Opinion: Things to stay away from in the next level

With a sincere heart I would like to congratulate His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo {SAN} on their inauguration and swearing in as the President and Vice President of the Federal republic of Nigeria. Regardless of my personal reservations on the process that led to this historic event- the emergence of the 4th consecutive democratic President and also 20 years of uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria- i will await the courts to satisfy my curiosity and that of millions of other Nigerians.

Permit me to go down memory lane for a bit. Prior to the 2015 general elections insecurity and “grand corruption” formed a huge part of our narrative as a nation. We experienced a global oil boom which led to massive growth and development for oil producing nations which we are part of but unfortunately the issues of insecurity and corruption did not allow us enjoy it dividends. As a result of this, the then General Muhammadu Buhari was well positioned to fit into the shoes of the “messiah”. As a former military head of state with a no-nonsense persona and anti-corruption crusader General Buhari won the hearts of many Nigerians especially the youths who gave him their mandates freely with very high expectations.

Fast forward to 2019, 4 years later and the situation doesn’t seem any much better in my opinion at least. We now battle with perpetual attacks from herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers along with the inherited Boko haram, our economy witnessed an all-time low in last decade, the anti-corruption war has been more heard off than seen, Nigeria harbors the highest number of destitutes in the world and a growing army of over 10 million out of school children. But let’s leave all that in the past as we have entered into a new era, the next level.

In the spirit of the next level I have a few advices for Mr. President drawn from my observation of his previous administration and things I want to suggest he can do better. Just like one of my mentors in journalism will say “I have appointed myself as a self-imposed adviser to the President” and I hope he finds this in good faith.

Mr. President it has been 4 years under your leadership, President Goodluck Jonathan and the opposition party PDP have been out of political office at the national level for over 4 years. While they might have erred or performed that’s a thing of the past and we are no longer interested in hearing about it. If Nigerians wanted to keep hearing about them you would not have been elected since 2015. In the next level let’s drop the blame games and focus on the work ahead of us.

Secondly, it was alleged that your first term was hijacked by “the cabals”. Some even referred to many actions during the administration as “hand of Jacob but voice of Esau.” Personally I value loyalty and friendships so it’s understandable why you hold on to your closest allies but Mr. President you know what they say about when the handshake crosses the elbow? I think it’s time to reevaluate the people closest to you and maybe take some advice from another public adviser of yours in your quiet time in “the other room”. Not once or twice Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Buhari has come out with these same claims of people hijacking your government, at this point we are certain it’s not just a rumor or fake news as they like to call it. It might be difficult but you can do it Sir.

Just about a week ago President Ramphosa of South Africa was inaugurated and barely 93 hours later he disclosed a list of his cabinet members. Looking at not just the time frame but the list was well inclusive comprising of the youths, women and even opposition party members. Mr President I advise you take a clue from there. As the leader of a country with over 200 million people you owe a responsibility to every group to be duely represented in your cabinet while also prioritizing competence and capacity in your selection. We hope to stop seeing red beret clowns and the likes at the weekly FEC meeting.

As we speak of inclusiveness I will also point out that the brazen disrespect of the rule of law we experienced in the change era should not follow us into the next level. This time I advise strict adherence to the rule of law and due process. Knowingly or unknowingly you are setting a precedence and it’s up to you to decide what side of history you want to stand on.

In conclusion I would like to state that a speech at your inauguration would have gone a long way in restoring hope to a lot of Nigerians who have lost hope in Nigeria. But since we didn’t get one Ill will like to hold you to your famous words of 2015 “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody.” I wish you safe return from your first official trip in the next level and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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