Beyond The Open Letter – Before It Is Too Late – Whyte Habeeb

I had decided to keep mute on the issues of the open letters for two reasons. One, I do not want to get on the bandwagon and two; I subscribe that Baba Obasanjo is responsible for our national woes.

My silence was broken by request from my constituency – the youth, to whom I have an obligation to oblige. In obliging, I therefore do not want to contribute to analysis of the content of the letters but to look at the implications of the revelations in the letters on the Nigerian nation in near future, and how it affects the Nigerian youths. Tomorrow’s leaders who should rather be under some serious leadership and moral training, as, as the future leaders of Nigeria, unlike their colleagues in some other countries, they are going to be handed the leadership, most likely, of a failed state without any leadership value reference frame to guide them.

Rather than commence their leadership task from mobilizing citizens for concerted national development, the Nigerian youths, when handed leadership, will have to expend valuable time and resources in the most tedious task of de-educating the citizens of the wrong values given by these leaders. While our mates in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will be applying themselves in continuing on the point on the continuum of the national development plan handed to them by their leaders, we will spend equal years in divulging the minds of our mates of dishonesty, destructive greed, tribalism, terrorism, hooliganism, etc before we can begin to think of setting national development goals, then plans. We will be sure to be handed backwardness.

A World Bank sub-Saharan employment report published last week says 11million youths will be jobless by 2024. That is four years after the celebrated VISION 2020.

The content of the letters do not fail to inform us again that our leaders are morally bankrupt, treacherous and mischievous. And above all, they assumed us foolish. They have no remorse nor enjoy any character checkmating in the continuous bastardization of our future by uncontrolled abuse and denigration of the highest office.

But, if the objective of the new PDP left, APC friendly Obasanjo in writing the letter is to change the direction of the leadership and leadership orientation of Nigeria, the mess is worth it.

I therefore want to address former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Every great nation has got leaders who have the will and wit to galvanize the human potentials of the nation in the direction of patriotism, service and industry. It has never been enough for leaders to execute projects and count achievements. “Success is when you are there while prosperity is when you have left” – Abraham Lincoln

President Olusegun Obasanjo has got the opportunity more than anybody else to provide pristine leadership for the younger generations and recruit leaders who would not have compelled him to write open letters whether appropriate or not. As president for first 8-years of hard won democracy, if baba had done it right, there won’t be a presidential mess needing his personal intervention.

Leaders, who have similar opportunities, had utilized it not only to uplift the standard of living of their people, but to also help their people to evolve leaders who won’t lower the scale.

I am sure Baba understands this because he established the African Leadership Forum (ALF) for the same objective I suppose and may be the presidential library is conceived in same direction. My problem is, I do not understand why a general with “operational objective” or “target” orientation could be moving in opposite direction to his objective.

African Leadership Forum is a fluke if Senator Iyabo Obasanjo will represent what Baba detests in his letters and boldly ‘scolded’ Baba as if she has the integrity to enlighten us. Charity is expected to begin from home. And if the leaders prepared by ALF is what his ordained President Jonathan represents, as painted in Baba’s letter, then Baba has failed fatherland.

He has failed to provide Nigerian youths with the leadership template that will make him to retire in peace from politics and consequently retire from planet earth a celebrated hero and small god. If the realization of an urgent need to undo certain misdeeds is the driving force of the letter and the new Baba Obasanjo, I may wish to suggest to Nigerian youths that ours is not yet a hopeless situation. “Circumstances have changed people more than sermons have” – Winston Churchill.

Perhaps, this same impression informs the progressives’ leaders visit and the quest for ‘navigation’. The rightness and wrongness of these impressions could only be judged by time, going by the records.

In wishing to endear Nigerian youths to emerging change or changes, I will wish to crave Baba to follow up the open letter with the following, BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE;

  1. Re-engineering of African Leadership Forum. The forum must go beyond moribund academic discussions, privileged invitations, ostentatious packaging lacking depth and be positioned as a real leadership and moral training ground, accessible to Nigerian and African youths of all tribe, religion, political affiliation, moral orientation and economic status.
  2. Obasanjo Presidential Library must serve its essential purpose by equipping and making the library segment functional. The theatre, the auditorium, the church, the mosque, and the shopping malls are auxiliary and income sources. Downplaying the main library is manifesting the usual weak character of compromising objectives for peripherals in Nigerian leadership.
  3. Obasanjo Farm must complement its food provision and employment generation programme by evolving pragmatic Agro-Business Empowerment project that will strategically absorb growing unemployed youths into mainstream Agric sector, putting them at a stead they can compete globally. If governments and corporate organizations spend fortune to send people for sight-seeing and training in a private farm in neighbouring Republic of Benin annually, then Baba’s farm should do more. Youths in the BRICS access MSMEs loan at 1% interest while we access at 15% in Nigeria as if there is deliberate attempt by our leaders to incapacitate us from competing with future leaders of sister developing nations.

A Southwest adage says, “The dead goes only back to its stead; the father of a child is always the owner of the child”. Nigerian youths do not have another fatherland to claim. The mistakes, ineptitude and (mis)-management of our leaders is bastardizing our future, and if we do not have another fatherland, we have to claim our rights. If your Excellency can do these three, effectively and efficiently, not as another Nigerian project, I can assure you sir, that the “atun-bo-tan” (prosperity) will be honourable.

The World Bank 2024 unemployment prediction must not come to pass. Towards this, your Excellency has the greatest responsibility.





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