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A Shell-Shocked Presidency By Sonala Olumhense

Dear Baba: I write this letter by myself out of respect for the fact that you wrote by yourself the important letter you addressed to me. 

Dear Baba: I write this letter by myself out of respect for the fact that you wrote by yourself the important letter you addressed to me. 

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First, I apologize for the many previous letters that you sent to me that I did not acknowledge.  I have to be honest with you: I completely forgot to read them.  I confess I did not know there would be so much to do in Aso Rock!  Sometimes, Patience helps me, but then, one has to be careful because of State House gossip.  People think I do not hear when they refer to her as “Mrs. President.”

With respect Sir, your letters are usually quite long.  The current one is 18 pages, and I am shell-shocked.  I started reading it, but NTA had a nice story about the First Lady. Between Bamanga Tukur, G7, APC, Boko Haram, Rivers State, Transformation, I could only read the first page.  No, it is not that I am such a slow reader; it is just that simply to justify the letter, you gave 10 reasons, averaging one reason per sheet of paper. 

Anyway, after they woke me up on Wednesday to inform me the letter had leaked, I finished reading the whole thing. 

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Baba, you cast me almost as a fictional president, as if I exist only in the imagination.  This is far from the truth.  I am real: the Obateru of Owu Kingdom, a title given to me by your own people in your presence in 2006.  I am not a figment of the imagination.  I am on Facebook.

There is no crisis of leadership, and there is no deceit or deception.  I am the author of the Transformation Agenda, which is changing Nigeria overnight.  I declared a state of emergency in the Northeast, and the soldiers are slaughtering Boko Haram in the streets, from the air, and in the forests.  Once my soldiers have killed all of them, the problem is finished. 

The same optimism must apply to security nationwide.  There is nothing to fear: I travel by air.  Namadi travels by air.  Patience travels by air.  The Ministers travel by air. Military and security chiefs travel by air. We know that kidnapping, piracy, abductions and armed robberies are everywhere, but I can assure you we will not be kidnapped or killed. 

Baba, you also referred to unemployment.  I have done the research: unemployment is like corruption: exaggerated.  Look at Asari, he is employed.  Look at Timpolo.  Look at Doyin Okupe.  They are proof I am conquering unemployment.

The same goes for corruption.  Only the Americans are fighting corruption more than me, and I will continue to fight it.  That is why you do not hear of anyone in my government going to jail, because nobody in my government is corrupt.

Remember, Baba, last January when Oby Ezekwesili alleged monumental corruption by the Yar’Adua/Jonathan administrations, saying we squandered $67 billion? Several months later, she also alleged that since 2005, about N1 trillion has been spent on the National Assembly. Those figures are just like the Central Bank governor saying NNPC has since 2012 failed to remit almost $50 billion to the Federation Account.

Baba, all these numbers are lies because they cannot be true.  I have never seen that kind of money in my life.  NNPC does not have that kind of money, so how can it be missing?  In fact, they do not even have people to count such money; Dizzy would have told me. If we do not ignore the rumours, people will think Nigerian leaders are rumour-mongers.

If we had that kind of money, Ngozi would have told me.  Ngo is so intelligent, she always knows such things, which is why she did not reply Ezekwesili’s rubbish and did not reply Lamido.  She has learned to ignore nonsense. 

Concerning the economy, have you listened to Ngozi lately, Baba?  You were the first to invite her to the government and you know Ngo is a magician with the economy.  When she was at the World Bank, she helped the whole world to fix their economy.  So I said, my sister, please come home and help to fix our own.  By 2018 or 2019 when she would have finished her magic, you will see.  Every town in Nigeria will have an airport.  Every village will have a university so that everyone will have a university degree. Every unemployed youth will have a car.  Every chief will have a new palace funded by the government.  We will ban unemployment.

Baba, mine is an active government.  We are not a “non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing” government.  I have set up dozens of presidential committees: Projects Assessment; Ministries, Departments and Agencies probe; Oil Sector Revenue, headed by Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; contracts and procurements; SURE-P, countless committees. 

People speak about NNPC investigation, but I have investigated NNPC already and I can tell you it is not corrupt at all.  They are doing a wonderful job.

All my committees work hard and they write a lot of reports.  One day when I am not travelling, we will start assessing them.  By 2017 or 2018 everybody will marvel at our achievements. 

It is not that we are not getting results yet.  Contrary to what you said, we have statistics showing that Nigeria has become the favorite destination of investors in Africa, with the highest investment of $8.4billion.  I put this in my mid-term report this year, my government aims “to attract $20 billion worth of foreign investments in three years,” that is, between 2013 and 2016. 


Baba, your letter shows that you may be a little afraid of the future.  I assure you the future is bright. 

I don’t know where you heard the information about 1000 people on the political watch list and the training of snipers.  That is classified information the security people are not going to be happy.  Let me just say that if there is a list, it is not up to 1000; I don’t know where Abacha trained his killers; and nobody has said anybody will be killed.

Also sir, talks “about possible abuse and misuse of the military and legitimate security apparatus for unwholesome personal and political interest”?  This is wrong sir.  The military and security are supposed to do the right thing.

Sir, I think leadership by example is overrated.   I have refused to declare my assets publicly because Nigerians will start focusing on what I own, not the sacrifices I am making for them. I am not the issue, Nigeria is.  Remember I declared my assets recently, in 2007.  

Also, remember you put me in office.  I did not expect it.  I was indicted by Ribadu’s committee in 2006 but you wisely destroyed that report and you handpicked Umaru and me.  I have not changed; I am still your good luck charm.

Sir, “before it is too late”?  Success is never too late or too long?  Remember you were the one who said PDP will rule for 100 years.  We have at least 87 years left.  Politics is dynamic, not static, and the plans of the founding fathers, if not good enough, must be made to fit the realities of today.  It is more important for the PDP to be wrong but be in power than to be right but be right but not be in power. 

That is why it is in the best interest of Nigeria that I run in 2015.  Otherwise we may all have to run away.  If not PDP, what?  If not me, who? 

  • Twitter: @SonalaOlumhense

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