Mr. President sir, I am compelled to draw your attention to several publications credited to your Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, labeling five Northern Governors as 'comedians' and 'jokers'. It would have been assumed that the appointment of Okupe was meant to give fillip to your public relations apparatus and to positively boost your image and that of the country nationally and internationally. It is therefore sad to note that having been given such strategic portfolio, usually the exclusive preserve of thorough-bred professionals in saner climes, Okupe has continued to drag your revered name in the mud through his indecent utterances. Not only has he shown that he is a garrulous hireling but has consistently acted unruly, which is unbecoming of a presidential aide.
Mr. President should that note that other Governments around the world today, do not surround themselves with "attack dogs" in the mould of Okupe, but polished public relation experts who carry out their duties with decorum and in the national interest.
It should be clear to you Mr President, that Okupe is only out to bring your image and that of the country to international odium, a reality that may have prompted ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo to throw him out of his administration in questionable circumstances. It can also be argued presently, that Okupe has lost the needed credibility, integrity and capacity to continue to speak for you, Mr. President. This is because all his vituperations in the past have tended to bring you hatred rather than love; acrimony rather than respect and ill-will rather than goodwill, from the people.
Mr. President, of what use is an aide who continuously ignites discord whilst gaining more enemies for you instead of winning the hearts of the people to give you the much needed support? Of what use is a spokesman now turned spokes-"enemy"? Why do you need an aide who consistently misfires thereby wasting your precious goodwill?
Mr. President, hirelings like Okupe will not want the problems of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) and the entire nation to be over because like a mercenary, he is more concerned with what he rakes in from his orchestrated confusion and crisis in the system, and not to genuinely help the system to grow and develop to your praise.
It is rather obvious that Okupe has continued to fan the embers of discord not mindful how the President is faring in his arduous task of piloting the affairs of this great country. By all standards, he is a distraction you can't afford at this time.
It is also a pity that Okupe is now a liability to your exalted office rather than an asset, which you can't afford to overlook as Okupe tarnishes the reputation of the presidency. It must be noted that the five Northern Governors are responsible and hardworking democrats, who have great respect for the presidency and the President, and as such would do everything within their powers to champion democracy and the rule of law.
Rather than being insolent and utterly disrespectful in his remarks against these respected leaders, Okupe should go and defend himself before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on his alleged unexecuted N2.3 billion road contract since 2004; for which the sum of N886. 8 million is said to have been paid to his company - Value Trust Investment Limited - by the Benue State Government. This was serving in the administration of Obasanjo as Special Adviser, Media and Publicity.
No man can give what he doesn't have. As it appears, Okupe needs his image laundered and so cannot polish another's because he lacks one himself. Why try to remove the speck from the eyes of others while having a log in your own eyes?
Okupe's current job as the "attack dog" for the presidency is a familiar terrain to him. Note that in the beginning of Obasanjo’s administration, Okupe was by his side as the man in charge of hurling insults on the president's real or imaginary enemies until he was eased out in an ignoble manner.
The President must realize that only performance and delivery, respect for the rule of law and the rights of Nigerians would change the perception of Nigerians and not Okupe's banal utterances.
We must say that Okupe went beyond his brief when he labelled Governors Sule Lamido, (Jigawa), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) Murtala Nyako, (Adamawa) and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) as "jokers and comedians" out to stop your reelection bid in 2015.
Where was Okupe when these same Governors and other eminent leaders supported the presidential bid of Mr. President in the 2011 presidential elections?
It must be placed on record that Nigerians know that these governors Okupe has chosen to vilify are those who have decided to speak in the face of evil in the land. These governors have chosen to risk their very lives to toe the path of peace, harmony and stability in our country. They are also out to resolve the crisis in the PDP and the NGF. Instead of joining forces to find amicable solution, Okupe has decided to further fuel the crisis by calling them names and branding them your enemies. But Nigerians know that these are progressive governors, who are trying to unite the country by consulting and dialoguing with eminent Nigerians on how to exit the woods at a time the PDP is in disarray and the country is confronted with a plethora of security and economic challenges.
Above all, the G5 are out to end impunity in Rivers State and ensure that the PDP conducts free and credible primary elections in 2015, a development the presidency should support and encourage rather than having Okupe abuse them. If becoming a state governor is easy, why didn't Okupe become one in 2003 despite his best efforts to secure the seat in Ogun State?
Therefore, I humbly urge you, Mr. President, to immediately relieve Okupe of his job or be prepared to face more enemies. Okupe is not doing you any good but laying land mines on the way to peace because instead of finding ways to tackle germane issues, he often resorts to profane verbiage.
I must reiterate that Okupe has no right to abuse the governors because they are neither his nor the presidency's employees. If Okupe wants to sincerely defend you, then he should do so based on issues and not by name calling. It is on record that you have not declared your intention to seek reelection in 2015, so why should Okupe posit that the governors are out to block your 2015 reelection bid? Be that as it may, Okupe in his desperation to be relevant around you, has failed to realize that every Nigerian has the constitutional right to seek any political office in the land.
Notwithstanding the vituperations of Okupe, permit me to use this medium to urge the G5 who are representatives of the G10 governors in the PDP to continue their good works, aware that Nigerians are solidly behind them. It is worthy of note that this is the first time serving governors of the PDP have seen the wrongs in the system and the party and are taking action to right them.
Okupe should know that these governors have aides that can respond to such personal insults emanating from presidential aides but have rather chosen to act with decorum. He should also know that as performing Governors in their various states, it is unbecoming for an employee of the President to insult them.
Okupe must also learn to stop calling the Chairman of the NGF and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State names because insulting him and the G5 amounts to insulting the people who elected them. Above all, we urge Governors Amaechi, Wamakko, Lamido, Kwankwaso, Aliyu and Nyako to continue to tread the path of peace and dialogue to resolve the current logjam in the PDP. We urge them not to be deterred in their quest for true and functional democracy in the country. We believe that no amount of blackmail from the likes of Okupe would stop their efforts at reforming and repositioning the PDP. What Okupe must realize is that these governors are only sacrifice their time and resources to salvage the country from political impunity and recklessness.
Mr. President, thanks for reading this letter and hoping that necessary action would be taken to redress the unguarded utterances emanating from the likes of Okupe in the presidency in order to move your administration forward.
Long Live Mr. President!
Long Live Federal Republic of Nigeria!!
Comrade Timi Frank
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters