Letter To The President | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Letters, Opinion

Letter To The President

Posted: Jun 2, 2015 at 12:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Daniel Asuquo and  Obinna Ekekeh


It is important to celebrate President Buhari as he represents quite a number of things in our nationís history.

First, he is proof that our democracy has come of age, with a peaceful transition from an incumbent party to the opposition. Secondly, the common Nigerian begins to feel he has a voice through his vote. This goes a long way in sustaining this hard-earned democracy of ours. Perhaps, the third reason, is a more personal one to the President considering he struggled for the number one spot for over a decade and finally, today, itís a dream come true for him.

However, with that being said, it is equally important to remind the President that just as his presidency represents good things at its beginning, it should also be remembered for even better things at its end.

During the campaign days, both parties promised a lot. It would be surprising if we expect Nigerians to have forgotten every promise. However, even if others have, the one that comes to our minds as Human Rights advocates is the Presidentís words that he is now a transformed democrat. With the mantle of power on him, it would be important to see him put those words to action.

His expected fight against corruption must be done within the ambit of the law. Not just that, but everything else. He must, ñ and yes, it is a must ñ allow the judiciary follow due process and not allow the events of his military regime be repeated. It would be sad to see any Nigerian get locked up when the Court has not yet found such guilty or have jail times extended or reduced contrary to the constitution. It would even be more pitiful to find the Executive or any other branch of government or persons coerce legal proceedings in their favour or vice versa.

Also, at this stage, it is important to also remind the President that the duty of a democratic leader is not only to follow the wishes of the majority, but to protect the frail minority. Hence, it would be wise to build the Police into an institution that understands its duty and perhaps, more especially, its limits. The common man needs to know he owns the government, not only when it is time to vote but even after votes have been counted and winners sworn in.

As we try to put the past behind us, please Sir, let us revisit any laws that criminalize any citizen of Nigeria on the basis of who he/she is ñ be it race, gender, age, religion, tribe or sexuality. As this country tries to adapt the positive aspects of nations like the United States and Britain, let us focus more on the residency of the citizen, not his tribe; let us celebrate our content of character not gender discrimination; and let us see us all as equals, without exceptions.

As a Human Rights organization that has had our members attacked over issues relating to Human Rights advocacy and even a brother murdered, it is important to state to the President that it is about time to repeal the anti-gay law and all such inhumane laws. Laws that empower hate in our society should be done away with. We are at a stage in our nationís history where all hands must be on deck. We have several issues plaguing our national interest that it is almost comedic to see us bicker over what our citizens chose to do with other consenting adults in their bedrooms. Segregation and discrimination lead us nowhere near our goal ñ they only draw us back.

The goal is to make Nigeria great again. To achieve that, we need to recall that the basis of a great society lies in her protection of the rights of ALL her citizens. If the President sticks to this, then truly, he too would be seen in the end as a true reformed democrat and Nigeria shall forever thank her for setting her path straight!