A former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Assisi Asobie has described President Goodluck Jonathan as the “new Nero” of the 21st Century because of the president’s alleged lackadaisical attitude in addressing the nation’s multifarious crises.
Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, who ruled Roman Empire from 58 – 64 BC, is renowned for the catch phrase “the Emperor who fiddled while Rome burned.”
Mr Asobie, who was the Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, NEITI, and a professor of Political Science at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, faulted Mr Jonathan’s stance on the ravaging Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of Nigeria and the increasing kidnapping in the South East and other parts of the country.
“We are witnessing a Nero in our country,” Mr Assobie thundered on Friday in Lagos at the inaugural Tunji Braithwaite Birthday Symposium in commemoration of the legal luminary’s 80th birthday.
Mr Asobie, who was the guest lecturer at the event, warned that “Nigeria is already on the track of another civil because the Boko Haram insurgency is a fight against the Nigerian state.
“Yet the President has continuously denied this………claiming that nothing is happening and we are winning in his statements yet increasing number of lives are lost daily.
“What the President is only concerned about is hosting dinners after dinner.”
Last Sunday, Mr Jonathan hosted a PDP dinner after the controversial national convention of the party, a midterm dinner in June to celebrate the second year of being elected and another one to revel the female members of his cabinet, amongst many others.
Despite the use of equal force (state of emergency) to fight the Boko Haram insurgency, Mr Asobie blamed the failure of the Nigerian state to address the insurgency on the greed of “leaders who do not want to lose power and are ignorant” even as he hinted at the president’s desire to contest the 2015 presidential election.
Quoting series of statements by the President on the robust state of Nigeria’s democracy and stability of its economy, the guest lecturer noted that such statements were not backed with data such as the Global Instability Index which ranked Nigeria as in ‘high-risk category’ of failed states.
Further decrying Mr Jonathan’s polices, the academic condemned the setting up of multiple committees to address disturbing national issues without achieving any result. This, he described as ‘Jonathanian Solution’.
Mr Asobie recalled the president’s claim in a speech in 2011 after the post-election violence that a number of lives had been lost and that he was going to set up a committee, whose modalities would include the setting up of an Electoral Violence Tribunal to try anyone found guilty of electoral violence.
“Two years after, we have not heard anything about the tribunal which is supposed to serve as a deterrent to offenders in future elections” he lamented.
The political scientist urged Nigerians to unite and fight the ‘class war’ which according to him, “is being fought by politicians”, admitting that the nation’s economy is growing amidst massive income inequality.
Workers Sovereign National Conference
Mr Asobie called for the formation of a new liberation movement by Nigerians ahead of the next general elections in 2015, just as he enjoined Nigerians to get involved in the selection of political parties candidates.
He also called for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), which according to him “must be workers driven rather than ethnicity.”
He, however, warned on the modality of the conference, saying “if the SNC is ethnic-based, we might lose our country.”