YNaija Editorial: Mr. President, we’re going to need you to resign

President Jonathan went dancing at a campaign rally, the day of the abduction which was also the day after Nyanya terrorist bombing that claimed 72 lives in the nation's capital, ABuja

May 2, 2014

The fact that Nigerians (not even those who like him or feel sorry for him) cannot trust this president, and do not believe that he has the capacity to keep us safe, to keep us well, to solve problems, is the urgent reason that this president immediately needs to resign.

Calling on the democratically elected president of a nation to resign is not something to be said in a hurry; flippantly, or to prove a point.

Even in times such as this, when, across the nation, media and analysts have fallen over themselves to make that exact request, restraint is a necessary virtue.

Indeed, when it comes to the cascade of negativity that this president has had to contend with, this board has been willing to be sympathetic, and to take a longer view. For good reason. Every president of Nigeria, before Goodluck Jonathan, has faced identical challenges – insecurity, corruption, a destroyed education system, more.

This president, by virtue of his existence alone, has also challenged many of the debilitating conventions of our country’s politics, making it easy to dream and to believe in a country where anything is possible. And, for whatever it’s worth, the world seems to like the man.

We are also aware that this is, in fact and in effect, a war time president, fighting domestic terrorism on a scale no other president had to deal with, with implacable foes, and in an atmosphere of severe political fragmentation, with venomous bitterness from deposed ruling blocs.

But, it is also a fact that he has shown himself wholly incompetent in leading Nigeria, on almost every level.

We do not know what the problem is. It might be his lack of military experience in a militarised country. It might be his seeming disinterest in the structural complexity upon which post-colonial Nigeria is formed. It might be an inability to grasp the high-minded imperatives of statecraft. It might be his painfully obvious inability to engage the world with anything nearing sophistication. It may just be the fact that the problems are too many for a man with his limited experience in managing large numbers. We do not know.

But it is not our job to wonder about the incompetence of our president, it is our job to demand that our president be competent, and it is our collective job to ensure that if we have made a mistake, we correct it immediately.

Fellow Nigerians, if the bombs going off in Nyanya (twice in a 3-week period) haven’t underlined this mistake, then a few other things surely must.

Perhaps the fact that the president thought it sensible to go party in Kano just after that blast. Perhaps the fact that he could not cancel his shallow engagements out of respect for the almost-100 dead but could do same after the death of his vice president’s brother.

Or the fact that, while all of this is going on, from the ministry of petroleum to his re-election campaign, the president continues to fiddle with politics while Nigeria burns. Or the fact that his Minister of Interior caused the deaths of young job seekers in Abuja and yet retains office, without consequence.

Above all else, we cannot get our heads around the utter silence of solutions from his office ever since over 200 girls were abducted by domestic terrorists and since disappeared for over two weeks.

We have watched with disbelief and alarm as, under the full glare of the international media and a growing army of politicians, corporate leaders, civil society groups and even celebrities, the President has proven himself painfully incapable of making any progress in finding teenage girls kidnapped in the full glare of a heavily policed state.

This, after his government had dubiously understated the number of the girls, tried to deny the seriousness of the matter, and then shamelessly tried to lie that his armed forces had freed the girls.

The scale of the incompetence would be mind-numbing if the tragedy wasn’t continuing.

We’re speaking here of the bombs yesterday in Nyanya, Abuja. Just after protests in Abuja and Lagos about country’s insecurity, the bombs went off again, killing at least seven, in about the same spot as the last time.

As always, the president will strongly condemn the actions and his administration will go through the predictable round of motion without movement. But as before, the dead will almost surely be gone without any hope of punishment for the evil-doers, and Nigerians will be no safer next week than they are today.

Nothing will be done to significantly solve the problem, or at least to inspire confidence in the citizens. And that is the real problem.

The fact that Nigerians (not even those who like him or feel sorry for him) cannot trust this president, and do not believe that he has the capacity to keep us safe, to keep us well, to solve problems, is the urgent reason that this president immediately needs to resign.

If history is any guide, he will not heed this call. His army of dependents will ensure that he hangs on to every thread he can find until the ground gives way under him. But even if he will not do the right thing, we must continue to ask. It is our duty to demand this.

Nigeria can no longer afford him. This president needs to go.