by Lai Mohammed
Aribisala’s tragic thinking and poor excuse for sensibility is so self effacing when he also falls into the trap of attributing individual personal successes to the government, not the individuals.
Femi Aribisala’s piece, referenced in the title of this rejoinder, is very interesting, but missing several pieces. The writer failed to identify what the conspiracy truly is, and who the conspirators are.
Well, we know who the conspirators are, we know what the conspiracy is. The conspiracy is by Jonathan against Nigeria. The conspirators are Jonathan himself, of the “America Knows” fame, Dame, with whom we exercise Patience, of the “Dia ris God oo” fame, and a bunch of others who surround and claim to assist them. Or else, how can any other conspiracy work against the Commander-in-Chief who controls DMI, SSS, NIA, NSA and NPF? Not to mention NA, NN and NAF? As a matter of fact, there is no law enforcement agency in Nigeria that is not controlled by conspirator/victim Goodluck Jonathan.
Was it a conspiracy against Jonathan that prevented him from showing sensitivity and compassion when children were abducted? Was it conspiracy when right after a deadly bombing in Abuja, he elected to dance and campaign in Kano? Was it a conspiracy when the dictionary decided against him, to define stealing and corruption as dishonest acquisition, when he feebly tried to differentiate? Oxford and Webster must be “northern elements”, or powerful Nigerians who want to end his government! What about the several U.S. officials who have given damning reports, or accounts of him, his government, or Nigeria? Are they conspirators? International media organisations and celebrities who have made scathing criticisms and calls to action? They are all conspirators, saboteurs or northern elements? Or better still, opposition APC members or apologists, janjaweed politicians and ideologists, or even Boko Haram or their supporters.
There is a Yoruba proverb that says, “it is those who love you who criticize and hold you accountable most”. Maybe that is the proverb the writer and Jonathanians need to familiarise themselves with most. When everybody starts to say the same thing about you, it may very well be the time for you to truly look at yourself, instead of continuing to accuse everyone of being against you.
It is the folly and lack of experience that has characterised the Jonathan administration that leads his supporters to misuse adages. The Yoruba adage about a confessing witch and a dying child reveals this unfortunate simple mindedness in governance. Experienced and serious leaders have learned to protect the child immediately the witch cries, understanding that something sinister could occur. The cry of the witch has become the advance warning proactive leaders need. Their response is usually another African adage that since hunters have learned to shoot without missing, the bird has learned to fly without perching.
Regardless, this simple mindedness offers a glimpse into the cockpit of Flight Nigeria, and it turns out the flight is truly on auto-pilot! I suppose it is that witch and child guiding principle that prevented the Jonathan-led federal government from protecting Chibok despite a four-hour advance warning. Once the witch cried, the child could have been protected, and any conspiracy could have failed. But no, Jonathan’s self-inflicted prophesy of failure must become self-fulfilling.
There is an interesting ideology that Jonathan and his supporters have developed, and are propagating, although it is as baseless as it is senseless. It is the theory that certain elements can make the country ungovernable. They repeatedly mouth this failure of theirs and attribute it to saboteurs. Such disclosure is ill advised because, in reality, it is an admission of failure and lack of what it takes to govern. It suggests that the only way to govern successfully is the absence of opposition, dissent or criticism. Sadly, Jonathanians truly subscribe to this in a democracy. Its unfathomable how this level of simple mindedness could ever become the hallmark of Nigerian leadership, considering the quality of people who address themselves by that nationality. How do people disagreeing with the PDP or Jonathan and actively expressing their ideological differences make the country ungovernable? How does espousing a different political ideology, advocating it and encouraging people to adopt that in resistance to the failed approach of a sinking government translate to an ungovernable country? How is that any different from the experiences of democratic leadership anywhere in the world? How is that different from the budget gridlock that occurs in the U.S. Congress? What about the government shut down, or challenges to ObamaCare? Didn’t, and don’t the Republicans threaten to shut down the government and make it impossible for the President to carry out his duties in furtherance and support of their divergent political ideologies?
Our #AmericaWillKnow President must admit that America is right when it says that the number one Constitutional obligation of the President is to protect citizens and secure the homeland. For Jonathan and his government to continue to blame insurgency on conspirators whom he has failed to apprehend and bring to justice again demonstrates that his descriptions as inept and incompetent are self-inflicted and accurate. His admitted failure to arrest both the menace, and the “elements” or “conspirators” supporting it, are reasons for his impeachment, not to talk of seeking re-election.
The State of Emergency declared in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States effectively put the President and Commander-In-Chief as the Chief Executive in those states, yet this President is assiduously looking for someone to blame in the only thing that he and his administration have done best – engage in blame-game.
What is most interesting about this government is the ironic inconsistency that arises in its attitude to taking responsibility. A government that won’t accept responsibility for protecting its people, and would rather blame problems on those opposed to it, a government that instead of accepting the truth and reality about the scourge of corruption in the land would rather define and distinguish the difference between corruption and stealing, and a government that now claims credit for Nigeria’s emergence as the largest economy in Africa. It is mind boggling that what should constitute a sober reflection for the government is what it touts as personal achievement. The world watches this macabre dance, yet the simple-minded people in government do not understand that they are more the subject of ridicule than praise. The reality is that Nigeria emerged the largest economy in Africa IN SPITE OF this government. That is why it is most amazing. It is a testament and recognition of the ingenuity, innovation and resilience of the Nigerian people, not a product of their leadership.
This government blames Nigerians for its failures and takes credit for the successes of the same Nigerians it blames. Could it be the unbelievable levels of corruption and rising insecurity in Nigeria that promoted economic growth and expansion? Could it be the failing infrastructure and, especially, the epileptic power supply? Could it be the failing educational standards, incessant strikes by teachers and poor graduating and exam taking statistics that elevated the economy?
The factors in part responsible for the rebasing of the economy include telecommunications, higher oil prices and growth of the entertainment industry. Which among these can be attributed to any initiative or effort of Jonathan or his administration? An expanded economy with no jobs, lacking in the required skills in sufficient numbers? What kind of economy is that? What kind of success story is an economy that does not provide jobs? The only responsibility or role that the government could take in the growth process is what is failing – job creation – yet the government wishes to take credit for the expansion or emergence. No, the economy is what it is despite this government. The question must be, how much better, bigger and more efficient our economy can be if we had a serious government, and we were not on auto-pilot?
So the World Economic Forum came to Nigeria? The government takes credit for that? The same international community that agreed to come and encourage Nigeria refers to the same Nigerian government as callous, inept, corrupt, lacking credibility, slow, feeble (The New York Times, Economist and Financial Times).
What Jonathan and this administration did again is to rob Nigeria and Nigerians, as it has always done. Hosting the WEF is an achievement for the Nigerian business community and the relentless struggle of Nigerians, Losing the power of the statement it could have been is a failure of Jonathan and his administration by failing to protect our girls and our nation, and doing what was required to rescue them. For all the work Nigerians have done, their moment to step out onto the world stage was marred by the callousness, insensitivity, incompetence, lack of compassion and heartlessness of the President, his wife and his government. But a world that recognised what was more important made it about our missing children, when our president, his wife and government didn’t care.
The greatest evidence of a misguided government, with a flawed sense of contribution and misplaced priorities, is the President’s logic for Nigeria’s wealth. Something that Femi Aribisala and the President’s other followers and handlers continue to parrot. The President attributes Dangote’s elevation on the Forbes list of billionaires to his government. So the Jonathan administration made a billionaire richer? Isn’t that something? Not only did Dangote make the first Nigerian so high up on the list, Nigeria also became the first country to attribute an individual personal wealth and rank on the Forbes list to its government. Several other countries have citizens on that list, none of those countries made the ranking a subject of national credit. Jonathan is not bragging about moving any number of Nigerians from poverty, like other nations have done, including his Chinese guest to the WEF. Maybe China is not even as rich as Nigerians, considering that for our mere 170 million people, we have one billionaire on the top 25 list. How many does China have, for its over 1.3 billion people, or India for its 1.2 billion? Surely Nigeria is richer.
The World Bank says Nigeria is poor because of the number of people who live on $1.25 per day, President Jonathan disputes this and claims Nigeria is rich because Dangote is 23rd richest billionaire in the world, and there is a vast number of private jets in Nigeria. Little wonder the issue of Nigerian private jets dominated Kenyan gossip for over one week after Nigerian businessmen visited in their jets. This is the height of simple mindedness, and the beacon that supporters such as Aribisala and others are following. We have come to understand the comedy of the blind leading the blind. What has reached a new height with and under Jonathan is the tragedy of the blind leading the “seeing”.
Aribisala’s tragic thinking and poor excuse for sensibility is so self effacing when he also falls into the trap of attributing individual personal successes to the government, not the individuals. Or how does he attribute Akinwunmi Adesina’s recognition as African of the Year to Jonathan? How does any educated person make this statement or analogy? I suppose then that Wole Soyinka being a Nobel Laureate was an achievement for Babangida in 1986 when Soyinka won the prize, or perhaps an indication of Nigeria’s educational policy and advancement in literacy and literary work. Nonsense!
Adesina’s achievement culminates a career and lifetime of achievement for him, not for his boss, or even the entire country. It is right and apt for us, as Nigerians, to take and share in the pride of the personal achievements of our citizens such as Dangote, Adesina and an incredible number of others, but its folly and simple mindedness to attribute that to government. The corollary of it is to attribute the successful prosecution and conviction of Ibori in London to Jonathan, the Nigerian government, and perhaps the Nigerian people, in which case Mr Jonathan must admit his own personal avarice and pathology for stealing, (and or) corruption (whichever definition Mr President prefers) and lying.
Jonathan’s great achievement is that “poor” farmers now have cell phones! Did someone hear that? The writer, like his paymasters, furthers the exact problem why farming is not an important profession in Nigeria, including stigmatising the practice as for the poor, instead of promoting it as a profession. This failed approach is at the bedrock of the failed policies where farmers must feel lucky and blessed to have cell phones, or access to government handouts, otherwise known as fertilizers. It is not something their farming business can afford, neither is it an entitlement, but a handout. Do we wonder why this administration can’t get it right, and why they can’t be the answer Nigeria needs?
Another foolish simple minded thought is that the governments of Britain, U.S., France, China, Israel and others are lined up behind Jonathan and offering assistance in rescuing the missing school girls. In reality, these governments are lined up against Jonathan in assisting to find the girls. The pledges of assistance have come in a cocktail of direct and, sometimes, indirect language that reveal their frustrations, amazement and sadness that we have a government that is either non-existent, or that has failed in its responsibility.
In one case, a U.S. senator even suggested that it was a “joke” to expect anything of, or to work with Jonathan, when he said the U.S. President should have initiated rescue efforts immediately without relying on Jonathan to do anything, or trying to seek the consent of “some guy called Goodluck Jonathan”.
Aribisala is right, that the 2015 elections is not about Jonathan, but about Nigeria. Indeed, it’s the most major fork in the road our country has experienced in recent history. It is a choice between whether we progress by rejecting Jonathan and the PDP, or regress by accepting Jonathan and PDP. A choice between continuing to be prey to this predator and voting in a serious government that truly believes it owes its allegiance and accountability to the people.
Aribisala’s closing is the most nonsensical and illogical postulation ever! He suggests that Jonathan has no choice but to run for election again. Aribisala means that when you have failed in governance, and local and international observers are unanimous in evaluating the government as inept, incompetent, corrupt and directionless, the only choice you have is to seek a second term. Amazing and interesting!
Aribisala and the Jonathan choristers appear to mistake governance for an elective course in the University. That is the only place you fail an elective course and then, logically or even mandatorily, repeat. In governance, successful performance and surpassing expectations are the only reasons for repeat. Failure, on the contrary, is the reason to honorably decline re-election or to be dishonorably defeated in elections.
Unlike in the University, in governance failure is a reason for defeat, not repeat. There is only so far Goodluck and Patience can go. At some point we run out of Patience and demand more than Goodluck.
This is that time. It’s time for Jonathan’s defeat, not repeat!
Lai Mohammed, the Interim National Publicity Secretary for the All Progressives Congress (APC)
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.