Open letter to President-elect Tinubu –

by Babatunde Qodir

First, I want to congratulate you on your victory as President-elect of our beloved country. In fact, Nigerians voted for you because your message revived hope in the country, even beyond your political calculations or influence. It is clear that every Nigerian wants hope. They want a better life and prosperity. Just a few days ago, I saw you live on TV, and INEC presented you with the President-elect’s certificate of return. I see that you are excited to begin your renewal journey in the next few weeks as promised during the campaign. Just as you promised Nigerians a better country, we would be happier if your wishes come true. I pray to Allah Almighty to grant you the ability to deliver. I congratulate you again. However, I want you to remember that Nigeria is a heterogeneous country struggling with crises of insecurity, kidnapping, extreme poverty, etc. Since no one is going to expect you to solve every crisis, Nigerians will expect you to dedicate your government to real recovery work, so that Nigerians at least see and feel the difference, however big it may be. Because I am not one to think that Nigeria’s woes can be resolved overnight, I hope you will bring the expertise needed to inspire hope.

Mr. President-elect, it is clear that the 2023 presidential election will be the most contested in Nigeria’s history. There is no doubt that this election reflects a desire for good governance. Apart from the fact that people are very tired of the situation in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari has not lived up to the expectations of many Nigerians after they showed strong support for your party, All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015. But I strongly hope that you are better than him. I’m pretty sure you know the loopholes of the current administration and I think that should be your goal. Addressing vulnerabilities is not the same as fighting the past. Rather, it means that you should learn from past governments, of which you were of course a part, to solve the present crisis and build a better Nigeria. It’s not too much to say that you still have a lot of work to do to convince the vast number of young people who have expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s performance over the past eight years.

As I type this letter, some opposition candidates are challenging your victory, making multiple allegations against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), whose performance in the elections has drawn mixed reactions from Nigerians. The opposition claims that you and INEC condoned the manipulation of the exercise in your favour. If your victory is further substantiated in court, I think this charge should be seen as a challenge to save Nigeria. One thing I would like to implore on behalf of Nigerians, Mr. President-elect, is that you should do everything in your power to end the insecurity that is ravaging our country. The persistent threat undermines our beloved nation’s will to progress. No country develops in chaos. That’s why, as the first step in bringing hope back to a country that has long been in despair, you should focus on its security.

I don’t want to dwell on the myriad promises contained in your manifesto. Unfortunately, Nigerians have been duped by the beautiful promises put on paper by politicians. But frankly, this is not the time to play politics as usual. I strongly recommend that you serve Nigerians in such a way that they can feel good governance. Most importantly, you should be concerned about how to transform the national education system on which the future of the country depends. It depends on how carefully you manage the national resources at your disposal for the benefit of development. It is your duty to serve not rule Nigerians. You should show compassion for the vulnerable. You should be different from those rulers who dismiss the plight of the masses as nothing. Under your leadership, we want Nigeria to be a nation of laws. As I know that a better Nigeria can only be achieved through collective efforts, I ask you to be servants of the people. May your tenure be a blessing to Nigeria.

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