Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR,
Let me start by wishing you a blessed Eid-el Fitri celebration. May the Almighty Allah receive your prayers and devotions, with blessings to you, your family and our nation, Nigeria.
Your Excellency, I write to you with a deep sense of passion, pure patriotism and good intent for Nigeria. As the days go by, we draw closer to the end of your administration. Nigerians will remember you for your strong will in governance, notable reforms across sectors, infrastructure, human and resourcedevelopment.
From the multibillion-naira funding for farmers, small-scale business owners and market women; to the payment of pension arrears owed staff of current and privatized/defunct Federal agencies; budget bail-out to states; revival of our hitherto moribund rail transport system; numerous road projects linking different parts of the country, including the 2nd Niger bridge; Nigerians recognize your efforts and contributions to nation building and the sanctity of our collective existence.
Mr. President, you have shown great leadership by not just steering the ship but also charting the course. Now, it is imperative that you “find a way to get much of your vision seen, implemented, and added to by others,” borrowing the words of top leadership thinker, John Maxwell. What better way to bow out with the legacy of having a good, capable, tested, trusted and experienced successor?
In the past weeks, we have seen declaration of interest in the Presidency from 35 politicians across board. Thisoverwhelming interest – the highest in Nigeria’s history, point to a widespread understanding of the high stakes and critical nature of our current political realities. There is no gainsaying that Nigeria’s survival and sustainability largely depends on who succeeds you as President.
Your Excellency, the next president must after careful assessment, be patriotic, proven to be of good standing, possess strong character and have the will to serve the Nigerian people, independent of any vested interests and influence. One person who easily embodies these qualities is your predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his antecedents readily show proof.
Through Dr. Jonathan’s economic policies and astute management, Nigeria grew to be ranked Africa’s largestand most diverse economy and 26th in the world in 2014 with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $510 billion in 2013 and foreign direct investment of over $25 billion. We believe that he has the potential to consolidate on these and your achievements to unleash economic growth that will reestablish Nigeria as an economic powerhouse.
It is also important to recall how Nigeria under his watch played its role as a leader amongst nations, supporting other African countries for sustainability. During the outbreak of the Ebola virus, the Nigerian government donated about $3.5 million in grants to West African countries to help ease the struggles of countries against the virus.
His reforms led Nigeria to significant strides in the road and rail developments nationwide, setting the tone for a multimodal transport system, with the revival of our moribund rail system, improvement in aviation infrastructure and the construction, rehabilitation and expansion of numerous road projects across the country.
Dr. Jonathan’s introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) in the financial sector, stands today as a novel innovation and one of the most significant and historic contributions in the fight against corruption in Nigeria. It is the bedrock of our centralized, efficient, transparent and accountable revenue and fiscal management system today. Similarly, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) was also introduced during the Goodluck Jonathan administration in 2010, eroding institutional corruption and inefficiency in personnel records and fund administration, saving the country billions of naira.
Mr. President, away from his numerous achievements, one thing that stands Dr. Jonathan apart and above all others, is his appreciable and amiable personality. One cannot help but appreciate his rare character of peace and patriotism, beyond personal gains and ambition. I am sure Your Excellency still recalls the famous and historic phone call you received on Monday March 30, 2015 at about quarter past five in the evening. With that singular action, Dr. Jonathan ceded powers to you, congratulating you on your victory against him, even before the official announcement of results by the umpire, INEC. An incumbent, conceding defeat is a rare event and unheard of in African political history.
Years after that event, Dr. Jonathan has continued to maintained absolute decorum, not given to hate or any ploy/plot to undermine or distract your administration, with the verbal and legal tantrums that is the stuff of aggrieved politicians. One can only attribute this to the class, maturity and selflessness that makes the man.Instead, Dr. Jonathan has devoted his life to driving peace across the African continent, earning him recognitions as a “Hero of Democracy” and “Ambassador of Peace” across the globe.
Your Excellency, it is also clear that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s influence and acceptability transcends the political divide, thin ethnic and religious lines that have often proved volatile through our common existence. As such, supporting and endorsing him to succeed you as Nigeria’s president, would have tremendous impact on our currently threatened situation.
The time is now to make the bold step and leave Nigeria with the lasting legacy of a good, proven, trusted, capable and experienced successor, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Dr. Mustapha Ahmadu
Chairman, Restore Nigeria Project writes from Kano and can be reached via [email protected]
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