Letter to Nigerians By General Abdulsalami A Abubakar

Posted: January 19, 2015 in Uncategorized

Once again, Nigeria is at a crossroads—unsure which way to go. It is threatened by an intractable insurgency, unprecedented carnage, a rise in the menace of riots, communal violence, cattle rustling and sundry criminality in several states. This unfortunate situation, which is daily being made worse by a display of immaturity on the political scene, calls for sober reflection, frank talk and the telling of uncomfortable home truths to each other. At such moments, it is the duty of leaders at all levels to tell truth to power in order to help correctly identify and diagnose the causes of disaffection and anger in the land—and do something about them. And, today, we need to do this very fast.


There is palpable desperation everywhere in the land: we are in a situation in which everyone is dissatisfied with what is going on, but nobody is sure what to do, or what is going to happen next. And there are many dangers facing the polity today—danger from an intractable insurgency, danger from elite mistrust, danger from poverty and penury as a result of glaring economic hardship: so much so that we have today reached a time when the rich cannot sleep because the poor are hungry, angry—and awake.

What exactly is happening? And why should matters be allowed to deteriorate to this level? No doubt, on the issue of the insurgency, this nation has suffered greatly and lost thousands of lives to the Boko Haram insurgency, with more than a million people displaced within the country, and tens of thousands have been forced across our borders into neighbouring countries. In one of the most senseless attacks, more than 2,000 people were said to have been killed in a single attack in Baga town of Borno State last week. This is clearly unacceptable, and we feel the time has come to restore people’s confidence in the ability of government to confront, repel and put a stop to the impunity of the insurgency; and reassure them of its capacity and readiness to protect them at all times.

In order to be able to do this, the government must continue with its efforts to ensure that all its military and security forces are sufficiently equipped to confrontthe task at hand. In such a situation, the government may wish to consider the mobilisation and re-absorption of all retired able-bodied security personnel, and undertaking fresh recruitment into the police force and other paramilitary agencies.

And, unfortunately, as the election approaches and as politicians get busy criss-crossing the country to sell their party programmes and their candidates, the spectre of violence is already rearing its ugly head. Needless to say, this is an election Nigeria cannot afford to mess: whatever happens, it must get it right. So far, the government has committed itself to conducting a credible, free and fair election. This is the least expected of any government; and the greatest legacy it can bequeath to the nation is to help entrench a democratic culture of free and fair elections.

The same is expected of all Nigerians. So, I would like to urge all Nigerians to do whatever is necessary to ensure that peace and normalcy prevail before, during and after the coming elections in February. Political parties must ensure that their members avoid campaign of calumny, character assassination; and that they shun and condemn the developing culture of political violence as they strive to enthrone an ethic of politics without bitterness.

Towards this end, I call on all Nigerians to sit up and live up to their civic responsibilities and protect and safeguard their future. Political and communal leaders must be made to watch and weigh and guard their utterances; and if they don’t, we should all rise as one and condemn them, along with whoever preaches, threatens or practices violence in Nigeria. It is at these times that the nation’s security agencies are called upon to live up to their responsibilities and not shy away from dealing with whoever threatens the peace and unity of this country.

Along the way, we must force our politicians to accept and learn to play by the rules; and, in their politicking, adopt the highest ethical conduct, especially during campaigns and the conduct of the elections themselves. The inordinate ambition of some of our politicians, especially their do-or-die attitude in their quest for power, their way of subverting the electoral process in order to get to power must be checked by this nation or else they will terminally checkmate it. All Nigerians of goodwill must therefore rise to tell politicians and, indeed, all Nigerians that Nigeria is greater than the ambition and ego of any of its citizens; and at every encounter with whoever, this nation must prevail.

And at this juncture, I would like to seize this opportunity to offer my heartfelt condolences to the families of all the victims, the governments and people of all the states of the Federation that have been hit by insurgency. Yet, despite our pain, we must be able to realise that what is happening has nothing to do with any religion; and it should be obvious enough by now that satanic forces are at work to set us against each other.

It is therefore in our own interest to learn to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers; because, to begin with, we have nowhere else to go: and, in the end, there will either be security and safety for everyone or there will be security and safety for no one. In the circumstance, I therefore call upon all our people to draw close together irrespective of religion, section or ethnicity and defeat the forces of darkness. So that Nigeria finally gets a chance to realise its full potential.

General Abdulsalami A Abubakar, GCFR

  1. Complete rubish…empty talk. Loud and furiuos without substance. I expected more from this guy and by the way, where has he been hiding! Is he afriad of speaking of what he knows, well, i amnot even suprise….i shouldnot expect anything more

  2. This is what is expected from an elder states man God bless you Gen.

  3. inajuu says:

    Utter rubbish from someone of his ilk, total garbage if you ask me. If primary school graduate would have done better. Damn! how did we end up with mud brains for leaders. It is clear why we have not been able to move beyond where we are. When a man like this decide to address the nation, you expect far reaching information and decisive guide on the way forward, not kindergarten discussion like what we have here. Sad that he was a leader at a time. These are guys are nothing barrack boys

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