Boko Haram will not be on the ballot in the upcoming presidential election, but Goodluck Jonathan will. I recently read a report in a popular online magazine that claims the likelihood of Jonathan being re-elected is pretty good. What a troubling forecast. And it’s far more dangerous to Nigerians and to Africa as a whole than anything Boko Haram can conjure up.
So who, then, is the bigger threat to Nigeria? Is it Jonathan or Boko Haram? Yes, Boko Haram is a dreadful menace to Nigeria. But when Nigeria finally gets a strong leader, he will swat Boko Haram like a fly. Boko Haram is only as big a threat as the Nigerian president allows it to be. Instead of working to develop strategies to pull Nigeria into the 21st century, Jonathan is trotting the globe trying to win sympathy from the global community by comparing Boko Haram to the Taliban. What a waste of time from a president who really has no time, energy or other resources to waste.
If Nigerians re-elect Jonathan, I believe it is only a matter of time before Nigeria’s social, economic and political infrastructures fracture and Nigeria, in all her glory, will come tumbling down. The fact that Nigerians are unable to stand against Boko Haram is a direct reflection of its spineless, careless leaders. These leaders have decided that lining their pockets is more important than creating a country that is at peace and moving toward progress. These are leaders who have brazenly declared they are beyond accountability. They answer to no one. They are only concerned with what they siphon from Nigeria while they have access to her wealth and resources.
These are the real terrorists if you ask me. It is the only explanation I have for a group of leaders who would allow its children to be hunted, kidnapped and taken hostage for such a length of time. Every smart leader protects its children. The children are the future of a nation, the legacy. But Nigerian leaders have seen fit to sacrifice its children instead. So who is the real threat to Nigeria? A group of thieves who boldly report to work every day to systematically liquidate Nigeria’s assets and sacrifice its children or a band of bandits who are on the run and acting out when they can?
Nigeria’s leaders are supposed to be defenders and lawmakers! But the petroleum industry bill that should have been a top priority for the nation is mired in controversy and on the back burner of the legislative agenda.
A Good Long Look at Nigeria’s North Dakota
A few days ago, I watched a program on CNN about North Dakota, a U.S. state that I liken to Bayelsa in Nigeria.
Wealth and Poverty. Like Bayelsa, North Dakota has oil but that is where the similarities end. Unemployment in North Dakota is 2.6 percent, while in Bayelsa, unemployment hovers around 80 percent. North Dakota has a population of 700,000 and a GDP of $36 billion. The GDP of Bayelsa is only $4.3 billion with a population of about 1.7 million. As a state, North Dakota has recorded the highest income growth among all U.S. states since 2007. Poverty doesn’t exist in North Dakota. In Bayelsa, 70 percent of the population lives in poverty.
Oil. North Dakota pumps about 575,000 barrels of oil daily. Even though Bayelsa has one of the largest deposits of oil and gas in Nigeria, no one really knows how much is pumped or stolen daily. Like our leaders have proclaimed, they are accountable to no one so this kind of valuable information is shrouded in secrecy because of the weak leadership of our spineless Commander-in-Thief and the lackluster leadership of the dishonorable rogues who populate the National Assembly. We don’t know because the co-operation of the pot-bellied armed forces, the conspiracy of the union leaders, the greed of the village chiefs, the weakness of the press and the gullibleness of the general public make it impossible for us to hold anyone accountable.
Electricity and Water. North Dakota has round-the-clock electricity. The power supply and tap water is being sent into homes and business 24/7 in North Dakota. Bayelsa has power two, maybe three hours a day if they are lucky. Bayelsa is surrounded by water, yet its residents can hardly get clean water to drink, let alone wash their clothes.
Air Quality. Bayelsa is one of the most polluted places on earth. North Dakota barely registers on the map of pollution tracking.
That is the fate of just one state in Nigeria. It’s easy to imagine what the rest of the oil-producing states look like under the leadership of Jonathan in the last five years. The states that populate the Northern part of Nigeria are doubly miserable. Are we really looking to re-elect Jonathan?
The two questions every Nigerian should ask himself or herself before casting a vote is:
Am I better off now compared to when Jonathan became President?
Will I be better off in the next four year if Jonathan is re-elected?
Boko Haram is not on the ballot. We need a leader who can get rid of Boko Haram once and for all. Jonathan has not been willing to do that in the last four years. It’s clear he won’t be able to do it in the next four.
These days, he’s in a frenzy to negotiate with these thugs. They are not organized enough to qualify as terrorists. They are just street thugs who wouldn’t be able to withstand even one coordinated operation from the likes of a Nigerian hero like the late Colonel Benjamin Adekunle, The Scorpion. But then, Adekunle had a strong Commander-in-Chief who was qualified to wear the uniform and determined to keep Nigeria unified. Unlike our current Commander-in-Chief who dons a military uniform but has never been in the military nor had any training as a soldier or leader.
If Jonathan is re-elected, Boko Haram will continue unabated. Unemployment will increase, power generation will decrease, life will continue to be unbearable for the average Nigerian. You can also expect the cost of living to go through the roof and we will continue to lose our best and brightest minds to the UK and the U.S. Hell, Ebola might even decide to come back to Nigeria.
Most importantly, Nigeria will lose its leadership position in Africa and Nigeria will continue to be the laughing stock of the world. Is that what we want?
So I ask you again. Who is the bigger threat to Nigeria – Jonathan or Boko Haram? You decide. But remember, only Jonathan is on the ballot.
Don’t say I did not warn you… again.
Let’s continue this discussion on Twitter @1amazingtoyin.