PRESIDENT Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has done something about the Boko Haram insurgency – 24 hours after an attack in Nyanya, Abuja killed more than 100 and injured hundreds, he was in Kano campaigning for his 2015 re-election.
His action was horrendous. Families are searching for missing members, the injured are battling for life, condolences are only commencing, tears are running freely, the wailings are loud, fear, panic and uncertainty abound, but the man who swore by the Holy Bible to protect our lives, was in ebullient moods, professing his plans to be president again.
The insensitivity was simply unspeakable. Nigerians were mulling the situation. Some had suggested a day of national mourning. They expected their President to be in security meetings, articulating new strategies to curb the attacks that have been occurring daily for more than a year.
Nothing would stand between Mr. President and canvassing for support, not against Boko Haram, but for his political ambition. Is his stay in office more important than the lives of Nigerians?
While he was thumping the opposition in Kano, beaming his best smiles, news spread that Boko Haram had abducted over 100 female students of a government school, Chibok, Borno State.
The President’s quick appearance at the scene of the Nyanya bombing, hospital visit to the injured, earned him some marks unlike in August 2011 when he arrived the bombed United Nations building days after the incident that killed 26, including foreigners.
We never knew a rally in Kano, the next day, was so important it could not be cancelled, at least postponed. We thought as he pursues his ambition, the President would burnish his image by caring.
He prefers to maintain a record of absence at critical moments. On 12 June 2012, Nigerians woke up to realise their President had departed for the Earth Summit in Rio, Brazil, two days after Sunday’s bombing of three churches in Zaria and Kaduna, a continuation of the almost weekly Boko Haram attacks on churches in Northern Nigeria.
Kaduna was immediately placed under a 24-hour curfew. The next day, gunmen attacked Damaturu, Yobe State, leading to scores of casualties. By Tuesday, President Jonathan, his wife, some governors, and government officials were in Rio.
“One of the problems we have is that some Nigerians play politics with everything, but we cannot destroy our country because of personal political ambitions,” the President had retorted to critics of his Rio adventure. Does the advice exclude him?
Section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution states, “The security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government.” Our Constitution expects the President to place the people above politics.