Apr. 18, 2014
In the days after a series of bomb explosions at Nyanya motor park in Abuja killed at least 200 and maimed many more, President Goodluck Jonathan has hit the road, dancing at campaign rallies.
This latest example of callous indifference by the president has left many Nigerians shocked and indignant, with Mr. Jonathan facing sharp criticism in the Nigerian print and social media.
The president’s mindless campaigning in the hours after a savage attack that traumatized Nigerians is compounded by reports of the abduction of close to 200 school girls by Boko Haram terrorists. Earlier, the Nigerian army had claimed that the girls had been rescued. The principal of the girls’ school that was raided by Boko Haram militants has denied that claim.
A special investigative report by SaharaReporters has exposed the unpreparedness of the Nigerian soldiers assigned the dire task of combating members of the increasingly more daring and reportedly better-armed Boko Haram. Our report also indicated that the soldiers live in wretched condition, with their morale running low even as their commanding officers reportedly pocket a sizeable chunk of the funds for security operations.
It is shocking that a president who spent billions of naira and encouraged other public officials to squander billions more on his daughter’s wedding is not willing to ensure that the soldiers who fight and die to keep him, his family and other Nigerians safe are taken care of.
Mr. Jonathan should stop all campaign activities for a while and focus on ways of securing the lives and property of all Nigerians. In the past, the president has blamed highly placed Nigerians for sponsoring the climate of violence and terror in Nigeria, including Boko Haram. It is not enough to level that allegation against nameless perpetrators. If Mr. Jonathan has sound information that specific and identifiable Nigerians are behind the cruel massacre of their fellows, he has a duty to order the arrest of these sponsors, however exalted their position in society. He swore an oath to defend Nigerians, and that is a responsibility he can no longer shirk.
The first step, for goodness sake, is to cease this thoughtless owambe-ing. The president must be sensitive to the plight of the Nigerians who lose their lives to terrorist attacks, as well as their bereaved relatives and friends.
Leadership is not about dancing, Mr. Jonathan. This is time for sober reflection and serious work.