By Femi Aribisala
A very good evening to you, Sir.
I am replying your letter with a very deep sense of humility, mindful of the fact that you are, and will always be, my Godfather. I learnt all the tricks of the Nigerian political scene at your feet. You taught me all the tactics I employed in securing the nomination of the PDP in 2011. I also relied on your wealth of experience in rigging the 2011 presidential elections. I am not an ungrateful son as you allege. I agree that you are the real president. It is just that I wish you would not continue to embarrass me publicly.
I have had occasion in the past to come and prostrate in Otta to beg for your forgiveness. I declare, without reservation, that I am well-inclined to do so again. I am begging you to have second-thoughts about supporting someone else to replace me in 2015. I have already created a high falutin committee to look into all the issues you raised in your letter. They should give a full report within 12 months, at which point I will take appropriate action almost immediately. In the meantime, I would like to place a number of issues on the table for your fatherly consideration.
It is true that I gave an undertaking in 2011 not to run for a second-term if elected. However, that agreement was made with politicians. Surely, everybody knows that an agreement made by politicians with politicians is not likely to be kept. If you check the agreement I signed, you will notice that I did not even use my usual signature. Instead of putting my name, I put Jonathan Ebele. I can easily deny that I signed that agreement. Even James Ibori successfully denied in a court of law that he was James Ibori. Certain critical parts of the agreement were also typed with disappearing ink. I have also ensured that all the CCTV recordings during the signing have been misplaced. I have even intercepted the ones sent to Femi Otedola.
I learnt all these tactics from you. You also signed an agreement to be a one-term president. But later you contested not only for a second-term; you even tried to wangle a third-term. You gave legislators 50 million naira each to support your third-term agenda. This is what I am also trying to emulate, hopefully with greater success than you had. I would have thought that you, Sir, of all people, would understand my position. The presidency of Nigeria is so sweet. Every day, people fight over who will lick my boots. Nobody in his right mind would relinquish such an office without a fight. I look at myself in the mirror every morning and say: “GEJ; this goodluck thing is no joke. Who would ever have thought you of all people would be president of Nigeria?”
Therefore, I am begging you, Sir, with everything you hold dear, that while you might continue to pretend to be my opponent publicly, you would do all in your power to support me privately. I am too young to retire from office. I need more time to persuade the National Assembly to add five or ten billion naira to my future pension. I also need time to allocate some new oil blocks, rebuild some of the toll-gates you destroyed, achieve 24/7 electricity and remove the petroleum subsidy. If I don’t get a second term, I tell you I will just die. Why should I be in the Guinness Book of Records as the first president in the history of Nigeria to be so foolish as to lose an election?
Since you have now opened a channel of communication with those members of our party who have defected to the APC, kindly find out from them how much money they want in order to come back. You might also wish to make some recommendations in this regard. Would five billion naira for each of the governors be sufficient? Or do you think this is too little and would be considered an insult?
Please let them know that money is not an object. Whatever it takes, we will provide the funding for it. We have already prepared a war-chest far in excess of what we used in 2011. This is the reason why there is a big shortfall in the monies given to the states in 2013. We are leaving no stone unturned that, come rain come shine, the PDP will again win by a landslide in 2015. The only condition is that I must be the presidential candidate. In that, I am craving your indulgence and understanding.
Please let them know that, if need be, I can always defect at the last minute to the APC as well, as long as I can buy the presidential nomination there too. Also let them know that if they don’t agree to play ball, we shall be coming after every one of them after the election. EFCC will probe every kobo they spent as Governors. I graduated with honours at your school of political manipulation. The choice before them is clear-cut: they either support me or go to jail for embezzlement and corruption. You know as well as I do, Sir, that no politician in Nigeria is clean, not even your good self.
I quite agree with our critics that corruption remains a major problem in Nigeria. However, the matter is way beyond my ability to control. I am a president: I am not a pastor. I do not know any other way to run the country. Politics is a dirty game. Everybody expects to get paid. If I don’t bribe legislators, and turn a blind eye when my ministers are looting, I cannot survive in this office. I also learnt this from you, so I am surprised that you are now frowning at it. I am not the first president under whose watch huge sums of money will disappear from the treasury, and I will not be the last.
Other parts of the country chopped when their kinsmen were in power. It is now the turn of the South-South. It is part of my unofficial mandate that the South-South should be represented on the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires. If this does not happen under my administration, I will be regarded as a bastard. Before I came to power the big money was in the North and the South-West. By the time I leave, the South-South should have its own homegrown billionaires. This is only fair; after all, the oil comes from us. That is the reason why, under my presidency, there have been greater incidence of pipeline vandalisation.
I am trying my best, but for some reasons, my best does not seem to be good enough. I desperately need the support of the South-West. My advisers told me if I changed the name of the University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University, it would result in several million South-West votes. However, this backfired and I had to get rid of those stupid nincompoop advisers. I wonder if you have any suggestions as to how I can galvanise Yoruba votes. Perhaps, I could change the name of the country to the Federal Republic of Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Or would you prefer it if I were to name the Super Eagles after you just before the World Cup?
I have tried all I can with the Boko Haram issue. However, the situation has not improved. I don’t know what else to do. I would greatly appreciate it if you could go personally and convince them to lay down their arms. If you go with one hundred million naira of newly-minted cash, I am sure they will listen to you. You can meet them wearing the latest bullet-proof vest we just procured from the Americans. I can assure you that, should they kidnap you, we will pay to the nearest kobo any additional amount that they ask for your ransom. I can send the bank statement of the account we have already opened for this purpose, so that you can be confident that we will not leave you in the lurch.
The policies I am pursuing need time to mature. Four years of the presidency is really inadequate for this. Only ten years will do. It is one of the issues I would like to sponsor at the forthcoming national conference. My people will propose that there should be a one-term presidency lasting ten years. If I am able to have my way, there will be no election whatsoever in 2015. Everybody will have to wait until 2021. We are simply going to declare that the security situation in the country and the threats of violence from different quarters indicate that it would not be in the national interest to conduct any elections.
I hope I have been able to convince you that I am the same GEJ. I have not changed. I am still your loyal servant. You will always be a father to me. If you could see me now, you would realise that I am prostrating as I am writing this letter to you. I will do whatever you say, but please let me remain as president at least until 2019. I am prepared to marry a Yoruba wife, if that will do the trick. I will come to Otta at night to see you in person. Please let pounded yam and egusi soup also be prepared for me.
Please Sir, I would greatly appreciate it if you were to ensure that the contents of this highly-classified letter are not leaked to the press. I think you will agree that our enemies should not know what we are planning in order to advance democracy in our great country and to ensure that the dividends are equitably distributed on a turn-by-turn, chop-I-chop, basis.
I wish you Sir, most excellent architect of the Nigerian confusion, a very happy New Year, long life and senility.
I agree totally: you dey kampe!
Yours party faithfully,