By Nnamdi Ojiego
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has criticized President Goodluck Jonathan for embarking on a trip to Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development at a time Nigeria is facing what could be described as a national emergency, as citizens continue to die from gun and bomb attacks in several cities.
The party, in a statement issued in Lagos, Tuesday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the decision by the President to travel two days after dozens of innocent Nigerians, including women and children, were killed or maimed by suicide bombers in Kaduna State, is a sign of insensitive and confused leadership.
It said the fact that the trip was announced by the presidency as theYobe state capital, Damaturu, was being terrorized by attackers raised serious concerns about the Jonathan administration’s commitment to the security and welfare of the citizenry, which is the rason d’etre of any government.
ACN said the President should have cancelled the trip as a symbolic act of a caring leadership and out of respect for the souls that were lost and are still being lost across the country.
”Again, we are constrained to ask whether this President is getting quality advice from the myriad of aides surrounding him, or whether, like his benefactor, Olusegun Obasanjo, he has decided he may not even take any advice from his advisers. In other climes, the usual thing is for leaders to cancel foreign trips or rush home from such trips when their countries suffer tragedies.
”In April 2010, Chinese President, Hu Jintao cut short his Latin American tour and returned home after a strong earthquake hit the west of China; This year, South Sudanese President Salva Kiir returned home early from his visit to China, due to the rising tension along the border of his country with Sudan, and even a phone-hacking scandal was enough for British Prime Minister David Cameron to cut short an African trade tour and return home in 2011.
”Since our own President has not even left Nigeria when these latest tragedies broke, it is inexplicable that he will still hop into a plane with a huge entourage and fly out. He should realise that he is attending the conference because he is the President of Nigeria, not because he is Dr. Jonathan. Therefore, Nigeria’s paramount interest dictates that he stays at home and oversees efforts to prevent the precarious situation in Kaduna from degenerating into an all-out religious war,” the party said.