NewsReel 8/1/13 - The Act of Letter Writing

[ Masterweb Reports: Eddy Aghanenu reports ] - One of the first things one learns in a secondary school is on letter writing. We were taught that letter wring is the act of communication between two persons. There is a sender and a receiver. It is the best way of putting one’s thoughts, requests and other ideas into writing. It is meant to be a private communication between the people involved. It is rare for letters to be for public consumption. When letters are therefore meant for public consumption, it therefore means that the writer or sender wants such a letter to be for public debate.
Reading letters from our leaders especially former and current presidents provides an insight into how our leaders work. It also exposes some of the things ordinary citizens may not be privy to. When Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the second republic, wrote a public letter to then President Shehu Shagari about the collapsing economy, it was like a bombshell on the nation. Chief Awolowo in his usual meticulous manner, reeled out figures to show that the economy was in tatters. President Shehu Shagari in his reply mocked Chief Awolowo and likened Chief Awolowo to the shepherd who was crying wolf where there was none. The banter between President Shagari and Chief Awolowo provided enough ammunition for beer parlour discussions. Andy Akporugo, then editor of Sunday Times turned the epistles of both leaders to a satire. Chief Awolowo became the villain who never saw any good in the NPN led federal government. The import of his letter was lost on the nation. Few months after Chief Awolowo’s letter, there was austerity measure declared by the federal government to arrest the dwindling economy. Today, the nation has not recovered from not heeding Chief Awolowo’s letter. The economic storm has not abated. 
It was therefore with the same curiosity that one read Chief Obasanjo’s letter to the president. Chief Obasanjo’s open letter to the president was surprising since he had unhindered access to him. Moreover, GEJ is his godson. What would have gone amiss to necessitate the writing of such a venomous letter to the president? Was it because the son is no longer a baby and is indirectly telling the father that he can find his way in the murky waters of Nigerian politics without being led by the father? Was the president becoming too independent? Was it true that GEJ never replies nor acts on the previous letters written by the former president? What was OBJ trying to prove by making his letter public? That he is a statesman? Does one become a statesman by writing letters, more so when the writer was in a position to correct the ills he was accusing the president of?
As stated earlier, letters between leaders gives the led an insight into the workings of government. Such is OBJ’s letter to the president and the reply. OBJ’s letter has explicitly done so. Nigerians are becoming aware of how elections are being organized in this country. How else can one construe this portion of Chief Obasanjo’s letter:“I worked for both President Shagari and President Yar’Adua to succeed me not just because they are Moslems, Northerners or Hausa-Fulani, but also because they could strengthen the unity, stability and democracy in Nigeria. We incurred the displeasure of ethnic chauvinists for doing what was right for the country.“? Could it then mean that the votes of Nigerians never counted in all the elections organized by OBJ? In other words, all elections organized by OBJ were rigged in favour of his preferred candidates.
Chief Obasanjo states further that   I do not know if Chief Obasanjo practiced these while he was in office.
Eddy Aghanenu ( Email: ).
*Photo Above – As seen.
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