Sunday, October 1, 2017


Darling Buhari,

Before we entered a relationship, before we fell in love and you promised to Change my life, I used to give thanks every In-dependence day to all the people who make our home the amazing place that it is. This In-dependence day, the only person I really feel like thanking is you, for being the most loving president ever, for always being there, for taking care of our enemies, for solving all of our problems, for bringing about real Change, for being so flexible and kind, for being a great communicator and listener, for being dependable. But you know, I still think we should thank the other people who assist you and our great country in being the amazing place that it is. Some of them I have done before, but one can never be too grateful. Find below suggestions on who you should send a message to this in-dependence day. 

My dear, I think we should begin by thanking the United Kingdom. For keeping you safe. For helping you recover. For always being there when you need a doctor, a hospital, when you needed some rest, when you needed to park a plane and when nosy Nigerians decided it was their business what exactly you were spending money treating. We should also thank them for keeping some of our key projects afloat. For DFID without which some of our hospitals (yes, the ones who can't even treat you) would crash. For the projects which provide decent employment for our consultants and Phds and other development hustlers. For the schools which make sure your children can take over from you when you decide to retire. For not giving up on us the way they gave up on Europe. For hanging out with us even though they are going through a bad break up. Breakups are hard.  

We should also thank America, my dear. For supporting you. For helping you even though these days they don't agree with your definition of who a terror group is (I believe we can eventually convince them to hate those we hate). Darling, importantly we must thank them for that accent that our radio presenters across the country try so desperately to copy. Our cool radio stations would be dead without those grating, rolling Rs in words like 'lord' or even 'god'. Don't ask me how some manage to sneak an r into 'god'. You know how god works in mysterious ways. 

So, dear I know you don't drink alcohol. But you are a tolerant person and allow people to be who they want to be. I know the Shiite massacre is just an exception because this is not who you really are. Sometimes mistakes happen and hundreds of people die. Like that time our pilots killed those IDPs. But back to gratitude. I was saying that you don't drink alcohol but we should thank the country that gives our alcohol drinkers a sense of purpose. Many Nigerians may not realize Star Lager is a Dutch product, but they help some of our people effectively wash away their sorrows. So we must thank The Netherlands for providing this great product. 
Ps. We must also pray for our people to stop drinking. This is important. 

We must remember to thank South Africa. For all the companies that make our lives bearable. For DSTV. For Shoprite. For MTN which teaches us values like patience and knowing how to have a backup plan. For being a big brother who disciplines the children of his younger brother from time to time (some people call it xenophobia but don't mind them please). 

We must thank Switzerland. For consistently and safely storing money stolen from our country which keeps coming in handy and which helped us through this past recession. Such an amazing country with a big, non-judgmental heart.  

We must thank Dubai. For providing an alternative to some of our citizens who would be arrested if they travelled to the US. 

We must thank Germany (You remember West Germany? Yes that country). For Julius Berger. Without whom, in the event of an emergency, we would be in serious trouble. 

Other countries to thank include Ghana, Cyprus, Ukraine, Malaysia, you know, for providing our middle-class with an opportunity to give their children a decent education. 

I also think you should not forget Benin Republic. For all the cooks who keep the expatriates in Nigeria nourished while they provide us technical expertise and foreign aid.

My dear, we owe China a big thank you. For the shinier, cheaper versions of all the things most of our people cannot afford. For the second-hand trains. I know we are paying for it somehow, but still, we must thank them. I know America sometimes whispers into our ear not to get in bed with them too often, but at least they are honest. They don’t lie to us about wanting to marry us or be our best friend. 

Important non-state actors to thank include English football in general and the UEFA Champions League. For providing a distraction for young Nigerians who would otherwise have been in the streets being disloyal to you and asking you to fulfil all the promises you made in 2015. For the trends on Twitter on the weekends which gives us plenty to talk about. People don't realise how football has contributed to our stability as a nation: we spend time fighting over Arsenal and Manchester United or whether Ronaldo is better than Messi instead of fighting each other. God bless them. 

You must also thank foreign journalists who make it easy for you to express yourself. They make you overcome your shyness in speaking to the nation. We must thank them for knowing where to ask you questions and how. 

Let us thank Chatham House, where politicians who feel uncomfortable mixing with the natives can  travel to and safely express their political thoughts before the colonial masters who always appreciate it. Somehow it trickles down to the natives. Thank god for the internet and tv. 

Can we also thank Jacob Zuma? For making you look amazing? Imagine if we had a country in Africa which was not only giving our economy a run for its money but also had a decent president who could read full sentences? Too much pressure. We need more people like him. More state captures. 

Let me stop here my dear. 

Ps. Maybe we can send a note of gratitude to the Shiites, who have not reacted violently even with how we killed Zakzaky's children and followers? So calm, those people. Can we just try to release the man and his wife? To show gratitude?

Yours till 2023 and forever, 

Elnathan John