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In conversation with my readers

Today’s column is about my conversations with you, my readers. Some of you I knew personally before I started writing, and many of you I…

Today’s column is about my conversations with you, my readers. Some of you I knew personally before I started writing, and many of you I only met when I started. Our conversations are usually by messages, but I still get some occasional calls, and I respond to them when time permits.

Over the months, I had conversed with readers whose feedback and questions gave me the energy to continue. A few of my ardent readers send me quotes from my articles, which gives me nostalgic feelings. On many occasions, they forward other responses which I have yet to encounter. On other occasions, they send me trending issues that encourage me to write. One of them has a usual line after sending me a thought-provoking article: ‘Over to you, Dr Nasir Aminu.’

Last week’s article, Unchaining Kaduna: Calling on Uba Sani, stimulated public discourse beyond Kaduna. A politically exposed person (PEP) residing in Kaduna sent me a message saying, ‘You [are] really giving Uba Sani and his handlers what they want to hear [thumbs up]. Great write-up’. Another reader texted: ‘…the piece today on Kaduna state is apt. Well-done… Leaders should be patriotic, God-fearing, and prudent. Let them emulate founding fathers like Premier Sir Ahmadu Bello, who sacrificed life and left legacies. They should be transparent/open and devoid of wealth accumulation.’

Of course, Senator Uba himself provided the biggest response during his town hall meeting in Kaduna, where he disclosed that the state is struggling to pay salaries and that the debt burden is a problem. Given the state of the economy and the cost-of-living crisis, this is the beginning of the discussion regarding Kaduna’s financial issues.

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In the weeks before last, the conversations revolved around senators, with Akpabio and Ningi in the limelight. The two articles got interesting responses, including one from a PEP in the National Assembly, to explain the suspension of Ningi. The PEP’s message started with the usual pleasantries of enjoying the write-up, then went on to say: ‘But Distinguished Senator Ningi could not prove his allegations before the plenary. So, the Senate had no option but to suspend him. It is unfortunate. Kindly note that the election in the Nigerian Senate is the simple majority that will give you winning, but removal is two-thirds of the entire Senate members, which is too difficult to get.’ I made no further comments.

Another reader texted in agreement, saying: ‘…going beyond the southerner and the leadership of the Senate, the ethnic and or religious card has been the bane of our society. Until merit and competence take their rightful place in this country, we will stagnate and just keep on talking.’ On the contrary, things have changed since then, as Akpabio is looking to recall Ningi, but that should not be the end of it.

In February, when the naira was hitting record lows, I wrote some articles. The following response covers the feedback I got: ‘RE: Addressing naira instability beyond trial and error: Good day, sir; your observation & advice to FG are good and the right channel for govt. To follow and implement the solution, but alas! They would not listen and work just for their selfish aggrandisement and hidden agenda. We are Nigerians and in Nigeria. More grease to your elbows, thanks.’

I was missing in action on the day the article was published, and I hope you will understand if you did not receive my usual response. I was touched when I received messages from two of you in February asking, ‘Why have you been silent lately?’ During that time, I was grieving the loss of my mother. May Allah’s mercy be with her gentle soul, Ameen. At the time when we were receiving condolences, I also received messages from so many readers who eventually got to know me as a columnist. I am grateful.

My readers have strengthened my convictions. One exceptional PEP contacted me regarding the article ‘Tinubu’s Appointments and His Questionable Alliances.’ The elder statesman said: ‘It was a brilliant piece and wise counsel to Tinubu. I share your views and hope he will be guided. We need more of such interventions. Bless you.’ These encouraging words kept me going. Nonetheless, I respect the opinions of others who see my point differently.

I also get messages from readers asking for networking and mentorship. I am happy to engage in this activity with you all. I will be setting up an online platform to see how we can communicate better instead of doing it in writing.

A reader’s request made me emotional because it was a similar question I once asked my late father, and he gave me the best advice a parent can give to his child, which I cannot write in a few words, but it made me become the regular writer that I am today. The reader asked: ‘…Please, sir, I want you to assist me with mentorship in my writing journey; how could I get my health-related article published?’ I recommend sending it to the suggested email provided for the opinion columns of the newspaper. However, please reach out to me once you have a completed draft for feedback.

 

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