A fortnight ago I wrote a feature on the pages of this paper that I think has some relevance with the speed at which things are unfolding pursuant to the buildup to the 2015 elections. The title of that piece was Politics of Blood Donation. In it I adopted a descriptive rather than the prescriptive tone and language of the many destructive critics that abound today. I felt a little uncomfortable at the public display of a philanthropic gesture that at best is expressed discreetly and secretly. In that piece, I said that the politicians involved in the giving of blood to save the lives of victims of the Nyanya attack seemed to need the attention and attraction of donating their blood publicly, perhaps to build a political profile relevant to their intimacy or otherwise with Nigerians. Less than discerning of our people started to shout hosanna in the highest at these politicians, and the cacophony at the market square reached a crescendo that if there was an election on that day, these people would be president and vice president respectively already.
On the other end of the spectrum, here was a President Goodluck Jonathan who was said to have just ‘showed face’ at the first terrorist bombing at Nyanya. Thereafter, the man jumped into his jet and drove to Ibadan Oyo State, where the Alaafin was celebrating his jubilee. After Oyo, he went to Kano as the bedlam that followed said, to skelewu. When I saw the president skelewuing after that terrible incident at Nyanya, I initially did not know what to make of it particularly as there are people who know my disposition that I’m not one you could befuddle with any kind of contrived photographic or literal evidence. But this seemed like very hard evidence of insensitivity and a lack of humanity of the worst kind. The market square traducers of the president said even went ahead to juxtapose this seeming lack of feeling with the seeming warmth of the attention and attraction seekers who went to publicly donate blood.
But I wasn’t convinced. I was sure that there must be a rationale behind that insensitivity, from the way the yokels at the market square were yakking. And I found one, to the extent that it led to no less an auspicious a personality than a Barack Obama. In 2008, he refused to shut down his campaign office after his opponent John McCain did, to show face at the place where the national calamity had just taken place. According to Obama’s paradox, a leader must be useful in more than one place and at the same time at once. When I told this to some auspicious people, they didn’t waste time telling me that I am a stupid and senseless sycophant.
But with the second bombing at Nyanya, scales are beginning to fall from many eyes. First of all, this second bombing has all the signature and character of the first where more than 70 persons were killed. Speculations were rife that because some politicians are hell bent on weakening GEJ’s government, these politicians perpetrated the first Nyanya bombing ostensibly to prevent the president from going to Kano to campaign. Well, I wouldn’t know about that. However, if I were to know that there is a somebody somewhere, and worst of all a political enemy who is determined and would go the extra length to kill and maim so that I don’t dance, I would go the extra length as well to do a skelewu even if the songs in the air are songs of woe sung by my traducer. Second of all, the signature and motive of the bombers directly and indirectly carry the signature of very well-known politicians. How? After the first bomb in Nyanya, many of us took up the cry for Mr. President to impose a full scale emergency in the North East of Yobe, Adamawa and Borno. We didn’t stop there. We have demanded that Mr. President depose these governors into the bargain and get them arrested for their inability to maintain the peace in their states and indirectly be accessories to the mindless deaths they have used their army the Boko Haram to unleash. And no sooner did the military align itself with this line of pressure than one of the governors – the one from Adamawa state – start his own agitation for a state of emergency to be imposed in Abuja as well. His argument was that there are bombings in Abuja as well. Less than a week after, and with the World Economic Forum on Africa, WEFA, just about the corner, the second bomb in Nyanya went off.
All of this, to me, leads in a very certain direction. The politicians bent on weakening the resolve of the government and derailing its focus is unrelenting. In circumstances as this, any responsible government responds in one or both of these ways – respond and battle the terrorists or ignore them completely. What makes the entire scenario curious is that if Mr. President decides to ignore them and go about the business of government, his haters and traducers would insist that he is weak and insensitive. If on the other hand he decides to pursue them, governance would suffer thereby falling prey to the schemes of these politicians leaving him and us all with a Catch 22.
Therefore we recommend to Mr. President once again: declare a full and total emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. And don’t stop there sir: depose these governors and allow the flurry of litigations that would follow take their course. Any further pussyfooting hurts no else but you Mr. President.