PRESIDENT JONATHAN MUST DEVELOP THE SPINE TO LEAD OR GET OUT OF THE WAY
When the U. S. labeled Nigerians as ‘Terrorists’ and put Nigeria in their radar as one of the terrorist nations in the world, following the foiled attempt to detonate US Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam-Schipol airport heading to Detroit, Michigan with 300 passengers on-board in December 2009, by a silver spoon fed, IVY league educated Nigerian youngster – Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, many Nigerians were angry and our political leaders fumed including the former Information and Communication Minister, Prof. (Mrs.) Dora Nkem Akunyili, who called on the United States to remove Nigeria from such a scandalous list and promised that Nigeria will cleanup her acts through her famous branding program.
That was international terrorism as well as the financial fraud – aka 419 kingpins; however Nigeria is still strong in domestic terrorism, public treasurer looting and money laundering schemes. Government corruption and domestic terrorism – ethnic, political, religious, economic – type killings have been going in Nigeria for decades.
However, since last year October 1st , during the 50th Independence Day anniversary, Nigeria has entered into a new phase of advanced terror game – with spate of bomb blasts n Abuja, Bayelsa, and Warri, political assignations, and senseless killings of fellow citizens in Jos, Buachi, Borno and Maiduguri – motivated by ethnic hatred, religious intolerance and political thuggery – not to mention broad day armed robberies, kidnappings for money, massive government corruption and looting of public treasurer. The lecherous destruction of human lives, their businesses and means of livelihood of innocent citizens is not just abhorrent but a total disrespect and disregard of the Rule of Law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The issue of insecurity must be addressed quickly by President Jonathan – otherwise Nigeria risks total disorder, chaos and anarchy, which some folks intoxicated with power want. The radical Islamic fanatics, who claim that Allah commands them to kill non-Muslims and political assassinations, must be stopped now. These are ominous signs of anarchy and chaos. These are uncertain times that require strong and courageous leadership – and that’s why I want to talk to President Jonathan in this piece.
Dear Dr. Goodluck Goodluck Jonathan, first, I want to remind you that after the demise of your boss, former President Musa Yar’Adua, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gave you the full powers, privileges and authority to preside over the affairs of the nation as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. For now until general elections in April 2011, you are the commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and the Head of the State of Nigeria. You must exercise your full rights and powers; otherwise you must resign or relinquish the power that was given to you by the people of Nigeria through the Constitution of the Republic.
Mr. President, in view of the above statement, I ask you the following questions:
1. When will you act as the Commander of the Armed Forces of Nigeria?
2. When will you exercise the power of the incumbent and as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
3. When will you put a stop to the brutality and mayhem going on in the Northern region of Nigeria?
4. When will you and the law enforcement agencies publicly, boldly, and courageously condemn these acts of bestiality and inhumanity upon innocent and hardworking citizens?
5. When will you and your law enforcement officers bring the perpetrators of these heinous and barbaric attacks to justice?
6. Mr. President, when will your cabinet have a plan to stop the pogrom going in the Northern Nigeria especially in Plateau, Borno, Bauchi and Sokoto states
7. What strategy do you and the security agencies have in place to squelch the aberrations going in Northern region of the country?
8. What are your Service Chiefs and Security Council officials doing to combat the mayhem and terrorist acts in Northern Nigeria? The Minister of Defense, Inspector General of Police, National Security Adviser, Director General, Nigeria Intelligence Agency, Director General of the State Security Service, and the service chiefs - Chief of Staff, Minister of Police Affairs, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Defense Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Chief of Army Staff, and Chief of Air Staff. What are they doing to curtail and stop this wanton destruction of innocent lives?
9. When will Nigerians have the freedom to live in peace and be at peace in their fatherland and motherland?
10. When will Nigeria and Nigerians enjoy national peace and prosperity?
11. When will this stupidity stop?
I asked the above questions not to undermine your personal strength and powers of incumbency, but because your government has not reacted angrily and courageously to the aberration and irrational mayhem going on the country – especially the Boko Haram and political killings going on unabated in the country. I also asked those questions to let you and other political leaders have a clearer understanding - what leading a country and people entails. For now, it seems to me that most rulers and politicians in Nigeria and other places in Africa, have not truly understood what true and purposeful leadership is all about. For years, Africans had been governed or ruled by tyrannical politicians and military dictators, who do not have a clue what pure and genuine leadership truly entails.
One of the key tasks of government is to provide security and enabling condition for peaceful co-existence of its citizens. The ultimate responsibility of any government is to protect its citizens and provide a peaceful environment for citizens to pursue their God-given dreams and desires – the pursuit of life, liberty, happiness and prosperity. Government has the divine obligation to provide the welfare of every of its citizen and protect innocent people from reappraisal attacks and violence. In a nutshell, Government must ensure peaceful order, co-existence, and tranquility and provide safety for all of its citizens. Security is tantamount to pure and genuine leadership - and no form government must shirk from such responsibility.
Every family unit, community, city, state or nation needs secure and stable environment in order to operate successfully. No family, community, or nation will be at peace and prosper without some measure of security and safety. For instance, the task of any husband in home is not only to provide for the welfare and livelihood for his family – but really to protect the wife and children from danger. Any true father will do whatever it takes to protect his wife and children from aggression and danger.
Translating that to the nation - Present Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the father of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan is the first lady and mother of the nation for now. Both of them, especially the president, have the utmost obligation to protect the nation and its citizens from any form of aggression or attack. But in the last few months, we have witnessed the rampant and senseless killings of lawful citizens in the Northern region of Nigeria – especially in the rural communities and villages in the city of Jos, Plateau State, Bauchi, and Borno, where common folks are defenseless. As far as I know, not a single person or any group has been arrested and charged with these acts of impunity, wanton destruction of human lives and means of livelihood of hard working citizens. This is a total failure on the part of this administration. President Jonathan must exercise the authority and power that has been invested upon him as the Chief of the Armed Force s and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Mr. President, you must understand that conflict and challenges are inevitable in the life of a leader. Wise leaders handle conflict with care, courage and compassion. Great leaders never compromise in handling crisis situation but rather confront challenges, crisis, and conflicts with courage and strength. Those in position of authority will always be confronted with crisis. Violence and crisis will occur where there is weak character and comprised leadership. Wise and strong leaders do not compromise. Strong leaders know how to face crisis and challenges with courage and wisdom. You must seek the courage to lead. Courage is one of the greatest ingredients of true and great leadership. No one can become a great leader without godly character and strong courage. If conflict and crisis are not confronted, it will lead to chaos and anarchy. Mr. President, you must rise up to the true purpose of leadership.
Leadership is a divine and sacred duty. To lead is hard work that involves great sacrifice and service to humanity. The apostles Paul writing in the great theological book of Romans, gives three basic, and I believe divine purposes for the existence and role of government. Those in position of power have the sacred duty to restrain evil, promote good, and punish wrong doers and the disobedient. Restraining evil means that those in position of power and authority must introduce polices and enact laws to punish the disobedient and lawbreaking citizens, who engage in deeds that inherently evil and wicked,. Throughout history, rulers, even the most wicked and dictatorial leaders have been a deterrent to major heinous crimes such as bestiality, rape and murder. Sometimes, severe laws and punishment will help to reduce the rate of violent crimes.
The point I trying to make here is, even the ungodly and ruthless rulers have a basic awareness of morality and a love for serene and peaceful society. Mankind crave for that basic morality is crucial for a viable social order and no society can flourish with a rampant and unpunished presence of violence, corruption, murder and social chaos.
It is therefore frightening to live in a society in which violence, crime and senseless killings are not confronted. Citizens must have respect for the laws of the land and be law-abiding citizens and submit to the laws of the land. Imagine a situation where no one is really in charge – chaos and anarchy will become the order of the day. If citizens were to protect themselves, their lives and property, - strife and violence would be the order of each day and will naturally lead to chaos, anarchy and collapse of that nation. To prevent such a bleak scenario, the idea of government was created to protect human lives, their, rights, freedom and to restrain evil doers and lawbreakers. Therefore, the current pogrom going on in the North must stop. Engage your service chiefs and various heads of security agencies in the nation. Let them get their big butts and fat stomachs out of their government furnished and air-conditioned offices and go to work. Recently you appointed an adviser on terror and currently overhauling the security agencies. These agencies must establish sincere and genuine collaboration between them; develop strategies for a national security agenda against domestic terrorism and international aggression. This aberration, negligence, and imperceptible political leadership must stop.
As president of the most populous nation in Africa, you must develop the character and the courage to lead. You must develop the spine to lead. Character and courage are indispensable ingredients of leadership. A person may have impressive skills, talents, and personality, but without fearless attitude and godly courage, one cannot be a true and great leader. You must be a person of great courage and convictions to lead. You must put in display your courage and strength like Joshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. Joshua faced such a daunting task to take the nomadic troops of Israelites into the battle against the fortified cities of Canaan after the death of Moses. Joshua was a courageous leader, because God commanded him to be courageous and strong. I see the Joshua in you.
After the death of President Musa Yar’Adua, God gave you the mantle of leadership. Our Moslems friends know that very well – that true leadership and power is God-given. God is commanding you to be strong and courageous because you will take Nigerians to the Promised Land. He has promised to give you victory despite the overwhelming odds against you. Stand up and horn the spine to take Nigerians into the Promised Land. You must have such courage and strength even in the face of great danger and stiff opposition. You must continue to demonstrate genuine concern for the welfare of all Nigerians irrespective of tribe, religion or language. You must be willing to do what is right, fair and just. Despite these times of crisis, conflict, challenges and opposition, you must never waiver in your commitment to be a true and fearless leader. According to leadership guru and mentor, Dr. Myles Munroe, “courage is resistance to and mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” A leader without the virtues of courage and strength will fail to make fair and right decisions, for without right and wise decisions people will suffer and perish. You must confront the challenge of insecurity in the nation and assure us that our lives, our dreams, our freedoms, our businesses and welfare are your utmost concern; otherwise, chaos and anarchy are sure to come.
Dr. C. K. Ekeke is a theologian, author, consultant and leadership mentor.