“No Country Is Safe” By Tahir Ibrahim Tahir
President Goodluck Jonathan’s felicitations to Nigerians on the nation’s 53rd Independence anniversary does not suggest that we are wrestling back our independence for the 53rd time, but it lays bare a person’s content when he speaks. And Nigerians have now learnt to deduce what our president means when he is on air, discussing topical issues. His content does justice, daily, to the perception that he is hardly capable. It pontificates a very flawed selection process whose actors I guess should be ruing that day and the role they played if at all they are patriotic. If he wasn’t eloquent, yet his performances did the speaking for him, Nigerians would be triumphant and forgive his speech. But our ill fortune is such that what he says actually represents what he does.
Underrating corruption to mention access to finances and poverty as the bane of Nigeria’s problems lays more credence to the fact that our number 1 citizen hardly has any grasp of the reality of our nation’s woes and what continues to devour our existence as a whole. It also dangerously dangles the question, is the president actually condoning corruption? Warding off discussions on corruption and diverting attention to other non issues or matters that derive from corruption is naive or perhaps a dubious attempt at beating around the bush. Nothing works because of corruption, period! Not due to deficiencies in know-how, numbers, resources and what have you. Corruption started long ago and like he alluded about the insecurity issue, he is perhaps not to blame too and maybe the president doesn’t feel he has a responsibility there.
Abuja does not account for 1% of Nigeria’s population, yet our president celebrates keeping its residents safe when in fact, the entire country’s security rests on his shoulders. Shockingly, he dismisses the role of a defense minister in our security set up and says service chiefs are fully in control. That underlines the fact that N1 trillion is laid to waste as service chiefs are to account for 35% of our budget. Shouldn’t there be more hands on deck for the management of resources and mode of operation in view of the huge amount of money involved as well as lives lost? Is the president merely defending Maku’s appointment as defense minister by rubbishing the position itself? He accuses ASUU of politicising education, yet he does same with the country’s defense and if we are to go by his theory of politicisation, then the end to the crises in both sectors is not in sight.
The state of emergency declared in the North-east is not solving the problem. Death toll is on the rise and Baga, Benisheikh, Gujba and Yobe metropolis have lost over 1,000 lives in the last 120 days. The army says it is outgunned and over powered, so was a general’s account of one incident, and one begs to ask: what were they taking to the state of emergency table in the first place? Are they ill prepared with over N1 trillion and a whole new battalion in place? Three days ago, more bodies were found, decapitated and thrown to the streets and our Oga at the top says they are in control and it’s all coming to an end, how? The only thing ending are people’s lives and the more this rages on, the more northerners embrace and reach the conclusion that genocide is being unleashed on the people of Northern Nigeria. We are faced with deaths from a double barreled monster, the insecurity itself and the mockingly shallow attempt to conquer it.
The economic entrapment is too tight and the grief and suffering from deaths in the form of massacres bedeviling the north is far too tormenting. If its strength is in its numbers, then a strategic attempt to reduce it is well on its way. The north is in total squalor from the menace of poverty and from the killings. Since the president has finally agreed that nobody is making the country ungovernable for him, then he needs to be in charge of the country and be ready to govern it. If the president is not guilty of this theory making the rounds in the north, that an agenda of ethnic cleansing is being perpetrated, then he needs to have better answers to give in a media chat, at least when posers, questioning the state of our national security are directed at him. Rollicking in laughter in a week that has seen to the loss of over 100 lives at a go isn’t really his forte`and a more serious approach should be attempted at least in facing these insecurity questions.
Saying no country is safe is actually uncalled for and stating the obvious. More alarming is the fear that the leader we are supposed to draw courage from is adding to our scaring experiences by confirming to us that we are not safe. Daily, we are in a flight storming farer away from safety and we wonder if this government can actually do anything about our plight. We, the citizens, are the ones to give the president a vote of confidence and not President Obama who is himself facing a 45% approval rating, s confused at Syria and is battling a government shutdown. We want to hear the president ringing the bell on an end to corruption and insecurity. That bell in New York has nothing to do with the situation on ground here.
Tahir Ibrahim Tahir is the talban bauchi
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