Mr. Jonathan And The Blunt Cutlass… —Charles Dickson


It is the back of the man with a blunt cutlass that suffers. (A person who does not make adequate preparations for a task or test will rue his or her negligence).

As I put pen to paper to look at the issue of the recent UN House bombing and allied matters which as usual seem to be too much to handle for this big sleeping giant of Africa, the State Security Service divulged ‘startling revelations’ Very quickly I am dwelling in the next few paragraphs on an admonishment to Nigerians to let Jonathan be, we are just noise makers, we do not understand the difficult task of steering the ship of governance. This leader cannot do more than himself and that is one fact that will not change.

Just last July 23 the Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spoke at a news conference about the two-pronged attack on his country the previous day– a shooting at a youth camp that killed at least 85, and a bomb targeting government buildings in the capital, Oslo, that killed seven.

He called it a national tragedy. Not since the Second World War has the country experienced such an atrocity. He added that it was incomprehensible. It was like a nightmare.

He added that it was not only a nightmare for the young people who had been killed, but also for their families, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who had been brutally confronted with death and for the survivors and their families, every single person on Utøya had been marked for life. Young people have experienced things that no one should have to experience. Fear, blood and death.

He stated that he was unable to express with words how deeply he felt with all who have been hit. He added: “In a few hours’ time … I should have been at Utøya to meet these young people. Many of them are no longer alive. For me, Utøya is the paradise of my youth that yesterday turned into hell.”

He emphasized that “Now we have to do all we can to support and help those who have been stricken by grief”.

He informed that “Many people are still working to save lives. I visited Oslo University Hospital last night and applauded the outstanding work the health personnel are doing there”.

Encouraging institutions, he stated “…We also extend our thanks to the teams of police and firemen, and many others who are doing a tremendous job. Volunteers have also offered their help.

Everyone is doing an impressive job. I appreciate this. We all feel a need to contribute, talk together and take care of each other. Last night, I talked to the leader of the Labour Youth League Eskil Pedersen. He is doing everything he can to comfort and assist everyone who has been hit.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Culture Anniken Huitfeldt were at Sundvollen last night and in the early hours to support the young people arriving from Utøya and their families.”

He added that many people are still waiting for answers. “Later today, he said, I will go to Sundvollen to meet these young people and their families. Early this morning, there will be a meeting of ministers who are most immediately affected, and the whole government will meet later today. Flags will be flown at half mast today to reflect the grief of the whole nation over this terrible tragedy.”

All these fellow Nigerians were words of a Prime Minister of a nation beset by tragedy.

Take a big leap and nature was at it, this time it was USA, if it’s not Katrina, this time, it was Irene and Obama was not found wanting as he chaired the meeting at the National Response Coordination Centre (NRCC) set up at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, which kept marshalling federal and local hurricane-relief efforts.

“This is going to be a tough slog getting through this thing,” Obama said during a video teleconference including senior federal officials and local government agencies in the east coast path of Irene.

“It’s going to be a long 72 hours. Obviously a lot of families are going to be affected … the biggest concern I’m having right now has to do with flooding and power,” Obama said during the videoconference.

“(It) sounds like that’s going to be an enormous strain on a lot of states” that could last days, or even longer in some cases, he said.

In the Nigerian situation, when Mr. President finally arrived the scene almost a day after Prime Minister Ngozi had visited with other ministers, he said he was saddened by the devastation. After seeing the extent of damage, he assured Nigerians and the international community that Nigeria is on top of the situation, to uncover those behind the spate of terror attacks in the country.

He vowed that Nigeria will continue to collaborate with the international community on the war against terrorism, and expressed Nigeria’s appreciation to her friends and allies, especially world leaders for their solidarity with the country in these trying moments.

”One thing is very clear: Terrorist attack on any individual or any group is a terrorist attack on the rest of the world, it is not just about the UN office in Nigeria. We will work with the UN and all the world leaders; of course, many of them have contacted me between yesterday and today,” he said.

Asked if the attack has adverse effect on the image of Nigeria, the president said, “Of course, wherever you have terrorist attack in any country, Nigeria is not an isolated case. Many countries have suffered from terrorist attacks, maybe it is the turn of Nigeria. But we are on top of the situation”.

He urged all Nigerians and foreigners resident in the country to go about their normal affairs with the full assurance that the Federal Government and its law enforcement agencies will continue working diligently to ensure the full protection of lives and property in the country.

After all said and done, FBI agents have arrived in Nigeria as confirmed by a US embassy spokeswoman. “The FBI is on the ground at the request of the Nigerian government,” said Deborah MacLean. She said she was unsure of the number of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and could not provide further details.

Since the days of Funsho Williams and trails of political assassinations, and recently bombs, if it is not FBI, it is Scotland Yard, Israelis’ MOSSAD, Do we have a rescue outfit? NEMA is just in name no more, no less, we are a nation at luck. When an aeroplane crashes, hunters track the wreckage. When there is flood disaster, we look for fishermen, when buildings collapse etc we call construction companies.

While CNN, BBC, Reuters, Al Jazeera, FOX, etc. were all covering the bomb blast at the UN building in Abuja, NTA, our nation’s flagship, was showing the Osun Osogbo festival! Pretending all was well…Indeed all was well after all it was our turn.

I conclude by saying that with each passing day leadership sounds very unintelligible. Suggesting that we move the seat of government to the Niger Delta or suggesting that some Northern elements are attacking the president or bent on derailing his government will take us no where. Fact is, Jonathan at the moment is doing his best, this is the best the PDP can offer if you don’t or we don’t like it…let’s remember that the person to whom a bride is being brought does not strain his neck to see her from a distance.

•Dickson is the Editor,

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