An Open Letter To Buhari On The Eve Of Inauguration [Op-Ed]

'Gbénga Sèsan pens an open letter to Muhammadu Buhari on the eve of the Nigerian President-Elect's inauguration.

**Photo via Buhari's Facebook Page

Information and communications guru, 'Gbénga Sèsan was appointed Nigeria's first Information Technology Youth Ambassador in 2001. Currently he is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria and uses his expertise for socio-economic transformation in Nigeria and Africa.

Dear President-Elect,

In April, despite your imminent victory, I found my eyes full of tears. "We can't afford to go through this again," I said to myself, knowing well the man-hours and money I had invested in the electoral defeat of the incumbent president. My work as a social entrepreneur at Paradigm Initiative Nigeria is to connect disadvantaged youth with opportunities; this was one election that just had to go right – to bring in a government that would do the required work to put a dent in the youth unemployment rate of 56%.

The 2019 elections will see upsets for those who win today but refuse to move a muscle towards required work.

I remind you on the eve of your inauguration that you have promised to work for change, and have said that you will “not be a ruling party, but a governing party." You will inherit a divided country and weak economy. The work of rebuilding Nigeria will be so tough that you'll ask yourself from time to time, "why did I work so hard to inherit this mess?"

While winning an election would make a politician occupy office, only performance will keep you there. The Nigerian electorate is maturing and the 2019 elections will see upsets for those who win today but refuse to move a muscle towards required work. You, who rode the wave of change and promise of competence, must perform or face electoral defeat. The same goes for the likes of Nasir El-Rufai and Akunwunmi Ambode, the latter who benefited from the hard work put in by the outgoing governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola. A new type of politician, Governor Fashola did what he promised on the campaign train by investing heavily in infrastructure and human capital, and focused on generating alternative revenue for Lagos instead of going cap-in-hand to the federal capital for monthly subventions before any work get done.

We as citizens must be the new opposition.

Nigeria needs a vibrant democracy and we would have expected the People’s Democratic Party to become that effective opposition party, but instead, they seem to be towing the line of crude opportunists by emptying into your new governing party. To balance the scales of power, we as citizens must be the new opposition; and that explains why many of us will shed the cloak of partisan party and candidate support to assume our role as watch(wo)men of the republic. We must insist that performance is beyond building roads and tokenistic commissioning exercises. Performance measurement must now include effective communication and citizen engagement, and you will not be promised Nobel prizes for doing the work you fought hard to occupy office for.

For you, President-elect, your honeymoon is already over and the choice of team members will be the first signal to show us if you’re here to work, or to reward political affiliates. As I said at the volunteer appreciation event organised earlier in your campaign, I say again to you, and to every elected office holder:

"Sycophants will come around you, please ignore them. Contractors will want to get your attention, please [don’t let them derail you]. Nigeria is bigger than any personal interest. If you disappoint us, WE'LL COME ALL OUT AND REMOVE YOU WITH OUR NEXT VOTE."

Government must be afraid of the people! I join other citizens to remind you that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. A New Nigeria will not be delivered by just one set of elections; it requires our active role in raising the bar of expectation and constantly reminding office holders that their stay is temporary and they work for us!

Congratulations, Mr. President-Elect. Your words, since you won, have indicated your commitment to this, and while we root for your – and our – success, remember that you report to the office of the citizen. Do not disappoint us.

'Gbénga Sèsan tweets from @gbengasesan.


This Compilation Shines a Light On East African Underground Music

We talk to a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation from Uganda's Nyege Nyege.

Nyege Nyege, a label in Kampala, Uganda is channelling the confidence brimming over a whole continent. Africa is no longer the future. For dance music, its time is right now.

Music For the Eagles is a compilation released in conjunction with Soundcloud to showcase the best new acts that East Africa has to offer outside the mainstream. A new wave of artists firmly blasting non-conformist energy for you to spasm to. Music that takes you places. Otim Alpha's high BPM wedding frenzy of incessant rasping vocals accompanied by feverous violin will have you clawing the walls to oblivion. Anti Vairas' dancehall from a battleship with super galactic intentions doesn't even break a sweat as it ruins you. FLO's beautiful sirens call, is a skittish and detuned nursery rhyme that hints at a yearning for love but reveals something far more unnerving. Ecko Bazz's tough spiralling vocal over sub-bass and devil trap energy is an anthem that can only be bewailed. And Kidane Fighter's tune is more trance-like prayer. These are only some of the highlights for you to shake it out to.

We got to chat with a few of the artists featured on the Music For the Eagles compilation as they took a break from the studio below.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox


The 6 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Wavy the Creator x WurlD, Epoque, Tems, Silverstone Barz, Kofi Jamar, Olamide x Jaywillz and more