With the advent of social media, individuals who previously had no means of gaining access to celebrities and important personalities in all industries can now do so.
The traditional method of addressing them through letters is almost extinct save for a few people who decide to go the formal way.
Do you want to get a message across to the President of Nigeria, then read on because it is easier to do so now more than ever.
The first thing you have to decide on is your purpose for writing to the president. Why? Because your purpose will determine the medium you will employ to get your letter across to him/her (when we get a female president…yes we can!).
If your purpose of writing the letter is to express appreciation for a good deed or make a request, the best way to do it is by addressing it in a closed, formal letter following all the rules and principles guiding formal letter writing. These rules will be discussed later on in this article. This will be helpful for people that did not allow school pass through them (just kidding o!).
On the other hand, if you are writing to congratulate, berate or just to draw attention to a particular situation, it is recommended to write an open letter that can be posted on either print or social media.
This is because if the subject of your letter is one of the highlighted subjects in the previous paragraph, chances are that it will get lost in transit if directly addressed to the president in an enclosed format, especially if the content is not pleasant. The letter, at the end of the day, might not even get to be seen by the president and this totally defeats the whole purpose of writing the letter in the first place.
However, if you are using the social media or even print media to pass across your message, there is a possibility that it will be an issue that is of relevance to the general public to the extent that support can be garnered thereby turning it into a trending topic and attracting attention to the issue.
Chances are that another important celebrity or personality in the government or its parastatals, e.g special adviser on media, can have his/her attention drawn to the contents of the letter and at the end of the day, call the attention of the president. You might even get a reply (a special appointment) and relevant changes will be made based on the content of your letter.
I know you are getting very excited about writing your letter now, more so with the results you have realised can be gotten because of it. Slow down with the imagination because before you jump right in, you have to know the steps to take to write your letter as well as sending it.
1. Formal closed letter: as stated earlier, this letter is best used for appreciation and to make a request. After deciding your purpose for the letter and drafting out what you want to be included, you can begin.
The first step to take, as in a regular formal letter is to write your address at the top right hand corner of the document. This should be followed by the date of the day you are writing the letter. It should be directly under your address.
The second step is to write the address of the president on the next left paragraph as written below:
Nigerian Presidential Complex,
Aso Rock Presidential Villa,
After writing the address, do not forget the salutation. Address the president as Dear President (insert full official name). The next thing to do is to write the heading of the letter which will give one a brief idea of what is contained in the letter or the purpose of the letter.
When you have completed the above process, then you can begin writing the letter. It will be sensible for you to have a draft at hand in order to avoid mistakes in the letter which will call for a rewrite.
In your letter, do not beat about the bush, make sure to go straight to the point. Start by introducing yourself, then state the reason for your letter. While concluding your letter, appreciate the president for reading and ask politely for response or feedback regarding your request.
Close with ‘Yours faithfully’, and sign your full name. Use good quality paper material to write your letter or better still, type it for a better presentation. Package it properly and post it to the address stated above.
2. Open letter: as stated earlier, there are a lot of benefits to using this method to get your message across to the president. Before you address this letter to the President, you should have done thorough research and have valid points to raise.
This is because your letter will be seen by anyone who cares to read it and there are a lot of knowledgeable people in Nigeria who have a wealth of information at their disposal just waiting to showcase. Your letter might just be the avenue for that…positively or negatively.
Have a proper draft of the letter before writing it finally and if possible, show it to a good friend who is equally or more knowledgeable about the subject you are addressing to proof read for errors in your ideas, grammar and even spelling.
Start with the date at the top right hand corner of the document, followed by the salutation at the left hand side of the next paragraph. E.g Dear President (insert name). Begin the letter with a greeting even if you are going to criticise what he wore to bed last night. Remember to be polite as it is not proper to insult a president; sitting or past. Go straight to the point and state the reason for writing your letter. Let your points be brief and concise as well as valid because no one wants to read a long letter reeking of shallowness.
Touch every issue you want to address and after doing so, end with an appreciation to the president for reading. Also express your desire that the issues pointed out would be tackled as soon as possible. Sign your name on the next paragraph.
You have to find the right medium for getting your letter across. Do you want your letter in hard copy or online newspapers? Or do you want it solely on blogs and social media? Or a mix of both? You have to make the decision after weighing the pros and cons of each media and decide on the one that suits your purpose especially as regards the section of the population affected by the issues raised.
Expect all kinds of feedback from your letter both positive, negative and downright brutal. Take it all in good stride and do not be deterred. Do not hesitate to become an agent of change. Who knows what might come of it? Happy writing!