I am a fervent supporter of president Buhari.
I have voted for him in every election cycle since 2003.
The only time I didn’t vote for him, was when he was not on the ballot. I will take no back seat to anyone talking about loyalty, or accept a lecture on being a profile in courage from any person with regards to president Buhari.
I stood firmly by him when it was culturally and religiously inconvenient to do so.
Because of his mischaracterization at the time as an Islamic Fundamentalist on a mission to Islamize Nigeria.
It cost me friendships and relationships built and nurtured over several years.
This was also at the time that it was more rewarding and profitable to be on the other side of the political divide.
President Buhari, (then-candidate Buhari) had nothing to offer me or any of his supporters.
He had no money to give anyone and was not in power to dispense favours.
He lost three times, but he believed he won.
My support for him is informed by his character, courage, and love for the country.
I reasoned then and now that my support will make him succeed and that his success will be the success of the country, too.
It has nothing to do with personal benefits then and now.
My support for the President also imposed a duty on me to tell him the unvarnished plain and straightforward truth.
Truth is the sharp-edged pin that deflates the balloon of the bubble that power incubates leaders and shield them from reality.
I have therefore chosen to speak to the president in clear and plain words about the state of things in the country, in the hope that he will ask questions and receive frank answers.
I know many people will not agree with me when I said you have done well.
They are entitled to their opinions but not their own facts.
The facts available make it clear that you have done well. You took over the leadership of the country at a time when the country was facing two significant shocks in supply and pricing of oil, the major earner of the country.
From the price of $100 plus per a barrel, price of oil fell to less than $30 per barrel, and the supply nosedived deteriorate suddenly and dramatically. from over 1.4m barrels per day to less than 500,000 BPD, with increasing costs of running the government, and a military that was underfunded and under performing with low morales.
Boko Haram was on the ascendancy and holding large swaths of territories in the North East of the country, and had the capacity to make effortless incursions to Abuja, FCT, and other parts of the country.
Churches and Mosques were being regularly bombed with large numbers of casualties, and worshippers were too frightened to attend services.
The military was overwhelmed and had to seek help from the Chadian Military to confront Boko Haram at the time.
You rightly described the situation as a disgrace and promised to turn the corner on the situation if elected as President.
You did on assuming office as president.
Boko Haram lost their occupied territory and were on the run after suffering heavy casualties in the hands of a retooled and better motivated military.
They were degraded significantly - a situation described by your government as “ technically defeated”.
They, however, retained the capacity to inflict significant damage by picking on soft targets and unleashing maximum violence, thereby creating the impression that they are still an existential threat.
This is the nature of terror.
This is the modus operandi of terrorists - create maximum fear in the people by horrific acts of violence and get them to doubt government ability to protect them.
This is what they have done with the slaughter of 43 unarmed farmers in Borno State.
They killed and decapitated innocent men going about their business without provocation.
The message they are passing is simple: “We are here, don’t be deceived by the assurances from the government that we have been defeated and incapable of striking at you. We remain a powerful force”.
Mr President, you were quoted as saying
”Your government has given every support to the military to help them defeat Boko Haram”.
That is true, but has the military given you and the country everything they can to end the insurgency?
There is no doubt that the military has done so much against Boko Haram at an egregious outstandingly bad; shocking. cost to themselves and their families, and we are grateful to them for their extraordinary sacrifice and service to the country, but the fact is the gains the military made against Boko Haram are slipping away fast.
The Service Chiefs you appointed almost 6 years ago are tired, drained, and can’t give more than they have given. The job has become a “ regularity”.
They have no more passion or incentive to win.
They have exhausted their reservoir of strategy and thinking.
The soldiers are no longer motivated by them to fight and win battles.
You need new men with new thinking, ideas, passion, zeal, methods, and approach to the war on terror.
Men who are not enthralled by the opportunity for commerce and profit that the dark economy of war offers in the hotbeds of the insurgency. You need new men with fresh motivation to defeat will Boko Haram.
It is for the reason football clubs change managers when the team is not playing well. It is not because the manager is not good, it is simply because he is no longer motivating the players to give their best, or that he has lost the passion for the job.
The new manager may not be as good and experienced as the sacked manager, but he brings something new - motivation that the other lacked.
The players will give their best to the new manager and turn things around.
Your government has done so much for the military.
You increased the military budget exponentially, purchased more equipment for them, enhanced their welfare packages and ensured that they are paid their salaries and allowances on time.
But their results are no longer matching your investment in them.
Something is wrong.
And it is not with the men who are making the sacrifice to keep us safe, it is with their leaders - Commanders - Service Chiefs.
For years I argued that it is the prerogative of the president to appoint and keep his Service Chiefs and that he cannot be second-guessed on this important function.
I still hold it is your prerogative sir, but now I believe that they are no more doing their jobs to the best of their abilities because of fatigue. They want to go and have their deserved retirement.
Mr President, let them go!
Your legacy will not be defined or sustained so much by the roads, railways, bridges, and other infrastructures you are building; or by the aggressive improvement in Agriculture and other areas, these things are important, but they are not as important as Security - the primary purpose of government.
Of what use are the roads, railways, bridges, and others when people can not travel on them without fear of being killed, kidnapped, raped, of having their monies and other possessions taken from them by terrorists, bandits, and other criminals?
Mr President, Nigerians voted for you primarily because they believed that you were better positioned to secure them than your opponent.
Considering your military background and the courage you have shown in the past.
Mr president, in the last 24 hours following the murderous attacks at Zabarmari, the DHQ spokesperson, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, said that the 43 or 45 men killed by the terrorists was on information provided by some residents of Borno State who are sabotaging the efforts of the military.
He said the terrorists live among the people and are known to them.
If this is true, it speaks to one thing: lack of trust in the military and desire for protection from the terrorists by the people.
If people don’t trust the military enough to tell them about the terrorists living in their midst, they will never be defeated.
Recently I met with a Security man in Ikoyi, Lagos, from Borno State. He told me about how his neighbours’ son who gave information to the military on Boko Haram members living in his community, was slaughtered by members of Boko Haram in the night of the same day.
He said the members told his father that they would have killed him too for raising a useless son that betrayed them but chose to spare him because of their love of humanity.
Can you beat that!
They also said members of the military told them about his “treacherous” activity.
The other issue I feel I should talk to you about is banditry and the conflict between farmers and herdsmen across the country.
This conflict has taken a horrible toll on Agriculture and the capacity of many Nigerians to feed themselves, their families, and the country.
All over the country, farms are being abandoned due to the attacks on the farmers by herdsmen. This is not to say that the herdsmen are always at fault for the conflicts.
In some instances, they too have been at the receiving end of the attacks at horrible costs.
The way out of this problem is to present an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to proscribe and criminalize open grazing in the country.
States will be at liberty to domesticate the law to meet their needs. Open grazing with all the potential for the costly and needless conflicts is no longer sustainable.
Ranching is the way to go.
Mr President, Nigeria need peace to grow and develop.
The duty to promote and maintain peace is not your responsibility alone, but you have an outsize role to play by the powers and resources of your office.
You have the duty to set the right tone and lead, and you have done so with modest success, but it is time to do more.
I’m convinced that you will because of your strong desire to build a better and bigger country.
God bless Nigeria and grant you the courage to do what is right and best for the country.