What Was TIME Magazine Thinking?

”Jonathan of all people” was what many Nigerians said after hearing that the Nigerian president’s name appeared on the highly revered TIME 100 list. This state of mind is quite expected considering the president’s inability to achieve feats that are basic and were successfully achieved by past presidents who weren’t honored with their names on TIME 100.

Whenever Nigerian citizens are talking about cluelessness in government, they have the president at heart. When the conversation is on sheer luck, the chances are high that Goodluck’s luck is the subject being discussed. And this isn’t unexpected considering the fact that the mistakes being made by this administration under the leadership of someone who just got mentioned on TIME 100 are inexcusable, making some Nigerians to pay the utmost sacrifice with their lives.

The first mistake that TIME magazine made was to rely on an African president to describe another. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s piece on President Goodluck Jonathan was typical and generic – something African citizens are familiar with. They are aware of the desperate (often ridiculous) attempt of their undeserving leaders to beatify and accrue honor to themselves at all costs. Which raises the first question that TIME magazine’s committee that selected and approved the nomination of Goodluck Jonathan needs to answer: why Ellen Johnson, why not a Nigerian?

The answer is simple; few Nigerians will accept that responsibility in the wake of the president’s “phenomenal successes”. Maybe the magazine approached some highly respected Nigerians who declined such responsibility and decided to “outsource” the task to an African president whose nation is indebted to Nigeria for its role in the enthronement of democracy, peace, law and order. Hence an opinion from the president of that country will understandably be good since both countries have a working bilateral relationship. TIME magazine should therefore explain why it overlooked this clear-cut issue that could make the supporting report biased or coerced.

Another issue of concern is whether TIME magazine’s crew visited Nigeria during the selection process. Because the least you can do to know that a president deserves such an award is to visit his country and ascertain his presidential prowess. If the crew visited Nigeria, the only place they wouldn’t suspect that there is crisis is within Aso rock. If they are observant enough, they would notice heavy security measures (I guess) at the villa.

Bomb explosions are becoming a constant piece on the daily news. Even foreign media including CNN, VOA and BBC have reporters stationed in Nigeria who share latest bomb news. The probability is therefore high for the crew to land in Nigeria on a typical day that Boko Haram’s suicide bombers are blowing innocent people and sacred places up. With the sect’s target being Abuja and other major cities, TIME magazine could be [un]lucky to witness one and take pictures of dismembered body parts, weeping children, widowed spouses and worship centers laying in ruins.

However, what the magazine did (best guess) was to look for an African figure who is currently and constantly on global scene, looks African, is photogenic and has a great story that could sell out the issue. With or without lobbying, the deed was done much to the chagrin of those who really know what is going on in Nigeria under Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.

Now this is the Goodluck Jonathan Nigerians know.

For the record, the incumbent administration has failed woefully in the primary task of national security. The widely accepted belief is that if you can’t make everything perfect for the citizens; at least keep them safe until they elect someone who can. But this is not the case with Jonathan-led administration. In less than one year of getting elected, the nation has recorded an unimaginably high rate of security breaches, successfully ideated, planned and executed acts of terrorism; and more than ever, the initial strong covalent bond that once joined different parts of the nation together has been extensively weakened.

It has even been said that the current administration has the highest morbidity and mortality rates in the history of democracy in Nigeria – a sad feat achieved in less than a year!

The recent OccupyNigeria movement is another reason why Goodluck Jonathan shouldn’t have made the list. The nationwide outcry over the undemocratic and insensitive hash government policy that led to the ill-advised removal of fuel subsidy and the effervescent nature of the president’s promised palliative measures further proved that this president couldn’t even be trusted to be a man of his words.

Furthermore, the federal House of Representatives in Nigeria recently gave a report of its investigations into the fuel subsidy saga. The report allegedly accused some highly placed members of the president’s ruling party, the PDP, of various categories of misconduct. But the way the presidency is handling the report shows that he is dragging his feet and obviously unready to challenge some highly placed persons – the so-called cabals, sacred ones, Nigeria’s version of Harry Porter’s The Ones That Cannot Be Named.

How can a commander-in-chief whose words the people cannot trust be named a member of TIME 100? His promises are rarely fulfilled (except they entail awarding contracts) and his vows on a normal day don’t see the light of the day. A president’s approval ratings couldn’t be lower. To confirm this, let a survey be conducted by trusted independent experts. They should ask Nigerians whose words they take more serious – Boko Haram’s or President Goodluck Jonathan’s? It’s guaranteed that Boko Haram will surely win the people’s confidence to deliver what they’ve promised.

Despite these and several other strong points, it is unbelievable that an internationally reputed timeless publication like TIME could bestow such honour on a president who hasn’t been able to inspire his nation in trying times but is often portrayed as weak, helpless and clueless by Nigerian critics. A suspected terrorist even pointed accusing fingers at the president as the person behind some bomb explosions.

Many Nigerians are requesting for unreserved apologies from the publication while some want an outright withdrawal of the Nigerian president’s name from the list. I don’t want either; I just want to set the record straight.

The reason why the president’s name shouldn’t be removed is that in the past, people like Adolf Hitler were also recognised in spite of the great atrocities they committed. Even in the current list, popular singer, Rihanna, ranks higher than the Nigerian president. This is a lady that goes nude at ease and shares pictures of her smoking only-God-knows-what.

Hence the president shouldn’t be delisted if Hitler wasn’t; and Rihanna and her habits are more respected than a president who travels round the world full of smiles, meeting, shaking hands and taking pictures while terrorists are blowing his nation apart on a daily basis.

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