BY PROGRESSIVE UNITED NIGERIAN YOUTH (PUNY)
Dear President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR,
Your Excellency, we write to you with a deep sense of passion, pure patriotism, and good intent for Nigeria at large.
We feel obliged to write this important letter to you Sir to draw your attention to what is going on with us not the political groups nor the senior civil servants, and neither of the well-to-dos can express the truth of the matter.
We all understand that Nigeria is a great country and needs to compete in the global arena socially, economically, politically, and digitally.
Mr. President, you have shown great leadership by not just steering the ship but also charting the course. Now, it is imperative that you “find a way to get much of your vision seen, implemented, and added to by others,” borrowing the words of top leadership thinker, John Maxwell. What better way to bow out with the legacy of having a good, capable, tested, trusted, and experienced successor?
Mr. President, you have been the most supported and favorite leader to the masses that successfully implemented unpopular policies without an aorta of resistance from the Nigerian masses. You increased petroleum pump price from ₦86 to ₦145 without any resistance even though Abacha increased fuel from ₦7 to ₦9 with followed strike actions by trade unions even though the ₦2 margin was meant to create a Trust Fund that did so many physical and infrastructural projects all over the nation under your watch then. I am sure this added to the credit you have been carrying to get your ticket into the presidency.
Sir, you have criticized all democratic governments since 1999 over unpopular policies and cancerous corruption which also gave you a clean face like a saint of the Nigerian masses. You fought vehemently against increasing fuel prices, Naira devaluation, corruption, and indiscipline opposing every democratically elected leader since 1999 yet we have not seen you cushion the effects of these Nigerian diseases since your entry into the epic house (the villa).
We are still of the belief that you’re not a corrupt person and have no interest in making wealth out of public coffers but I am worried about how your government has remained unable to abate corruption, Naira depreciation, multiple exchange rates, multiple taxation, and excruciating inflation. I am worried that even though you undermine the Nigerian insecurity you remained unable to curtail the toll of life losses across the country due to a supper security leakages from one geopolitical region to another.
Sir your policy of digitalization of the Nigerian economy, market liberalization, and petroleum products marketing have all remained highly unfavorable to the masses. Today petroleum pump price sells between ₦340 and ₦375 in some parts of the country and ₦400 and ₦450 in other parts, yet our income remained stagnant since your assumption in office. Everyone knows a little increase in petroleum pump price will affect all economic activities in the nation, how can we explain better than petroleum products prices changed arbitrarily from ₦86 to ₦375 almost a 330% increase with Kerosene from ₦50 to ₦550 1000% increase diesel from ₦180 to ₦850 almost 372% increase. Lubricants changed for example from ₦1700 to ₦8000 almost a 370% increase. All these have caused hikes in transport fares, the cost of industrial energy and so on which culminated in superinflation.
The price of Dangote and BUA pasts products was just ₦1750 rice was ₦270 to ₦300 in 2015 and today it is ₦1700. A medium tuber of yam was ₦120 – ₦150 in 2015 and today it is ₦900 to ₦1000. A mud of sugar was ₦400 to ₦430 and today it is ₦2000. Maggi seasoning was ₦170 to ₦200 and today it is ₦550 to ₦600 per bag. I can go on to figure out the most crucial essential commodity needs of the common man that have gone too hard in Nigeria today.
Unfortunately, your currency redesign and digitization program have caused even more harm to the masses. Today the common man in Dambatta, Kazaure, Kunchi, and Amankanu, etc, for example, who has not ever interacted with a bank, who has no mobile phone who knows no communication besides radio is being asked to transact via mobile phone. Their life depends on daily or even weekly incomes to sustain their family and their earnings in even too meager to be saved but he is being asked to deposit them in inefficient banks that are not even anywhere close to them, inefficient networks that require rural people to travel some kilometers to make a call.
We would also like you,
Mr. President to understands that each cash transfer attracts charges of ₦10 minimum no matter how small the amount to be transferred now for example, if you ride on Keke NAPEP and the fair is ₦30 or ₦50 if you transfer the amount there’ll be an additional charge of ₦10 or more. For Banks, there are over 8 different charges against customers which includes:
1. Transfer Charges
2. Account Maintenance
3. Stamp Duty charges
4. ATM withdrawal
5. ATM card maintenance
6. Management Fee
7. SMS Alert Charges
8. VAT Charges
9. 7% International Transaction Charges
These charges are arbitrary and most customers are ignorant of them as far as you operate an account no matter how meager and even if the only money you get is salary.
Beside this many taxes are affecting the masses directly and indirectly and all cumulate to cause inflation and serious devaluation of the Naira.
Now that this is imposed a small patent medicine store in a rural area will not provide simple paracetamol and other over-the-counter drugs without cash since there is no accessible network and thus a simple ailment would get complicated. Many smallholder farmers have to sell their products at giveaway prices to avoid vulnerability with digital transfer thus worsening their poverty status.
Household life has become extremely hard because all essential needs have multiplied in their prices by hundreds of percent; cooking gas, kerosene, charcoal, wood, and electricity are the only sources of cooking energy and none is at a commonly accessible cost. Cooking oils, salt, pepper, etc. are all getting beyond the mass’s access.
Today Naira to Naira exchange has become a business all because of this premature policy that never takes the masses into cognizance.
Mr. President, we believe you have good intentions for the masses but we also understand that you are surrounded by people whose personal benefits are their priorities in your government, and until you rise and open your eyes and ears wide enough as well as take the right actions you are going to be the only leader the nation will never forgive.
We demand Mr. President Sir,
1.. Consider Extending the deadline for old naira usage.
2.. Allow Nigerian citizens to withdraw as much cash as they wish per day.
3.. Caution those involved with the multiple exchange rates in Nigeria.
4.. Provide fuel for Nigerian Citizens.
We pray that you accept our deepest concern and expression and see to the plight of the masses that gave you all the trust they never have given to anyone ever in history.
And also the time is now to make the bold step and leave Nigeria with the lasting legacy of a good, proven, trusted, capable, and experienced successor,
Mr. EGBO CHINAGOROM F.
Egbo Chinagorom Franklin is the National Chairman of Progressive United Nigerian Youth. He can be reached via
Muhammad Aminu Abdullahi ATAKA,
National Secretary (PUNY).