Address Grievances in Well-Coordinated Manner, Okupe Tells Buhari in New Letter

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Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, has warned the Federal Government against the use of force to resolve the various agitations by component parts of the federation.

Rather, he said, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration should initiate a process of addressing those grievances in well-coordinated manner.

Okupe expressed this view in an open letter addressed to President Buhari, which he made available to journalists in Abuja on Sunday.

The former presidential aide said history had shown that when agitations are real and genuine, it is just a matter of time before they are eventually resolved, either positively or negatively.

He described the agitation for a sovereign state of Biafra, restructuring and resource control as products of genuine fears corroborated by clinically evident actions and inactions of government that need to be addressed.

While noting that the recent broadcast of the President upon his return from medical vacation did not help to calm frayed nerves and provide hope for the country, Okupe said if President Buhari must leave an enduring legacy for himself and his administration, he will have to increase and widen the scope of consultations nationally and be prepared to adopt and employ new approaches in this rapidly changing world.

On the fight against insurgency in the North Eastern part of the country, Okupe suggested a deployment of additional 20,000 troops in the region within 90 days, as well as leasing of fighter jets from friendly nations to boost the fighting power of the military and ensure that the war is not prolonged beyond the lifespan of the Buhari administration.

He also advised President Buhari to take cognisance of the need to make significant impact within the remaining months of his administration by initiating urgent intervening programmes to complete key projects such as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, the East West Road, the Second Niger Bridge, as well as boosting the generation and distribution capacity of electricity to 10,000 megawatts.

He said, “This administration has a maximum of 16-18 months of rain-free period for active construction (works). Government must carefully select one or two major road projects that can be completed within the next 18 months in each zone.

“In the South-West, Lagos-Ibadan expressway is the star project and it can be completed within 18 months.

“In terms of funding, government may either borrow or revert urgently to the financial model of PPP that existed prior to your administration’s takeover. Similar projects in the three zones in the North can also be identified and executed within this same period.”

While rejoicing with the President on his recovery and resumption of office, Okupe urged Buhari to use the “rare opportunity offered him by God” to show gratitude and “turn the nation to the Creator” through a deliberate declaration of days of thanksgiving in churches and mosques across the country.

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