Searching for a vote of confidence

by Chude Jideonwo

The truth is: I don’t feel safe. I, like many others living in Nigeria, will myself to feel safe, know I must take the risk and get into the road each day; we have no choice. But when it comes to the meat of it, you cannot possibly, really feel safe.

Children – babies, even – have been kidnapped, average Nigerians’ parents have been kidnapped, ‘big men’ and ‘oyinbo people’ have been kidnapped, celebrities – from the forbidding Pete Edochie to the clownish Mr Ibu – have been kidnapped, government officials have been kidnapped, and now youth corps members have been kidnapped. In all of this, have you heard of one conviction? Have you seen anyone from the successful kidnap industry or any of its ringleaders captured and exposed?

Well then, how can you feel safe?

Think of Boko Haram. A neo-terrorist organization that gives the government conditions for dialogue, and essentially declares war on the commonwealth at about the same time that our president absolves them of blame in crises that they have themselves admitted to? All of this while the president is yet unable to identify the ‘real’ culprits?

Then, did you hear about the bomb blast yesterday? For effect, right in the police headquarters. And initial police reports indicate the Inspector General of Police was their target.

We really have to ask Goodluck Jonathan what he’s up to. The truth is that it is very difficult to look at our state of affairs at the moment and deliver a vote of confidence.

Just take the simple matter of the youth corps members who were kidnapped. More than 10 days after, and no one seems to have a clue.

Yes, government officials will have us believe everything is being done behind the scenes – but governance is not a matter of faith; governance is not religion. It is a matter of fact.

We can’t just trust that this president has good intentions, and knows what he is doing. He might have a different philosophy of leadership and willingness to think differently from his predecessors; but that, unfortunately, cannot be enough.

You see, government doesn’t just have to work; government has to be seen to be working. People cannot just have faith in a government; the government must earn the trust of its people. A leader cannot afford to amble on, assured in his sense of destiny; without giving the followers that same sense of confidence. It is a leader’s duty to lead.

And if the above is not enough, then Mr President needs to know the following.

There are some people who desperately want this government to fail – just so that they are proved right. You see them in op-ed pages, on websites, Twitter and Facebook; angry and desperate to be proved right that this is a good-for-nothing for government. They see every error real or imagined as an opportunity to drive their doomsday opinion of our state of affairs. They stand resolute in negativity and bitterness. Nothing good can come out of the next four years, they say.

Then there are some who don’t care at all, because they believe this country has gone to the dogs, is still on its way to hell, and nothing can be done to stop it. For this special group, everyone is trying to ‘eat’, no one cares about the nation, corruption has ruined us; nothing has or will ever change.

But then there is the majority – vocal and silent – that are, thankfully, just as desperate, but only for this government to succeed. They are still prepared to give benefit of doubt, and are ready to see this government parley the goodwill and mandate that it has into fundamentally changing Nigeria. This group hopes that, even if this government lacks the capacity to see and solve the problems, it will find the humility to do the right thing – and get the people who can, to make that change happen.

Finally, there are those who love him Mr. Jonathan unconditionally – simply because of who he is and what he represents (“I was born without shoes”), how he arrived at the seat of power, and how he has conducted himself with dignity and reserve.

For the sake of these last two groups, it’s time for the president to sit up. If he loses even the trust of these ones, then he will have no one but himself to blame. Because even those who love him, love their country more than they love him.

The truth is: I don’t feel safe. I, like many others living in Nigeria, will myself to feel safe, know I must take the risk and get into the road each day; we have no choice. But when it comes to the meat of it, you cannot possibly, really feel safe.

Children – babies, even – have been kidnapped, average Nigerians’ parents have been kidnapped, ‘big men’ and ‘oyinbo people’ have been kidnapped, celebrities – from the forbidding Pete Edochie to the clownish Mr Ibu – have been kidnapped, government officials have been kidnapped, and now youth corps members have been kidnapped. In all of this, have you heard of one conviction? Have you seen anyone from the successful kidnap industry or any of its ringleaders captured and exposed?

Well then, how can you feel safe?

Think of Boko Haram. A neo-terrorist organization that gives the government conditions for dialogue, and essentially declares war on the commonwealth at about the same time that our president absolves them of blame in crises that they have themselves admitted to? All of this while the president is yet unable to identify the ‘real’ culprits?

Then, did you hear about the bomb blast yesterday? For effect, right in the police headquarters. And initial police reports indicate the Inspector General of Police was their target.

We really have to ask Goodluck Jonathan what he’s up to. The truth is that it is very difficult to look at our state of affairs at the moment and deliver a vote of confidence.

Just take the simple matter of the youth corps members who were kidnapped. More than 10 days after, and no one seems to have a clue.

Yes, government officials will have us believe everything is being done behind the scenes – but governance is not a matter of faith; governance is not religion. It is a matter of fact.

We can’t just trust that this president has good intentions, and knows what he is doing. He might have a different philosophy of leadership and willingness to think differently from his predecessors; but that, unfortunately, cannot be enough.

You see, government doesn’t just have to work; government has to be seen to be working. People cannot just have faith in a government; the government must earn the trust of its people. A leader cannot afford to amble on, assured in his sense of destiny; without giving the followers that same sense of confidence. It is a leader’s duty to lead.

And if the above is not enough, then Mr President needs to know the following.

There are some people who desperately want this government to fail – just so that they are proved right. You see them in op-ed pages, on websites, Twitter and Facebook; angry and desperate to be proved right that this is a good-for-nothing for government. They see every error real or imagined as an opportunity to drive their doomsday opinion of our state of affairs. They stand resolute in negativity and bitterness. Nothing good can come out of the next four years, they say.

Then there are some who don’t care at all, because they believe this country has gone to the dogs, is still on its way to hell, and nothing can be done to stop it. For this special group, everyone is trying to ‘eat’, no one cares about the nation, corruption has ruined us; nothing has or will ever change.

But then there is the majority – vocal and silent – that are, thankfully, just as desperate, but only for this government to succeed. They are still prepared to give benefit of doubt, and are ready to see this government parley the goodwill and mandate that it has into fundamentally changing Nigeria. This group hopes that, even if this government lacks the capacity to see and solve the problems, it will find the humility to do the right thing – and get the people who can, to make that change happen.

Finally, there are those who love him Mr. Jonathan unconditionally – simply because of who he is and what he represents (“I was born without shoes”), how he arrived at the seat of power, and how he has conducted himself with dignity and reserve.

For the sake of these last two groups, it’s time for the president to sit up. If he loses even the trust of these ones, then he will have no one but himself to blame. Because even those who love him, love their country more than they love him.

This article was first published on www.234next.com on June 17, 2011.

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One comment

  1. A bomb explosion in Abuja another detected in Oshodi yesterday,youth corpers kidnapped… Its bearly a month that our so called Mr Goodluck had been inaugurated into office and these things are happening… may God bless dis country

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail