By Nosa James-Igbinadolor
I am not one of those easily moved by the voluble and rowdy gloom and doom that the Nigerian media so easily trumpet. I know this commentating class so well that years after leaving the press room, I can still spot a lying headline, a planted story as well as a well paid for news article that should have been aptly placed in the advertisement or supplement section of the opposition press.
The sum of it all is that I have never been impressed by the anti-Jonathan wailings in the media, most of them in my view lack conciseness, truth and critical analysis. I have always been my own man in critiquing governments. I have always trusted my judgement tempered by statistics and rationality in determining who to vote for and who to keep supporting. The widely held beliefs, opinions and judgements about this government by the chattering class do not mean much to me at all.
I arrogantly voted for Jonathan in 2011 and make no apologies to anyone. I was extremely content to vote for him. My vote for Jonathan was as well a red card for General Muhammadu Buhari whom I felt had nothing to offer the country beyond the salad of uninspiring campaign promises him and his equally boring campaign organisation cooked up. I have not changed my mind about Buhari, I am still disinclined to vote for him should he for the umpteenth time offer himself for any national elective office.
In a widely published article I wrote in October 2010 titled MY VOTE IS AVAILABLE, I said inter alia about the candidate who would get my vote in 2011.
Whoever wants my vote must believe in and promise to promote free market, reduce government influence in the economy, deregulate the petroleum industry so that the market can determine prices across the board, invest heavily in health and education especially in primary and tertiary healthcare and education, invest in the defence and security of the country through a comprehensive overhaul and upgrade of the security services, expansion of and increased funding and training of the armed forces and engage in a foreign policy that is proactive and on the offensive always.
The person I’ll vote for must be prepared to see Nigeria as his constituency and hence ensure a total and complete sense of belonging by all Nigerians. He must stand firm against the raging western social movements and liberal governments promoting repugnant policies and threatening developing countries that reject these abhorrent beliefs.
Above all, the chap who wants my vote must accept that GOVERNMENT IS AN ANATHEMA to economic development and thus must incentivise the private sector to direct and manage the process of growth and development. He must centralize less, regulate less and increasingly detach the government from the economy. He must not be intimidated by the labour movements like Yar’adua was nor give in to their archaic, outdated and growth negating tendencies. I will not vote for any candidate that does not commit to selling off NEPA or is it PHCN to individuals and institutions that can better run it nor will I cast my vote for any candidate that still intends to hold on to that old, feeble leviathan called NNPC instead of privatizing its operations.
I will confess that Jonathan has met a few of my expectations especially with regards to the economy, but I am angry. I am angry at the extraordinary incompetence and the blatant denseness that this government has shown in managing the national haemorrhage called national security. Under this government, the social contract between government and We the People has been so breached that it is almost logically fallacious to expect this government to meet its own side of the contract of protecting lives and ensuring the physical security of We the People. While We the People meet our side of the contract by being laboured and heavily laden by the unjustifiable burden of income tax, VAT, education tax and a plethora of other oppressive levies and financial strains, the government of Jonathan has persistently repudiated the social contract by which any sane society is governed.
Since 2010 when Jonathan assumed office, thousands of innocent men, women and children in the Plateau state have been massacred by blood thirsty Fulani gunmen in their homes, yet not one person has been brought to justice. The genocide on the Plateau continues. Across the middle-belt region of Adamawa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Taraba, tens of thousands of innocents have lost their lives to well armed, murderous herdsmen who continue with unabashed impunity to unleash a potpourri of sorrow, tears and pain on the people of this region. In all these the Jonathan administration behaves and pretends as if nothing serious is happening.
For a man who loves to appear in well-epauletted military uniforms, our Commander-in-Chief has found it difficult to lead from the front in the war on terror. Under his watch scores of teenage boys at the Federal Government College Buni Yadi were massacred in cold blood by Boko Haram and all we got from him were the usual platitudes and shibboleths of “catching the criminals and bringing them to book”. Our President did not deem it fit to visit Buni Yadi or even speak on phone to the parents of these boys”!
Under his watch, thousands of young girls have been kidnapped by Boko Haram from their schools and homes and in the midst of all these, politics and the primitive quest for power in 2015 dominates the private talking points of our President. The kidnap of nearly three hundred young girls in Chibok under the noses of thousands of Jonathan’s troops is utterly annoying. The criminal neglect of this crime characterised by the tried and tested Jonathanian formula of saying little and doing nothing in the face of these sickening crimes in my view is enough to get the President kicked out of the Villa in 2015.
A leader that does not empathise with his people, but prefers to release sufferable press statements through incompetent media advisers anytime these felonies occur is not fit to sit in the villa and call himself our President.
The war against Boko Haram and indeed the war against terror have been so mismanaged by the Nigerian government that it has come to haunt them. The Federal Government under Jonathan has always refused to claim ownership of this war as if Borno state and North-East Nigeria are some piece of real estate outside Nigeria. Everything for this government is trumped by politics especially the quest for re-election in 2015. This is a war that should have been won a long time ago using a strategy of good intelligence, overwhelming force, economic empowerment and reconstruction of the region, infiltration and breaking of the ranks of the leadership of Boko Haram as well as getting Chad, Niger Republic and Cameroun to cooperate in defeating the terrorists.
That this administration did not even conceive of a concordance with neighbouring countries until last year makes their ineptitude shine like bright celestial stars. I am ANGRY.
I have no problem with Jonathan apart from his incompetence in handling the war on terror. This absurd admixture of murders, abductions, bombings and climate of fear MUST STOP. My vote is my power and I intend to robustly use it! If Jonathan still wants my vote, then he must up the ante and manage this war well for in this war against terror, Jonathan has been found wanting!