For the umpteenth time, President Goodluck Jonathan betrayed his administration’s thoughts on the cause of the ongoing insurgency and in doing so told the nation just why he has not demonstrated the desired will to end it. Like he has done on several occasions in the past, his comments portray him as a sectional and divisive leader rather than the unifying one that the nation needs in these very critical and trying times. At the risk of being declared ‘anti Jonathan’ we will not fail to draw attention to his very expensive gaffes which threaten the unity and harmony of our people as a nation.
At the 65th National Executive Council meeting of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last week, the president spoke in a manner that suggests that he is not in tune with events in the country that he governs. He declared astonishingly that “There is no insurgency in PDP states because the governors are performing.” We are disgusted that the president and his party continue to play politics with the insurgency that is threatening the continued existence of this nation.
Agreed that he was speaking at a party function but commonsense should have prodded the president not to discuss the insurgency along party lines. As we have all witnessed, the insurgents do not differentiate between APC and PDP when they launch their barbaric attacks that have thus far left thousands dead and thousands more displaced. The north-eastern states which bear the brunt of the insurgency are made up of Nigerians who should not be categorised along party lines. The president’s comment shows he does not empathise with the victims since he blames their governors for the tragedy that has befallen them.
What the president inadvertently betrayed also was his own failure as a leader. Three states in the north-east have been under emergency rule for over a year now which means the federal government has been in charge of security operations there. That the insurgency has persisted indicates that the inability to bring it to an end is a failure of the federal government in the past one year, trillions of naira have been budgeted for the fight against the insurgents yet they continue their attacks with gusto.
The president’s comment also flies in the face of reality as it is not only APC states that are being attacked by the insurgents. Gombe, Katsina, Jigawa and Kaduna, all PDP states, have come under attack by the insurgents. The Federal Capital Territory where the president operates from has also suffered a number of embarrassing attacks. Going by his logic, does it then mean that he too is not performing? We have in the past decried the rather pedestrian manner in which the president approaches serious national issues, his latest outing suggests clearly that he has not learnt any lessons.
It has become apparent that the thoughts the president echoed are what pervades his government as his ministers and those closest to him have also voiced out the same thoughts. The information minister, Labaran Maku, the PDP and Edwin Clark have said the same thing in the past. With such a partisan mindset it seems pretty difficult indeed to find a lasting solution to this sad situation we are in. We urge the president to endeavour to begin to see himself as the leader of all, first and foremost, and rise to the challenge of securing the lives of all Nigerians irrespective of their party affiliations in the remaining few months he has left in office. That way, perhaps history will be kind to him when he leaves.