By Abraham Ogbodo
There is a small course involving four students currently going on at the Nigeria’s Leadership Academy. The specific topic of the day is Advanced Letter Writing in which the diction and mechanics involved in writing a letter to a non-performing sitting president are taught. Two students have submitted their assignments and what they turned in has been adjudged excellent by the tutor.
The remaining two students have not submitted anything and the topic will be under-developed if all four letters are not in. The defaulters are Generals T.Y Danjuma and Abdulsalami Abubakar. The two diligent students that have submitted their letters are Generals Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida. Since the defaulters are not expressing a willingness to turn in something and with what the Catholic Bishops were able to add last week, I think there is enough to close that topic for now.
Apart from writing letters, these four men are also the preferential shareholders in a company called Nigeria Plc. In matters of prime corporate importance like the recruitment of a new CEO and adoption of new operating rules for the company, the quartet enjoys the right of first refusal. This means that it is only after they have refused to express interest in a matter that concerns all of us that ordinary shareholders like you and I can show interest in the same matter.
As I was saying, whatever that is outstanding about the diction and mechanics of writing a letter to a non-performing sitting President should be left out. Danjuma and Abdulsalami can keep their own letters forever. Maybe they decided not to write because there was nothing to add or remove from the letters written by Obasanjo and Babangida, both of which were robustly complemented by the presentation of the Catholic Bishops.
We have got to move forward. Something else happened last week. Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was given a big federal appointment to reconcile all the contradictions in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). I wouldn’t know whether to congratulate or sympathize with him because there are just too many things to reconcile. One list making the rounds in the social media put the items for conciliation at about 50, including reconciling Aisha Buhari with her husband on one hand, and reconciling her with the cabal in Aso Rock, on the other hand.
Even though he is the Alpha Romeo in almost all cases, to make a success of this huge assignment handed him by President Buhari, the Lion of Bourdillon and the Jagaban Borgu must hunt in a pack of other small stakeholders in the jungle called Nigeria. And so, instead of doing more letters to Buhari and forcing him to read voraciously and extensively as if preparing for the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) at age 75, henceforth, all useful letters and memos on the state of the nation should be directed to the Tinubu Reconciliation Committee.
After so much cry in the land and in the APC too, God has touched the heart of Buhari. The man has just magnanimously offered a small window to correct the contradictions in his party and by extension, the whole country. And the man to anchor the reconciliation is the one who, almost all alone about four years ago, created the APC that has in turn created the national contradictions with its own contradictions. It is something to wait for really.
Although there is no attempt here to ascribe Tinubu with transcendental potentials, his current assignment is not too different from what we as humans, ask God to do for us on a daily basis. When we pray to Him to remove the devil from our lives, the understanding is that God created the devil in the first place and He alone has a containment strategy. It is the same way Nigerians are looking up to Tinubu concerning the Buhari government.
In other words, Tinubu now has another chance (there are not too many instances of a second chance in real life) to rework his earlier bad work. If he succeeds, he shall be adjudged among the luckiest men on earth. He would not be like the unfortunate Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein who created an unstoppable monster that turned to consume him and inflict pains on society.
I am therefore genuinely calling for help for Tinubu in the belief that, the man may not understand what he has been asked to do. He may have a parochial approach and think, as already being speculated in the social media, that his job is to settle domestic squabbles among APC’s members; such as reconciling President Buhari with his wife; Shehu Sani with El-Rufai; Kwankwaso with Ganduje; Dino Melaye with Yahaya Bello, and so on.
The task is much deeper than that and those who know how to write English even better than the Queen of England should do a public memo on behalf of Nigerians to the Tinubu committee detailing its actual mandate as it is understood by the people of Nigeria. The starting point, however, is for Tinubu to assume some courage, at least once since 2015, and rename the committee from APC Reconciliation to National Reconciliation.
I do not know how many other Nigerians are on the committee with Tinubu. But my additional suggestion is this: The public memo to be beautifully crafted by the trio of Professors Wole Soyinka, Itse Saga and Tam David West should be translated to Yoruba by Mr. Femi Falana to deepen the understanding of Yoruba members of the committee.
Prince Tony Momoh shall do the Edo/Afemai translation. He shall work closely with Adams Oshiomhole, Kassim Afegbua and Patrick Obahiangbon. Governors Ortom and Lalong shall give the translations in all the languages in the Middle Belt. They shall be ably assisted by Paul Unongo, Senators Barnabas Gemade and George Akume. Rotimi Amaechi and Senator Magnus Abe will be forced to bridge their differences and work together to produce the Ikwerre and Ogoni translations of the memo for the benefit of their people.
Dr. Chris Ngige and the statues moulder in Owerri shall supply the Igbo version. As it seems, Prof Tam David West may be given the extra task of doing the Ijaw/Kalabari translation. Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo should be able to put together a team of translators that should include, Senators Omo-Agege, Egba Ndo-Ndoma and Udo Udoma, Ima Niboro, the Ologbotsere of Warri Kingdom, Chief Emami Ayiri, Victor Ochie, Prof. Pat Utomi and Dr. Ibe Kachikwu to do translations that will take care of the other key languages in the Niger Delta.
Whether he likes it or not, the Hausa/Fulani translation must be supplied by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. In the end and after the memo and its translations in various Nigerian languages must have reached Ashiwaju and his committee, an appeal will be made to Pastor Tunde Bakare to rally other men of God to use the content of the memo as part of their messages to their congregations. We can’t get it wrong if this approach is adopted.
On the whole, things are moving faster than we expected. It is as if a benevolent spirit has descended from heaven to crack the hard nut for Nigerians. First, it was the APC committee headed by Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State that said the party is ready (in spite of President Buhari) for the restructuring of Nigeria. Then came the announcement by the President himself of the Tinubu committee on reconciliation, which was followed almost immediately by a declaration by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, that finally and finally, the road to national security is state police!
I don’t know of any missing link that can be added to reach the conclusion that the moment we have been waiting for has come. I ask that we seize the moment with all hands. And to think that the same man who practically led us from the bondage in Egypt into the wilderness of hopelessness is on call again makes it all the more curious. Yes, Tinubu can regain the lost compass to the Promised Land and stem the current aimlessness. He is the Great Jagaban Borgu and Lion of Bourdillon. He is at the threshold of making history. He can decide to reconcile only the APC and leave out Nigeria and be damned. The choice is entirely his in this matter, which, to borrow from Warri parlance, is as small as an elephant.
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