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Published On: Thu, May 29th, 2014

That brother Goodluck may see clearly

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By Mutti Yovbi

They keep throwing it back at us at every opportunity that we unfairly blame the President, our President, for successful incursions by terrorists. Dr. G. E. Jonathan has let us know directly and through many spokes people that he is not to blame for the current state of Nigeria. He said that the pot holes were in the roads before he came, the educational system was severely rotted and the economy in shambles long before he ever thought to even become President so why are the people up in arms? Why do they curse him for pervasive failures of government? He exhorts us to see that he is a victim of conspiracy by unseen enemies. These powers even went and established Boko Haram especially so they would make the country ungovernable just because he is a Southerner and Christian. Yet all he sees that we do is blame him.

But brother Goodluck, these are issues that confront every government, every leader. Countries and their leaders are constantly working to ensure quality lives and livelihoods and to secure territories within which citizens can live in safety, security and peace of mind. In many of your speeches, I recall one quite clearly, you promised that you will continue to ‘fight’ for Nigerians to have good education, you would continue to fight for us to have good health you would continue to fight…, you would continue to fight… Your list went on to include security, roads, transport, jobs! You even promised to wage a war on corruption and to bring to book anyone who so much as tried to take a kobo from government coffers, anyone who denied the average Nigerian their legitimate right to good governance.

Good governance, it is a favourite phrase of your administration. Since international development workers introduced the phrase, it became clichéd in the Nigerian public service, along with enabling environment and a few other meaningless phrases used to confuse the uninitiated that the Nigeria government is paying attention to the needs of the people.

Then without your noticing, Boko Haram, gained more ground than you thought could ever happen. But perhaps you expected it, because after all the faceless cabal who wanted you out of power are willing to go to any lengths, including cause the death of several thousand. And you are determined to face them down. This after all is a struggle for supremacy between the North and the South. The South gave you their mandate and you don’t care how much of the blood of citizens wet the ground, this struggle is one you must win. You are egged on by many who see with you and understand what you see. Power must not pass back to the North.

But it is not just Boko Haram o. We have all that bloodletting reportedly by Fulani herdsmen and inter-tribal clashes over land. We also have the unrestrained pillaging of resources and the banality of corruption upheld by those who you appointed to help look after the affairs of our nation. Most of it is hushed or dismissed as not important, normal or expected. Many towns and neighbourhoods that used to be neutral and safe places of abode for Nigerians have become hostile, we still do not have exact figures for internally displaced persons but we know that several towns have been laid to waste, entire villages wiped out in some parts. Crime of course plays its part as does the ineptitude and apathy of police and other security units.

As only members of the black race are capable of doing, Nigerians bear all of these with fortitude. The loss of lives and livelihoods is now par for the cause. We barely raised an eyebrow even when nearly fifty boys who were barely out of the cradle were slaughtered in the night. We fell back to religion and most churches will not conclude worship rites now without a prayer for Nigeria, a prayer to bring the girls abducted from Chibok home, a prayer for peace. The mosques probably do the same but I don’t attend so I have no way of telling. I have read however of Moslem leaders calling for prayer and fasting.

Our President, more than any of your predecessors you have the empathy of Nigerians. The middle class is solidly behind you. Even without the money that is so freely distributed in the corridors of power, Nigerians are speaking up for you and defending you. Only you leave them perplexed when you do not seem to understand that we have accepted the lives that were lost, those we cannot bring back. That we have accepted the livelihoods that have been destroyed, our faith in God assures us that it will all be restored in time. But we are pained when more than 200 hundred lives that can still be saved appear to mean nothing to you!!!

Every moment wasted means a life lost or irretrievably damaged, but Brother Goodluck, we see no signs that you are doing anything beyond what you have always done, even though this type of abduction is so far unprecedented in the modern world. We see no evidence that you even spare a thought for these young people and their plight although we hold out the hope that they are still alive somewhere. What you give to us instead is your insistence that none of this is your fault, that there are terrorists everywhere.

Mutti Yovbi is on Twitter:@muttiyovbi

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