Let me annoy some folks today, especially those who think they can run Nigeria better than President Goodluck Jonathan and his team. You know it is so politically correct now to criticise the President and brand him as inefficient, clueless. The throng on social media (and an entire tribe of columnists and commentators) who engage in this pastime daily probably think doing so confers on them some kind of superiority of knowledge.
It’s so cool to hit on Jonathan! I saw a fire-eating activist on TV the other day screaming and swearing that the president was a failure. Never mind that the dude probably runs an NGO where he hasn’t paid his staff salaries for five months. Never mind that he might be owing a bank somewhere and has not been managing his personal economy properly. He probably has a wife who has taken over his life and calls the shots. His kids are probably out of control.
Yet, there he was in all his sanctimonious glory, regaling us with his latest brilliant idea on how to run the country. Well, he should first get his life right and his businesses right before taking on the presidency. Some people can’t manage a company of 10 people yet; they have answers to all the national malaise. I know folks who say they can get everything going on well again; they know the secret to 24/7 power supply; they can deal with the current insurgency in one week; they know how to get the economy moving; they could have assembled a better team; and their wife would have been a better first lady than the internationally known Dame.
You know, Nigerians are the best players, best musicians, best drivers, best anything (as long they are not actually the ones doing any of the things I’ve mentioned). Welcome to Nigeria- a country of armchair critics who have the solutions to every ill until they get the chance to actually handle a task. I know activists and people in the opposition who have all the solutions to our troubles. They know all the troubles with Nigeria, so they also know how to solve them. Some people stuck in traffic and getting really red in the face would call a radio station and discuss how to end the insurgency in the North East.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are many brilliant Nigerians who have the answers to some of our ills. And I’m all for the freedom of expression and would defend that right any day. I also believe the president should get the flogging he deserves. It comes with his job and the buck stops right there under his nose. But what I don’t get is the fact that, that is all we do now – take cheap shots at the president. We blame the man for everything including stuff that we have some control over.
I’m against the fixation on the president to solve all the problems. The Americans we all love to copy are not that fixated on the president, blaming him for everything. No! In time of emergency, they even forget the colour of President Barack Obama to rally round him. The nation then comes together, forgetting the parties or other affiliation to defend the Star – Spangled Banner.
And too many people are running from their role in nation building. The religious leaders who say one thing in the day and another at night are as bad as the insurgents. The small time crook who swindles the workers is as bad as the legislator who steals common patrimonies. The internet fraudster who works into the night to hoodwink people is equally part of the problem.
What about the local council boss who has ghost workers in the pay roll? What of the commissioner who is now a big boy after he got the appointment? What of the governors? The ministers? We see only the president, but ladies and gentlemen, we are all involved. It takes only a look in the mirror and you would see the problem with Nigeria.
By the way, the president must be getting some things right. One thing you can’t take away from him is his composure in the face of all the panic. I admire that. In this time of despair, the man still manages to smile through the storms. We need that sort of inspirational leadership right now. The president is beset on all sides by retrogressive forces. We must criticise him by all means but please, let’s give the guy a break. And when he is getting some things right, he must be told so. He is human after all.