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Dear I Go Dye, My legacy as Vice President- Atiku Abubakar

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Atiku Abubakar

Dear I Go Dye,

I read your post on Instagram. It was hard to miss it because it was on every major news website. I would like to say that you were mostly right. The questions you raised in your post are similar to the ones I have been asked by other young people on social media, so I am replying this not just to you as a person, but to all young Nigerians who have asked similar questions.

Firstly, you are right. The Nigerian youth have often been taken for granted, and almost every leader in our history has taken young people for granted. But it’s important to point how this started — for people like me who saw Independence; our leadership was mostly driven by young people. Then came the coups, and the civil war, and then more coups. Nigeria ended up with a long period of military dictatorship for many decades, in which time; those young leaders aged, but still remained leaders. Fela, Gani, Enahoro, and Beko were young leaders, yet remained leaders until their demise. That was because of the stagnation brought on by decades of political instability.

By the time we got to 1999, the young people of the day had not been prepared for leadership, because there was no leadership or apprenticeship process under dictatorships. This is one of the reasons the age of leaders has continued to rise. That was because of the leadership stagnation brought on by decades of political instability. Imagine a school that did not graduate any students for 5 years, by the time the top class finally graduates, you will have a backlog of undergraduates.

Our young people are not to blame; we need to remedy this national failure. Last week, there were local government elections in Akwa Ibom State, with over 60% of the seats won by young people, less than 35 years old. That’s how progress can be made. Young people need to participate from the grassroots, all the way across board. Appointments are good, but getting elected is even better. I also understand the issues around funding elections which keep women and young people out, and I will address this in an article I am publishing soon.

I do understand your frustration on the issue, however. I tell people my age that to understand young Nigerians, we need to understand the difference between Nigeria and Naija. Naija embodies the hopes and dreams of young Nigerians, the country they love and long to go home to when they are abroad. Naija is the country that brings them pride in music, film, comedy, fashion, and technology. It is the country of WizKid, Asa, Davido, Tuface, the Olympic bobsled team, Alex Iwobi and Don Jazzy Again.

Nigeria on the other hand, is the country of their parents, the country where leaders are constantly failing them, of Boko Haram, of herdsmen violence, of recessions and joblessness. Our young people need us to make our country live up to the aspirations of Naija by fixing the problems associated with Nigeria.

I think it’s important to address the accusation about my tenure as Vice President, that I did nothing for young people. Firstly, as VP, I can only be judged on the responsibilities I was given. A VP obviously is not the driver of government. For example, you can’t blame Prof Osinbajo for all that is going on with the current government. He can only do what he’s allowed to do.

But let me speak about what you can judge me by, my assigned responsibilities. As VP, I assembled what is arguably the best Economic Team ever in Nigeria. It was made up of young, world class professionals, who came home to work. Some of those professionals are now political leaders, governors and world leaders in their own right.

If you ask what our first task was, coming into government in 1999, it was to bring stability to the economy after decades of military rule. For example, between 1999 and 2003, oil prices then were hovering between $16 and $28 yet we managed to pay up salary arrears from decades back, clear up our national debts and built up foreign reserves. Our GDP grew at the fastest rate we’ve seen since the return to democracy.

You mentioned that I never brought young people into leadership, but my record speaks differently. I have a proven record of bringing young, unknown professionals into service. Many of the professionals and ministers I brought in were in their 30s and early 40s. Some of those young leaders have become governors in their states. I went to the World Bank and met a bright lady, convinced her to come back home, and she became a star in our government. To show you we had effective leadership, the same lady could not replicate her exploits under a different government.

I was also in charge of privatization and I have witnesses that I never interfered with the process. I never bought anything belonging to the government. I was quite wealthy before coming into government, with declared assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars in 1999 (which was put in a trust when I became VP); so it was understandable that many of the wealthy Nigerian business people who participated in the privatization programme were my friends. Did I use my influence to get them better deals? No. As the then DG of BPE testified under oath, I never used my position to interfere with his work.

My legacy as Vice President, I would say is the banking consolidation process, for which I gave political backing for. Many big people were putting a lot of political pressure to not change the status quo, but we knew that if that consolidation was not done, Nigeria could not grow. Because of that banking consolidation, Nigerian banks don’t fail anymore the way they used to.

I oversaw the telecoms revolution, which is why young people like you, I Go Dye, now have a flourishing career. Under our tenure, we witnessed a large repatriation of Nigerians back to Nigeria, driven by the hope of the recovering economy. It is sad that many of those young people are heading back abroad now — this is to show you that leadership matters.

I know many of these have been forgotten because it was a long time ago, and successive administrations did not follow up on the progress we made. But that is also not to say we were blameless. I was largely frozen out in the second term of our tenure, and I regret that we had that disagreement with my boss. Some say I was disloyal, but I looked at the events in Zimbabwe recently, and it gives me confidence that I did the right thing fighting the attempts to elongate the presidential tenure beyond eight years. If I did not win that fight, do you think we would be having a discussion on young people getting into leadership today?

Intels. I want to address this because you mentioned it. It was the Shagari government that started the Onne Port and later abandoned it. In summary, my business partner and I saw an opportunity to build Nigeria’s oil industry using world class infrastructure, but driven by Nigerians. We went out and took loans to build the facilities, but as we went on, more opportunities opened up, which allowed us access to even more capital. We ended up borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars, mostly from Europe, to build the port, singlehandedly charting the course of Nigeria’s oil industry.

Honestly, I did not ever think we would be that successful, which was why I kept my day job, when we started it. It was just what you would call a side hustle, but it grew so big, and I had to quit my government job to focus on it. Today, every oil major uses the facilities we built. The government only became clients after the oil companies. Our company has expanded to several countries in Africa. Even the FG has seen that that company is the most competent logistics company in Africa, which is why it gives Intels the most complex operations to manage.

But Intels as a corporate citizen is loved in the locations it operates. That’s because we invest in scholarships, hire young people from the community and train them to become world class technicians. As CSR, we have gone into partnership with the NFF to train young Nigerian footballers, and provide support for the local league. We are loved by the youth in our local communities.

In my home state of Adamawa for example, I’ve created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect ones. We are the largest private employers of labour in the state only second to the state government. It’s not a lot, but it does help reduce unemployment. Who do you think are holding those jobs? Yes, young people.

I Go Dye, I’m not a messiah. I do not promise Eldorado or $1 = N1. But I always ask to look at the economic progress we made under my leadership and what I am doing in private business and judge me by those. People say I became rich in government. It’s a lie. I had hundreds of millions of dollars in assets declared in 1999. My businesses (my shares of which were held in a Blind Trust while I was in government) continued to grow since then. I was able to personally bankroll the PDP back then, so surely I was not poor. But I understand it is politics. So it’s normal to be called names. But how come in all these years, none of my opponents has found any evidence to indict me?

The people who are afraid of me changing the status quo they enjoy will always try to frighten young people about me.

Some people believe youth empowerment is giving handouts to young people instead of building a strong economy. They are wrong. They want to give handouts so they can control young people. But how long can we continue like that? Our country is borrowing to pay salaries, yet we are still holding on to outdated models just so we can control young people for elections.

The success of young Nigerian entrepreneurs in IT & technology, retail, music, and arts shows that given the chance, they can run anything. My job is to be a bridge, which supports our young people achieve these ideals. I will never say only I can do this. I can’t do it alone. I need your support, I Go Dye, to help our economy grow, to ensure that within 10 years, our young people can take over completely.

In summary, I Go Dye, I am not a person who says what he cannot do or show proof. I am giving you an invitation to sit down and ask me any questions you may have. I would also like to take you around, show you some of the businesses I have built, and let you speak to the young people who run those places. It is good to try to convince you that I can do better by our young people, but it is even better to show you. Send me a direct message on Twitter, and we will take it from there

Culled from here.

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26 Comments

  1. Tru

    December 8, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    ??????? puh-leeeeeese

  2. Ottawa Queen

    December 8, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    ATIKU pls kindly go and sit down!!!!! The bottom line is we ain’t voting for you and you surely WONT be president. All these epistles are story for the gods. Bye!

    • Byn

      December 9, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Well, that’s a tad bit difficult to say. The dynamics of elections in Nigeria and every place else is very complex. you only get to choose what is on the menu. I would rather choose an old, corrupt, successful Atiku; than a demented, aloof and tribalistic Buhari

  3. John

    December 8, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Whether we like it or not..it is going to be Atiku or Buhari…the choice is yours but as for me and my family we are voting for Atiku…I used to work under Atiku..he is not perfect(not even close) but he is 1000 times better than the dullard of daura with 150 cows…that is for sure.. and everything he said about working with the youths is very true…….It is funny how people are quick to write open letter for atiku but none for buhari..I dare “I go die ” to write one for buhari.. make buhari paint that him house he built for his mother in Delta with “EFCC KEEP OFF”.

    • jade

      December 9, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      This is not about who is better. They are all born from the same feathers. Buhari and Atiku should NOT be considered at all. Nigerians, refuse to grow and learn. You guys like backwardness. The same problem with Jonathan and Buhari, oh at least Buhari is better. Buhari had good PR team. And Atiku is slowly, gradually entering the hearts of Nigerians again with his good marketing team. Soon, Atiku will sponsor and use some youths just like how Buhari did.
      There should be NO reason, the other candidate should be another recycled official.

      Demand for change by force. My family is NOT voting for any of them except there’s a new face, with new action.

  4. The Real Oma

    December 8, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    My country people, even if we don’t unite on anything else, let’s unite in making sure this man and others like him don’t smell the presidency ever again. Are we not tired of recycling human beings?! Are they the brightest or best minds this country can produce? I can’t believe we are even making a choice of either him or buhari, like Why?!

  5. Jean17

    December 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    Unfortunately, this write up seems so sincere. His media team are doing a good job.

    For a moment I almost saw a future for Nigeria, with him leading it.

    Politicians are already dangerous brain washers, he is now an articulate Intelligent one.

    He has won lots of people over by this reply alone.
    Taking care to seem sincere, human, and reachable.

    Sad that I see him winning the next election.

    • Ephi

      December 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      By the way, at the top this says “Sponsored Content” so I guess we all can see his media team is “hard at work” selling their futures and children’s futures for peanuts. Was that not how Adebola and co whitewashed Buhari until he got there and showed his true bigoted colours.

      What did Atiku forget in Aso Rock that he wants to go back and get?

      Nigerians, shine your eyes and vote right! Say no to the same old recycled leaders. Greedy man.

    • amaa

      December 8, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Jean I concur,
      I challenge Atiku if he sincerely wants a better Nigeria, use your political influence and back an independent young candidate not more than 40yrs old. A candidate who has a track record for excellence and a technocrat. Campaign for him and make sure he wins.
      That will be impossible for you ok I guess .
      Second option choose a VP that embodies all the qualities above has no political affiliation has no upper class name or pedigree then I will start looking at your speeches .

      These shows you though that SM is something the political grand pas will never have control over we win dem there hands down. We are ready for you people come Election Day

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      December 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Honestly and for a moment, I was right there with you, being dangerously swayed by the persuasion of his words.

      Quick question though – he keeps mentioning these assets worth 100s of millions of $$….. what exactly did Atiku do for business, before the government roles came in, that brought him all of that fortune? Curious Nigerians want to know.

  6. emmanuel

    December 8, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    The most foolish people in the world to deceive with SWEET WORDS is Nigerians. Reno Omokri’s handiwork all over that piece. Atiku is not the ANSWER, please open your sleeping heads and brains for GOD’S sake.

  7. FasholasLover

    December 8, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Very well ATIKULATED. Nigerians, behold your next President.

  8. Tutu

    December 8, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    I hear Fela Durotoye wants to run. Let’s all unite and make history like they did in France. Please don’t be easily swayed by mere words.

    • No Headaches Please

      December 10, 2017 at 10:20 am

      If Fela Durotoye runs for president.
      I will vote for him.
      If Bob Risky runs for president, I will vote for him.

      I will vote for anyone, anything, male, female, transgender, genderless but not the same people who bled this country dry and have placed poverty and shame like a crown of thorns upon their people…

      Am I mad????
      It’s like pouring vomit in a glass cup sipping it with crackers.
      Am I mad???
      Who does that?
      Here’s a chance to surprise these clueless money hungry people, and elect leaders ready to actually work for the people.

      Pat Utomi…
      Donald Duke…
      Fela Durotoye…
      Citizen X…
      My money is on you.

  9. Agu

    December 8, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    As much as people will say bad things about this post i will not be among those people. Atiku was a vice president from 1999 to 2007 he was never the president. if i have to blame anyone since we return to democracyin 1999 it will be Obasanjo. he really missed many chances to lay a strong frame work for future Nigeria.. I think Atiku will make a better President than Buhari because his a pro business guy while Buhari is not. Nigeria cant be standing still today after all the corruption if not for our small and medium size business which have been keeping us afloat. GOD BLESS NIGERIA>

  10. Mamamia

    December 8, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    Everything got lost in translation to me whenever I saw “I go die” I know it is the guys stage name but it seemed he was prophesying his own death.?
    I give it to his media team though, but, Buhari did this the last time,” kolework”.I have said it here before, this time, I will vote for the smaller shots no Atiku no Buhari.

  11. Gigi

    December 8, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    We need savy intelligent young men and women in Nigerian politics. We have a lot of young people who have what it takes to make our country great again.

    The problem is that most of these people are not willing to join politics because of how politics plays out here and the manner of people you find as player, who can do just about any thing and everything to get what they want.

    Sad indeed. I hope more and more great young people who care about the rule of law and also understands what it means to run a democratic government come out and get voted for and hopefully elected into office.

    • Mz Socially Awkward....

      December 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      I actually think we already have a lot more savvy and intelligent young people involved in Nigerian politics than we might imagine. The only problem is that from all indication, they seem to be working behind the scenes as support staff for the ancient leaders we’re trying to boot out.

      Neither Buhari nor Atiku can really be blamed if members of our generation are happy enough to receive a share of the loot, in exchange for devising new campaign strategies which ensure these nursing-home candidates remain on ballot papers.

  12. wifematerial

    December 8, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    amaa yo are so right give us the likes of Obama………………..unknown……. reading Genesis to Revelation is all baloney!!!!. This is how head of cattle rearer was coming clean and the likes of pretentious Debola presented the he goat brain to us…………………….Nigerians youth are you there????????????????

  13. Engoz

    December 8, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    Atiku as president isn’t a problem to me. It is who he selects as advisers or ministers. If it is the same Fani Kayode’s or Fayose you are going to elect as ministers or advisers, count me out.

    Also if you are going to drag womanhood backwards, the way Buhari did with the female cadets, count me out. When the time comes, I will like to see the plans you have for women.

    My advice to Atiku is to run your campaign as a transitional government which will lay the foundation for a youthful candidate. Just like The way Abdulsalami transitioned us from military to democratic government. The youth must be heavily represented in your government. If you don’t know who to appoint, BN has a woman/man crush Monday, start from there. We want innovators, drivers of economy, thinkers, intelligent people.

    Anything outside of this, count me out.

  14. nnenne

    December 9, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Say no to recycled leaders. Say no to Atiku and Buhari.
    Even if they want a northern President as usual, get a young, vibrant, innovative, forward looking leader from the north.
    Enough of these old cliques!!!

  15. Ajala & Foodie

    December 9, 2017 at 11:41 am

    I can’t believe people have decided Atiku and Buhari are the only 2 viable options for next election. 2 people that are yet to be voted in by their own parties.

    First, let me say that the message of “if you don’t perform you don’t get a second term” was a message that was already sent and clearly received with the last election. No point repeating the same tune like a broken record.

    It is however time to send a new msg i.e we are done recycling old overused leaders whose goals are clearly only to enrich their pockets and that of their friends and family. It is time to give the under dog a chance, the “green party” and independent. Let the Atiku’s , PMB’s, Fayose and co. Know that we are done being hoodwinked. We will rather vote the unknown/underdog then give these greedy ones a second opportunity to keep stealing from us. Nevertheless, when I see some comments above my guess we will be here again come 2020-2021 calling Atiku names just like we are PMB, just like we did Obasanjo. To break the cycle we need to stop ignoring the proverbial “frog meat” on the “menu because we are used to “chicken legs and “duck beaks” that is what these people are banking on and like someone said a revolution is needed. Revolution does not happen by sticking with the known.

  16. MCbrytest

    December 9, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    I almost fall for this until I realize he’s a Nigerian politician…. Guys don’t fall for this, it’s a trap.

  17. Emeka

    December 10, 2017 at 4:11 am

    So you believe I go die actually wrote that piece and Atiku replied? Then you must be a political neophyte. This is simply a youth penetration strategy. I envy I go die account balance

    • No Headaches Please

      December 10, 2017 at 10:24 am

      You’re smart.
      Unfortunately you’re in the minority.
      An obvious media strategy for the gullible majority.
      How something that is clearly so self evident is flying over everyone’s head is sad.

  18. Xi

    December 10, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Not sure why we always create a false dichotomy of PDP vs APC when it comes to Nigerian elections. There have always been more than two people/parties running for the presidency but we always pretend like the others don’t exist. Over the years, I’ve seen some other aspirants who I’m sure can do no worse than these recycled thieves go dismissed. Why? Election malpractices aside, if we don’t vote for other seemingly better or fresher candidates/parties, because we think they won’t win or “insert whatever irrational reason here”, then we are part of a self-fulfilling prophecy and deserve what we get.
    On another note, I thought VPs were largely figureheads. Also, didn’t he go rogue at some point and was a VP in title only? How come Atiku here is now claiming leadership of all the good things of the OBJ administration? And nothing of of the bad lol.

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