THE longsuffering Nigerian moaned in grief: “Although I have borne this burden for many years, I am prepared to forgive and forget.
My terror stems from the very absence of a clue regarding how much longer I am expected to groan under this deadweight.” The deadweight crushing Nigeria today is engineered political instability. Two categories of Nigerians are directly responsible for this invidious state of play. They are the fomenters of the instability, and their cheerleaders – those deliberately or unwittingly celebrating while the national homestead is being consumed by a conflagration.
In the eyes of the fomenters of instability, President Jonathan can do no good. He cannot do any good because, in their thinking, he is not supposed to preside over Nigerian affairs, to begin with. That is why they claim he cannot seek reelection for a second term of office. If any of Atiku, Buhari, el-Rufai, or Ribadu were in power, today’s sworn enemies of the second-term would be singing a totally different tune.
A Port Harcourt-bound flight takes off from Katsina. Unfortunately, the Captain suffers a heart attack and dies in midflight. Meanwhile, the Co-Pilot careers the aircraft to a perfect touchdown at its destination. In countries where reason takes precedence over skullduggery, it was a single flight that went from Katsina to Port Harcourt.
But in Nigeria, Jonathan already lost the right to seek reelection because fomenters of instability count among his tenures in Aso Rock the period he served as Vice President of Nigeria. Now, Al Gore was Vice President under President Bill Clinton for two terms, and later contested the United States presidency against George W. Bush, without anyone suggesting, even in their wildest dream, that Gore had already enjoyed two terms.
Those hectoring against Jonathan seeking reelection knew they woefully lost the battle even before it started. Therefore, they had to devise other means of stopping a man they fear would trounce them for the repeated time at the polls. Terrorism came in handily, despite its sanguinary imprint. Those unaware or unclear of how this insidious poison seeped into Nigeria’s essence are advised to read the telling interview granted by Ambassador Bola Dada, a retired career diplomat, to The Punch of April 12, 2014. Just one excerpt:
“As far as I am concerned, Boko Haram is an offshoot of Sharia. Meanwhile, in 2001, I learnt from a Southern Sudanese while I was there that at Khartoum sometime in 1994, some Sudanese officials were lamenting that the then presidents of Nigeria were not radical Muslims; they were lamenting that the golden days of Islam had gone.
They were not happy that General Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari did not follow in the footsteps of Ahmadu Bello. So they planned on strategising again. They went to Kano to do that. Whatever the strategy they made that time, there is a link to what is happening now.
Meanwhile, Babangida compensated them by dragging Nigeria to the Organisation of Islamic Countries, still they were not satisfied. Also, there was a kind of covenant between Sudan and Libya to destabilise Nigeria to promote Islamisation. So, what is happening to President Goodluck Jonathan now may have something to do with that pact.
They call it Afikaya, a doctrine that all African states must be governed by Muslims only. Gaddafi fought for it rigorously before he died – that all African presidents must be Muslims and in any African country where by error a Christian is there, they should make life difficult for that person until he is deposed. I got wind of it in one document. I read it with my eyes that all African countries must be governed by Muslims and any country that is mistakenly being ruled by a Christian, they should make life difficult for him.”
The fomenters of national instability are aided by those who interpret and propagate every Boko Haram atrocities as a minus for President Jonathan. No, terrorism in Nigeria is a recurring minus for the opposition to the political status quo who see indiscriminate murder of innocent people and the attendant devastation of property/ infrastructure as a shortcut to national political leadership. Media experts abound today interpreting only their folly and their blinkers, forgetting that once an abomination is allowed to hold sway it automatically becomes a tradition.
They fail to reckon that if Jonathan is bombed out of office, explosives will replace the ballot box as the instrument for attaining political office. These expert journalists/commentators forget that every Boko Haram attack is a stab at the heart of Nigerian democracy.
These experts will recoil from examining, for instance, India and Pakistan, neighbours in the Indian sub-continent who both won political independence in 1948. India chose the democratic path. Pakistan opted for coups, bombs and bullets. India is in accent; Pakistan is mired in gore and blood. Why should Pakistan’s dismal scenario be replicated in Nigeria?
The journalist deserves his pay, of course. But all the gold in the world cannot justify writing from an inkpot full of the blood of innocent bomb blast victims. Plainly, terrorists are criminals and murderers. The journalism that valorizes the kidnapers of school children and perpetrators of infanticide is warped. President Jonathan imposed in three troubled states a state of emergency.
But the Governors of those states remain in power, each collecting no less than N400 million every month in the name of security vote. The journalism that doesn’t ask these Governors to account for how they blow these vast sums in the guise of fighting terrorism is obscene. Certain politicians and traditional rulers have been making incendiary remarks, trying to pit sections of the country against each other, trying to disunite the military.
Any journalism not in condemnation of these traitorous acts is counterproductive. Any journalism that does not doff its hat for our military and security agencies that have patriotically been making unquantifiable sacrifices in order that we may all live in peace deserves to be censured.
The journalism that conspires with fomenters of political instability schemes, not against Jonathan as an individual. It schemes not against Jonathan as President of Nigeria. This ruinous journalism is a blunderbuss wielded by a drugged felon and trained at the heart of our collective tomorrow.
Mr. CHUKS IIOEGBUNAM, a former Commissioner of Information in Anambra State, wrote from Lagos.