Tuesday, August 30, 2016 10:30 am
Cardinal Anthony Okogie, the Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, has written a letter to President Muhammad Buhari. In that ‘epistle,’ he stated that Nigerians are hungry and need Buhari’s assurances that things would be better. They want food.
In Okogie’s words: “Last year, when you assumed office, the chant of ‘Change’, your campaign slogan, ushered you into the Presidential Villa. Today, cries of ‘hunger’ could be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Nigerians are hungry, not only for food, but for good leadership, for peace, security and justice.
He added: “The introduction of town hall meetings is a commendable idea. But in practice, you, not just your ministers, must converse with Nigerians. You are the President. You must be accountable to them. The buck stops on your desk. Even if your administration has no magic wand, at least give some words of encouragement. On this same score, please instruct your ministers, and insist that they be sincere and polite at those town hall meetings. Their sophistry will neither serve you nor Nigerians.
According to the cleric, “change is not real when old things that we ought to discard refuse to pass away.” He urged the president to take a critical look at his cabinet, as well as the policies and programmes of his administration, including those who help him to formulate and execute the policies with a view to making necessary adjustments that will help him deliver on his promises.
Okogie went further:“Last year, when you assumed office, the chant of ‘Change’, your campaign slogan, ushered you into the Presidential Villa. Today, cries of ‘hunger’ could be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Nigerians are hungry, not only for food, but for good leadership, for peace, security and justice.
“This letter is to appeal to you to do something fast, and, if you are already doing something, to redouble your effort.“May it not be written on the pages of history that Nigerians died of starvation under your watch.
“As President, you are the chief servant of the nation. I, therefore, urge you to live up to the huge expectation of millions of Nigerians. A stitch in time saves nine.”
He suggested the way forward for Nigeria: “This is the second year of your administration. You and your party promised to lead the masses to the promised land. It is not an easy task to lead.
“But by campaigning for this office, you offered to take the enormous task of leadership upon yourself. Nigerians are waiting for you to fulfill the promises you made during the campaign. They voted you into office because of those promises.
“Mr. President, if you want to leave a credible legacy come 2019, in all sincerity, please retool your administration. Change is desirable. But it must be a change for the better. Let this change be real.
“Change is not real when old things that we ought to discard refuse to pass away. You will need to take a critical look at your cabinet, at the policies and programmes of your administration, and at those who help you to formulate and execute them.
“You will need to take a critical look at the manner of appointments you have been making. It is true that commonsense dictates that you appoint men and women you can trust, but if most of the people you trust are from one section of the country and practise the same religion, then you and all of us are living in insecurity,” Okorie said