his tenure, when compared with his predecessors, the worst in the governance of the country.
Your Excellency, Let me say with all emphasis that ideally speaking, you did not deserve to win the presidential election based on the All Progressive Congress’s platform you used. The APC in the last eight years of governance is a failure. It was your personality and the bridges you built across the country that gave you the edge during the election.
For instance, elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai and former Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, believed in your candidacy and indeed, they both campaigned for you. They hinged their support for you on your governorship of Lagos State. They opined that you did wonders as governor and want you to replicate same in the entire country.

Mr. President-elect, I go this far to enable you know the challenges of governance ahead of you. Therefore, my candid advice to you is that your inauguration speech should not be the usual political rhetorics. By now, you must have heard and seen a lot about the true picture of the presidency. Based on this, please and please and for God’s sake, do not raise our hopes unnecessarily. Use your inauguration speech to tell us what is precisely on the ground and not what we want to hear.

Of all the presidents Nigeria has ever had, you will be the second who really aspired for it and got it. Buhari is the first. All others, whether civilian or military, found themselves in the presidency by circumstances. Will you then be like Buhari, who came but never conquered?

Getting it right from the onset is a recipe for a successful tenure. That is why the composition of the leadership of the 10th National Assembly is very very important. The ongoing controversy and crisis over who becomes the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives should be maturely handled. THIS ISSUE HAS TO BE LOOKED AT VERY HOLISTICALLY FROM 1999 AND EVEN DOWN TO 1960. Using the results of the 2023 elections in deciding who gets what is very myopic which will not help your administration at all. You have to be guided by nationalism and statesmanship in throwing your weight behind any aspirant.

Your Excellency, yes, the South East did not bring much to the table during the elections. But it is true that the region has always been at the receiving end politically since 1999. And the people from the zone said it very loud and clear during the election. For the zone to have sense of belonging, and for justice, fairness, equity and national stability, one of them deserves to be the Senate President. Anything short of this will not help your administration.

The case of the North Central is even clearer. They brought much to the table during the elections. Zoning the head of the House of Representatives to the zone is not too much. The North West, which the National Working Committee of the APC zones the seat to is not fair. Since 1999 down to 1960, the North West has had it very good in terms of the topmost seats in the governance of the country. This zone should be contented with the deputy speaker slot.

Your number one inheritance problem is the Nigerians President Buhari is handing over to you. In matters of attitude, character and conduct, we are getting worse by the day. Nigerians, including you, are not normal human beings. Majority of us are very greedy, corrupt, fraudulent, wicked and selfish. We do not have feelings for others. Everything good should always come our own ways.

Against this background, I do not see you making much headway, unless you are ready to make sacrifices and lead by example with your body language and actions. If you can demonstrate these in the appointments of your aides and ministers, you may be on the path of greatness. To start with, you do not need any of your blood relations in your political appointments. Your position as the president and that of the First Lady should suffice for your family.
Every facet of the Nigerian life is in dire straits. Security, education, health, economy, infrastructure and even politics. There is no respite anywhere you turn to. The political class is the major problem. The resources of the country are highly concentrated on them. And unless something drastic is done about this lopsidedness in the distribution of the resources, life will continue to be booming for the political office holders and be miserable for the majority of the people.

Apart from the above, you have to be very honest and strong in making bold and courageous decisions as to your areas of concentration and emphasis. Your predecessors failed because they were overwhelmed by what they met on the ground. This is a sign of weak leadership. Be very firm and decisive in making your priorities list. Be guided by the fear of God and the welfare and wellbeing of the vulnerable and the ordinary people in drawing your priorities list.

If really you are a progressive, please and please, do not give us any social intervention programme as we had in the past. Starting from Operation Feed the Nation, MAMSER, Better Life for Rural Women, People’s Bank of Nigeria, NAPEP, the School Feeding Programme of President Buhari, they were only grandiose but a failure. Results from those intervention programmes did not match the huge expenses incurred on them.

What we really need are a well thought out policies and programmes and an enabling environment like the free education programme of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. The results of that programme are still with us today. For instance, if every home and industry can get electricity for at least 12 hours on a daily basis, education institutions run without any strike, uninterrupted supply of petroleum products at reasonable prices, good network of rural roads and a world class hospital for the super rich, Nigerians will be able to sort out other things with ease.

I will end this piece by raising this poser. God willing, what legacies will you leave behind? Go and ask Chief Obasanjo and President Buhari, if they have the opportunity of winding back the hand of the clock and find themselves in Aso Rock again, they will certainly have many things to do differently. If you are carried away by the euphoria of the moment and start on a faulty note, the chances are that you will end up like those before you and Nigeria will be worse for it.


Oluwole Akinloye was formerly of the Tribune


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