OBJ’s Letter and Buhari’s Right of Reply


With Adetunji Ayobrown

To improve is to know more and to be successful in life you may need friends, but I can categorically say that to be very successful you will surely need enemies. Whatever one’s take, it is a welcome development for anyone who wants to grow in value or move forward to have antagonists. Such is life, it is true that it is not what you don’t have that limits you, but what you have however, not using what you have is what keep ‘narrow-thinker’ in self bondage.
The mindset is just a simple idea that makes all the difference; this was what first flashed through my mind. It came all over me like lightning while reading about the letter saga between Nigeria’s two presidents, one former of course. But both have many similarities, ranging from being former military men to being former heads of the Nigerian state. And the duo are always at loggerhead (some call their relationship cat and mouse game) just because of their mindsets. Funny enough, one is from the southern part of the country while the other is from the north.
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo wrote President Muhammadu Buhari another letter, and in a ‘Right of Reply Mode’ many tagged it, Obasanjo’s letter and Buhari’s reaction took over the Nigeria newsstands and became priority chats causing hot debates even up till moment. Some of the eight things Obasanjo (OBJ) said in his open letter to Buhari that touched me is where he warned that the security situation in the country is going haywire; Baba Legba believe it is approaching a point where the issue may get out of hands, ‘he who has ears let them hear’, he concluded in his statement.
Though it is not the first letter to same person, but funny enough, Buhari’s answer (or reaction you may want to call it), has always been with same manner and reception because of nothing but his mindset. What OBJ discussed in his letter is factual and something that is costing Nigeria the lives of many citizens daily and leaving many wondering if this is not what Buhari swore an oath to defend and protect. The question is why the negative reactions or is there something else beneath?
It does fit the moment, many of Buhari’s kitchen cabinet too agreed, but because of politics. Every situation calls for a confirmation of intelligence, personality, or character as it is being evaluated. Growth mindset is hungering for learning, a desire to work hard and discover new things to tackle challenges and grow. When one of his family members was kidnapped, the entire country security apparatus was on its hundred per cent searching mode, combing every nooks and crannies, ask them if it is not true. And until the man was found, there were so many arrests, which is still ongoing. And now somebody’s first daughter was killed in cold blood, allegedly by Mr President’s kinsmen, and the best reaction from the presidency is ‘isolated incident’.
Truly, a fixed mindset is when someone believes too much in his intelligence or talent, simply called fixed traits, even when such is not working or adding values to him. Attitude is just a specified way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically, reflected in a person’s behaviour and usually without him knowing. And from fixed mindset to attitude! In an apparent response to his critics, Buhari said those who were criticising his handling of security in the country were not patriotic. Buhari did not surprise me just as many other Nigerians, actually, it was not only OBJ’s message that was treated with disdain, even that of his immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, and the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka. What is isolated case in Fasoranti daughter’s death, if not coming from a wrong mindset?
Condolence letters and visits to the leader of the Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Reuben Fasoranti, whose daughter was gruesomely murdered is still in hundreds daily. Mrs Funke Olakunri was killed by suspected herdsmen along the Ore-Sagamu Expressway on Friday. While the presidency is unsure on what to do next, but using right-of-reply to OBJ warnings, regional sentiments are now in full gears, while the Igbos felt such cannot happen to them without unpalatable reactions, the victim (south west) is helpless, while the alleged culprit (north) is on denial game.
A way of thinking, be it in words, mental inclination or disposition, or a frame of mind, it is the collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your day. With OBJ’s letter and those of other good Nigerians who also meant well for their mother land, Buhari needs mindset change. Our diversity, which should have been our greatest and most important assets is poorly managed or mismanaged. Do Nigerians still have any faith in Buhari and APC’s administration? What has never happened in our lifetime, except you want to equate the civil war experience is what is happening now and it beats our wildest imagination. The former president, like many other well-meaning Nigerians noted that the world had warned Nigeria against descending into a state of violence because any outbreak would be too difficult to contain. As if OBJ’s letter does not properly describe the moment, Buhari is accusing Nigerians of politicising ‘isolated incidents’. It is not funny that the president did not see the reason the country is more divided today than ever. Many people reacted and expressed disbelief that such can come from their number one citizen.
A Psychologist defines attitudes as a learned tendency to evaluate things in a certain way, which include evaluations of people, issues, objects or events. Even if the messenger is ugly, what about the message, Buhari’s kinsman, Shehu Sani advised but what of the president’s mindset? Late Sir Tafawa Balewa said that ‘cooperation is for each man to be true to his religious belief and to reaffirm the basic principles of his particular creed’. It is obvious that the letter is not for selfish but for the Nigeria nation…many felt if Buhari would only listen to some of these good criticisms and fix the country, then he will be the one to take the accolades, Buhari should have known better but again, for his mindset. Though, Buhari may be abusing OBJ, calling him unprintable names, and Obasanjo may not be perfect, but he is one of the greatest and most intelligent persons to have ruled Nigeria. Buhari knows this and should read this letter and act on the listed items immediately for the sake of the nation.
Desperation is now in Nigeria with votes of no confidence being passed on the government on its ability to provide security for their lives and properties. Citizens will take recourse to anything and everything that can guarantee their security individually and collectively. In spite of government’s claim of victory over Boko Haram, the potency and their activities are still active and remain undiminished, many now put lie to the government’s claim. Now the herdsmen and farmer’s crises started with government treating the issue with kid gloves instead of using sledge hammer. It is obvious now that blame game among our forces must be avoided; it is debilitating and only helpful to our adversaries.
Wide spread banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and killings all over the country, are mostly caused by the Fulani/herdsmen. And they are still bragging about it openly. What are the grievances of those herdsmen, if any? Nigerians would want them to bring them to the open and if legitimate, will be addressed. If other ethnic groups too have grievances, let them also bring them forward and same addressed through debate and dialogue, however, my take is that Buhari think these are not worthy of consideration.
When you are more concerned with how you are being judged and fear that you might not live up to expectations. Instead of exploring and embracing new ideas while considering others experiences, the president rather sees those corrections as coming from unpatriotic citizens. The content of the letter is nothing but the summary of the security challenges facing the country and possibility of it escalating to a genocide which could lead to total breakdown of law and order. Politics aside, our national security is of utmost importance to all, rich or poor, young or old, therefore there is no need for sentiments. Ayobrown, Senior System Analyst, National Pilot Newspaper, writes via aayobrown@gmail.com

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