Bully: to hurt or frighten someone who is smaller or less powerful than you, often forcing them to do something they do not want to do (3rd edition of Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary)
Some weeks back when Nigerians, with our usual obstreperousness, demanded for answers about the alleged missing $20 billion, what we actually got for having the audacity to demand accountability from our Government was a fuel scarcity which we all knew to be artificial; but it was severe enough for us to unanimously agree: we want fuel – not answers. We give up. When Jonathan was sufficiently satisfied that we had been deservedly humbled the fuel scarcity ceased and the situation normalised.
Three weeks ago, over 200 girls were kidnapped from their dormitories in a Federal Government School in Chibok. Jonathan did not say anything. He did not make a statement empathising with parents of the missing girls or stating what actions would be taken by his Government. In fact, a misinformation was communicated to the Nigerian public claiming that the girls had been recovered, only for our rejoicing to be cut short when parents of the missing girls cried alarmingly that if indeed the girls have been recovered, where are they?
Today (9th May 2014), David Cameron said that right after the kidnapping the British Foreign Minister contacted his Nigerian counterpart offering Britain’s help, but the offer was not taken up. It took close to two weeks for the Federal Government to rouse itself into some sort of action and even then all that could be managed was the institution of a fact-finding committee!!!
Question: why did it take the Government so long to even acknowledge the kidnapping?
Answer: they had no intention of acknowledging it. That explains why they did not respond to Britain’s offer. No. The only inference we can reasonably make is that they were compelled to finally acknowledge the kidnapping due to the international attention the issue was receiving thanks to the #bringbackourgirls campaign.
What inferences can we reasonably make from these events?
1. Jonathan is a bully. Rather than respond to demands for accountability he will bully the country into quiet submission by making difficult conditions unbearable.
2. Like all bullies, Jonathan is a coward who will capitulate when forces stronger than himself (the international community) demand a response he is not willing to give to the people of this nation.
I totally agree with Jonathan that the abduction of the Chibok girls is the beginning of the end of BH. My prayer is that it is also the beginning of the end of Jonathan. Nigerians, how can we maximise this global intervention into our nation’s affairs to free ourselves from the shackles of this grossly insensitive, callous and inept leadership?
Ms. Ishaya Audu, a public commentator and lawyer lives and writes from Abuja.