Dear Mr President,
It’s been a while I lent my voice to matters that border on how I’m governed. Nigerians are dying in tens and scores. Terrorism has not abated as we are made to believe. Banditry is gaining ground like wildfire. Kidnapping has graduated to a new normal. Ritual killing is becoming a daily news feed. Unlatched containers are still terminating innocent lives. The knees on our necks are numerous we are gasping for breath. As father to all, we’ve come to ask: What exactly is the worth of an average Nigerian?
You ascended the throne like a colossus, the hope we had was so thick it could be touched, Nigerians foresaw a safer and more secure Nigeria, your carriage alone was the hope we had long desired. Old and young, we heaved a sigh of relief; you were the face of the change we long awaited, we thought. This was in 2015 when we hoped for change.
Your acceptance speech at the Eagle Square was full of hope. You said you belonged to everybody and you belonged to nobody. Right there, you directed the Army to move their headquarters to the war zone. As a general of war, you took a stand; the commander should lead the war from the front. This was your directive as the new Commander-In-Chief. The whole world clapped for you in great relief. I watched it live on television with hope renewed.
Hello Mr President, we dare not tell you the land is insecure, your aides are quick to say you are doing your best. If you could hear the cry of the man on the street, you would know that the best you flaunt is less than good. Your aides would say deaths were more before your reign. How I wish they know we are tired of counting. No Nigerian should die a death foretold.
In one breath, your Service Chiefs proclaim Boko Haram defeated. In another breath, they say the insurgents are not Nigerians. What has happened to our sovereignty, we are wont to ask? Out-of-school children are growing in numbers. We were told on Monday they are now 14 million. Repentant Boko Haramists are adorned in our national colours while the IDP camps surge in large numbers. You leave us confused, Mr President, what really should be our priority.
Your dependable allies in the National Assembly agree with you on every other thing except on security, when they humbly departed from your style in a unanimous pronouncement. Your aides are quick to add that everything is at your discretion. We acknowledge the enormous powers in your office, Mr President, but Nigerians are dying in large numbers.
Your aides remind us that Chibok schoolgirls were abducted in broad daylight before your coming but we restrain from reminding them that Dapchi schoolgirls were seized in like manner under your watch, because, to us, every life is sacred. Leah Sharibu is still in captivity, Mr President, even as the remaining Chibok schoolgirls hunger for a reunion with home.
I do not belong to any opposition party, Mr President. I am a Nigerian citizen who places value on the life of any Nigerian. I do not own the membership card of any political party but I have my voter card as my civic responsibility.
Does it even matter if I belong to the opposition? When I can decide to jump ship at anytime and join your praise singers? No permanent enemy in politics, we’ve always been told, but any Nigerian killed is gone forever.
Hello Mr President, your aides tell you only the praise songs of your ardent admirers. Now that the sound of my voice is not the type your aides would love to hear, who will tell the President that I have a question? Do Nigerian lives still matter? Mr President, Nigerians are dying.
Akin Oluwadare Jnr, Lagos