By Babayola M. Toungu
My heart goes out to the families of those who were senselessly slaughtered by the representatives of Lucifer in our midst. One cannot fail to empathise with the bereaved who moments earlier had waved goodbyes to their loved ones – children off to schools, parents going to search for the elusive bread, hawkers targeting early morning travellers and the ubiquitous Okada riders ferrying these people to the motor park. The scores that died that early Monday morning were full of life and plans for the week and were cut in mid stride by madmen without the fear of God in their ice-cold hearts. It was a wicked act that should be condemned by all. The outpourings of grieve by Nigerians for those who lost their lives in the blast have no precedence. Even the normally ambivalent Jonathan visited the scene of the bomb blast with herd of clowns. The presidential visit itself is unprecedented in the history of his blood soaked administration. My heart equally bleeds for the parents of those students abducted in Chibok, Borno State, in the evening of the same day the bomb blast took place in Nyanya. School children who were abandoned by an uncaring government and its security agents. The parents’ grief is doubled by the fact of not knowing whether their wards are dead or alive.
After the initial anger and sadness one feels for these senseless acts, one is forced to make comparisons with previous losses of lives and federal government reactions. The spate of bombings that began in Abuja on October 1, 2010 may appear to have gone full circle with the Nyanya bomb blasts. According to some estimates, over 40,000 people have been killed in the various ‘theatres’ of war in the North, yet Goodluck Jonathan never deemed it fit to visit and commiserate with the families of the victims. The only exception to the president’s apathy of visiting these troubled spots was his visit to Kano in January 2012 when the city came under siege for more than three hours. In February this year about fifty-nine school children were massacred, some were even burnt, yet the president was at that time enjoying a glass of wine or two in Abuja at the so-called Centenary Dinner. Also this year while the president and Shema of Katsina were dancing away in Katsina, over one hundred and three people were killed in Faskari. Yet the president jetted away to Abuja without even a cursory glance towards the hapless villagers.
In the North-east we have seen how whole villages were razed to ground and completely erased from the face of the earth and the only reaction from Abuja is to blame the victims for their misfortune. The people of the northeast have been under siege for the past two years and the government’s response is the increased militarisation of the zone by imposing an unnecessary state of emergency on three of the states. Ironically, more people are killed under the state emergency than before it was declared. Goodluck’s only visit to Borno and Yobe states, the epicentre of the insurgency in the north, came after governors of the All Peoples Congress (APC) visited Maiduguri and wandered around the city thereby stealing the thunder form right under his clayish feet. Residents of both Maiduguri and Damaturu regretted the President’s decision to visit their states. The visit turned out to be bad luck for the residents of the capital cities because they were locked in for the duration of the visit.
My grouse this morning with Jonathan and the northern Quislings in his entourage stems from the insensitivity and heartlessness displayed by organising a rally in Kano to “receive” Shekarau in to the PDP. While the relations of those who lost their lives in the Nyanya blast are mourning the loss of near and dear ones; while parents are gnashing teeth and wailing over the abduction of their wards and daughters by hooligans and killers, Jonathan, Shekarau, Aminu Wali and Mohammed Abacha were dancing with blood soaked feet to a funeral dirge rendered by Sani Danja. The irony of Shekarau and Sani Danja sharing the same podium is lost on Shekarau, who in the past banished the
artist from Kano. Much as I try to grasp the message Jonathan was sending to the world and the grieving parents, I couldn’t come up with an acceptable explanation for myself. My conclusion therefore, is that Jonathan doesn’t give a hoot about the lives of Nigerians and may even not be averse to dancing on their graves if that may advance his political cause in his perverted logic.
How can any sensible leader lead a carnival of merriment in celebration of “capturing” a spent politician, barely 24 hours after the horrendous act in Nyanya? What will it cost the PDP to delay the carnival to a more auspicious time when the mood of the nation is more on the up? How can a caring parent be singing and dancing less than 12 hours after people who the government claimed to have defeated in the past abduct about 200 female students? Labaran Aku’s explanation on why they refused to shift the rally flies in the face of reason. How can paying respect to the souls of the departed be construed as giving-in to terrorist? My only consolation is in knowing that Jonathan and his wife are both adopted by foster parents and they in turn adopted a daughter. The compassion between parent and children may, to all intents and purposes alien to them.
The president’s prompt visit to Nyanya also brought to fore another aspect of his administration. No matter the number of people killed in the northeast, no matter the level of destruction wrought on the region, Jonathan will never consider it necessary to glorify the hapless people with his ‘august’ presence. That the lives of the people living in Abuja are different from those living in other parts of the north. I believe northerners irrespective of ethnic stock, creed or ideology will realise how their president perceives them. It isn’t about creed or tribal marks – it is about the geography of where you come from. As for the Shekaraus, Walis, Abachas and the Sani Danjas, let Labaran Aku write a film for them to act and to be directed by either Bafarawa or Reuben Abati.
Babayola M. Toungo is reachable on firstname.lastname@example.org