NIGERIA’S political terrain is so polarised that no opinion is justified as honest. On the one hand,if you praise the government, you are likely to be accused of receiving inducement. On the other, if you criticise government, you will be tagged an opponent.
But whether we like it or not, there are still people who are only concerned about what is right. This said, government should be commended on the recent fundraising initiative by President Goodluck Jonathan for victims of terror attacks.
The quest to raise funds to fight the rising spate of terrorism in the country kicked off on a bright note. It is also great to know that the initiative was supported from all quarters not withstanding political affiliation.
A tip of this was when Owelle Rochas Okorocha came out and said ‘On behalf of the masses of this country, I donate the some of 10million naira’. A rather smiling President Jonathan said ‘do you mean 10million dollars’?? The ever benevolent Governor gave a rather funny response of ‘ Sir, if you say dollars so be it…’
This is simply a tip to the wonderful mood that pervaded the fundraising dinner for the victims of terror attacks in the country. To say it was a good initiative is simply an understatement. To say the least, that was the best initiative I have seen for a while now.
It brings joy to my heart to seeing both governmental and non-governmental parastatals come out to selflessly donate large chunk of money to support the victims of terror. The initiative is not only timely but very encouraging to see that the entire nation is empathetic to the plight of compatriots affected by the current insurgency bedeviling the nation.
President Jonathan donated N10 billion ($62 million) on behalf of the federal government, while other donations came in from oil companies, leading bankers, industrial groups and foreign donor agencies. The president had reportedly planned to raise $500m for the fund over a 12-month period, but at the end of the dinner on Thursday, he had raised $490 million. Captains of industry in the banking, telecommunications, oil and gas sectors as well as individuals contributed passionately to the fund.
It is also pertinent to say that the fundraising responsibility was not left in the hands of just large companies alone. Private individuals also came out to show their solidarity by donating as much as they could afford just to see that they pay their dues to the nation. I can imagine the smile on the faces of those seemingly hopeless, homeless, hapless and hungry displaced persons in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and other states affected by terrorism. I also expect that those Internally Displace Persons plagued by cholera and other deadly diseases will now find solace via intervention from the funds. I also believe that helpless hospitalized victims needing one form of medical intervention or the other will now find succour from the selfless pool of resources.
The selfless gesture and show of patriotism I saw on TV few days ago was not just a sign but an assertion that the people are ready to support government to ensure that the nation returns to its peaceful milieu. As a matter of fact, I am tempted to say there is no more need to seek offshore loans to combat terrorism. There is no doubt the nation is endowed with affluence both material and human. Government needs more of this kind of initiative as the open arms of its citizens are always ready to embrace them.
There is no gain saying the fact that since the citizens are always ready to render support, government on its own part needs to step up effort to protect its citizens. The Nigerian government in concomitant with its security chiefs needs to devise better ways of curbing the activities of these insurgents whom obviously don’t mean well for the nation.
There is need for government to reciprocate those wonderful heartwarming gestures I saw on screen few days ago. More so, there is need to build on the confidence the people have shown to the government by paying back through improved security to the people.
Moshood Isah, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.