Opinion

Open Letter to President Muhammadu Buhari by Peace Anyiam-Osigwe

Your Excellency,

Scratch that!

Dear Dad,

At your age sir you can be called Dad by all of us born since Independence! Therefore it behoves on you to act in that manner . You keep sending people to talk to us but we deserve to hear you speak directly to us and not laugh at us.

The Creatives in Nigeria are true examples of what can be termed, “The Nigerian Never Die spirit of We Can Do Am and We Fit Run Am.” We have never allowed the many issues that prevail—from lack of electricity, bad roads, poor health care systems, and other necessities—to deter us. We have made Nigeria very proud by creating the second-largest film industry in the world based on share numbers and our determination. Our musicians have created Afrobeats and our visual artists are selling paintings at unprecedented values. Our designers are globally renowned. How else can children make a father proud?

We may dress and act differently but we have pushed so much into the GDP of this great nation. Dad, you have lost children from sickle cell, you know how it feels to lose a child, and you know too that human life is the greatest asset. Now, imagine how you have allowed the wasting of lives through the menace of rogue policemen under the auspices of SARS. We asked you to end SARS, you did. But your Inspector General of Police in his ‘wisdom’ decided to set up a new team almost immediately, which means he lacks emotional intelligence to understand the pain we are asking you to alleviate. The SARS members were like a hit squad, killing and enriching themselves, yet answerable to no one.
In the last 10 days, you have refused to speak to us directly as your children, as though we don’t matter but we do matter. In the last few days, you have heard about how one police officer killed over 1,000 young people, throwing their bodies in the river, asking fathers to swim through dead bodies to find their missing children. If we scripted this in one of our Nollywood films, everyone would scream “Chai, Nollywood has come again,” because such a story will be considered improbable, but these are real-life stories, not our scripts.

Your daughters are being raped by these beasts. The Creatives have been badly assaulted by these people. What are we asking for that you cannot do?

Reform the police system in Nigeria. We believe that you should be listening to the genuine voices of your children, who are calling on you without any aggression that they require a progressive reform of the force. Policing is a vital need for the security of our country and with the level of digital technology, new strategies and training need to be devised to bring personnel in the force into the digital age.
The police people are underpaid, lack any iota of personal presentation whilst on duty, without any identifiable uniform. There is nothing disciplined about the present Nigeria Police force.

Daddy, your people had a lot of hope in you, so they took away a sitting President and you came in. You find it hard to see that your youthful population is your major asset.

Maybe, those around you always fail to tell you about our achievements, maybe your handlers only tell you about our bad behaviors. We can work with you to use technology to tighten security in the country.

We can help your ministers acquire the digital knowledge to help with logistics and financial management. As you can see, these “Lazy Youths” have organized a peaceful protest refusing to be hijacked by any political party or personality.

At this stage, a good father would know that his children are honestly just calling for you to understand their needs, show them you are listening; come out and speak to your children, tell us how to work with you to harness our wealth of skills and turn this Nation around.

For the sake of the souls of your children—Chibuike Anams, Tina Ezekwe, Kolade Johnson, Onovo Mathew, Ayomide Taiwo, Tiyamiu Kazeem, Jimoh Isiaq, and about a thousand others—answer the call of young people on the streets and stop keeping silent whilst we bleed in absolute pain. We call you Dad and Father, and we expect you to treat us as sons and daughters—unless you want us to call you the Brigadier General, the Major, or the Commandant.

Thank you!

With Love, Light and the blessings of the CHI
Yours truly,
Your supposed children and Your Most Valued Assets.

#ENDSARSNOW
#REFORMTHEPOLICE

Peace Anyiam-Osigwe MFR
Founder Africa Film Academy
Curators of the Africa Movie Academy Awards .

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