Will you be a builder or a destroyer? Memo to Ibrahim Agbola Gambari

By Editor on 13/05/2020

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Gambari

Congratulation Prof. on your new appointment. I guess that is where to start. Because, political appointment confers on the holder immense powers, sometimes of life and death, anyone that is so elevated is seen to have arrived, hence, some people seek it to cap their own individual achievements. Besides, it is also supposed to be a sort of representation of a people, and not just the individual, notwithstanding whether such people ever get the privilege of a handshake, not to talk of a cup of garri. It is enough to know that the person there is our person.

Therefore I suppose, somewhere in Ilorin, Kwara State, some animals must have lost their heads and their different parts dancing azonto in the soup pot in readiness to accompany the ever present amala, pounded yam, lafu and other kinds of swallow on their journey through the esophagus to their resting place in the stomach. On that I could bet my last cup of garri.

That is why those who wonder why you accepted the role of the Chief of Staff (CoS) to President Muhammadu Buhari, after attaining such a height at the international scene, miss the point. They do, because, if they are genuinely convinced in their arguments and not just expressing bad belle, it means that they are not living in Nigeria and, or, have actually been living in the moon for these past five years or more.

So, while I congratulate you, individually, I also congratulate your people, who must share in this glory and join them in their celebration.

But outside that Sir, there is no Nigerian today, including those living in the moon, who does not appreciate the enormous job thrust into your able hand by the President, with the benefit of hindsight. What it means, in fact and indeed, is that you are being handed over the Presidency of Nigeria. Simplicita!

That, in fact, is the reason for this letter. I wish to impress this fact to you, so that you realise the expectations of Nigerians from the outset. Of course, I’m sure you must have been briefed by either your boss by now, or those he has delegated to do so – since we are told he likes delegating functions - on your need to do and your priorities. In other words, you must by now be quite seized of the agenda of this government, assuming you were, or are not part of it, ab initio.  

Sir, whatever your brief could be, those we know and those hidden in the bowels of the Aso Rock Villa, exposed to only the much-advertised cabal, please, allow me the privilege to remind you quickly enough that in that office you have just assumed this morning, the implication of before and after, has assumed a different meaning from what it was in the past.

Yes, before now, even though no less powerful, not many had taken interest in the office of the CoS, until it assumed its present different meaning. The last occupier, the late Abba Kyari, made it so, Sir. That is why everyone had waited these past three weeks for who was going to be Buhari’s next CoS with such manifest interest. The media blitz bespeaks this importance.

Prof. I may not need stress how your predecessor ended up, because you must have full knowledge of that aspect. Surely, at 67, (it doesn’t matter some wicked traducers dashed him some more years to make it 88), he still believed that he had some more years ahead of him and made plans to that effect. Of course he was right to make plans, because it is only a dead man that would not have plans. But it also shows how distant man’s plans are from that of God. For as the Holy Book, said, God’s thoughts are as far from man’s as the heavens are to the earth.

What then is the implication, Prof.? As you hit the ground running, you must realise the importance of using the office you occupy to do good at the same time and not wait for your allies to be the one to see these good deeds, but the public.

This is where the experience of Kyari must act as your guide. I’m sure you are aware of the history he left behind and the controversy that has trailed him to his resting place. Particularly, you couldn’t have missed the exchange between a circle of his friends and family members who believe he was an excellent man, “highly misunderstood” and a groundswell of Nigerians, who believe otherwise, and who indeed see in him all that was wrong in Nigeria during the period he held sway as the much-touted de-facto Nigerian President. It is left to you, therefore, my dear Prof. to choose on which side to anchor.

But remember, whichever side, there would be history at the end of the day, which you may not be there to influence, since we are all mortals and would have to give way one day. Would you be another Abba Kyari , loved only by his family and friends and loathe by many of his countrymen or would you be a Ibrahim Agbola Gambari, loved by Nigerians, even if loathe by a few friends? That question, you must begin to answer beginning from today.

Prof., I know, being a very intelligent man, who has swum across the mighty ocean and journeyed across seven rivers and seven forests, while contending with all the elements in your life’s vicissitudes, you will find no difficulty in making your choice. So, knowing what the issues are, you would be making your choice with clear eyes.

But let me touch on one or two, which if you are able to solve, using your wealth of experience, would make the great difference this country has been yearning.

It begins with the fact that Nigeria is completely broken as a nation today. Even before the COVID-19 scourge that has been declared a global pandemic, with countries of the world struggling to get out of its devastating effects, Nigeria was heavily troubled already. Indeed, it was actually perching dangerously on the edge of the precipice, where it needed only a little push to send it crashing downwards to be scattered and dismembered by the jagged rocks below. That the danger seems to have receded now is because we are dealing with a danger of far more frightful and devastating dimension.

Sir, the question now remains, are you here to build or scatter? If you are here to build, there is still a chance that you could succeed in pushing back the country to a point of minimal danger, where though there were issues, but nobody was actually talking gladly, loudly and copiously about disintegration.

That may be difficult, but not impossible, fact being that the ubiquitous Aso Rock hawks – I don’t know if the cabal is still in existence - might pose stiff resistance to any pan-Nigerian agenda. But determination to succeed, using the immense powers your principal has ceded to your office would be you bulwark.

Here is what to do. First, try to touché up the Presidency. Bring some sort of modernity in that enclave. Open it up and make it less of an arena where every business is transacted in darkness. In other words, lead Nigerians into the Villa, as it was in the days of Obasanjo, Yar’Adua and, or Jonathan, where we saw the people there doing their thing.

President Buhari to unveil Prof. Agboola Gambari as new Chief of ...

Sir, I’m sure you will not buy into this wacky manner the President cocoons himself and delegates even the simplest task – what Femi Adesina, his spokesman, attributes as “Style.” Nobody in the past has ever adopted such a strange behaviour and none in the present. We understand that Buhari may not be as strong as he used to be. But so were Nelson Mandela and Robert Mugabe. They became infirm at one time or the other, but it didn’t cost them public appearance. The important thing is the love and respect for the people. Buhari must not only show that he loves Nigerians but he respects them. Ensure that happens.

Your boss, our President, has earned the inglorious reputation of running the most parochial and nepotistic government in the history of Nigeria. You have to change this, because it stands and speaks to the core of what Nigeria has endured throughout his government. I don’t know how you are going to do that since, as we say here, water don pass garri. Surely, you are not going to reverse any of the appointments and other actions which heavily underscore this nasty legacy. But, you could still redeem some of these appointments and spread it to other parts of the country or at least ensure that in subsequent editions, he remembers that Nigeria boundaries go beyond the core North.

I can assure you that if you are able to achieve this singular feat, you will be on the way of hitting the bull’s eyes. It is of course, up to you, as a man of experience, to develop a template for achieving this, by knowing how to circumvent the hawks.  

Sir, I’m sure you are also aware of the new meaning the Fulani has assumed as an ethnic group in Nigeria. Surely, too, Prof., you must also be aware that Buhari is the third Fulani man to be the President of Nigeria, with the late Shehu Shagari and Umaru Yar’Adua preceding him and the fact that during the days of these former Presidents, we never contended with the issues confronting us today as a country as regards the Fulani people.

So, I’m sure, therefore, that you will not align yourself with those who see the outcry against this group as borne out of hatred or ethic profiling. The the devastation, including wanton carnage inflicted upon parts of the country through direct attacks and criminal activities, such as kidnapping and armed robbery, must assume their true meaning. These activities must end immediately as a matter of priority, Sir.

Luckily, you are also Fulani. This means, you must understand the dynamics. Thus, you must know how to speak to them to ensure the perpetrators of these high crimes, which we hear are quite few, do not continue to bespatter an otherwise friendly race with the paintbrush of infamy.  

Since the President is substantially the face of his country, I will also beg you to find a way of selling Buhari to the outside world. What we hear, including the story that President Donald Trump, actually depicted him as lifeless, is not good at all for us. The repair work and actual merchandising of our President, should not present a problem, regarding where you are coming from.

Since all other appointees, including the ministers must report to you, it means you are the engine room of this government. Please, help the team already generated by the President to achieve set goals without let or hindrance. Your personal interest or ego must not becloud the national interest. I’m sure you must have heard the story between your predecessor and former Minister of Health, Akin Adewunmi and how the former allegedly became a victim of his own ego-tripping construct.

My dear Prof., you have just begun your job and I don’t wish to bore, harangue or filibuster you in any way with long treatise, on issues I’m sure you are well seized of.

But let me add by way of observation that many people who claim to know you are already giving their testimony even before you settle down. I have just read one from Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, one of your colleagues in the diplomatic circle. It was not a nice commentary. Some Nigerians also see you as a fundamentalist, who would lend yourself to finishing off the Islamic and Fulani agenda, which Kyari could not accomplish before his sudden death. They say that was why Buhari took his time to find the right person.

Sir, I wish to see those views as coming from naysayers or those unsure of your true character. After all, there are always two sides to a coin.

But, if on the other hand, you are here to scatter, all you need do is ignore the foregoing. That might be all it requires to ignite the fire and cause the cataclysmic eruption that has been waiting to happen or the push that would tip Nigeria off the cliff. The choice is yours.

May I end, Sir, with these last words – you can never win against the people, no matter how you try. May Allah help you in choosing right!

Igboanugo, a journalist, lives in Abuja

 

Source Whirlwindnews.com

Posted on May, 13 2020

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