As the year 2013 winds down,one can convincinly say that the year 2013 has been a year of open letters in the political terrain.2013 gave a full dose of open letters from our political leaders,to this effect i couldn’t help but share this story with us on this page when i found it during the course of my research,an article written by a friend,a colleague and a brother of some sought for a tabloid.
Have a pleasant read…..
Since letter writing has become the favourite national pastime in Nigeria, I thought I had better join the craze before it goes out of fashion.
My dear Year 2013, you began with so much promise. Some diehard optimists even laughed off the concern expressed by stargazers that the number 13 in your name was ominous. We celebrated your birth with characteristic gusto only to be left bewildered at the end because what had looked like an oasis was but a depression in the sand dune. Your consolation is that you will not be unremembered. We had more than our fair share of air crashes, terrorism, banditry in high places and mis-governance spanning the length and breadth of our land that we cannot forget that there was a year called 2013.
Remember, during the First Republic, our politicians used to steal thousands of pounds and we thought that quantum of money was enough to float a ship. They graduated in the Second Republic to stealing millions of naira, having learnt a thing or two from the ‘corrective’ military regimes. In this present Republic, the locusts of power routinely devour billions and trillions of naira. Individual greed continues to ambush our collective welfare.
You will go down as the year of toxic letters. First was the one by the CBN Governor complaining to the president that $49.8 billion had not been accounted for by the secretive Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
Then there was the letter bomb manufactured by no less an inveterate personality than the redoubtable General Olusegun Obasanjo, OBJ, and addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The tsunami generated by the OBJ missile was yet to abate when another letter purportedly written to Obasanjo by his first daughter, Iyabo, hit the media with even more toxic fumes.
Not to be outdone, Jonathan uncharacteristically fired a prompt reply of his own, directing several jabs and uppercuts at the loquacious jaws of his older predecessor.
I confess that those four Year 2013 letters inspired my own. But let’s even look at them in closer detail.
First, the CBN governor’s letter. Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has since gone to the National Assembly to say that the actual unreconciled figure was about $12bn – a figure disputed by Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala who put the actual sum at $10.8bn. While one could say that Sanusi should get his arithmetic right next time before he allows his mouth to engage gear, it is more important to focus on why the secretive NNPC and the ministry of finance did not do the necessary reconciliation before the CBN letter was made public. Had that letter not been leaked it is doubtful if the issue would have been addressed. Having said that, what has come out of the issue is that a large sum is yet to be reconciled. So, we can’t roll out the drums.
Now to Obasanjo’s letter-bomb. Year 2013, I don’t know your take on this; but I think those who said Obasanjo has a right, as a Nigerian citizen to comment on national affairs, are correct. Also, those who argue on the other side of the divide that the man is the biggest hypocrite alive and that they can never buy even a fairly used idea from him – are also right. Is the messenger tarred? Definitely! But does his message contain bitter truths that have to be addressed in the interest of Nigeria? Yes!!
On the third correspon-dence, there is a question as to whether Iyabo actually authored that letter to her father. If she did not, then the forger deserves a Nobel for the greatest forgery of all time. If she did, then she is the true daughter of her father. The cocktail of insults hurled at the old man purportedly by his daughter constitute a negation of African tradition. They show a patent lack of home training. No matter how bad your father is, there are tested ways within the cultural milieu to call him to order. This is not to discountenance the frustration that the daughter may have felt if, as she claimed, her father was as receptive as a stone wall. Hell hath no fury like an alienated child perpetually scorned!
Traces of OBJ’s famed messianic complex are also traceable in the daughter going by how she perceived her entrance into politics. She did not even have the humility to admit that she was a beneficiary of her father’s rigging machine which catapulted her to the Senate. She lapped up the role of First Daughter while the going was good only to now denounce her bully of a father when he is out of office. Some have queried the suspicious coincidence of the timing of her letter bomb with her father’s IED to President Jonathan. We leave that to psychics to sort out.
If that letter was written by Iyabo, there is a lesson in there for the rest of us: we must endeavour to scrutinise the family values of those who put themselves up for high office. A dysfunctional First Family will tar high office with its cancerous smear. That must be why Americans do the most painstaking due diligence on political aspirants.
Let’s now examine the fourth letter in which President Jonathan replies Obasanjo. Diatribes. Innuen-dos. Blackmail. Pettiness. Gracelessness. Jonathan’s reply was unstatesmanly as if there is no difference between President Jonathan and Citizen Jonathan. But let’s look at Jonathan’s message, not at the writer. The president is correct to characterise Obasanjo as a hypocrite and opportunist. But the weighty issues raised by Obasanjo? Jonathan’s reply does not convince the reader that he has the competence to deliver good governance and fight corruption. He celebrates every inch gained by his government as if his standards are so low that any hint of progress is the destination itself.
To the four letter bombers I commend the words of Akhenaton, Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt: “True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance.”
Bye-bye, Year 2013; I can’t wait to be rid of you and the toxic letters that bookmark your tenure. I raise a glass to drink down all accumulated betrayals and underachievement. I look forward with hope to 2014. My admonition to my countrymen and women as we face what promises to be a remarkable Year 2014 is- quit being a passenger in the Nigerian boat; let your agonising go with Year 2013.