Letter to Archbishop John Onaiyekan
My Lord, the Archbishop of Abuja Diocese,
I am directed to write you this letter on behalf of the administration of his Excellency Dr Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I am writing in reaction to a recent interview you granted Daily Sun about the security situation in the country. You were misquoted as saying that “there is definitely something wrong with government” and that “nobody believes anymore the story that we are on top of the situation”.
My Lord, although you did not name names, I am responding all the same because I subscribe to the truth in this Yoruba proverb, “Olowe m’owe ara e”: the target of an uppercut proverb surely knows himself, even if he is not named in the proverb. I recognise President Jonathan as the target of your proverb, especially the little part about not being on top of the situation. I must emphasise again, my Lord, that I believe you were misquoted, given the infinite capacity of our local journalists for mischief. However, I have decided to respond all the same, just in case the journalist who interviewed you got it right this time.
Although you reside here in Abuja, I am surprised that like Professor Chinua Achebe, who has lived abroad for too long, you are displaying a perplexing lack of familiarity with realities on the ground in Nigeria. Only someone who resides on Mars would look at the security situation in Nigeria and declare that President Jonathan is not on top of it. President Jonathan was quick to recognise that terrorism has been a global threat since September 11, 2001 and had the presence of mind and sense of judgment to realise that it is now Nigeria’s turn to be attacked by terrorists.
As soon as he had that epiphany, he took a bold step that no world leader has ever taken in the history of the war on terror; he reassured the Nigerian people that Boko Haram and other manifestations of terror would end in Nigeria in June 2012. No American president boasts this remarkable achievement. No European leader has ever been able to put a definitive expiry date on terrorism. President Jonathan did it. My Lord, if that is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.
My Lord, Boko Haram is not the only case of terrorism that has highlighted President Jonathan’s remarkable acumen as a leader equal to the task of assuring the security of the nation. You will recall that he took the bold step of ending the fuel subsidy regime early this year. He struck a deadly blow against corruption and freed up subsidy money for investment in infrastructure such as roads, power, electricity, and hospitals. Enemies of progress in Nigeria, aided by Nigerian loudmouths abroad, ganged up against Nigeria in the so-called Occupy Nigeria movement. The Occupy virus spread and became a terrorist takeover of Lagos. Our Commander-in-Chief acted swiftly and deployed troops to Lagos to take the city back from the terrorists. My Lord, if this is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.
Despite the challenges we still face from Boko Haram, the President has spared no effort in reassuring the international community of our commitment to the war on terror. More than any other Nigerian President before him, Dr. Jonathan has assured foreign investors to continue to flock to Nigeria and inject much needed foreign direct investment into our economy. He has urged them to ignore the threat of Boko Haram and go about their business peacefully in Nigeria. No American President has been bold enough to encourage people to ignore Al Qaeda. My Lord, if this is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.
It is partly in recognition of the President’s giant strides in securing Nigeria and Africa that he recently made Time Magazine’s list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Mr. President is humble and has not allowed all the recognition abroad to distract him from the work of the Nigerian people. As I write, seven hundred and seventy-four presidential committees are working hard on various assignments designed by the President. As you probably know, the Oronsaye committee recently submitted its report and the President swiftly promised to constitute a committee to look into the report and write a white paper on it. My Lord, if this is not being on top of the situation, I don’t know what is.
We suggest, my Lord, that you upgrade your knowledge of Nigerian realities before granting another press interview.
Remember Ruben, PhD
Aso Rock Villa, Abuja
Source: Daily Times Nigeria