“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out”; “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
I just read through The President’s alleged response to the ‘open letter’ purportedly written to him by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and I was disappointed. I was disappointed that a sitting president responded to an open letter openly; that he went through the pains of addressing most of the issues raised without any concrete evidence (the initial letter too had no concrete evidence); that the letter was so uninteresting to read and quite very insipid; I wonder what is going on in the corridors of power these days, do our leaders still have ‘advisers’? Aren’t the ministers, senior special and special ‘advisers’ there to help the president with issues that require his attention?
Chief Obasanjo’s letter, as controversial as it is, did not require a ‘response’. It was not intended to be a discussion, it was a landmine, you either defuse it quietly or get blown up. Alas, the cabinet helpers urged him to or could not refrain him from so puerile a response.
In my humble opinion, that letter, if it deserved a response, should have been addressed to an unspecified recipient. The response should have been short without mentioning the issues raised by the other party. The most appropriate response for those issues would have been ACTION, not another ‘open letter’. It is a very unpresidential thing to do: engage in war of words with one of the citizens of your country. It was not even a ‘robust’ response, it was a timid one; the kind of response a primary school student would write as a response to a teacher’s query.
That response should have read something like this:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Due to the rising tides of lies, unsubstantiated allegations, character assassination, betrayal, and outright fabrications that have become the order of the day in the news media, I, The President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, do hereby implore all citizens to not be distracted by the efforts of unscrupulous elements who have tried and are still trying to scuttle our nascent democracy.
The work of this administration, the arduous task of nation-building and the demands of economic development cannot be abandoned for the pedestrian activity of throwing stones in the public square. Any genuine concern expressed by well-meaning citizens has been and will be duly attended to as urgently as it deserves without recourse to tribe, religion, creed or political affiliations. In reality, I know the wheels of justice and public policy do grind very slowly in our country but we will try harder to attend to the voice of the people and not the ranting of disgruntled elements.
As I close, let me remind Nigerians of two of the sayings of our people:
“No sensible neighbour adopts the antics of a mad man who chooses to dance naked in the village square.” and
“Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.”
This administration still requires and craves the support of Nigerians (both at home and in Diaspora) in delivering the goals of the Transformation Agenda. We will brave all the odds and go to any length in order to bring the Nigeria of our dreams while also we search, isolate and punish anyone found wanting in fulfilling the responsibilities laid upon them as servants of the Federal Republic.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a blissful New Year.
Yours in Nigeria’s service,
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR
(c) Henry OLAMIJU
You can follow me on Twitter: @holamiju