Archive for September 2012

JONATHAN’S SENSELESS #OCCUPY BEEFS!   11 comments

President Goodluck Jonathan is his own worst enemy! Just when many were beginning to reconsider Jonathan in a hopeful light, despite his many failings, and trying to be persuaded that he could at least succeed in delivering even the barest positives for national development, he again uttered another anti-masses’ salvo, totally uncalled for, and which has had the consequence of raising further doubts about his capacity to deliver.

By condemning the nationwide January #Occupy protests against the fuel subsidy removal and alleging that those who took part in the same were sponsored, Jonathan has taken his insensitivity to a new, and very ignominious, low. If Jonathan thought his statement would be saluted as a show of temerity and gumption, he was certainly very mistaken. Ostensibly, Jonathan has no regard for the hiatus in public anger against him which some other thoughtful president will capitalise on, to regain his citizenry’s confidence.

Jonathan’s senseless #Occupy beefs comprise a display of misplaced truculence which would rather be more befittingly spent on his thieving proxies. It is instructive to note that this same Jonathan recently complained that he is the most criticised president in the world. Well, there is a corollary between being the president who says arguably the most insensitive things and being the most criticised president. Unwise presidential utterances will always naturally attract criticisms, especially from a people so long deprived of their due.

Beyond that though, at the same time that Jonathan is trying to dent the unfortunate security situation in the country, he must be careful to not say things that give any segment of society reason to want to violently vent frustrations and further complicate the nation’s security. On a TV program to commemorate the International Day of Peace on September 22, the Executive Director of the Civil Liberty Organisation, Ibuchukwu Ezike, chided Jonathan’s criticism of the #Occupy protests saying, and rightly so, that “Such a statement can trigger violence.”

Also reacting to Jonathan’s condemnation of the fuel subsidy protests, on September 21, Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka said, “The most generous response that can be given to President Jonathan’s recent statement on the people’s fuel subsidy protest is that he is suffering from a bad conscience. The worst is that he is lamentably alienated from the true pulse of the nation, thanks perhaps to the poor, eager-to-please quality of his analysts, those who are supposed to provide him an accurate feel of the public mood. Since I have had the opportunity to contest this perception of the protest with him directly, it is clear what kind of interpretative diet he prefers.”

“The president sent in the army and shock police squads to forcibly seize and occupy grounds from a demonstrating public, a violation of the people’s rights as entrenched in the constitution… The culture of public protest appears to be alien territory to President Jonathan, which is somewhat surprising, considering the fact that he has not only lived in this nation as a citizen but served in various political offices. He has lived through the terror reign of Sani Abacha whose ruthless misuse of the military did not prevent demonstrations against perceived injustice and truncation of people’s rights,” Soyinka added.

Similarly, on September 21, the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria said President Jonathan’s berating of Nigerians who were opposed to the removal of the fuel subsidy manifestly depicts him as “a President who is completely out of touch not only with ordinary Nigerians but also with universal trends.” “Those involved in the January protests were…Nigerian professionals from all walks of life. To claim that this class of Nigerians were lured to the protest ground because of a bottle of water and food is to say the least, not only uncharitable, but also a reflection of the shallowness of the thought process of the President’s advisers and handlers,” the party stated.

In addition, in an opinion piece reacting to Jonathan’s comment, published in The Punch, on September 25, a certain Adewole Oluyemi asked rhetorically: “Was the President saying the Nigerian masses are undiscerning [about] issues affecting their existence negatively, even when they see citizens of countries with lesser God-given resources enjoying what they are denied of?”

One would have thought that the conjured essence of having senior aides for public affairs, and media and publicity, a microcosm of the larger wasteful duplication of public offices under Jonathan, is to ensure the president’s public comments reflect rationality, sensitivity and decorum. But alas, by Jonathan’s myriad of unguarded statements, one can safely say Nigeria isn’t getting any value from the bootlicking Abati/Okupe duo.

Any more sleazy comments by Jonathan will only exacerbate public mistrust in him. For his own good, it is high-time Jonathan desists from making comments that are not only incongruous but that also go a long way to douse whatever public confidence his administration’s nascent gains in the power sector have earned.

Raymond can be reached on Twitter @Raymond_Eyo

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Posted September 28, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

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