- ‘ Cases of rape rise to 84% in Nigeria’
- Dana air crash update: 23 aircrash victims’ families yet to receive compensation
- Mimiko inaugurates new Mother & Child hospital today
- N4.56b pension scam: Female accused hospitalised,trial stalled
- Construction workers hail FG’s decision on Lagos-Ibadan expressway
- Senate adjourns plenary for 1 week, dissolves to Appropriation committee.
- Blackout looms as Egbin power plant breaks down
- FMBN, NEXIM, BOA, IB lose N47bn in 6 months - CBN
- FirstBank wins Nigerian Bank of the Year award
- PDP tackles ACN over Tukur’s comments
- Electricity workers threaten strike over Wamakko
- ‘NDIC prosecuted 55 directors, staff of micro finance banks in 2011’
- Judgment in Oni’s appeal stalled, re-fixed for Jan 8
- Slain banker: Deceased had only 3 wounds -Accused’s father
- Appointments: S/West not marginalised —FCC
Jonathan’s governance by stealth
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s small-town diffidence has suddenly become sophisticated deviousness. He must have been a goody-goody as a boy. He was a hick who may have had a heart of gold. Though he was surrounded by creeks, he may not have fished. A fish struggling at the end of a cruel line would have upset him. The young Jonathan was not like Ilusha, the boy who hides a pin in the piece of bread that he gives to a dog in The Brothers Karamazov. The dog is in great pain, like Nigerians who have the hook of high fuel prices in their throats.
It is hard to imagine the young Jonathan breaking a girl’s heart. He must have been a shy, even tongue-tied, lover. He is the type who loves country music—those soaring songs of miraculous love or of haunting loss. Men like the president make a fetish of love. Did he ask Patience to listen to Jim Reeves’s ‘Distant Drums’ after she made the first move? Did he ask her to ‘marry me, let’s not wait; let’s share all the time we can before it is too late.’
President Jonathan rushed out of the Presidential Villa like a man late for his flight on the day Mrs Farida Waziri was dismissed from her job as chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. The president did not want to be in Nigeria when the statement issued by his spokesman on Mrs Waziri’s dismissal was aired on radio and published in newspapers. The president flew to France, something of French leave.
Mrs Waziri was not an ineffectual corruption tsarina. Her successful and completely legal pursuit of some politicians earned her powerful enemies. A prison cell, even one that has been turned into a plush pad, punctures pomposity. The president succumbed to self-serving pressure and he relieved Mrs Waziri of her appointment in a manner strange to his chivalrous nature. The president was like a shadowy figure with a stiletto. He had also abruptly sacked Professor Maurice Iwu a few weeks after praising him in the United States.
The knives were out for Mrs Waziri, but the president has not insisted on the punishment of some youths in the North who used knives and other weapons to kill innocent people after last April’s presidential election. Some of the rioters were photographed with blood on their hands.
Violence continues to be unleashed in some parts of the North. Boko Haram and herdsmen killed hundreds of people last year. President Jonathan has now declared a state of emergency in some areas of four northern states. Boko Haram is active in three of the states and exploded a devastating bomb in one of them on Christmas Day. A Catholic church was the target and more than 40 people were killed. One has heard the nonsense that it was not a sectarian attack, that Boko Haram has also been killing Muslims. But Boko Haram has never bombed a mosque and killed worshippers. A bomb detonated in a market may kill both Christians and Muslims, but an attack on a church during Sunday worship can kill only Christians. No Muslim was killed in the Christmas Day attack on the Catholic church. Even a fool knows that Boko Haram is trying to provoke a sectarian war in the country.
President Jonathan believes that a state of emergency will lead to the defeat of terrorists and murderous herdsmen. The heavy presence of troops in Jos has not stopped the slaughter of innocent people in the area. Indeed, some soldiers have been accused of aiding the murderers. The army announced the arrest of five of its men last January on suspicion of involvement in the attack on Kuru-Tasha village. The soldiers were close to the scene of the slaughter—13 people were killed according to the army spokesman in Jos—but did not try to stop the assailants. The army authorities called the soldiers’ behaviour ‘laxity’, but many Nigerians saw it as complicity.
The army spokesman said the five men would be investigated when he addressed a news conference on January 12, 2011, six days after the attack on Kuru-Tasha village, but the report of the promised investigation has not been made public one year after the massacre.
A piece of damning evidence was found close to the corpses of the victims of one nocturnal attack in the Jos area. It was the identity card of a soldier. Women and children were butchered during the attack. It is not known if the soldier was closely questioned by the army authorities.
One senior police chief was said to have given police weapons to men of his ethnic group during a communal clash in Jos. A man arrested with a gun said he was one of the people the police chief armed. The police chief was not punished for this very serious crime. Murderous violence persists in the Jos area because no perpetrator has ever been punished.
President Jonathan merely formalised the state of emergency in Maiduguri. Soldiers searched homes and questioned suspects before the tough measures announced by the president. But the soldiers did not always respect the rules of engagement and sometimes reacted with wild impetuosity after a terrorist attack. Non-combatants suffer in such a situation and this may make them hate the soldiers, their supposed protectors, more than they hate the terrorists.
Most of the troops in Maiduguri may need to be replaced or the city may look like Falluja after United States marines shot up the town in the operation to flush out Iraqi insurgents. Obliterating firepower is not needed to defeat Boko Haram terrorists. The army needs agents and intelligence to capture or kill the leaders of the sect.
It was not the threat of terrorists that worried the elderly man. His tone was chillingly ominous when he asked the question. ‘What will happen?’ he wanted to know. He had been given a lift on Monday, January 1, a day after the price of petrol was steeply increased. He is the father of four university graduates without jobs. One of them graduated many years ago. ‘And Jonathan still removed fuel subsidy in spite of the suffering of most Nigerians’, he said with bitterness.
He foresaw a protest harmful to President Jonathan’s tenure. The great Emperor Justinian I of the Byzantine Empire was almost undone by the high taxes the people were compelled to pay. The annual chariot races provided the platform for the riots in 532 AD. Justinian was a known supporter of one of the chariot teams—some prominent Nigerian politicians and businessmen support English Premier League teams, a serf-like attachment. Is President Jonathan perhaps a Wigan fan?—but the supporters of the emperor’s team and those supporting the opposition spoke with one voice. They insulted the emperor and Constantinople was set on fire.
The man is not the child President Jonathan was. He is not such a caring man any more. And he has now been schooled in deviousness by the elderly and unprincipled men who advise him. One of the men betrayed his party’s presidential candidate. The new very high price of petrol was sprung on the people. Governance by stealth is dishonest and cruel. And the president actually deceived the people!
Theodora, Emperor Justinian’s wife, was a very capable woman. Her advice saved Justinian’s throne. Marty Robbins, a country music star, sings about a woman he calls ‘devil woman’ — she is something of a bad adviser — who almost destroyed his life.