Enough is Enough
Jonathan! WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO HAVE MORE ENEMIES? Last weekend, Punch, The Nation, Vanguard and other Nigerian media houses started to be subjected to harassment by soldiers.
Distribution personnel - mostly van drivers and vendors - were threatened and, in some cases, detained. Newspapers were confiscated. Some said that military chiefs had approved this heavy-handedness because they were furious about articles that had depicted the army in a bad light.
Army spokesman Chris Olukolade told a different tale and described the seizures as a 'routine security action', following 'intelligence reports indicating movement of materials with grave security implications across the country using the channel of newsprint-related consignments' and distribution trucks.
Since this official explanation was too cryptic to satisfy me, I tried to reach a General I know, in the hope that he would provide clarification. But he didn't answer his phone when I called him and has not responded to my text message.
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders, an award-winning international non-profit organisation that was founded by French journalists in 1985 and is not only a consultant to the United Nations but tirelessly upholds the principles of freedom of information and expression, has issued the following statement:
'We urge the authorities to respect the public's right to informationand to put a stop to such practicesthe army must accept criticism'
When all this toxic Media versus Military wahala was first drawn to my attention, I said that I would be surprised if the mild-mannered President would send anyone to harass anyoneand that I reckoned that the army boys were doing their own thing and targetting the media without his permission.
But I've had a change of heart.
President Goodluck Jonathan is, at the end of the day, the Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, so the buck stops on his desk; and it is, on reflection, very possible that he knew about the army's anti-media plans in advance.
If he DID know in advance, shame on him for not curbing the army. Even if he DIDN'T know in advance, more fool him for allowing unruly elements to become so powerfuland keep him in the darkand tarnish his government's image by launching attacks on law-abiding Nigerian citizens behind his back.
In other words, Mr President is either guilty of appalling collusion with anti-democratic forcesor guilty of chronic weakness that does not befit someone in a leadership role; and he should either smarten up and shape up or ship out.
Is turning journalists into arch enemies the best way to win an election?! The government's crude, cruel and dictatorial attempt to ban the Bring Back Our Girls campaign has failed woefully, thanks to an Abuja High Court ruling.
The court, which was presided over by Justice Abubakar Talba, held that the Police are not constitutionally or legally entitled to prevent peaceful rallies from being held in respect of the abducted Chibok schoolgirls.
Only God knows why the authorities chose to intimidate a bunch of harmless and mostly apolitical ladies and mothers who are quite rightly complaining about the fact that over 200 Nigerian children have been missing for several weeks.
Meanwhile, Abba Moro, the Minister of Interior is still living large in office, despite having presided over the deaths of several innocent job-seekers.
And let's not forget that Jonathan's arch-enemy, the former Central Bank Governor, has just been installed as the Emir of Kano. And I doubt that he would have been elevated if Jonathan hadn't clumsily dismissed him for expressing justifiable concerns about NNPC's financial situation (readers might recall that I advised against Sanusi Lamido Sanusi's sacking earlier on this year).
Will there be no end to this administration's insensitive, myopic, suicidal determination to antagonise almost every interest group in Nigeria?
Will a day come when Jonathan will finally wake up and smell the coffee and start to fulfill his potential and tackle corruption and rule competently and prove those who describe him as a simpleton wrong?
I am a Niger Deltan. Jonathan is the first-ever Head of State from my zone. I regarded him as an iconic Big Brother who had been sent to deliver us from servitude, poverty, environmental outrages and political irrelevance.
I once passionately and unconditionally supported Jonathan. I desperately wanted him to succeed. I was convinced that he had what it took to be a great presidentand that he would shine if he played his cards right.
And I was not alone. And his fan club was not entirely populated by folks from his area. In 2011, Nigerians from ALL tribes voted for him in droves.
If anyone had told us that he would wind up becoming a deeply unpopular bungler who can only win the next election by force or fraud, I'd have said: 'NO WAY!' The status quo is a massive disappointment. Frankly, it makes me shed tears.