Dear Mr President
It cannot be gainsaid that the Buhari brand, in the most recent decades, has achieved groundbreaking successes trailed by a few popular failed strategies. This was overly emphasized by your easy overthrow as an army general and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, and the back-to-back failure in your history of democratically contesting for the top seat of the country. A review of this and your seemingly slow first six months as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made it expedient for me to sound a loud alarm that your journey with long swinging strides of popular failed strategies has clogged your seat as Mr. President with a fast-ticking failure time bomb.
I know that many, especially optimists, life coaches, and critical entrepreneurs, must have argued in your favour that it is not always about how many times failure is recorded, but more about whether or not success is eventually attained. This may be correct. But in the case of the Buhari brand, after the sustained failure of the implementation style of the War Against Indiscipline strategy, among other, and the successful easy overthrow of your government with a military coup d’état, it may be difficult to ascertain what factor delivered your eventual success that was celebrated the world over. It could have been a great coincidence with the same time Nigerians needed to sack the 16-year ideology, or ‘customer-brand’ sympathy which usually doesn’t stand the test of time, or eventually good selection of strategy. Whatever the case may be, let me mention that being the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria today, for you, is not success; it is only the beginning of success!
At this point, Mr. President, it is important I douse your suspicions that this letter may be a sponsored tool of the opposition. I am for you and everyone who is truly committed to taking Nigeria to the pinnacle of her desires, and I am not for you or anyone else irrespective of their leadership capacity; I am only a true Nigerian who desires the best for this generation and the next. My interest is deeply fundamental as it concerns your solemn promises and, by implication, the lives and hopes of highly expectant Nigerians.
Mr. President, while journeying your way through your fourth attempt at the top seat, you made multiple promises with highly reassuring aplomb. You restored hope in those who had buried theirs; you gained reluctant confidence of those who never utterly agreed that your party was a better alternative, and your seeming successes created even more jobs for critics. Nigerians actually see your real intentions to birth a new nation for them, and they believe in your individual propensity to achieve great reforms across sectors. But were you alone in governance, they would have trusted this change.
Niccolo Machiavelli once noted that there was nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage, than the creation of a new order of things. Let me say to you, Mr. President, that you seem to have got yourself too busy with the pressure of delivering on your promises that you forget you cannot work for the people without working with them; you are not alone in the train! Perhaps you assume that since you have correctly identified the worst of the country’s problems –corruption –and are willing to confront it head on, it consequently implies that everyone –elected, appointed, or even in civil/public service –will be willing, or must be willing, to agree with the problem and face it firmly as well. Change never happens that easily.
The military era is gone and gone for good! Mr. President, it is time you paid more attention to strategic communication as major bedrock of successful democracy. An assumption that everyone is a proponent of your new philosophy may be the beginning of downright failure. I have watched your first six months very closely, and I must say Nigerians have reasons to worry. While true democracy and your philosophy of credible governance in Nigeria may take time to develop, the process cannot even begin until you invest time and resources in reinventing the way people think, especially those in governance –right now, they are happily living the corruption, misappropriation, waste, and poor maintenance way of life. You cannot lead a team of people who think completely differently from the way you think and expect a common goal. I smell frustrating failure!
It is not enough to emphasize transparency, integrity, and accountability across private and public transactions; the corruption cut may have gone much deeper in the flesh of Nigerians than you imagined. A deliberate reorientation process is inevitably necessary first for the three tiers and the three arms of government, and then for every Nigerian. You will find that there are about four different categories of people you should be prepared to manage within this reorientation process –those who have also identified the problem and truly desire change, those who understand the need for change but will keenly want to resist it, those who will require several effort to unlearn their corruption-stricken way of life, and those who will require enforcement agencies irrespective of your effort to get them along. It will not be surprising to find that only a very insignificant few or none of your most trusted cabinet members actually belong to the first category of people you will have to manage; the need for this reorientation is resonantly emphasized.
Hopefully, after your fourth year as President, it will no longer be business as usual for Nigeria’s President, it will no longer be business as usual for our Executives, Legislatives, and Judiciary, and hopefully it will no longer be business as usual for Nigerians.
While I congratulate you ahead for your monumental success, I will guarantee that Nigerians will no longer celebrate failure.
Ayo Alaba Idowu is the Editor-in-Chief of Greennews.ng. Send him a mail at email@example.com
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