Segun Showunmi, spokesperson of former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar on Thursday, congratulated President Muhammed Buhari on his 78th birthday.
His congratulatory message was contained in a message posted on his Facebook page titled, Buhari @78.
The post reads, Happy Birthday Mr. President.
As I reflected on what to write,
my heart became enveloped by empathy towards you, and all anger dissolved for I am reminded of how difficult the times are, and the challenges we face as a nation, especially you our President at this time.
I want to, on your behalf, thank Almighty Allah. Indeed, we cannot despise any of Allah’s favours, especially given how he has kept you alive and put you in charge of Africa’s most populous country.
Mr President, I give you credit for the effort at infrastructural development in the country, the ongoing rail modernisation projects, the second Niger bridge, the Mambila hydroelectric project, and the Siemens power project to mention a few.
I commend you for this, for I am not unmindful of how difficult it is to get anything done in our country because of the attitude of our people towards corrupt personal enrichment. One who does not recognise effort can not see faults. To pretend to see challenges is to run the risk of coming across as hateful, insincere and naive. May the projects all come together for the benefit of our people.
Mr President, please note that you are not doing as well as I would have liked with communicating and connecting with our people. I want you to work on this for a misunderstood leader can cause grave consequences, especially in a multi-ethnic country like ours with attendant implications on national cohesion, peace, forbearance and stability, all of which are needed when the global outlook is dire.
Mr President, it is time to plan succession, and by this, I do not mean power transfer within your party. I mean looking at the country and determining who and those that must take the reign for the work to be done is serious. Nigeria can not sustain its future on the supposed generosity of other countries in the West, China or the Arab world.
We must become reasonably self-sufficient people. To do this, we need far more honest leaders whose hearts beat for our country and its progress. I dare say it will be most unfortunate to narrow your searchlight only to those around you. Look broader, farther and more deliberately. National Unity and Cohesion are critical, for we must have a country at peace with itself for us to have meaningful development.
I am a little worried about your legacy. Often, I find that deep in my heart, I get a sense that those around are not as mindful of their actions as they ought to be. Given the huge sacrifice I suspect you are making, it is way too difficult to find a positive narrative about our country these days that one is bound to ask: is the president not bothered about how things are?
On the anti-terrorism war, dear President, our military can do with new inspiration, which can only come from the top. I do not pretend to know why you are unwilling to get new hands in charge of our Armed Forces, but you may need to consider this: are any of our officers indispensable to the extent that no one within the system can do their jobs? You are the Commander in Chief; do think about this.
Mr President, it is time for you to expand the dragnet of where you get inspiration by reaching out to other critical stakeholders in the country, especially Atiku Abubakar. For whatever it is worth, he contested the last election with you. I believe the greater good of the country will be served if you both work together to get our country out of the financial mess we are in.
Sometimes, ideological differences need not be elevated to enmity within brothers.
It is time to look at your cabinet and rejig it to energise your process towards a wrap-up and a passing of the baton.
Happy Birthday once again. May God bless Nigeria.