Nyanya and the Kano Azonto By Ayinla Mukaiba
In the order of its grueling and harrowing content, the last one week or thereabout has been one of the most traumatic periods in the life of this country since the reality of the insurgency of Boko Haram dawned on us all. Not in terms of the number of the dead aftermath the bombings and attacks of the dreaded sect but on account of the way our vulnerability and hopelessness in the hands of those who swore to uphold our security have stared us in the face.
On Monday, as usual, gory pictures of charred bodies, dismembered stumps and scattered chunks of human flesh littered facebook pages. It was a very disgusting way to start a Monday morning. The busy Nyanya area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, had fallen prey to bombers’ fancy and before anyone could wonder what was amiss, unofficial figure of about 300 dead was being bandied, with street statistical accuracy.
Thereafter, over a hundred students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, were abducted and as of the time of writing this, aside the exchange of tantrums and wonky accusations, no one can say with certainty where those hapless children of ours are. It is so sad and beckons at the apogee of trauma in any human being.
But not to worry, on Tuesday, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was in Kano, literally on a saturnalia. He engaged and exchanged brickbats and infantile acrimony with the governor of the state, Rabiu Kwankwanso, like two school pupils in a tango. If you watched that live telecast as this writer did, you would be sorry for this country. There on the podium stood our President, the symbol of our nationhood, the emblem of our pride – if we still have any left – the custodian of our sovereignty, engaged in a plebeian squabble with another person, partisanship the crux of the matter. I must confess to you, dear reader, a trickle of hot tear clambered down my cheek.
The President was very unprofessional about his crucify Kwankwanso binge on the rostrum. On his hand was a piece of paper from where he read like a school pupil reading from his multiplication table. He stuttered and waffled helplessly, even as he read figures of the amount Kwankwanso and his local governments had allegedly embezzled. He didn’t sound convincing at all; he sounded like a man spitting out the venom of a viper. At moments when he couldn’t recite what had been apparently handed over to him, he turned to stern-faced Ibrahim Shekarau to inquire from him what had been scribbled on the pad. It was a terribly unprofessional thing that projected the President and the presidency as not removed from the petty partisanship that you find among run-of-the-mill politicians.
And the President waltzed his waist to the pulsating music on the podium, laughing like one who had not a single care in the world, less than 24 hours after hundreds of his people were massacred in a dawn raid by insurgents! Pardon my naivety, I had never witnessed that level of insouciance and you-can-go-jump-inside-River-Benue disconnect from reality before from the head of a country. Perhaps in a movie script where you perm the hero to come across as having water rather than blood running in his veins, this could be operational. Never did I imagine that this could happen in reality.
When Ima Niboro, that fellow again! – now took time to lecture us on how APC, Buhari and co also waltzed aftermath previous bombings, I felt like puking. Is this the quality of advice Jonathan gets? Is this folk as dumb as not to appreciate that Jonathan is Nigeria and these others are mere appendages? Why would the Nigerian symbol advertise this callousness and insouciance?
Since those two attacks, I have recoiled in my shell at their remembrance. First, the reality has dawned on us all that we are also fully in the category of those volatile insurgencies in the world like Afghanistan, Pakistan and all that. But to worsen it, we do not have a response or an understanding of the gravity of our problem. Our President and the leaders of this country have no single clue of how we can get out of this bind.
The military is too naively hamstrung to understand the contour or the colour of the insurgency. I listened to Professor Agboola Gambari at the launch of a book in Lagos on Thursday speak about the uncharitable partisan accusations from the PDP and APC. (Lest I forget, where in the confines of hell did the PDP find that lout called Olisah Metuh? I think the fellow is retrieving the PDP’s name from the dogs and throwing it to the swine.)
I have a word for our President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Nigerians didn’t expect their President to be a combatant or Superman who would push his chest forward to nakedly confront their challenges; they did not vote for a wizard who could ferret terrorists from whichever nook they are hiding; they did not elect a King Kong who would chastise their enemies with a heave of his hunk.
What they want is a stream of empathy flowing from their leaders’ heart, for the leader to put him/herself in their place and feel duty bound to seek solutions to their problems.
If President Jonathan imagines that, sans the power, majesty and glory of the Presidential Palace, his son/daughter could jolly well be one of those who were bombed at Nyanya, I doubt if he would go to Kano and dance Azonto. The way I am feeling at the moment, I am almost going nutty.
Perhaps I am the one who is mad and the presidency fully in possession of its sanity over this Azonto… Or vice versa?
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