Nigeriastan: When Goodluck is not enough

by Michael Egbejumi-David

Boy! ‘Boko Haram’ is still winning. It is winning big, and it is winning ugly.

It is becoming increasingly and unbearably painful to read now on a regular basis, the bombings taking place in Nigeria and the attendant wanton and unnecessary loss of life. It is even more painful when these bombings appear completely unchecked in anyway. How did we even get to this sorry pass in Nigeria? When did we allow ourselves to be dragged into this primitive madness where we now keep company with Afghanistan and other such funny countries where repression seem their only raison d’être?

And now, these people have incorporated drive-by shooting to their black act. We have borrowed all things bad from around the globe. Not satisfied with bombings, these murderers are now going to where other people congregate and gather and just shoot at them, cutting them down in large numbers.

Look, we understand. This is not just to beat up on poor Jonathan. We know that there is no real entity as a Boko Haram. These are criminal elements being used, funded and enabled by Jonathan’s enemies. We do understand that some ugly people that lost out in the political scheme of things are determined to make life and governance difficult for him. These were the same people that predicted violent change if they were not at the levers of power in 2011. For these maladjusted people, they don’t care if the roof crashes down. As the walls come tumbling down, they would jet off to Dubai and other places with their family in tow. Childishly, they think that if they can’t have ‘it,’ then no one else should have it. And like cowardly bullies, they reckon that if they push hard enough, Jonathan and the rest of us would give in to them. Unfortunately for us, there are plenty of ignorant human willing tools available to them for use. They have chosen a demented and depraved way to go about their dastardly business, and eternal damnation be upon them.

So we do understand and we are in fact rooting for the government. And there’s the rub! Government is letting itself and us down. It is galling to behold the seeming helplessness of Jonathan in the face of all of this. There just doesn’t seem to be any effective response from his government. Worse, Jonathan gives off the impression that he himself is petrified by it all. He comes across as hapless, and that sends a horrid, horrid message to the rest of the country while at the same time, it further emboldens the Boko animals.

And to drive home his bizarre approach to this madness, Jonathan was recently reportedly to have said that we would have to learn to live with Boko Haram and the current fear and insecurity in the land. And he is still President, or did he mis-speak? Na wah. So – if I understand it – Jonathan is saying to the country very clearly that even though we and he know the cause of this mess and the people responsible for it; like Nigerian-made sharia, we have to just sit it out and hope the people lose interest or run out of steam. We would just have to accept that we would lose a number of our families, colleagues and friends. This is Jonathan’s prescription? Na real wah.

I don’t even know why Jonathan is acting like this. I don’t understand why his government seems to be doing a runner. Nigeria is not an easy country, we know, and I imagine he has long and deep political IOUs to settle following the last elections. But did all that leave him completely shackled and helpless, or is it more a case of unpreparedness and incompetence? Does his large cortege of Special Advisers and the rest not help him out at all?

No need to sugar-coat it: from where I’m looking, this government seem to be in deep, deep slumber as regards security. I saw Jonathan’s recent TV interview where he very well elucidated some of our problems as a nation. Problem is, most Nigerians know this. We all know the problems too well. Jonathan campaigned, and was elected to resolve those problems. It is his job now to lead the effort at resolution or, minimally, begin to lay concrete foundations to correct long-standing anomalies; to show some manful effort in that direction. The verdict at the moment indicates the opposite. Jonathan is not leading. He is largely absent and gives the impression that he thought he was going to be a ceremonial Head of State.

A nation without security is no serious nation. A nation that cannot protect its own citizens especially within its own borders is not a serious nation. Worse, a place where there appears an abdication of governmental duty is a scary place. The first duty of any government is ensuring the security of its citizens in all its colourations: physical security, food security, social, etc, etc. When evil men and saboteurs try to undermine these, it is the duty of the government of the day to rise up in defence of its citizens. It is neither good enough nor acceptable for the head of a government to simply say ‘fellow countrymen, just learn to deal with it.’ People would be more accepting of government’s position only when they see that government bursting a gut to defend them.

I also do not understand the declaration of the state of emergency in local government areas and other hamlets. To my mind, for this to be convincing and effective, as a start, the state of emergency has got to be State-wide. Why does Jonathan undertake these timid, self-defeating and half-witted measures? And I certainly do not understand the gratuitous declaration of a state of emergency in Jos. Is the disturbance up there due to ‘Boko Haram’ too?

When Jonathan and his government show visible fear of, and healthy respect for a terrorist contraption, then the message goes out strongly to everyone that we are on our own. We are basically defenceless. And the Boko animals would think that they just have to push that little bit harder to achieve their aim.

That can never be acceptable. It is too much! It is all too painful. Enough is enough! Let us ask for external help if that is what it takes. We cannot accept, and should never be asked to accept a situation where a few of our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children, neighbours and friends are deemed as, and used as expendable pawns in a political power tussle. Let the funders and enablers of ‘Boko Haram’ be picked up and locked up. Please let Jonathan get external help if the State Security outfits are not up to the job or if they are not responsive to him.

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