Buck stops on President Jonathan’s desk

To the less cynical, with a temperament for PDP comedy and President Jonathan’s sardonic humour as they junket around the country, dancing with serial cross-carpenters and others with criminal charges hanging on their necks in a desperate bid for re-election in 2015 even as the nation burns, the recently concluded parley by governors of the 36 states of  the federation, service chiefs and religious leaders, may appear a genuine attempt at finding solution to the problem of security of lives and property especially in the besieged north-eastern part of the country. Hitherto the ruling party whose immoral seizure of disproportionate share of our national resources is the source of bitterness among the deprived has been blaming others for Boko Haram’s mindless killing of innocent Nigerians. It first fingered the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Lamido Sanusi shortly after falling out of favour with government for pointing out financial infractions in the NNPC presided over by some leading members of the party. From Sanusi, they moved to, General Buhari, former military Head of State and  President Jonathan’s main rival in the 2011 election. Lately, the party suddenly woke up to realise that the newly formed APC, the opposition party, is the sponsor of Boko Haram that has made the north-eastern part of the country ungovernable for close to three years.

And as for the president, until the current effort, he has, besides engaging in mudslinging with Kashim Shettima and Murtala Nyako, governors of besieged Borno and Adamawa states, chosen to seek God’s intervention after each dastardly act by those who kill children, rob banks and abduct young school girls as sex slaves in the name of God on whose behest they claim to crusade.  From the synagogues of our home-based grace hawkers, he had embarked on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and of late, to Rome where he also sought Pope Francis’s intercession on behalf of our nation.

But to the cynical, who lack the stomach for hypocrisy and politics of perfidy of the president and his party, the meeting was totally unnecessary. And they seem to have been vindicated by its outcome which merely reinforced their strongly held position that the buck stops on the desk of the president and commander-in-chief.

For instance we were told that the parley “stressed the importance of rising above partisanship when dealing with security issues, as well as tackling it in an objective manner with security agencies being professional”. I am sure most Nigerians have not forgotten it was the president who created a division among the governors by proclaiming losers in the governors’ forum election, winners. Nigerians also know that the  president is the one who has been going around exchanging words with victims of Boko Haram’s mindless killing who out of frustration wanted the president to live up to the oath of his office as commander-in-chief

We were also informed that the meeting resolved that “data should be shared across board among security agencies”, and that “a holistic approach in curbing terrorist activities, including the anti-poverty approach should also be adopted.” This also, like other nebulous declarations are the exclusive preserve of the president and commander-in-chief. He is in charge of warring Generals who are not sharing data. If for inexplicable reason, 230 female students were ferried away by insurgents in a state under emergency where every five kilometre is expected to be manned by soldiers, there is nothing governors and religious leaders can do to help a commander-in-chief who chooses to dance while his garrison is under siege.

It was also disclosed that security agencies were mandated to “do everything to ensure that the abducted children are rescued from their abductors which the military assured”. Again, we all know the assemblage had no power to mandate the military.  Such responsibility is conferred on the president and commander-in-chief by the constitution. In any case,  the military under whose nose, 230 of our promising female children studying science and humanities were snatched by sick minds knows it’s not only the integrity of the military that is at stake, they have been challenged to redeem the battered image of our nation which  has become a laughing stock in the comity of nations. There is nowhere else in the contemporary world except perhaps in Nazi Germany under Hitler that 230 young girls will be abducted by criminals for weeks without a national emergency being declared. The soldiers know what is at stake.

And finally, it was claimed that in order to forestall further clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers, “the meeting agreed the Fulani herdsmen would be relocated as a short time measure with the final objective of ensuring all the grazing routes and the grazing areas that had not been gazetted, be properly gazetted for peace to reign”.

But  the federal government, prior to this meeting had pretended not to know the identity of those behind the indiscriminate killings in the besieged states of Adamawa, Kaduna, Benue, Plateau and Katsina  The question to ask then is when did government that has in spite of its control of  the military, police, SSS, immigration etc. been unable to arrest any of the marauders who according surviving victims, often operate for several hours killing in hundreds and burning down whole villages discover they are Fulani herdsmen?

But let us even accept for once that government has decided to stop playing the ostrich, that government is right and General Gowon and Senator Jubril Aminu who have tried to exonerate Fulani herdsmen are wrong, the directive of the meeting will still be an exercise in futility because it is only President Jonathan that is constitutionally empowered to perform such role.  To underscore this point, the president shortly before the parley last week mandated the minister of agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina to inaugurate a committee to look into the issue of grazing routes.

The parley was unnecessary. Our tragedy is President Jonathan’s reluctance to perform his constitutional responsibilities. Yet he passionately loves the title president. He assiduously schemed to get the job by colluding with Obasanjo, his godfather and some northern leaders to subvert PDP constitution. He has even in a desperate bid to hold on to the job  denied ever giving an undertaking to spend only one term as alleged by his godfather, ex-President Obasanjo. He is prepared to fraternize with the forces that can retain him in power no matter how despicable.

For instance, it is unimaginable that the president as commander-in-chief would not have had security report on Princess Stella Oduah and Coscharis’ armoured car scandal. Even after an indictment of the minister by a National Assembly probe, the president refused to act. It is equally doubtful that the president has no security report on petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke’s alleged frittering away of over N10 billion on hiring aircraft. Is it also really possible the president has no security report on those who have turned Middle Belt’s beautiful land into killing fields? It will be strange if President Jonathan has no access to security reports on those former northern governors that Ambassador Olu Dada  claimed hobnobbed with  Osama Bin Laden when he had his headquarters in Sudan as well as the names of northern youth sponsored for jihadist training in Al-Queda training camps.

Unfortunately, cynics who believe that President Jonathan who value the company of indicted enemies of Nigeria and those with criminal charges because of their potential to influence his political fortunes also think he may for the same reason not be prepared to take on his PDP northern political Sharia advocates currently mortgaging the future of northern youths in the name of religion.

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