APC should order its militants to release the girls; Tinubu as commander in chief is in a position to do that. Your anger against Jonathan will consume you” (0817974198)
Since I do not belong to APC, I am not privileged to know if the party has a military wing as contained in the above reader’s reaction to my piece “The buck stops at the president desk” ;( May 1). But one thing I can assure the reader is that if indeed an APC military wing exists, General Muhamadu Buhari who as a GOC in Jos, did not wait for President Shagari’s orders before chasing insurgents who crossed from Chad to terrorise Nigerians, taking over a chunk of their territory before accepting a truce would have redeemed the battered image of a country where Boko Haram runs a ‘Sambisa forest republic’ where they kept 270 innocent girls plucked from their dormitories, daring Okupe’s two battalions stationed in Borno State, to enter while their commander-in-chief is taking some lessons in Asonto dance steps in Sokoto and Kano.
But to aver that I am angry with President Jonathan, to whom we traded off our rights to freedom and liberty for his protection of life and property, is an understatement. And I am not alone. There is anger on the streets of major cities in Nigeria. From Chibok to Maiduguiri, Lagos to Abeokuta, Ado-Ekiti, Port-Harcourt, Calabar, Uyo and Abuja, the mood is the same. Elsewhere in the world, New York, London, Paris, Senegal etc; the mood is the same. There is anger against what Prime Minister Cameron of Britain described as Boko Haram’s “pure act of evil” and what Hillary Clinton described as “government failure to protect its people”.
Like everyone else around the globe except PDP leaders whose voices have remained tepid, I am angry with our president. I am incensed with a president who spent the first three weeks of the capture of our daughters praying long after the Jews who like their Arab cousins stubbornly resisted acknowledging Christ as son of God, have nonetheless imbibed His teaching about following up prayers with actions. I am anguished because our president waited for three weeks only to tell us he did not know the where about of our 270 abducted teenage girls. I am tormented by the foot-dragging that followed the Chibok tragedy and this has left me with a deep sense of shame, embarrassment and a feeling of total helplessness.
Like Cameron who fondly reminded the British Parliament he has two daughters, I as a doting father who sneaked to my daughters’ boarding school thrice a week, to catch a glimpse of my adorable angels, a father who packs food to his undergraduate teenage sunshine in her studio daily, I feel terrified when I see fathers and mothers crying on television over their kidnapped little angels. And as a therapy to ensure I am not consumed by my anger against our president, tears also flow freely from my eyes in solidarity with grief-stricken weeping fathers and mothers.
With Chibok, PDP and President Jonathan can no more live in denial as Wole Soyinka, one of the remaining few Nigerian credible voices told CNN Amanpour last week. Before now all critics of President Jonathan’s inept handling of the nation’s affairs have been blackmailed. Newspaper columnists doing their job of helping the public interpret news of government activities are proclaimed ignoramuses by Aso rock’s know-all attack dogs of Doyin Okupe and Ahmed Gulak. Now critics of PDP wheelers and dealers and the president style to have been vindicated.
Hillary Clinton the US immediate past Secretary of state only last week dismissed the PDP administration headed by President Jonathan as irresponsible, asserting that “The government of Nigeria has been, somewhat derelict in its responsibility for protecting boys and girls, men and women”.
The well respected London Economist equally dismissed President Jonathan government as incompetent lamenting that “the worst aspect of the Nigerian government’s handling of the abduction is its seeming indifference to the plight of the girls’ families. It took more than two weeks before Jonathan addressed the matter in public.” But the Economist has gone further to condemn the meddlesomeness of the president’s wife who it accused of “indiscriminate use of power even when she was not a constitutionally elected official” by ordering “the arrest of two leaders of the protests, bizarrely accusing them of belonging to Boko Haram and of fabricating reports of the abduction to smear the government”.
Amnesty International intervention also seems to have confirmed the fears of Nigerians that our military might have not been properly kitted in spite of humongous defence budget of about one trillion naira, a quarter of the nation’s annual budget, a claim often dismissed by government contractors as spokespersons or image makers. Netsanet Belay, the body’s Africa Director (Research and Advocacy) accused government of “a gross dereliction of duty to protect civilians, who remain sitting ducks for such attacks.” According to the body, Nigeria’s military headquarters in Maiduguri “was aware of the impending attack soon after 7pm on April 14, close to four hours before Boko Haram began their assault on the town.”, but was alleged to be unable to “to muster troops – due to poor resources and a reported fear of engaging with the often better-equipped armed groups – meant that reinforcements were not deployed to Chibok that night. The small contingent of security forces based in the town – 17 army personnel as well as local police –attempted to repel the Boko Haram assault but were overpowered and forced to retreat.”
The New York Times asserts the president ”leads a corrupt government that has little credibility.” For long the president and his party have lived in denial insisting corruption is not an issue in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary They briefly forgot in the new globalised world, sovereignty is dead. The world can see through a president who tries to wash his hands clean by attributing the non successful prosecution of those accused of stealing N1.7 trillion to the wheel of justice which he says grinds slowly in our environment. It is not hidden from the world how Boni Haruna, former governor of Adamawa state got a judicial relief on the eve of his appointment as a minister after an inconclusive seven years judicial battle with EFCC. The world can make an informed judgment from action of a president who openly supports a minister accused of frittering away N10 billion (enough to buy 10 unmanned drones from South Africa at a unit price of about US$500,000) on hiring of aircrafts. And as for the president’s party, the world can see that of the 23 PDP elected governors in 1999, 17 are either in prison, still serving jail terms, or in exile trying to escape from justice.
Chibok has brought it home more graphically to the international community that we are fast moving towards becoming a failed state with our commander-in-chief requesting for military and logistic support to penetrate Mambisa forest enclave an area said not to be much bigger than Ikeja and where 270 innocent girls have been kept for close to four weeks. America, Britain and France which currently harbour millions of Nigerians must have now realized it is in their own enlightened self-interest to save Nigeria from PDP, President Jonathan and Boko Haram.