By Aminu Nuru
It has become necessary for me to write this letter, having heard the grunts of some Nigerians on what they described as ‘glitz’ and ‘glamour’ wedding ceremonies and events of my son, Yusuf.
It is important to clarify why I choose to write on this topic while there are more pressing issues endangering the peace and stability of our dear nation. I decide to write to you because I consider this grunt to be directly aiming to attack my integrity and the reputation I built in my more than five decades of selfless service to the country.
Forgive me if I sound harsh in this letter; I am still shocked by the killings of innocent Muslim travellers in Jos. As it stands today, I could barely eat well. I hope you noticed how starved I look at the venue of the wedding Fatiha and later at the Presidential dinner in honour of the bride and groom. I could not even stand on my feet, just as everyone did to welcome the new couple.
Fellow Nigerians, you should understand by this time the personality traits of your President. I am a terrible introvert, a man of few words. This is a confession, and you may think it is a deficiency. Still, I am content with it, for silence teaches me how to be calm and concentrated in a time of turmoil, endure and be patient in critical situations, and reflect and find solutions in the face of problems. Besides, I believe that not every moment is worth or requires me to write or speak to my people.
Please don’t misconstrue my silence as a trick to shield my leadership shortcomings. I may not be a perfect leader, but, deep down, I know I am patriotic, and my intentions are pure, and I always strive to give the best to my people. This is not seif-romanticism; a half an hour heart-to-heart interview with my dear wife would unveil to you how tirelessly I work for a better Nigeria, sometimes even at her detriment.
Back to the main matter, I write you this letter. I understand that many of you took to social media to criticise my only son, Yusuf Muhammadu Buhari. There are even false accusations by some pundits that public funds are used to sponsor wedding events.
Let me set the record straight: it is in your interest to know that no kobo from the public treasury was used to finance any wedding event. Therefore, these allegations are groundless, baseless and mischievous. I will be the last President to approve public funds for the wedding of my son.
I understand that my success in life, especially in the political gallery of Nigeria, has made so many people have deep-seated envy for me. But, if not for that, how can you accuse a tested and trusted leader, who has the mandate of his people twice, for embezzlement and misappropriation? Or am I not blessed enough – in wealth and friends – to give a befitting wedding to my only son?
If your memory fails you, let me quickly remind you that I was a former Petroleum Minister, Governor of the North-Eastern region, Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) and Head-of-State. In addition to this, I have inherited a large farm from my father, which I personally run to date. I think someone with this pedigree can legitimately afford all that we have seen in the events of Yusuf’s wedding.
I could understand that some of you were perplexed that we can afford to pay five hundred thousand naira (₦500 000) as dowry for our son, but do you bother to check the price of an average well-fed cow in the market today? We have not fewer than a hundred heads of cows on our farm in Daura. So a simple check will cure your deliberate ignorance.
Lately, I learned that you were also worried that iPhones were shared with family and friends at the wedding dinner held at the Presidential Villa in honour of the bride and groom. I think I will blame myself for your worries here. My failure to write about myself extensively, which will give you a glimpse of the circle of wealthy friends I keep, results in your fears. Let me be blunt with you here, my friends immensely donated to the wedding. Just imagine what could be donated to a person of my calibre on the occasion of his only son’s wedding. The party of donations we saw at the burial ceremony of Obi Cubana’s mother was undoubtedly a child play.
Fellow Nigerians, as a democratic leader, I acknowledged and acted upon your grunts accordingly. Let me say this for the last and the repeated time: public treasury is a trust; I cannot temper with it to satisfy my personal or family needs. I have never used public office to enrich myself or anyone. It pains me to come across those false allegations that public funds are used to sponsor the wedding.
And for those that falsely accused me – the purveyors of falsehoods – I leave you with the lines from the poem of my late comrade – Jiya Mamman Vatsa – titled “Judgement Day Na Wa”.
Aminu Ahmed Nuru can be reached via email@example.com.