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El-Rufai’s Letter: The Message or the Messenger?

By May Ubeku

FOLLOWING the controversies that trailed former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s season of ‘letter writing’ during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, it has now become a national tradition among the Nigerian populace to x-ray the integrity of a writer often tagged as ‘messenger’ and certify him/her ‘morally-fit’ before the contents of such letters are considered.

Being morally-fit means different things to different people. But to most Nigerians, the messenger must be free of corruption allegations and charges. The messenger must be known to have rejected political appointment(s) or refused to serve under a ‘corrupt’ government. The messenger should also have a clean bill of record of not making friends with politicians. And finally, the messenger must be an advocate of the ‘common man’. Without these qualities the messenger indisputably has a hole in his/her pouch. Therefore, such a person lacks the moral justification to criticize the government.

This was the case, when Elder statesman Obasanjo wrote a letter to former President Jonathan calling his attention to some national issues he felt the then president neglected. The Obasanjo letter stirred an unusual imbroglio with many divided along the ‘message and messenger line’.

Today, the same scenario is playing out with Governor Nasir El-rufai’s letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

Should the president treat the content of El-rufai’s letter without putting his personality into consideration or disregard the letter due to the belligerent nature of the writer?

Nasir El-rufai is one man who seems to thrive in controversies. From his time as FCT Minister which was characterized by massive ‘unacceptable’ demolition of buildings; his contentious book of his account in the public service; his divisive comments on national issues and to his inability to manage the recent massacres in Southern Kaduna. These incidents have kept the Accidental Public Servant on the bad side of spotlight.

A man who is alleged to have tolerated the massacres of Christians, using state powers to intimidate critics is definitely ‘morally unfit’ to write a letter criticizing a sitting president, the Nigerian tradition has adjudged him. But looking critically at the issues dissected by El-rufai in his letter, one cannot but acknowledge the fact that the messenger has a strong message bothering on critical national issues that needs the urgent attention of Mr. President.

In his letter to Buhari, El-rufai stated that the failure of Buhari to deliver his campaign promises to Nigeria as president will ultimately affect his public rating as a Governor, regardless of his performance as one. This is clearly linked to the fact that both men belong to the same political party – All Progressive Congress (APC) that came into power on the mantra of ‘change’ to better the lives of Nigerians. This assertion by El-rufai is a known fact that cannot be denied.

Describing the present state of the economy as calamitous, El-rufai asked the president to urgently revamp the economy as the APC can no longer continue to blame the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for its inability to manage the economy. “We cannot after more than a year in office continue to rely only on this ‘blame them’ explanation”, he stated.

El-rufai also condemned Buhari’s lopsided appointments. Stating that his refusal to carry party members along and his frosty relationship with the formal and informal National Working Committee may spell doom for the APC.

“Another crisis is likely to be created if the current system of appointments persists with the composition of boards of Parastatals”, El-rufai wrote.

According to El-rufai, “In my honest opinion, we have made this situation worse by failing to be proactive in taking some political economic and governance decisions in a timely manner.”

No doubt, Buhari who was meant to be Nigeria’s messiah is the man plunging Nigeria into unredeemable economic crisis. last experienced 33 years ago.

Irrespective of the moral colouration of the messenger, Mr. President must understand that “the APC government is not doing well.”


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