Sunday, September 4, 2011

We dey watch-O!

2 September 2011

By Donu Kogbara
Bombs and bombast

LAST Friday, a bombripped through the United Nations HQ in Abuja. Several people were killed or wounded. An expatriate friend tells me that many foreigners are terrified of Boko Haram’s boldness and are desperately fleeing from Nigeria because they now regard Nigeria as a security nightmare.

And I don’t doubt that Nigeria has become a security nightmare, but I am sick of listening to bombastic statements about Jonathan’s alleged culpability.

I don’t see why Jonathan should be blamed for the nightmare. I have criticised him quite a few times since the April elections because he has yet to fulfil his potential and has done or said quite a few things that have ticked me off big-time. Or NOT done or said things that I expected him to do or say.

But I feel obliged to vigorously defend him against the many critics who are currently trying to pin Boko Haram outrages on him.

How can Jonathan be held responsible for an Islamic group’s penchant for random violence, whether the group’s raison d’etre is a purely religious Jihad (Holy War) thing or a more complex issue of Northern youths expressing their fury about longstanding social neglect and political marginalisation?

Is it Jonathan’s fault if a bunch of extremists want to hold the entire country to ransom? Is it Jonathan’s fault that most Northern leaders have woefully and shamelessly failed those who looked up to them for progress?

Does Jonathan not have a Vice-President from the North? And what, exactly, by the way, is this Vice-President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, achieving in terms of taming and enhancing his ethnic and geographical constituency?

When I lived in London, the Irish Republican Army, IRA, a terrorist group, was on the rampage. It planted bombs here, there and yonder. It attacked the revered London Stock Exchange Building. It even succeeded in assassinating or maiming members of the British Government and Royal Family.

Even the most sophisticated establishments in the Western World cannot, despite their genuine commitment to social justice and highly advanced military and intelligence capabilities, easily prevent clandestine guerrilla outfits from unleashing murder and mayhem on the societies they want to destroy.

Jonathan is our Commander-in-Chief and obviously has to do something drastic about this terrible status quo. But it really upsets me when he is depicted as the architect of a Northern crisis that he most certainly did NOT create.

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