Doyin Okupe is not a new name to Nigerian politcal scene, he was a former senior special assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on public relations.
Okupe has penned an open letter to President Buhari where he addressed pressing issues ranging from Buhari’s speech, security issues, unity of Nigerian and sundry.
You are welcome back from your long sojourn outside the country on account of your illness. Many, including those around you, and others currently felicitating with you had given up on you and actually started working on plans based on their assumption that you were not likely to come back alive.
In truth, for which you can bear witness yourself, God Almighty snatched you from the jaws of death. This was not because you were president, or the millions you spent, or the extra competence of your doctors; since great people succumb to death, even in the UK and despite their medical expertise.
You survived purely by the mercy of God, the creator of all flesh. That is why I was surprised that on your return, you thought it was more important to satisfy the demand of those who did not wish you well, or derided you for your ill-health. Your Excellency, what you needed to do, and you should still do, is to show appreciation to God who preserved your life and kept you alive against all evil expectations.
On your instruction sir, glory must be given to God Almighty. All mosques should praise and thank God on your behalf on a chosen Friday. You may participate in this with family and close associates in the Villa Mosque. Your vice can lead a thanksgiving service at the Villa and this can be done throughout the country on the Sunday that follows.
God has brought you back for a purpose; pray to know that purpose and ask for health and strength to achieve it. As our leader, and a God-fearing nation, let us begin to acknowledge God in our national affairs, so that He may direct and prosper our ways. However, in your long absence, a lot has happened in the country. The country is in dire straits economically and sharply divided like never before; geopolitically and also along religious lines.
Your broadcast has not helped. But you are an elected president and you can broadcast to the nation as many times as you deem fit if you feel there is a need to make certain corrections in the previous broadcast. You don’t even have to go through the elaborate and strenuous route of the LIVE TV broadcasts because of your health.
I know that your last 6 minutes broadcast may have taken 1 hour or more to get it right. You can achieve more in radio broadcasts which you can actually do weekly from the comfort of your home; with the least stress.
This way, you can talk to the nation less formally and from your heart, on your perspectives, your vision and dreams, your hopes and plans for its teeming masses. People will concentrate more on your message than your person. Ronald Regan and Obama used this broadcast tool most effectively with a positive impact on the citizens.
I am not one of your fans or avid supporters. In fact, I did all I could to stop you from becoming an elected president. I have no regrets. It was a competition, in which I had my own candidate, but God and the people of Nigeria have decided in your favour and as far as I am concerned, the matter has been long settled.
However, your Excellency, you and your administration have so much to accomplish but unfortunately, the time is now very short. The presidential elections are in February 2019. That is barely 18 months away.
However, by June/July next year (just 10 months away), activities of government wind down and the nation goes into full swing mode of politicking and preparing for the February elections. Based on the above, I respectfully submit for your considerations the following agenda:
1. Adopt Obama’s SURGE approach to deal decisively with Boko Haram. When Obama’s administration was winding down, he wanted to end the Iraqi military quagmire. Knowing he had little time, he and his generals decided on the SURGE operation.
We can do the same.
a. Presently there are about 10,000 foot soldiers in the North East. Over the next 90 days, we can increase this to 30,000. This will militarily saturate the theatre of war with a potential to smoke out the insurgents.
b. From my limited knowledge of military engagements, I observed that the air force is a very effective combatant arm in this forests based guerilla attack modeled operation of the Boko Haram. We obviously do not have the air capability we need to effectively decimate the ‘hide outs’ of the insurgents. We also do not have the time or the money to acquire them.
However, we can approach the French to lease fighter jets under acceptable terms. It is not any national shame or dishonor. If the war in North East were to be in Europe, the western allies would have come together, combine their forces and deal with the situation.
c. Let government put a lot of money on harnessing ground intelligence by recruiting and deploying more members of the civilian JTF.
d. Finally, a re-awakening and re-invigorating of regional military cooperation in the region will be of a tremendous help.
Not much of this has been heard of since your government came into power.
Nigeria can fight, but cannot win this war alone without the cooperation of its neighbours.
This administration has a maximum of 16-18 months of rain free period for active construction.
Government must carefully select 1 or 2 major road projects that can be completed within the next 18 months in each zone.
In the South West, Lagos-Ibadan expressway is the star project and it can be completed within 18 months. In terms of funding, government may either borrow or revert urgently to the financial model of PPP that existed prior to your administration’s takeover.
The East West road can also be completed, while the work on the 2nd Niger Bridge can be more seriously attended to.
Similar projects in the 3 zones in the North can also be identified and executed within this same period.
The nation has an installed capacity of 10,000MW; FACT. We presently avail ourselves between 2000-6000MW depending on gas supply situation and grid transmission stability.
The time left is not enough to procure more generating potentials. What will be expedient will be:
a. To do everything possible to attain our potential of generating and distributing 10,000MW.
b. To urgently attend to the archaic and decaying transmission infrastructure which itself may not be able to handle the 10,000MW if fully deployed. This is also achievable.
4. Enact policies that do not require government’s commitments, efforts or financing, but that will ease the life of the citizens.
These policies will cover such areas as education, health, power, commerce and industry. For example, we can add up to 5000MW to the national grid just by changing the PPP licensing policy.
Let the NERC increase from 1MW to 5MW the categories of private power producers who will not require licensing.
Also the burden of financing the health sector of the nation can be reduced by a new policy that expands the scope of the NHIS.
Lastly, life can be made easier for parents and students in the universities, by the establishment of an education bank that gives loans secured by future certificate of students, for tuition, books and feeding while in school and many more.
5. Socio-Political Considerations
Your Excellency, you are an elder statesman and a father of the nation. Father to the GOOD and father to the BAD. There are socio-political inequalities and injustices in this nation. To ignore them or use force to suppress them will not help. History shows that when agitations are real and genuine, it is just a matter of time, they will eventually be resolved; either positively or negatively to the detriment of the nation.
Biafra, restructuring, devolution of power, resource control, etc are like chloroquine tablets or dongoyaro. They are bitter but they need to be swallowed if one must treat the debilitating illness called MALARIA.
Government must therefore listen and dialogue with agitators, dissenters, the civil societies and aggrieved geopolitical groups. There are genuine fears corroborated by clinically evident actions and inactions of government and/or its agencies that need to be addressed.
Some of these issues may be difficult for you to handle in your present state of health, but human resources abound with you to assist in discharging such onerous responsibilities. Your vice is able, intelligent and vibrant. There are former presidents, leaders and respectable statesmen, who can traverse the length and breadth of the country on your behalf to handle intricate situations.
Lastly, Mr President, if you must leave an ending legacy for yourself and your administration, you will have to increase and widen the scope of your consultations nationally and be prepared to adopt and employ new approaches in this rapidly changing world.
I pray the almighty God will grant you good health and strength to serve your country and its people.
I wish you well.