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Monday, 1 April 2013

The President and the Morgue Attendant

Salisu Suleiman.
There is a joke about a morgue attendant who had gotten so used to seeing dead bodies that one day, he came to work to find a supposedly dead body twitching. His response was, “this is the morgue, not the emergency room”, so he promptly smothered the twitching body until it was well and truly dead. “That’s more like it”, he said, as he sat down to guard the cabinet full of dead bodies and to wait for new arrivals.
In many ways, the way Goodluck Jonathan has handled the affairs of Nigeria since becoming president can be likened to that of the morgue attendant. And worse still, Nigeria, under his administration has grown to become a vast, sprawling mortuary where deaths and dead bodies do not seem to matter at all: In the aftermath of Jonathan’s visit to Maiduguri, security operatives reportedly dumped about 70 bodies at the morgue, up from the daily average of 10 or 20.
Like the morgue attendant in the story, when about 2 years ago, the Borno Elders Forum met with the president and asked him to order the withdrawal of troops from Maiduguri to enable them use a different approach on Boko Haram, Jonathan flatly refused their plea. In the two years since, then how many more lives have been needlessly lost in the fighting? His attitude seems to be, “I’d rather preside over dead bodies than save lives”.
Accepted, Jonathan took over a country that was severely distressed. But what is the job of the president? For someone who has spent the last 14 years in power at the state and federal levels, the excuse that he is still studying the situation is one of the lamest apologies in political history. Either deliberately or inadvertently, like the morgue attendant, Jonathan’s actions and inactions all seem geared towards killing Nigeria off once and for all.
Why was it that when he was eventually shamed into visiting Borno and Yobe states by opposition APC governors who actually walked on the streets of Maiduguri and the notorious Monday Market, he response to calls for an amnesty for Boko Haram was, “We can’t grant amnesty to ghosts”. Within a week of his mindless, callous retort, another 25 hapless Nigerians were blown to smithereens in Kano. Since he can’t grant amnesty to ‘ghosts’, perhaps, he can grant amnesty to dead bodies!
Incidentally, more and more Nigerians are beginning to suspect that the deteriorating security situation may be more than the handiwork of Boko Haram. More than ever, there are growing fears that some, if not many of the attacks attributed to Boko Haram may be the work of other ‘ghosts’ beyond Boko Harm whose ultimate objective may be to divide Nigerians further along ethnic and religious lines for political advantage. The very nature and timing of some of the attacks on churches and some ethnic groups lend credence to that supposition.
Is this the same Jonathan who told us on his inauguration that, “Today, our unity is firm, and our purpose is strong, our determination unshakable. Together, we will unite our nation and improve the living standards of all our peoples whether in the North or in the South; in the East or in the West.  Our decade of development has begun.  The march is on.  The day of transformation begins today.  We will not allow anyone exploit differences in creed or tongue, to set us one against another”.
Perhaps, Nigerians should not be surprised at Frankenstein that Jonathan has become. From the supposedly timid state governor and vice president, we now have one of the coldest, most calculating and thick-skinned leaders, totally aloof to criticism. The one and only thing on his mind is to retain power beyond 2015 while helping friends and cronies to pillage Nigeria as much as possible. After all, when he was asked about assets declaration, he replied, “The issue of public asset declaration is a matter of personal principle. That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticise me from heaven”.
Which is why all the condemnations trailing the pardon he granted to Diepreye Alamiesegha are likely to fall on deaf ears; which is why even with a daily income of $224 million, Nigerians remain one of the poorest people on earth; which is why we have 68 million people unemployed; which is why Nigeria is the most corrupt nation in the world and which is why studies show that a child would be off being born in Somalia, Mali, Chad, South Sudan and other war-ravaged countries than in Nigeria.
Jonathan’s well-paid and ill-mannered army of Internet and media warriors may sing his praises to high heavens and work hard distort any discourse about the woeful failures of their paymaster, the truth is, they cannot hide the fact that Nigeria under Jonathan has become a vast mortuary where death and tragedy are routine. And like the morgue attendant, Jonathan seems intent on smothering all life out of Nigeria.
(The views published above are those of the writer’s and do not necessarily represent the view of Nigeria Intel)

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