BY UCHE EZECHUKWU
Most of last week was anxiety-soaked over an innocuous announcement that President Goodluck Jonathan would visit Chibok, the sleepy and weeping community from where over 200 school girls were taken away from their dormitories by some yet-to-be-determined people. But for now, the deadly terrorist group, the Boko Haram is being held responsible for the vile act. The announcement was not made by any official agency of government, yet it attracted so much attention and expectation.
When the promised visit did not happen as the president jetted out to his pre-arranged visit to Paris for a meeting of regional leaders, a whiff of mixed feelings swept across the land like an admixture of benevolent and stuffy breeze. Millions of Nigerians, who had been bewildered and had thought of the visit as ill-advised at the best and suicidal at worst, heaved a sigh of relief that Nigeria had not unnecessarily given its enemies a cause to jubilate over our cluelessness
In the same vein and more significantly, a host of citizens, that had silently but fervently hoped and prayed that President Jonathan would proceed to his assured Golgotha in Chibok were so shattered that many of them, especially through the social media have been ventilating their anger, disappointment and frustration that the president did not repeat the historical error of the likes of Julius Caesar and our own Aguiyi-Ironsi, who had paid the supreme sacrifice by stepping where the angels had feared to thread, in spite of warnings of clear and present dangers. The type of abuses being heaped on the president for having not travelled to Chibok to die on a suicide programme that had been planned for him by his enemies is a good indication of how unthinking Jonathan’s enemies have become.
What has become now clear is that those who wished to see Jonathan at Chibok last week merely wanted to see him go there and become consumed by the yet-to-be-explained mystery that has taken away over 230 girls to an evil forest which even the keen-eyed US technology has not been able to uncover. They have not explained the expediency of the president going to a physical and psychological wasteland where the people are mourning the uncertain fate of their children. Nobody has dared to say why any president or a senior federal official would ever need to go to Chibok unless he had the lost girls to show to their parents and relatives. Nobody noted that the president could not be possibly going to Chibok while the garrulous state governor in his clean suit, was in London, making one contradicting statement after another to the international media.
From the angry reactions of many that the president did not go to his Golgotha, which in the Hebrew language, means a ‘place of skulls’, on a self-immolation bid last week, one can only discern that many Nigerians assume that once President Jonathan was got out of the way, violently, if need be, they would have obtained their heart’s content in Nigeria. After all, that seems to be what all that enthusiasm about his visit to Chibok was all about.
Even though they would readily deny it, many members of the opposition to the president would prefer him dead as a way, in their myopic thinking, of ending the ongoing impasse in the land, mainly invented by them. It is, however, important to submit that if and ever anything suspicious and untoward happens to Goodluck Jonathan while he is still in office, Nigerians would as well kiss goodbye to this project called Nigeria, and I say this with the highest sense of responsibility. It, therefore, behooves on all of us to ensure that we do not even entertain the thought of anything, outside the act of God, happening to him, as the fallout would be an unprecedented cataclysm that would warm the hearts of the enemies of Nigeria and the possibility of building a Black Power nation, but get everybody here scurrying for cover.
While we are at this, it is important to note that it is most irresponsible of some people – both domestic and foreign – to continue to put all the blame for the spread of the ongoing insurgency on the feet of the federal executive. Yes, the charges of corruption in the administration and equipment of the defence personnel persist, given that in spite of the huge budgetary provisions, there are still unending reports of the soldiers who should fight the insurgency not always getting their dues. There are palpable claims that many of the field combatants are disillusioned because many of them suspect they are not getting all that they deserve. Yes, it might even be said that there is a fall in the morale of the fighting forces. And so far, it has been convenient to quote Truman’s hackneyed doctrine to the effect that ‘the buck stops at the president’s table’. But does the buck really stop at any table when there is a constitutionally ordered division of labour?
However, the challenges will start to be abridged when Nigerians in their personal and official capacities start to accept their own parts of the blame. Today, even the foreign media are trumpeting the ‘neglect’ by the federal government of some northern states, refusing to inform their audience that Nigeria is a federation and each federating unit has its own responsibilities. The federal government might even be blamed for the inability of the Chibok students who allegedly escaped their abductors could not express themselves in basic English language, even when they are expected to be amongst the brightest students who offer Physics.
Today nobody wants to remember that the denudation of the military budgets is not by the president but rather by the lawmakers who extort and twist the arms before budgets are passed. Again, military personnel claiming that they fear to fight against Boko Haram more because of betrayals they encounter from within their ranks and file than for any other reasons. One claimed recently that there is hardly any operation that does not witness an ambush. That, by some sources, was why a commander was almost executed by his troops last week.
In conclusion, those who are bashing President Jonathan from left, right and centre, should appreciate that the current problem in Nigeria is not about the dancer; it is rather about the dance. It is not about the president; it is rather about the lure of the presidency to many who also want to get there not for what they can do with it, but rather what they gain dredge from it. When Dr. Jonathan leaves, as he must surely leave one day, someone else will occupy the office, as long as Nigeria continues. But if he is made to leave before it is his time, it is doubtful if there would be a Nigeria to lead.
So, it would be better that all those who wish to lead Nigeria respect democracy –its warts and all – and wait for the current dispensation to run its course. For now, it is no trying to hypnotize Jonathan into going to Chibok or to any other Golgotha, to crucify himself.