The Buck Still Stops At The President’s Table By Sam Nda-Isaiah
It is very important that we do not get distracted by red herrings in the very serious business of government. President Jonathan last week issued a statement profusely praising Muhammadu Buhari for a statement in which the former head of state and APC leader called for all hands to be on deck, irrespective of political persuasion, in the fight against terrorism. The president was also thankful that Buhari condemned the terrorist attacks in Nyanya, Abuja.
I sincerely do not know what the president was happy about. Jonathan and his people must have all along believed their own lies that some people in the opposition were behind the terrorist attacks. What Buhari said was fine – and he was only sympathising with hapless Nigerians. He did not in any way absolve the president of incompetence in the discharge of his statutory responsibility to the nation he governs, so why was the president dancing?
All said, the business of governance and leading the nation still falls squarely on the person the people elect as their leader. If President Jonathan insists he was elected president, then, he must be the president of the nation. And the president of Nigeria or any other nation for that matter is the one that has the ultimate responsibility of keeping the people safe. I don’t know how this job is helped by people who are not in government and who do not control the levers of government instruments simply by their condemnation of criminal acts. So what if the opposition condemn criminals, and so what if they don’t? The only job that has to be done must be done by those in power.
I do not know why the president and his handlers have made such a fuss about anyone condemning Boko Haram. What difference does it make to a criminal that has been condemned? The only thing that stops criminals in their tracks is the fear that they would be apprehended and compelled to face the full weight of the law. In Nigeria, terrorism, kidnapping, insane corruption persist on a daily basis because the perpetrators know they won’t be caught and, even if they are caught, nothing untoward will come to them. They understand the mind of the Jonathan government very well and they are taking full advantage of it and flourishing.
Let everyone in Nigeria condemn terrorists. Let the entire world condemn them as the United Nations has been doing. And so what? As long as Jonathan remains incompetent in solving this problem, many Nigerians will continue to die on a daily basis as a result of the activities of these murderers.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria declares unambiguously that the “security and the welfare of the people is the responsibility of the government”. Where there is civilised governance, there is usually no question about this. But, in the case of our own President Jonathan, when bloody murderers kill their fellow Nigerians, it is because they do not like him (the president) and want to present him as incompetent. When Boko Haram people bomb churches, it is because some people have said they would make Nigeria ungovernable for him, and when the same Boko Haram bombs mosques and even kills Islamic clerics, it is also for the same reason. Meanwhile, both the army and the police are not given their appropriated budgets to do a good job. There are people that just should not be in positions of leadership because they do not know the elementary definition of leadership.
Yesterday, something happened that should interest President Jonathan. The prime minister of faraway South Korea, Chung Hong-Won, resigned over the sinking of a passenger ferry that claimed the lives of nearly 200 people, most of them young students. The president of the country, Park Geun-hye, quickly accepted the resignation. Worse disasters have happened in Nigeria occasioned by official incompetence or negligence, but I have not heard anyone resigning or the president sacking anybody. The president only sacks people who accuse the petroleum minister of corruption, and he does that one with an incredible flourish.
The president can say whatever he likes, but, as long as he remains president, the buck stops at his table – he will still be the one whose responsibility it is to keep Nigerians safe. A president does not share this responsibility with anybody. All the security agencies are his tools to achieve this high objective and the security agents keep their jobs at the pleasure of the president. So far, President Jonathan has failed disgracefully in that assignment. No president in the world with the kind of President Jonathan’s record in office would be presented for re-election by any other political party in the world because no country can survive a president with the kind of Jonathan’s record for two terms. But, like I have always said, the opposition cannot wish for a better PDP presidential candidate.
Jonathan Is Threatening Nigeria’s Stature
By appearing so helpless and inviting foreign governments into Nigeria in the fight against terrorism or even oil theft, President Jonathan is weakening Nigeria and cheapening its place in world affairs. Every major power in the world has its sphere of influence; Africa as a whole, not just the West African sub-region, should be our sphere of influence. Other African countries look up to Nigeria’s big stature as a continental power to enforce order around the region. And that will become even more so now that we officially have become Africa’s biggest economy. Every Nigerian president from independence, except Yar’Adua who was sick most of his time as president and President Jonathan who simply doesn’t know better, has deployed Nigeria’s stature as a stabilising force in Africa. You cannot imagine any Nigerian president going to the United States and telling the country’s president to pick more interest in the affairs of Nigeria and come and help it fight terrorism and oil thieves, as our president recently did publicly on cable TV.
Last weekend, at Tom Ikimi’s 70th birthday, Jerry Rawlings, former president of Ghana, echoed these sentiments: Nigeria should solve its problems quickly through good governance and remain that continental power that must throw its weight around to ensure order in Africa. That was clearly what the former Ghanaian president appeared to be saying, and he, as a former head of state of an African country, surely should know what he was talking about.
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