Letter To President Goodluck Jonathan
11 December 2013
Good day Your Excellency, Mr. President.
My name is Elvis Ojeifo. I am a youth and citizen of Nigeria and I am not a graduate.
I had to use this channel to speak with you because none of these other channels are open to me.
1. Violence and militancy
2. Mass Media (TV and Newspapers)
3. Political godfathers
Sometimes when I listen to politicians and activists, they seem to highlight the points of failure of government but they don’t offer meaningful suggestions to tackling the problems. Maybe they do but government has developed the habit of ignoring peaceful dialogue and has opted for violence before settlement or public (media) ridicule. I see your government has become a reactive one and I begin to wonder why I stood under the sun for over 8 hours to vote for the first time in my life for you.
In my secondary school, an agenda, as I understood it, was a list of items for discussion. Now I realize that your Transformation Agenda was indeed an agenda and I was too excited to notice that or even asked to see the content of the agenda before heading for the polling booth. You said you had no shoes.
I expected that such an experience will drive you to fight poverty vigorously but instead youradministration has taken away the one pair of slippers that some of us had and made us bare footed.
We have become poorer than you met us. Because this is a public channel, I will not discuss or raise issues that will incite the already aggrieved youths of this nation further here unless I have no other means to discuss them with you or your government that will not attract public ridicule or give your political colleagues something to be busy about. I believe, like every human, you don’t know everything and you are willing to accept and implement good suggestions that will indeed transform our lives as a people and a nation. Even the wisest of men still seek counsel. I have managed a few heads and I appreciate your efforts in managing over 160 million people.
However, I am forced to make this point because it is time bound and I don’t see how else to reach you before it lapses. It seems that most of your programmes for youth employment, job creation and seed capital for entrepreneurs are meant for graduates alone. I am forced to raise this alarm because aside the fact that we as youths have frowned at the fact that you have rewarded our age mates handsomely for taking up arms against the state and neglecting the rest of us, your empowerment programmes are intended for graduates mostly thereby marginalising those of us who are not so fortunate to attain that level of education.
You had no shoes but you had education, some of us have none of these. In your days, there were good public schools, today if you can’t afford to attend private schools in primary and secondary level, you don’t stand a chance.
I don’t know the statistics or metrics from which these programmes are drawn but let us reason together. How many youths who have taken up arms against the state are graduates? What percentage of today’s graduates has the capacity to create sustainable enterprises that will create the employment that you seek? See Bill Gates (Microsoft), Richard Branson (Virgin Group) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook). They were not graduates but they have impacted the economy of their country in no small measure including creating employment.
I have waited to see the 3rd round of YouWIN whether that clause will be lifted since the second edition was for women but it’s still there. Now the SURE-P programme seems to be designed mainly to provide loans to transport operators who have the collateral capacity to payback either in assets or godfathers.
I am a taxi driver as well and I ask, if we all are taxi and keke drivers, who will be the passengers that will pay for the service? Because people only need transport when they have a destination they are going to. Jobless people don’t need transport. I don’t know about the rest of Nigeria but in Warri today the only viable enterprise now is keke driving and it has become highly saturated.
Mr. President, I am not a graduate, but I have 9 years IT experience and 7 of those years were spent in administrative capacity. If I have substantial capital, I can create both direct and indirect employment.
I had sent a proposal on a way to generate over 60,000 jobs in 36 months to my state government before and for more than 16 months; I have not gotten even an acknowledgment of receipt let alone an invitation to a discussion.
I do not boast but I know that more than 80% of your recent computer science & engineering graduates need to attend classes with me as their lecturer. Mr President, How do people like me benefit from these programmes?
Now I understand that your Amnesty Programme will soon come to an end, I don’t know what plan you have for them when you stop paying them. But I have a suggestion for you that will thrive better than giving money. It is a self-sustainable initiative that will also aid your subsidy removal campaign, create employment, reduce or eliminate crude oil theft and placate the agitated oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta. It will also be of benefit to Niger-Delta youths and investors in the oil and gas sector. I will be more than happy to share this with you and other viable solutions to eradicate poverty from my experience. It takes only 2 years to complete an OND programme and your government has given me 2 years’ experience in the poverty enterprise. In your days Mr. President, poverty was analogue; today it has a digital version.
It has been said that silence means consent. But your Excellency, the silence from the youths is not consent at all. It is a timed bomb ticking gradually to zero. I don’t want to experience the absence of relative peace. I believe in treating the ailment and not managing the symptoms as politicians do.
Mr. President, let me quickly appeal to your conscience and those of our reps and senators who seem to have forgotten the primary objective of their mandate which is to serve us the electorates.
Do you know that for weeks some bad spots along the route you took in your recent visit to World of Life Bible Church were fixed overnight before your visit? You need to see the huge ease these patches have brought to us. Please sir, make it a point of duty to pay some more unscheduled visit to all the states to at least see what is being done with the federal allocation given to them. This was one of the reasons why I think the Obasanjo administration was less tormenting. He was a travelling President. Even if you cannot scold state governments constitutionally, as the leader of the largest party in Africa, you must have a way to address this.
Again, as a more experienced father, with more than my 4 years fatherhood experience, you know how children behave at home when they know that daddy can come home anytime. Some things just work as they should so daddy won’t shout should he return unannounced.
I believe that every CEO would like to receive feedback once in a while from his customers/consumers about his or her goods or services.
Mr. President as your electorate, I wish to inform you that your lukewarm approach to dealing with corrupt practices is further increasing the annoyance in the youths. If you are avoiding the brand name given to President Obasanjo as using the EFCC as a tool to deal with his enemies, please don’t mind this. Make the EFCC work. If we have all Presidents using the EFCC to deal with their enemies, in a short while, sanity will return. Because people will do things carefully so that when a Pharaoh who does not know Moses becomes king they won’t have any reason to go to Jail. Even if you are not part of the corruption, your inaction says otherwise.
Mr. President, as the Chief Security Officer of the country, I appeal to your good office. Please find a better approach to secure us other than the crude army check point’s setup inside towns. These checkpoints cause unnecessary traffic delay and time is money whether you have shoes or not.
Criminals have passed these check points to visit terror on their victims to and fro without being caught. I believe gathering and utilising intelligence is a much better approach. The check points should be at entry and exit points of towns not within. You know best but please reduce the number of deaths due to delay in traffic caused by unnecessary check points.
To our Senators and reps both at the federal and state levels hear my appeal. You have formed the habit of representing your interests rather than those of your constituents. This is not news. What is new is that you do it shamelessly and with impunity. You are quick to raise and pursue such bills to make public administration secret because it suits your personal interests but for over half the executive tenure in most states, there are no local government elections. This you do not see anything wrong with.
Let me remind you that a fool is only a fool for as long as he remains ignorant. Once he knows what you know you will make refunds for what you cheated him with for his ignorance. If the majority of the suffering youths know that they can solve their problems constitutionally even before general elections just as you do when you no longer like a governor or president, you will have too much on your hands to handle at the same time. Some of you have had over 12 years’ experience with nothing to reflect this in your constituencies. I have tried to limit the message both in content and context because this is a public channel and I don’t intend to bring leadership down, I try to make them succeed maybe because I hardly associate without having a leadership responsibility attached to me.
Mr. President, I expect three types of responses to my appeals; one type from snipers and hired assassins, one type from people who want to convince you of their political loyalty and one type from a truly democratic leadership. I want to let you know that poverty has already killed me, I only exist.
So I have resolved that before I seize to exist, I will do the best I can to make my country better than it was for me for my children and my generation.
I look forward to meeting with you soonest.
Thank you for taking time to listen to me.
N.B.: For SURE-P admins: The email address firstname.lastname@example.org as published on your website is not found as at the time of this recording. If it is not deliberate then please fix it. These little things say much for how sincere we are about what we say we are.
God Bless Nigeria.