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OPINION: Nigeria and the Emergency of 2015 – By Demola Adeniran

“Tomorrow New York is going to be here. And we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to be stronger than we were before… I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can’t stop us”.

Those were the words of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City. Prior to the attacks, Giuliani was just an obscure politician in one of America’s major cities with a near mediocre impact in the socio-politics before 9/11. But as if waiting for a disaster induced spark on his performance; Rudy Giuliani immediately became the stoic and inspirational leader who helped Americans pull through her most devastating period of terrorist attack. Giuliani later became an international brand to the extent that Time Magazine named him Man of the Year, 2001 and Queen Elizabeth II gave him an honorary knighthood award.

Over time, it is imperative to say that some of the greatest leaders in the world have been known to rise from an otherwise lacklustre period in office to become absolute great statesmen and women. The defining moments of their leadership is usually judged by their actions during critical moments in a period time of their individual nations.

It is in this context of happenstance and circumstantial pitfall moments and what lies in the horizon for Nigeria in 2015; that I aim to examine Nigeria’s current political imbroglio.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s stewardship of Nigeria has been one of plain abysmal display of ineptitudes at nearly all matters of state courtesy of the over reliance on sycophantic aides.

Leadership in the context of happenstance favours no other in this space as much as President Goodluck Jonathan. The story of his rise to power surpasses even that of his facilitator, Olusegun Obasanjo; who in 1999 became the first and only jailbird to ever rule Nigeria till date. Although people around the President will readily let us know that “President Jonathan has become the best President Nigeria ever produced”; we know that his records show otherwise. The President over the years has exhibited laxity when it comes to rising above his circumstantial pitfall moments.

President Jonathan took over the reins of leadership of Nigeria during a stormy period of power play by the loyalists of his former boss, Umaru Yar’adua. The way he was treated back then by the Yar’adua Gang made millions of Nigerians identify and sympathize with him as an underdog in an intriguing power play. While some felt that Goodluck Jonathan was slow at claiming what was rightfully his; others felt he handled it the best way by keeping quiet and allowing time to lapse him into power. Immediately after Jonathan became substantiated from his acting capacity to the president; he fundamentally failed to lay down a marker for his administration. His first mistake was allowing some of the usurpers who blocked him from attaining what was rightfully his at the time into his inner chambers; under the guise of party solidarity, ethnic bias and plain cronyism.

On hindsight now, it could be concluded that the decision which Jonathan took after that heady period would later define his personality in power. From recent inferences, what we thought was an error of judgement by the President was perhaps an act of calculated default. The lethargic approach to matters of National emergencies and the over-reliance on aides who have different agendas seems outline President Jonathan’s presidency.

The seriousness of the Jonathan Presidency have been watered down by a group of people who defend every wrong turn taken by the Otuoke man with sentimental bias and twisting of facts. What they failed to realize is that Presidents are actually allowed to make mistakes. It is actually the number of mistakes that the electorates assess to cast their votes during elections in a true democracy. The habit from the President’s men is so bad to the extent that they have made most of his mistakes turn into the imperious traits of a tyrant. Consequentially, it is doing the President more harm than good in his quest for 2015.

Then again, the issue of President Jonathan’s circumstantial pitfall comes in the form of the insecurity in Nigeria. Many of his supporters, including the President himself had been quick to observe that Nigeria’s problems pre-dated the Jonathan Presidency. While this is the truth; we must also remind them that Nigerians are not blaming the President for creating Nigeria’s problems but that he has failed to solve them. Instead, things have grown worse under his watch.

However, for all Jonathan’s actions or inactions on security, I think he deserves support from the whole Country for his latest push towards quelling the insurgencies in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States. Yes he has been late in being firm. Yes he had almost seemed clueless in all matters begging for crucial interventions since 2010. But the situation that we find ourselves nowadays is one; which calls for patriotism and not criticism. Since what we blame Jonathan for all these while was his inability to show assertiveness on issues; I do think it is high time we show him support with the State of Emergency action. Those politicizing the violence based on 2015 elections have forgotten that if things get worse than they are now; no election will hold to install the ‘change’ which they clamour for. This is a fact I think is lost on Jonathan’s camp as well. Whilst many including (The Presidency, Opposition and all) have long been playing politics with the existence of Nigeria; they keep forgetting that the weakness shown by the presidency over time has led to the many ethnic militias threatening to cripple the country.

It is no secret that Jonathan knows the fifth columnists in his government. What he needs to do now is to stare them in the eyes and say “enough is enough” if indeed he wants his administration to have peace. Otherwise, his government is doomed to fail. There is no need for pretences.

Then again, there is the issue of corruption that President Jonathan has kept denying under one guise or another. If Jonathan is prepared to even lie to the nation; he should at least be honest with himself about the plundering of the nation’s loot under his watch. The ‘free for all’ status of things taking place is the main reason why criminality seems to be on the increase in Nigeria today.

Whatever, Jonathan has taken that had effectively given him the courage to stand up to the nonsense that has been beleaguering the north since the start of his presidency; should be encouraged. We should hence give him his chance to handle the situation the hard way. Perhaps, this may ginger him into performing better. Who knows?

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