Memo to President Tinubu


Yemi Adebowale

Dear President Tinubu, one of the reasons your predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, failed woefully was because of his clannishness and religious extremism. Buhari was never President for all; he was never President of Nigeria, as his appointments were dominated by people from his ethnic and religious groups; people largely without the capacity to deliver. You must run away from this baloney if you truly want to succeed. The heads of military and para-military agencies in Nigeria, for eight years running, have been largely from a section of the country, no thanks to Buhari’s clannishness. As a first step to show that you are President for all, these lopsided appointments must be dismantled immediately and new appointments reflecting federal character made into military and para-military agencies.

Already, I can see so many of your Yoruba brothers pressurizing you for appointments. This is the time to resist the temptations and act as President for all. Mr. President, all your appointments, including personal aides, must reflect Federal Character. I need to remind you that in 2015, Goodluck Jonathan appointed a Fulani man from Adamawa State, Hamman Tukur, as his Principal Private Secretary. This is the meaning of a truly Nigerian President.

Mr. President, I thought you will hit the ground running concerning the appointment of personal aides and ministers, considering the mirage of problems facing this country. Six days after your inauguration, Nigerians are still waiting for this to happen. At a point after your election, we were told that you were in France to finetune your ministerial appointments. It was a ruse. In 2015 and 2019, Buhari hit the ground, sat down and never recovered. Nigeria suffered greatly for this. I hope you won’t allow this to happen to you. In developed climes, appointments of ministers are done swiftly. I remember the then Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom announcing his entire cabinet within 48 hours of emerging victorious. In the United States, Presidents announce almost their entire cabinet before being sworn-in. Mr. President, let’s have your list of ministers even before the inauguration of the National Assembly. You can’t be struggling with this after all your years of traversing this country.

The major challenge facing this country is insecurity. Beloved Nigeria has been turned into a massive killing field, no thanks to your predecessor. Killings and abductions by terrorists are now a daily occurrence with no part of Nigeria spared. Boko Haram, ISWAP, Fulani militias, kidnappers, IPOB/ESN and all sorts of terror groups are ravaging our land with thousands sent to early graves. Just last Tuesday, 25 people were killed by terrorists in Maru LGA, Zamfara State. Mr. President, one of your promises is that you will tackle insecurity. Acting authoritatively in this direction within days of being inaugurated will send the right signal to all that you are ready to end insecurity in Nigeria. This has not happened.

If you are talking about wiping out terrorists, the men in charge of the war’s Command and Control ought not to be in office by this time. I can’t understand why the security chiefs are still in office. It is shocking that the inept DSS DG Yusuf Bichi is still in office. Mr. President, I have not seen your blueprint on how you will wipe out terrorists. I don’t think you have one. But let me tell you straightaway, our gallant soldiers have done their best in this war against terrorists. But their best is not enough to end the war.

Technology, intelligence, quality equipment and quality manpower are necessities for taming terrorists. Use of drones for intelligence gathering and attacks is also vital. Our security agencies lack these. They obviously lack the capacity to effectively monitor the movement of terrorists. This is why these guerrillas move around in hundreds undetected. This country needs help from abroad. This is where the use of foreign military contractors becomes pertinent. Mr. President, you must quickly approve this if you want this war against terrorists to end.

One of the reasons terrorists are having a free rein across Nigeria is because many, whose opinions would have helped this country, have become merchants of lies, rolling out imaginary security achievements. Mr. President, don’t allow them to deceive you. They will always work against the clamour for the engagement of foreign military contractors (mercenaries) to support the Nigerian military in the fight against the terrorists.

Mercenaries are engaged by countries for specific purposes, with deadlines. Even the United States engaged military contractors for its war in Iraq and some other locations. A people-oriented government will seek help from anywhere to protect its people against terrorists. Mr. President, just do this swiftly. Nigeria needs help from climes that can provide these military necessities. Our security chiefs won’t admit this because of ego and personal gains.

Heads of failed government departments and agencies that have done collateral damage to this country are still in office six days after your inauguration. How can the leadership of the Customs and Excise remain in office by this time? Why should the leadership of the CBN, NCC, NAIC, NBC, PENCOM, NPA, AMCON, NDDC and NIMASA remain in office? The leadership of the FIRS is still in office, yet, you are talking about swift reforms. Change in this direction should come within 24 hours of your inauguration. Mr. President, you must truly hit the ground running.

Mr. President, you talked about fighting corruption in Nigeria. Tinubu fighting corruption? That’s the big question that troubled me for most of this week. Well, to douse my fears, you should start by making public your asset declaration at the Code of Conduct Bureau. Late President Umaru Yar’Adua made his own public after submitting to the Code of Conduct Bureau. That is the meaning of a good leadership interested in fighting corruption.

Mr. President, you promised to revive the economy but you did not acknowledge the deep mess Buhari left this country after eight years of misrule. Perhaps, because he is your co-party man. You must first acknowledge and deconstruct a deep problem if you really want to tackle it. Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world, no thanks to Buhari. This country is now home to the largest number of people living below poverty in the world.

Current statistics from the World Food Programme (WFP) on global food security revealed that 64.3 million Nigerians do not have enough food to consume. This is about 32 per cent of this country’s population. These Nigerians struggle for a meal a day.  The last eight years have been most traumatic. Rampaging terrorists and bad economic policies of the Buhari government have pushed many under poverty. Many have lost jobs while a huge number of our farmers have been forced out of their farms by terrorists. The Buhari government spent years celebrating false food security achievements and pushing out false figures.

Mr. President, it means you must swiftly tackle insecurity alongside the dismantling of Buhari’s ugly economic policies in order to revive the economy. Manufacturers need an enabling environment to operate and create jobs. The tax system is stifling. You must fix power. You must fix roads. You must fix the supply of petroleum products. You must fix forex. To do these, you need people with the right energy and mentality in key positions. You must ignore the large number of charlatans running round you for jobs and put forward our best brains.

Federal revenue collection remains miserable, at the same time, this country is facing a debt crisis. Buhari spent the last eight years binge borrowing amid the dwindling revenue. According to the Budget Office, between 2016 and 2022, the Buhari government raised total revenues of N26.67 trillion and expended N60.64 trillion, leaving a deficit of N33.97 trillion. The hole was financed with domestic debt, which rose from N8.84 trillion in December 2015 to N44.91 trillion by June 2023, while external debt rose from $7.35 billion in December 2015 to $37.2 billion in June 2023.

This excludes the support provided by the CBN amounting to N25 trillion. Buhari moved Nigeria’s debt from N42 trillion to N77 trillion. This has had associated effects on debt servicing, which rose from N1.06 trillion in 2015 to N5.24 trillion as at 2022.

So, Mr. President, it is pertinent for your government to increase revenue and reduce debt. You must end foreign loans for all sorts of rubbish. The approach should be a pragmatic one. Big revenue agencies can double income within a year and substantially fund budgets at all levels. Unfortunately, there is a lot of theft in a large number of the departments and agencies. Customs alone can generate N10 trillion if the holes are blocked.

Mr. President, it is good you promised to end multiple forex exchange rates. This drivel must end in Nigeria for this country to optimally utilise its forex. The IMF and the World Bank have persistently told the Nigerian government this. Government forex must be sold at market rates. This will naturally eliminate sharp practices in the purchase of official forex, the PTA/BTA inclusive.  A unified and market-clearing exchange rate remains critical to enhancing confidence in our economy and curbing corruption. Those benefitting from the hopeless skewed forex policy don’t want this to happen. Mr. President, you must force it.

Mr. President, I’m not one of your fans and I will not pretend to be one. My only interest is for beloved Nigeria to exit the inglorious club of corrupt and backward countries. I will not hesitate to yell if you fail to lead aright. And one more thing: Please leave your family out while running Nigeria. This country is not a family business.

El-rufai is simply shameless

Less than 24 hours to the end of his tenure, Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State proscribed the harmless Atyap Community Development Association. This happened in a state where terrorists enjoy a free rein. El-rufai failed woefully to tame terrorists in all his eight years as governor. While his reign lasted, he enjoyed showboating amid the killing of scores of people by terrorists. He is now holding the Atyap Association responsible.

Honestly, el-rufai was a big disappointment. Under him, terrorists persistently kill and kidnap people on the roads, highways, homes, farms, offices, schools, churches and mosques. His response was always predictable: He visits the community, laments the incessant killings, vows to tame the killers and the story ends there until there is another attack when he would repeat the same swagger. Back in March 2020, el-rufai told a bewildered nation that the bandits had been wiped out by security agents. It was a subterfuge. I’m not sorry to say that killings and abductions festered under el-rufai because he took sides in the disputes.

How can el-rufai say that the Atyap association “constituted itself into a society that is inimical to the peace of the state and has been covertly involved in acts capable of endangering the peace, tranquility, harmonious coexistence, and good governance of Kaduna State.” This is preposterous.

For me, the only achievement by el-rufai in all his years is to smuggle his son, Bello, into the House of Representatives. This 32-year-old boy has already taken a second wife, preparatory to his inauguration. What a country!

I urge the new Kaduna State Governor, Uba Sani, to immediately unban the Atyap association. Uba has to undo all the garbage by el-rufai to ensure the state enjoys peace.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here