Friday, 10 October 2014
"MUST YOU SERVE NIGERIA AS A PRESIDENT?" EDOZIE OKEIYI ASKS GEN. MUHAMMADU BUHARI.
Director of Media and Strategy of Great Nigeria Movement (GNM), Edozie Okeiyi, publicly addressed General Muhammadu Buhari regarding the official’s intention to seek presidency in the next year’s elections.
It is not the first time Mr Okeiyi has shared his opinion on the political issues of the country. In June we published his piece titled “10 Reasons Nigerians Should Re-elect Jonathan In 2015″.
Today, October 10, 2014 the GNM representative sent an open letter to Buhari saying he had no other possibility to contact the politician.
It would be recalled that the former military Head of State vowed to declare his presidential ambition on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on October 8. It was made known this week however that the official announcement had been shifted for October 15. Buhari’s decision was highly criticized by some of his party members who insisted he should have anointed a younger candidate for 2015 elections.
Okeiyi’s opinion on the current situation with Buhari’s bid was published by Leadership. See it in full below:
OPEN LETTER TO GENERAL BUHARI.
I have been constrained to write you through the media because I do not have an alternative way of reaching you. Permit me to share my opinion on your presidential ambition, which I think is equally shared by many Nigerians of my generation irrespective of ethnic or religious differences.
Sir, I heard about you first on the 31st of December 1983. Then I was a ten year old boy in primary six, celebrating with the whole nation on the arrival of our military Heroes. At least so we thought! The jubilations were spontaneous. The nationwide celebrations signalled the demise of the second republic and ushered in the military dispensation commonly referred to as the Buhari/Idiagbon regime. Immediately you launched the War Against Indiscipline and introduced the Nationwide Monthly Sanitation Exercise. The WAI crusade stuck in my brain and still reverberates up till now. To simplify the message my Teacher introduced an Igbo acronym for WAI: Wepu Ajo Ihe; which literally translates: Remove Bad Thing.
Sir, I must confess that the image that stuck in me about Buhari/Idiagbon was that of two no-nonsense characters, straight talkers, people who meant yes when they said yes and vice versa. This impression I believe was equally shared by many others in my generation.
Today, I am a 41 year old Nigerian. A lot has changed. I see things differently now. I am now a fully grown man who can analyse issues critically. One thing I believe passionately is that it is very important for one to set a standard for oneself, but equally more important to sustain the standard.
On the final lap of your presidential campaign for 2011, you made an open declaration in front of the media and your supporters, without mincing words you stated emphatically that 2011 would be your last attempt to contest the Presidency. Going by your legacy and standard, many People including I took you by your words. After all Buhari means yes when he says yes. However that promise was short lived. Before one can say Jack Robinson you have joined the race again for the fourth consecutive time, contrary to your open declaration.
Of course I concede you have every right to change your mind and contest every election as long as you live. It is however very remarkable to observe that you shot yourself in the foot when you reneged on your promise to Nigerians not to contest the Presidency again. So judging you by your own standard, you have fallen below expectations. The pertinent question people are asking now is ” HOW CAN WE EVER TRUST YOU AGAIN”? Another important questing worth asking you is ” WHAT IS NOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BUHARI AND OTHER POLITICIANS”? I would say none! Oh yes you have got the constitutional right to contest, but eating your words has done your reputation more harm than good. People now see you, and quite justifiably, just like a typical politician who is unstable and unreliable.
Some of your supporters continue to amuse me by claiming that President Jonathan allegedly signed a one term pact with them. Unlike you Jonathan never made any open declaration to serve only for one term. Those of them who continue to make this ridiculous allegation have refused to produce the transcript of the said agreement or tender any proof to substantiate this. So as far as Nigerians are concerned Jonathan never struck any one term deal with us. But you did promise openly and suddenly reneged. In fact you actually sealed the promise with your tears. An elder Statesman of your calibre and pedigree made a promise and shed tears to seal it, that should have been final. It is very symbolic when an Elder sheds tears in the continent of Africa. It was a covenant with Nigerians not to contest again. A promise abruptly broken. But this is politics. Everything is possible in this game.
Sir, I know you have many reasons for reneging on your promise but most of these reasons are laughable. Some claim your supporters put pressure on you to change your mind, but this is an old excuse which is as old as Nigeria. Even late General Abacha had people begging him to contest. A principled and disciplined officer like you should have remained steadfast to your open declaration. Others claim you are still young, after all you would be only 72 by the next Presidential election. At 72 you would still be much younger than Mugabe. So they claim!
But they conveniently refused to check Mugabe’s next door neighbour Madiba. Suffice it to say that Mandela is the very opposite of Mugabe and the ideal role model for all African leaders. Mandela declined to go for a second term because according to him , age was not on his side. He could have won a second term and transformed to a life President if he wished. But he never did. He voluntarily made way for the younger generation to continue from where he stopped. This is what is expected of you now to retire voluntarily and join the respected league of Elders where you truly belong.
Another reason which some of your supporters have tendered is that you are genuinely motivated by service and patriotism. I gladly take this on board. I can give you the benefit of the doubt that you are driven by the urge to serve your fatherland. This is a very valid reason. But Sir, I have an important question here for you. The question is simple, MUST YOU SERVE NIGERIA AS A PRESIDENT ONLY? IS THERE NO OTHER CAPACITY YOU CAN SERVE US EXCEPT THE PRESIDENCY?
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