An Open Letter to Jonathan Goodluck

Your Excellency,

It’s clear you have a problem. A public relations problem. How unfortunate to find yourself the unwelcome centre of the world’s wandering attention. And when you’re trying to launch a re-election campaign and host high-level summits! The situation has obviously become so intolerable you’ve had to flee to France to seek counsel and support. Tant pis!

That hash tag has to go. To make the hash tag go away, you’ve got to make Boko Haram go away. Here’s where I think I can help.

It involves a visualization exercise. You’ll have to close your eyes. Perhaps you can do this on the plane during your next international trip. Here we go:

I’d like you to envision Boko Haram not as a fringe terrorist group but as an up and coming political party – one gaining in popularity and support. Recent polls suggest that in the next elections this party might gain a significant number of votes and challenge your grip on power.

Let’s imagine they’re not after schoolgirls; they’re after your throne! I mean, your position!

Good. Now, let’s imagine that Abubakar Shekau, the head of Boko Haram, isn’t a rabid, rambling ideologue, but a charismatic, courageous young leader, the perfect blend of vision and values. This young Turk is drawing large crowds when he speaks; filling stadiums. He’s not reviled like the real life Shekau; he’s a rock star! The papers are saying he represents Nigeria’s future. While you, my friend, symbolize its troubled past.

So, your Excellency, you can see clearly that this Boko Haram is a real threat. To your Power!

Now let’s envision your response to these political upstarts. Oh, I think you know what to do; here’s where your maturity will really come in handy. You’ll unleash the full power of the State to destroy Boko Haram at its very core – murder its leaders, threaten its supporters, cut off its resources. A vintage combination of bloodspilling, bribes and threats. You’ll show them what an African Big Man is all about.

Imagine international adulation, time on all the talk shows, maybe even your own hashtag. #jonathangoodluckrocks

You can open your eyes. Now go get ‘em, sir.

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