by Femi Fani-Kayode
I am a great believer in strong government and I am one of those that has always believed that President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the best, if not the best, and most effective leaders that we have ever had in this country.
Permit me to begin this contribution by quoting a portion of an essay that I wrote on 26 September 2011 which was titled ”On Goodluck Jonathan, David and Goliath”. The portion reads as follows.
”A few days ago from the sacred pulpit of the hallowed chambers of the National Christian Centre in Abuja and in the prescence of the entire leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan proclaimed as follows- ”I am not David….I am not a general…..I am not a lion…..I will defeat the Goliaths in our land”. These are deep and instructive words yet I do wonder whether Mr. President understands the spiritual and practical implications of what he is saying.
If he says that he ”is not a David” how can he then possibly slay the ”Goliaths in the land?” If he says that he ”is not a general” how can he be an effective Commander-in-Chief who commands the respect and confidence of his army and his officers? If he says that he ”is not a lion” how can he overwhelm the animals in our jungle that seek to destroy and ravage our land? The lion is a noble and courageous animal that defends it’s pride and family and protects it’s own. That is why it is known as the ”king of the jungle” and that is why our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself is known as the ”Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.
Every king worth his salt must have the spirit of the lion and the warrior in him to a certain extent. It is a fundamental pre-qualification for good quality and inspirational leadership and that is what distinguishes the pretender and the usurper from a real king. May the spirit and weakness of Ahab not be our President’s portion even though his words seem to have ensnared him. History proves that weak kings and weak leaders always pull down and destroy great empires and strong kingdoms.
If you have any doubt about that consider what happened to the Roman Empire under Nero, Claudius or Caligula. If you still have any doubts after that then read up on Russian history or watch an excellent old film called ”Nicholas and Alexander” about Tsar Nicholas the 1st, the last Tsar of Russia and how his strong-willed wife and his consistent display of weakness shamed and brought down imperial Russia, destroyed the 300 year old royal dynasty of the Romanovs, led directly to the First World War (which in turn led to the Second World War and then later the Cold War), caused the communist revolution, led to the Russian civil war, resulted in the murder of his whole family and ended in the establishment and creation of the most evil and godless empire that has ever ruled half of the world- the cold and all-powerful Soviet empire.
That is what weakness, prevarication, inconsistency, cowardice, emotional slavery, inexplicable fear and the celebration of indecision can do. Worst still you don’t boast about such qualities because there is nothing to be proud of in them. Always remember, whether you are a king or a subject, that courage is the greatest of all the virtues. This is wisdom. Would someone please tell our President”.
Once again please take note that the contribution that I quoted above was part of an essay that I wrote on 26th September 2011, almost two years ago to the day.
With the killing of 91 children by Boko Haram in Damatru a few days ago, the slaughter of 140 Nigerian troops by Boko Haram in Borno state last friday, the massacre of 41 school children in Borno state by Boko Haram two months ago, the mass murder of no less than 7000 thousand Nigerians by Boko Haram in the last 3 years and the raging war that is going on in the northern eastern part of our country between Boko Haram and our military today those words and that counsel that was offered two years ago seem even more relevant today than it was even at that time.
The carnage that we are witnessing in our country today has come as a direct result of the manifestation of weakness at the top. When a President tells the world that Boko Haram are his ”siblings” whom he ”cannot move against”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble. When a President keeps offering Boko Haram amnesty even when they kept rejecting it and whilst they were murdering his people, as he has been doing for the last three years, he is asking for trouble. When a President installs and supports a party National Chairman who describes Boko Haram as ”freedom fighters”, as he did earlier this year, he is asking for trouble.
When a President announces to the world that he is ”not a lion or a David”, as he did exactly two years ago, no-one should be surprised when his people are killed like flies before his very eyes. May God bring us a real leader that can save our nation and may He take away this one who feels no pain and has no empathy when Nigerian blood, nay even the blood of innocent children, is shed with impunity. Under the tenure of our ”lamb” President more innocent Nigerians have been slaughtered by terrorists than at any other time in the history of our country except during the civil war.
What a mess, what a record. I continue to ponder about one thing though- would the President have been so unperturbed and detached from the whole thing if the children that were killed in their school yesterday morning had been from his Niger Delta area or from the east. It appears to me that simply because those kids were northern Muslims this President just ”doesn’t give a damn”. What a tragedy. Whether Christian or Muslim, northern or southern these are only children and they are NIGERIAN children each of whom is entitled to the full protection of the Nigerian state. I have said it before and I shall say it again, Nigeria has become an abbatoir of human flesh and blood under the tenure of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and all those who support him should bury their heads in shame. The blood of all those innocent people is on his hands because he swore to an oath before God and the Nigerian people to protect them from such evil. Instead of getting on with his job and doing so he has spent the last few days boasting to the world about ringing the bell in the New York Stock Exchange and receiving irrelevant, illusionary, self-serving and absurd commendations for absolutely nothing from President Barack Obama. May God deliver us.
Permit me to make a painful observation here. I was thoroughly appalled about the fact that when our lamb President was asked about the latest round of killings during his live ”Presidential Media Chat” programme on Sunday evening he not only told a lie to the world by claiming that only ”21 or 22 students were killed” at a time when the BBC and CNN had confirmed that at least 45 bodies had been found (more were to be discovered later) but he also failed to express his condolences to the families of those that had lost their loved ones. He made the same omission when he failed to commiserate with or express his condolences to the families of the 140 soldiers that were killed in Borno state last Friday whilst fighting Boko Haram simply because they ran out of bullets during the course of the battle.
By way of contrast not only was he quick to offer his condolences to the government and people of Kenya for the terrible carnage that was inflicted on them by Al Shabab last friday when 68 people were killed (I guess that to him Nigerian blood is not as expensive or as important as foreign blood) but he was also quick to offer the Kenyan government military assistance. If President Uhuru Kenyatta decides to accept his offer let us hope that our lamb President will give enough bullets to the soldiers that he will send. Our boys are deeply courageous fighters and they certainly deserve that much. They also deserve to have a Commander in Chief that inspires them, that watches their back and that gives them the very best. May the souls of all those that have been killed by Boko Haram in the last three years rest in peace and may the Lord take the leadership of this nation from the lamb and give it to a lion king.
Permit me to end this contribution with the following observations. As crude and as unpleasant as it may sound the question must be asked – does our President have any balls? Is he really a man? Does he have what it takes to fight a war against terror or is it that there is more to this than meets the eye? Is there a sinister and diabolical conspiracy and plan to ensure that elections do not hold in the north-east and the north-west in 2015 given the fact that those areas are very hostile to the suggestion that Jonathan should return to power that year? Is this whole thing planned and contrived or is it a case of chronic incompetence, ineptitude and weakness? Does Jonathan believe that it is in his interest for the north to burn and for northern blood to be spilt? Is the mindset of those that are pulling the strings of the view that since the problem has been (to use the President’s own words in his last media chat) ”localised” and ”contained in a certain area” the government can sit back and watch the locals slaughter themselves whilst they continue to drink champagne in the Villa and fantasize about 2015? If that is the case has it not occurred to them that their fellow Nigerians live in those areas where the problem has supposedly been ”localised” and is the blood of those fellow Nigerians not red as well? Are they less Nigerian because of where they were born and who they are? Are the people that live in the villages and countryside not as important as those who live in the towns and cities?
Whatever is really going on here God sees all and anything that is not of Him will surely fail. If it is nothing but weakness and incompetence that has resulted in this unprecedented carnage the President will answer before God for violating his solemn oath to protect the Nigerian people from enemies within and from enemies without and if it is a conspiracy to encourage and create turmoil and chaos in the north just to ensure that they are excluded from the vote in 2015, both Jonathan himself and Nigeria as a whole will reap the consequences. It is worth noting that that is precisely what happened in Mali in the elections that took place before the north was taken over by the Islamists and it led to a full scale civil war. Any attempt to exclude any part of this country from participating in the elections in 2015 under the guise of lack of security or Boko Haram will result in the same thing with catastrophic consequences for Nigeria. Yet as Napolean Bonaparte once said, ”we must never account to conspiracy what can easily be explained away by incompetence”. It is more likely than not that the situation that is folding in the north-east and the feeble fight that our government is putting up against Boko Haram over there is down to Jonathan’s weakness and nothing more. So when asked the question is our President capable of fighting the war against terror my answer would be that I am afraid that I doubt it very much. He just doesn’t have it in him. As the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair once said about John Major, his predecessor in office, he is just ”weak, weak, weak”.
I am a great believer in strong government and I am one of those that has always believed that President Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the best, if not the best, and most effective leaders that we have ever had in this country. I say this not because I had the honour and privilege of serving in his government but because, when it comes to his record in public office, the facts and figures speak for themselves. Not only are they outstanding but they are yet to be matched and since he left office in 2007 everything has gone to the dogs. Love him or hate him one thing is clear- not under Obasanjo’s watch would 7,000 thousand innocent Nigerians be massacred at will in the space of just two years by a bunch of murderous and heartless terrorists. He would have known exactly what to do and how to do it to put a stop to such callous lawlessness and anarchy right from the start. Equally significant is the fact that such was his love for Nigeria that regardless of the region, ethnic group or religious faith that the victims came from, espoused or belonged to, his response to the terrorists would have been swift, decisive and utterly ruthless. He would have had Boko Haram in ”shock and awe” and the whole world would have marvelled at it. This is because in Obasanjo we had a President who not only had balls but who also had the courage, heart and guts to match them.
The greatest error that we as a people ever made and the worst tragedy and misfortune that has ever befallen us as a nation is the fact that a meek lamb ended up taking a throne that was designed and prepared for a lion. The unfortunate consequences of that tragic error and misfortune are there for all to see. The shedding of the blood of even the youngest, the most innocent and the most vulnerable in our society by Boko Haram on a daily basis is an eloquent testimony to that unsavoury fact.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.