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Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Welcome To America, Pres. Jonathan By Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo

Correct Me If I Am Right By Rudolf Okonkwo
Dear President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, PhD, GCFR: Welcome to America, Mr. President. I’m glad you are not just in America but you are, as we say here in Brooklyn, in my neck of the woods.
I’m sorry I have not been able to come to see you. I’ve been kind of busy, you know. It may surprise you to know that in this part of the world, there is no free lunch. The best that I’ve seen is buy one and get one free. I actually wanted to pull my kids out of school to have them line up on 7th Avenue to wave the Nigerian flag as you pass. But their teachers threatened to call social services and have them taken away from me by the state for neglect.
I’m trying to eke out a living over here. I’ve tried several times to see if President Obama will give me an oil block but I’m consistently told it won’t happen. I’ve even donated $50 dollars here and there to the Democratic Party but the man just sends me thank you notes. Na thank you me and my family go chop?
Anyway, how has your visit been so far? I understand that you have been having a great time. You drive around well paved roads with closed sewage systems; you enjoy constant supply of light without the sound of generators hurting your ears; and you breathe air that is not polluted by poisonous gases coming off generators. I’m sure that the water pressure from your presidential suite’s bathroom shower is powerful. No houseboy is needed to carry a bucket of water upstairs for you.
I know that you have no need for it, but if you try the stove in your kitchen there, gas will come out. No need carrying gas cylinders around. Just so you know, these things do not happen only in expensive hotels like yours. It happens even in the poorest part of Alabama and Tennessee.
I know what you will say- Rome was not built in a day. Yes. It’s the usual excuse that I hear. Please do me a favor, when you come back from listening to the First Lady address African First Ladies, please tune to History channel on your TV. You will see that when America was 53 years old, it had structure and strategic planning and was guided by ethical people who had purpose and love for country. If age makes all the difference, how come Mexico is where it is today while America is somewhere else? How long ago did Haiti gain its independence compared to Sweden?
I had wanted to ask if you have had the chance to go into New York City’s subway, but then I remembered that you move around the city in a limo. The network was built over a century ago and continues to be expanded and upgraded. It moves 2 million New Yorkers around every day. It was not abandoned soon after the opening ceremony the way Abuja National Stadium was for which you needed to spend N300 million to renovate.
I’m sure you breezed through the Central Park. That is a modern wonder of nature reserve. It has been preserved there for over a century. No politician has sliced it up and given to his wife and business associates.  In a city where land is more expensive than gold, the 1317 square miles of space, at $1000 a square foot, is worth over 39 trillion dollars. Mouthwatering, isn't it?
Anyway, I saw you on MSNBC as you rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange yesterday. Cool. It must have felt good.  Olusegun Obasanjo, despite all his garagara, never got the chance to hold that hammer and strike. I’m happy for you. I’m happy that you have seen where Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke did her internship. Where she learned all the abracadabra she implemented at our stock exchange.
I’m really sorry I could not make it to the luncheon you had with Nigerian professionals on Sunday. Well, do you want to know why? Your ambassadors told me that the dog ate my invitation. I guess that’s diplomatic speak for “enemy of the state.” I understand that it went very well. You came, you saw, you mesmerized. A friend of mine who was there told me that you made it clear that your enemies must allow you to govern because you won the election.
I feel your pain. If I were around, I would have told you to ask President Obama how things have been for him when you met him on Monday. He, too, won- twice. Yet, some still do not believe he is a legitimate president. Some still demand that he shows his original birth certificate before he is allowed into the White House. There are people in the US Congress who have dedicated the rest of their careers to oppose anything Obama supports. They do everything to undermine laws like Obamacare. But Obama is not going about complaining that they must allow him to govern. He is governing. He understands that it comes with the territory.
You know what, try turning on that TV in your $9000 a night hotel room. Tune to Fox news. Watch it for just 30 seconds and tell me what you think? I bet you, after watching Fox news for one hour, you will never say that you’re the most criticized president in the world. Imagine Obama, acting like you by not making public his assets, he would have been ran out of town- impeached and banished to Hawaii.
I understand that you told Obama during your meeting with him that he must help fix Nigeria. Ok, Mr. President, I guess people around you did not tell you this. This is America, Jack. Here we refrain from using “must.” The use of “must” almost always illicits the response, “who the F…  do you think you are?”
The world may be broken but for Obama’s people, it’s been a pretty good life. If you doubt me, just check their life expectancy and compare it to ours. He must not fix Africa for his world to keep rolling. He must not fix Nigeria for his world to keep rising. It’s you, the man “we” elected, who must fix Nigeria. That’s why we elected you. You start it, pursue it with all your might, and then, if you need help, maybe Obama can help you. You don’t say that you know corrupt people in Nigeria but won’t mention their names because they will attack you and then beg Obama to come and fix Nigeria. Common, man!
I was told that you will be speaking at the United Nations today. You will speak on behalf of the government and people of Nigeria. I hope you don’t mind if I tell you something to say since you will be speaking on my behalf, too.
Each year you join other world leaders to troop into New York City to make a speech in that US National Security Agency bugged chamber. A speech nobody in this chamber will remember even before you get back to your seat. Even though the world media is there, they will not print any word that you say there today. For them, your presence there is just for the fulfillment of all righteousness.
Your large entourage of aides and hangers-on will justify the hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars you spent to bring them here by going into meetings and bilateral talks with other nations of the world. You tell us that you are bringing investments, aids, capacity building to our people at home by striking deals with investors and governments across the globe. We have done this for over fifty years. When will you stand up and say to the world that it’s time we stopped deceiving ourselves.
You know that they expect you to restate how you plan to collaborate with the international communities to pursue peace in Africa and around the world. They expect you to talk about our fight against terrorism in Nigeria and how it fits into the global war against terror. They also expect you to say the mandatory banality about the scourge of corruption in Nigeria and what you are doing about it. And, of course, they are looking forward to hearing you talk about poverty alleviation and how to lift millions of our people out of poverty and into the middle class.
Are you not tired of playing this game of words with them?  When will you get out of the business of setting goals that you know are not going to be met in millenniums yet to come? Are you not tired of delivering platitudes to a people who desire concrete results?
Sir, please, do me a favor, tell them that you’re not the brightest crayon in the box. It’s important else they brand Nigeria on the basis of your performance.
I wish you all the best. I’ll try and stop by after work. Maybe we can go to Aso Rock Restaurant  in Queens, New York and eat fufu and egusi soup. Are you coming?
Yours truly,
Fellow Nigerian citizen

Saharareporters

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