Dear Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), I trust that this letter meets you well. Sorry I have to get across to you in this manner. I don’t know of any other channel to reach you, so please don’t take offence.

Last year, I did try, through one of your media aides, Femi Adesina. He may have been too busy to pass on the message of a lowly citizen from the percentage of the country that didn’t vote for you in 2015 and 2019, so I don’t take offence.

I stray from the point of this letter, please forgive my manners. I should have started by inquiring about your health. You look so much healthier and stronger now, and I’m happy for you. How is madam, our first lady? I hear she’s been unhappy lately. Please do whatever you can to make her happy again. As much as we appreciate the sleepless nights and all the hard work you do on our behalf, please remember that family comes first.

Major General, sir, I have exciting news to share with you. In August this year, 2019, after spending all of my childhood and adult life in a country I love so much, Nigeria, I finally relocated to Canada. Sir, I have you to thank for this accomplishment.

Prior to May 2015 when you were sworn in as a civilian ruler of Nigeria, if anybody had told me I would one day leave Nigeria—my aged mum and siblings, my friends, my job and a growing presence in the Nigerian literary scene—for good, I would have said that person was high on something. But here I am, writing to you in the cold winter of my new city.

I thank you for giving me the push I needed to seek new pastures. I thank you for helping me shake off the illusion that things in Nigeria would get better with you in the saddle.

I’ll forever be grateful to you for ruining the economy. Thank you for failing to protect our lives. Thank you for curbing free speech and for going after your perceived enemies. Thank you for all the unfulfilled promises in the power sector and foreign exchange rate regime.

Thank you for reminding us through the last elections that our votes don’t matter and making our lives unsafe.

Sometimes I make excuses for you. I tell myself that you didn’t create these problems and that you inherited them from past leaders. But then I remember that you have also been a past leader. In other words, maybe someone who is a part of a problem cannot be a part of the solution.

Major General Buhari,since I left Nigeria, I learnt your stooges have been attempting to gag the voices of ordinary Nigerians, and if you have your way, social media would only be used to post selfies and nothing else. I’ve also been told that some people have had their fundamental human rights impinged upon with your blessing and that our court rooms are no longer sacred. I also read somewhere that you oversaw a couple of sham elections recently and that you closed a key southern border to genuine businesses and opened the northern borders to even more herdsmen.

Doing these things and making the country harder is the fuel my brothers and sisters need to also begin the process of migrating.

It hasn’t been easy beginning afresh, but it will get better because I’m in the database of the Canadian Government and I’ve seen enough happy endings to keep me encouraged. We are managing the survival jobs and weathering the snow. In this journey, there’s no retreat, there’s no surrender because Naija no dey carry last. We are resilient like that.

As I look back to 2019, I am thankful that I made it out of Nigeria alive and in a better place now. Sir, I can’t thank you enough. So, on behalf of all those who made the decision to escape Nigeria since you became dictator, sorry, president, I want to say a very big thank you. If it was constitutionally possible for you to run for a third term, I pray that you win so that there’d be fewer people for you to lead – possibly only cows and herdsmen.

Please let me stop here sir. I am on night shift. But do send my regards to your family and have yourself a merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.


Michael Afenfia

Written by : Michael Afenfia

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One Comment

  1. Josef November 29, 2020 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Sometimes, it’s comical. The idea of escaping this hellhole of a country and seeking refuge in other places where there’s constant electricity and good roads. But some of us are stuck here. Ensconced in this Pit Of The Devil, without any hope whatsoever of ever leaving.

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