Archbishop Okogie Writes Buhari An Open Letter “Are You A Nigerian Or Not”?
The Patriarch of Lagos Catholic community and Archbishop Emeritus, Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, has taken a swipe at President Muhammadu Buhari, describing him an all-round failure, who must now tow the part of honour and relinquish power in the interest of the nation.
He maintained that there is one question that Mr. President has a duty to answer saying: “Dear Mr. President, we must call a spade a spade. You were elected to protect the land and its people. But neither is protected under your watch. You, therefore, have the most important decision of your career to make. And that decision is this: Are you for Nigerians or not?”
Okogie’s letter is coming against the background of government’s failure to halt the incessant killings of innocent Nigerians by Fulani herdsmen. According to him, every human life is precious. He stressed that the life of every Nigerian, irrespective of ethnic, regional or religious affiliation is to be treated with dignity; adding, “all around the world, citizens look to their government to protect them.
But, here in Nigeria, the blood of the innocent flows like water despite Nigerians’ demand that government secure their lives and property.” “Not too long ago, Chief Olu Falae, a senior citizen of Nigeria, was abducted on his farm by herdsmen. Since then, others have struck in Enugu, Delta and Oyo states. In the middle belt, they have robbed, raped, and slaughtered human beings like cows.
They have taken over other people’s land in the name of grazing. “Dear President Buhari, I am compelled to write to you again because, since the bloodshed of the first day of this year, there has been more bloodshed in Zamfara State and in the middle belt. The latest killings in Plateau State makes us wonder: where were you, Mr President, while innocent lives were being wasted in Plateau State?
Where were your service chiefs when babies were being ripped out of their mothers’ wombs by men who claim to do so because of their cows, Okogie further asked? He, however, noted that the atrocities were committed during the ruling party (APC’s) National Convention insisting that it was simply “scandalous that at about the time innocent Nigerians were being slaughtered like cows in Plateau State last weekend, some members of your party were dancing and feasting at your party convention in Abuja, while some were throwing chairs at each other, and some others were exchanging blows.”
He added: “That, in itself, points to the absence of democracy in your party, as is the case in virtually all the political parties in Nigeria. The absence of internal democracy in yours and in other parties is itself a threat to security. It points to a scarcity of politicians with credible democratic credentials and temperament.
It signals that our democracy is in danger. Okogie said: “Where democracy is in danger, civil liberties are in danger. The right to life cannot be guaranteed in a country where those who aspire for public office resort to violence and other undemocratic practices at their party convention. He said that the number killed under President’s watch, provides more than convincing evidence that “the government you lead has failed to secure our lives.
You are commander in chief of the armed forces. If, more than three years into your administration, you have been unable to stop these killings, why don’t you seriously consider the option of an honourable renunciation of the presidential seat?”
He said that one of the major factors behind the patent failure of the Buhari-led government is the fact that the President surrounded himself with men and women who fail to tell him the truth about Nigeria and who shield him from seeing what is happening to the ordinary Nigerian.
“Instead of assisting you in the governance of this country, they insult those whose dissenting opinions you need if you are to succeed. How does one explain the fact that, under your watch as commander in chief, agencies established to maintain law and order, instead of protecting innocent citizens of this country, dissipate their energy running after members of opposing parties? Do you call that democracy?
“No right-thinking person would advocate letting anyone off the hook who has committed a crime. No one is above the law. Not even you, Mr. President. That is why the Constitution provides for a process of removing the President. That is why the point must also be made that those who contravene the laws of Nigeria be brought to book irrespective of their political, regional, ethnic or religious affiliation. But the sad reality is, under your watch that is not what obtains.”