Like Emperor Nero, Like Jonathan


Nero, the proverbial Roman Emperor, fiddled brashly when the city of Rome was aflame, just like the way President Goodluck Jonathan danced apathetically few hours after more than thirty young students were mercilessly killed by an explosion in his domain. He was so pre-occupied with serving his ego and pursuing parochial interests as he ordered a minute-silence in memory of the departed souls of the unfortunate students while declaring his intention to run for the second term in office, in Abuja last Tuesday. That was all the sympathy he could show.
The incidence was totally uncalled for, considering the pensive mood of the nation over the pervasive insecurity and the intractable squabbles that threaten to tear his party apart. President Jonathan’s speech at the occasion was full of irony and allusions, or indirect references to the unrealized objectives he promised the nation during the 2011 electioneering campaigns in addition to spurious promises of vanquishing the Boko Haram insurgency which had clearly overwhelmed him, running over many important cities in the North-east, annexing and incorporating them into another entity they call a ‘caliphate.’  President Jonathan had clearly resorted to his usual habit of affirming that he was always at the top of the situation in fighting the insurgents whereas everyone knows how the rag-tag Boko Haram army attains advantage and dominance in the skirmishes against his standard army.
He has now undertaken to raise special fighting force, apart from the regular army, to confront the menacing militants head on, with a view to routing them for good. That has been considered by many as unconstitutional because Nigerian laws did not allow the use of any irregular force, apart from the country’s standing army, in any warfare either internally or deployed in another country. Now, does that mean President Jonathan has lost confidence in the ability of his conventional forces to secure the country and to also effectively engage the rampaging insurgents?
Although President Jonathan had said in his declaration speech that the path of honor of a true leader was not to walk away from his people in the face of challenges, yet the people of the North-east, and indeed millions of Nigerians, believe that he had forsaken his compatriots when they needed him most by staying away from the areas devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency without personally comforting the parents of the abducted Chibok girls or condoling the families of the bereaved. Similarly, no strenuous efforts have been made to assuage the plight of the swarming internally displaced persons languishing at various makeshift resettlement centers, or to reintegrate the fleeing refugees to the neighboring countries into the society they had left behind.
Without mincing words or fear of contradiction, anybody can assertively claim that the government is rapidly losing ground in the protracted fight against Boko Haram, and if care is not taken the resultant insecurity that presently causes massive unrest in the length and breadth of the country will ultimately become an albatross on President Jonathan’s neck and subsequently spell doom for the country. Already the persistent war had been a burden or hindrance to the delivery of dividends of democracy to the affected areas, and may also quickly encumber their effective participation in democratic processes leading to next year’s general elections.
Already leading countries of the world have condemned what currently obtains in the Northern parts of the country in no uncertain terms, especially the spate of attacks on innocent civilians. They also frown on dastardly acts meted out to innocent peoples of Gombe town, Malam Fatori in Borno State and in Potiskum during a religious procession, and lately the massacre of innocent students there. Scores and scores of guiltless persons have been killed or injured in these senseless killings. It was surprising that such statement came from a country on which President Jonathan hinges high hopes for solid support in his bid to recontest the presidential election. Surely, any foreign country now contemplating supporting President Jonathan should have a rethink about it, or totally review its stand altogether, with regards to any form of cooperation with him or his government.
President Jonathan was not only fighting a decisive but apparently lost battle, against resilient Boko Haram insurgents, he is also engaged in a pathetic fight with an indomitable corruption which seems to have conquered him, leaving him prostrate and powerless to deal with highly dishonest, fraudulent and crooked members of his government. It is obvious that corruption, under Jonathan’s administration, had already reached a stage where it cannot get any worse. It is, therefore, clear that of all the problems that bedeviled this country, corruption and bad leadership, personified by Jonathan administration, stand out conspicuously and nothing is being done to assuage their grave negative consequences on the nation’s socio-economic as well as political development.  Eliminating corruption to its barest minimum would imply simultaneously solving those problems including the unrelenting Boko Haram war. But could President Jonathan really do that when given the second chance to ‘miss’ rule again? He cannot do that, having already cast an ominous cloud over the nation.

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