Sunday, 2 October 2016

An open letter to President Buhari by A Patriotic Nigerians

Independence Letter to Mr President

Dear President Muhammadu Buhari,

Congratulations on yet another Independence Day celebration as Nigeria’s President. Yours is a cup filled by God your Excellency. Many are those heroes who wished they had a second chance or even a first chance to be on the seat you occupy – the sage Obafemi Awolowo, the Great Zik, Tafawa Balewa, Anthony Enahoro and our dear Chief Moshood Kasimawo Abiola. They all struggled for a great nation with limitless opportunities, abundance and all-round development. Yet, they were taken away by death without having half of your luck. Such is life and such is the enormous responsibilities on your head dear Mr President. Many have died to make your being our leader today a reality. I will like to seek your indulgence to share some thoughts with you on governance and development in Nigeria.

I will start with a story of a treaty that took place about 1500 years ago:

In the sixth year after his migration to Medina (March 628), Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) decided to perform the Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage). Fourteen hundred of the companions joined the Prophet on this pilgrimage journey to Mecca. He ordered them not to carry any weapons of war since they are on a religious journey, but allowed a sword which was customary for the travelers to carry for protection against caravan raids.

The Quraish (Pagans) intent upon not allowing the prophet to enter Mecca closed all access to the city. The Prophet then reached a place called Hudaibiya, on the precincts of the sacred territory of Mecca, and halted there. And a treaty was eventually signed after days of intrigues, negotiations, intimidation and near-warfare between unarmed Muslims led by the Prophet intent on visiting Makkah from Medina to perform pilgrimage and the Makkans armed to the teeth yet aware that Arab tribal tradition permits pilgrims to visit the holy city at any time. The treaty which in fact you are most likely familiar with is known as the Treaty of Hudaibiyah. It included:

“In your name, O Allah. These are the terms of the truce between Muhammad, the son of Abdullah and Suhayl, the son of Amr (of Mecca).
Both parties have agreed to lay down the burden of war for ten years. During this time, each party shall be safe, and neither shall injure the other; no secret damage shall be inflicted, but uprightness and honor shall prevail between them.
The Muslims shall return this year without performing Umrah (the pilgrimage). In the coming year, you may enter it with your companions, staying therein for three days, bearing no arms except the arms of the traveler, with swords remaining in their sheaths.
If a Quraysh person comes to Muhammad (i.e., after accepting Islam) without the permission of his guardian, Muhammad shall return him to them, but if one of the Muhammad’s people come to the Quraysh, he shall not be returned.
Whoever wishes to enter into covenant with Muhammad can do so, and whoever wishes to enter into covenant with the Quraysh can do so.”

Many of the Muslims were not satisfied with the terms of the treaty and they regarded it to be humiliating to themselves. That humiliation to them includes the insulting manners and words of the emissaries from Mecca, to the harm and maltreatment meted to the first emissary to Mecca from the pilgrims side and of course the treaty finally loaded with advantages on the side of the oppressive Makkans. They considered it a disgrace and defeat, and questioned why the Prophet would ever agree to such humiliation. The Prophet Muhammad, however, agreed to the terms in an attempt to end hostilities by peaceful means. With wisdom and farsightedness, he insisted that his followers honor the terms of the agreement. Many of them were reluctant and even angry, including Umar ibn Khattab. The Prophet Muhammad had never faced such a challenge to his leadership, but through quiet example he showed his followers that it was a wise decision.

On their way back to Medina, Allah (The One God) revealed to the Prophet (pbuh) a chapter of the Qur’an known as “Al-Fath” (The Victory, XLVIII). The chapter begins with:

“Verily We have given thee a victory, a very clear victory.”

In 629 A.D., as agreed, the Muslims were allowed to visit Makkah for a three-day pilgrimage. The following year (630 A.D.), the Quraish violated the Treaty of Hudaibiyah by attacking one of the Muslims’ tribal allies. The Prophet Muhammad proceeded to lead a force of 10,000 men to march upon Makkah. Recognizing defeat, the Quraish laid down their weapons and allowed the Muslims to enter the city. The Muslims had won back Makkah without shedding a single drop of blood. The Prophet Muhammad’s first act was to destroy the pagan idols in and around the Ka’aba, dedicating it again to the worship of One True God. His next act was to forgive all members of the Makkan community for the decades of hostility and warfare. His kindness and patience impressed many, and within a few years nearly all the tribes of Arabia had joined the Muslims as either allies or as brethren in faith.

Now why my long story? It has to do with the thorny Niger Delta(ND) issue. Mr President, it is time to NEGOTIATE! Yes, I know you called the bombers and destroyers of our national infrastructure economic saboteurs and those who have raped the treasury. In fact, you are right if you label them ethnic entrepreneurs. The truth is you must accept all insults as a President interested in a legacy of peace and development. Think of the insults meted to the Prophet even with the wording of the said treaty, the Prophet Muhammad showed that he was willing to compromise. For example, when the Prophet instructed his scribe to write “Muhammad the Messenger of Allah,” the Makkan envoy protested that he believed Muhammad to be no such thing. The Prophet relented and instructed his scribe to change the words to “Muhammad the son of Abdullah.”

Dear Mr President, let’s have a full blown negotiation with all the forces in the Niger Delta and let there be a treaty of TOTAL CESSATION of hostilities and vacation of all camps in the creeks with the promise of development for the ND. Let them insert clauses that may seem insulting, pampering and condescending. Yes, we must compromise as a nation to move forward – there has been distrust and injustice from all sides. This pact when put in place will put paid to agitations in Niger Delta and give room for peace which indeed is the precursor to development. And that takes me to the second issue – restructuring.

Dear Mr President, no nation ever remains static; for change is the natural law of life. Nigeria like other nations has been undergoing restructuring planned and unplanned to date. In fact you have been engineering a lot of restructuring since you took over – cabinet shape and number, ministry demarcation and functions, economic focus and your ambitious ₦500 billion Welfare jobs and skills program. You therefore do not deserve being called anti-restructuring. Yet, the current song by many is restructuring. Tell them a loud YES. Mr President, you are ready for restructuring without any need for waste of money or jamboree of national conference. Every known constituency and senatorial district has a representative in the National Assembly(NA). Let them do their job. Please set up a 5-man committee, I am ready to work as an unpaid scribe. Let them draft from all constitutional conferences that has taken place from Macpherson conference in 1956 to recent Goodluck conference an all-encompassing Nigeria Peoples Restructuring Act. Let me proffer four fundamental parts of this act:

1. Regional government consisting of 6 regions (Please add Edo, Kwara and Kogi to South West). These shall be governed by Premiers who will be responsible for developing each region. 50% of all revenue from each region shall be payable to the centre (the federal government). Now the caveat, there shall be a transitional period of ten years when we will continue with the current federal arrangement with continuation of revenue collection at federal level but only 50% will be retained at the centre. The remaining 50% will be shared to the 6 baby regions. They are free to distribute it as they wish in each region. If they like, let each region create 100 states and a gazillion local governments! Let’s embrace and celebrate our diversity. I was part of the Heritage Day celebrated annually in South Africa with every tribe or race encouraged to don their local attires for the day to their places of work. See pictures attached.

2. An act setting up a new “Nigeria Peoples Parliament” and scrapping of the present bicameral legislature. Nigeria is a poor country that can no longer sustain a bicameral legislature. Britain has a parliament yet her budget is in multiples of ours with less population. I know the NA as presently constituted will be resistant, but yours is to start a debate. Let Nigerians take over.

3. Regional police. Nigeria needs more police and policing. Crime rates is soaring. Let NA do their job of debating the modus operandi of such state or regional police.

4. Special corruption courts at Court of appeal level with only appeal to Supreme Court. This shortens time for corruption trials and help develop specialization in our judicial system to kill corruption which is otherwise hell bent on killing Nigerians.

Dear Mr President, shifting the constitutional burden of restructuring to the National assembly frees your time and neck and creates a peace halo for you to focus on governance and development; the sole purpose for which you are elected. And be rest assured those four issues will take the present NA at least 4 years to aggregate views and debate during which you would have been afforded the time and space to lay a foundation for and start the building of a new Nigeria. Two more points your Excellency:

Where is Your Economic Stimulus Bill? We have been hearing rumours with the whole of social media in a frenzy weeks ago. And now the NA has resumed and they are the one begging for the bill. Baba we have no time to waste again. Nigerians are eager to see more massive change in their socio-economic, health, education and security sectors. Now is the time to act. Have a look at the Roosevelt new deal and Obama’s Reinvestment Act. We must have bold plans and actions to take us back to growth with sustainable economic opportunities for all.

Finally, someone or in fact an institution is responsible for state's currency, money supply, forex management, interest rates and oversight functions on the commercial banking system. That institution headed by someone has not been covered with roses or sweet fragrance in the last few years. They promised us stable forex after floating, today we have crashing Naira.

Mr President, it is time for POSITIVE CHANGE!

On May 28, 2019 you will not be judged by the wrecked economy you met or the dilapidated services, institutions and infrastructure left by your predecessors. What will count are your achievements and legacies. Let that be justice, peace and development for all.

Mudasiru Adebayo Salami

posted from Bloggeroid

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