Thursday, January 17, 2013

Charity Begins

In Mali, away from home, if you were to ask President Jonathan Goodluck. Here, check this out:

ENUGU-Chief of Air Staff Air Marshal Alex Barde, said the Nigerian Air Force will commence deployment of Nigeria war planes to check the activities of jihad fighters in Mali on Thursday morning.

Barde who paid his maiden visit to Enugu Air Force Unit, Wednesday, said the action was in compliance to President Jonathan’s directive that military contingent be sent to assist the country to contain the jihad fighters in Mali.

Said he; “As I speak to you now our air planes have arrived in Port-Harcourt; in-fact I’m on my way to Rivers State now and tomorrow morning we are beginning our deployment to Mali and that’s what I am going to witness.

“I am going there to bid them a sort of farewell and go-and-fight-well greetings as they depart.

“We expect them to do what Mr. President directed that we do; he has directed that we should go and assist Mali in repelling the jihad fighters there because you know that if they finish with Mali the next thing will be to come to Nigeria.

“So we are going there to fight them and also protect our borders.

It is usually baffling to me the way Nigerian governments seem to want to swagger and show off to other countries when the pathetic fact is that they cannot meet their responsibilities to Nigerians at home. I call it a special case of charity beginning from the street before it gets to the home. In brazen shamelessness, Jonathan Goodluck is currently sending away about 1200 Nigerian troops to Mali to go to fight and contain the jihad fighters threatening to destabilize the peace. Ordinarily, this may look like a powerful and symbolic action for peace on the West African subcontinent. It might even suggest something statesman-like about the president, so why would anyone oppose such an action?

Well, the painful fact is that if there is any government in the West African region that desperately needs to worry about containing the meddlesome and destructive actions of Islamic insurgency it is precisely the Nigerian government headed by Jonathan Goodluck. Time and again, we have read with sadness in our hearts how the Nigerian government has been overwhelmed by the carnage and bloodshed visited upon innocent citizens by the mercenaries working for Boko Haram. Openly defiant—daring the government to do their worst—these Boko Haram actors have continued to visit mayhem on unsuspecting Nigerians with mindless impunity.

So you would expect that Jonathan would throw the strength and resources of the military, paramilitary and the police into fishing out, isolating and destroying these terrorists, right? After all, if he could muster the strength and the willingness to send Nigerian troops to go and fight for the peace and stability of Mali, it can only mean that he has mastered or excelled at the art of using Nigeria’s supposedly superior military tactical force in quelling or repelling the guerrilla antics of some home-based Islamic radicals/extremists—is that not a fair assumption? Of course it is. The surprising answer is that this is sadly not the case at all.

As often as another wave of religiously inspired Islamic fundamentalism manifests itself in the form of wanton destruction of lives and property, our swaggering president would be nowhere to be found. Days later, depending on the severity of the carnage, we may be treated to some tepid response consisting of mealy-mouthed promises of action which are promptly forgotten after they are made. And so, like mafia kingpins, the reign of homegrown terrorism continues, without any overwhelming show of government opposition. Every now and then, a few dispensable nonentities are caught and paraded by the police and the media houses as masterminds of terror—perhaps to impress upon the gullible public the idea that the authorities are leaving no stones unturned in their efforts to stem the tide of terror.

So there you have it: Charity, as far as our president is concerned, begins abroad. His record at home when it comes to tackling jihad fighters is abysmal, but he has absolutely no scruples about sending Nigerian soldiers to other countries to wage war against local apostles of terror.

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