"Just 100 days?" that is what should be the question that most Nigerians would be asking. For the doubting Thomas in our midst, the calendar would suffer a longer-than-usual stare to confirm the report of Nigerian Tribune and other media houses that President Goodluck Jonathan and other political office holders that took the oath of office on May 29 2011 are now hundred days old in office. Who won't be surprised at the phenomenal success of the current administration? Ordinarily, President Jonathan couldn't have achieved that much in just 100 days. It's simply unbelievable.
Never in the history of Nigeria has the major definition of the nation been associated with great trepidation. In not-so-distant-past, one would have thought that Nigeria is the safest place to live especially if you don't have foreign accounts, ride flashy cars and lead expensive lifestyle that could warrant regular visits by thieves and kidnappers. Then, even though it was just a selected lucky few that had access to the closely guarded national wealth, the dividend of democracy that went round was the fact that you could only hear of terrorism on CNN, Al Jazeera and other foreign media networks; even Nollywood actors, then, could not convincingly interpret scripts on suicide bombing perfectly because it was foreign, strange and unbelievable.
Abdul-Mutallab used to be the typical prospective Nigerian suicide bomber. When the news went round that a Nigerian suicide bomber couldn't detonate his bomb on-board an America-bound aircraft, people laughed knowing that even Nigerians with suicidal intentions love this life so much that they don't want to die ÔÇô at least not yet. But with Goodluck Jonathan's hundred days in offices, Nigeria has recorded its first suicide bombing followed by several successful suicide attempts which were successfully carried out at unbelievable places like the Nigerian Police headquarters and United Nations secretariat, both in Abuja. At the peak of the bombing season, bombs were going off on a daily basis in Borno and frequently elsewhere.
After just hundred days in office, President Jonathan, evidently, cannot boast of an overwhelming vote of coincidence. One of the major reasons for the widespread dissatisfaction with the president's performance at keeping the nation safe is the way he handles bomb explosions and other national implosions. An angry online reader described the president's response to bomb explosions thus: "They bomb, he talks. They bomb again, he talks againÔÇŽ When will he stop talking and start acting?'' Even the president's acts so far have been incomparable to the enormous crises at hand.
After bomb blasts, the president or Dr Reuben Abati commiserates with those affected and often promise that those responsible for the dastard acts would be brought to justice. But such promises are now vague considering the fact that either the wrong people are being dragged to the courts, utterances are not backed with active actions, or the security system has deteriorated to the point where there are just too many bombing forces to reckon with. The president has also miscalculated and misjudged severally.
His ill-advised decision to "dialogue" with, or give Boko Haram federal attention has been shown to be counterproductive. Despite several media outcries with hundreds of comments on his Facebook page, the president set up a Boko Haram team ÔÇô literally. But just days after the committee's work was over, the nation had another round of bomb explosions. Maybe banking on good luck, the presidency thought it could negotiate with terrorist organizations like Boko Haram and the vast terrifying Al Qaeda network whose only objective is to kill as many as possible.
London, Then Libya
The GEJ-led incumbent administration┬┤s inexperience transcends beyond security issues, it has also shown the need for something drastic to be done concerning this administration's foreign affairs ministry and indeed everyone that talks on behalf of the nation on international issues. When the English city of London witnessed what has become a way of life on some Nigerian streets, someone at our presidency became overambitious and in the process, the highly revered Scotland Yard, MI6 and other UK security outfits were ridiculed when Nigeria allegedly proposed to help the host city of the next Olympics with men (and women?) of the Nigerian Police to help combat the London riots. LWKMD. However, when the bomb went off at the premises of the police headquarters, it became clear that even with evident looting and riots, London has better security operatives; and no thanks to the-one-that-talks-too-much in Aso Rock, the joke bounced back on Nigeria. Our integrity was soiled.
The Nigerian government led by President Goodluck Jonathan also shot itself in the feet when it decided to pitch its tent with the rebels in Libya. The whole word was caught unawares when the talk-talk generals in Aso Rock announced the support of the federal republic of Nigeria for the rebels that sent Gaddafi packing.
Firstly, the rebels' action could be likened to a coup d'├ętat since a government was overthrown. As opposed to "the respect of the rule of law" that our president chants at every given opportunity, the dethronement process was a sheer insult on democratic governance that the giant of Africa ought to be promoting. Furthermore, those that made the decision on behalf of the nation didn't understudy other fellow African countries before going on international channels to castigate Gaddafi. South African president didn't talk, yet Nigerian president did what it's getting popular for ÔÇô talking way too much. Even the public support for Libyan rebels has been counterproductive for Nigerians living and working in Tripoli and other Libyan cities.
Since the rebels got control of the nation, no fewer than two hundred black Nigerians are currently in jail for allegedly being Gaddafi's spies. One would have expected the federal government to swing swiftly into action. But so far, it's been more talks, less actionÔÇŽ the trademark of GEJ administration.
In his hundred days in office, President Goodluck Jonathan's administration has launched two satellites, been part of the process that sent Justice Ayo Salami packing, been to White House, hosted many guests, been guest of many, sat down with D'Banj et al, took several family pictures and has been actively online via his Facebook account. He just got back from Sao Tome and Principe where Air Nigeria was presented. It is very clear that his itinerary is not a true reflection of what is happening in the country.
Many Nigerians were surprised at the swift way that the president approved the removal of Justice Salami. Many were asking "isn't this the same person that has been dragging his feet concerning the implementation of something he passed into law when literally begging for votes (minimum wage)?"
The last hundred days had shown that President Jonathan's priorities are not well aligned with what Nigerians want, need and deserve. It took Mr. President seven days to visit Ibadan when the city recorded its worst flood, but just few hours to effect the recommendations of a judiciary committee. It is getting clearer that though GEJ seems to fraternize with Obama, he has a lot in common with past Nigerian leaders that got distracted when they decided to publicly call themselves fools.
The Bright Side
On the bright side, the last hundred days have been void of "umblerra", "fellow widows", "are they showing us alive?" and other out-of-the-dictionary grammatical AK47s that are associated with the first lady. She has been quiet and we'll prefer her that way.
Hundred days are not up to the tithe of what the current administration has to spend hence it is too early to write off the incumbent administration. But for a serious administration that is focused and had hit the ground running immediately after assuming duty, hundred days should be enough to whet the appetite of the citizenry and prepare the basics that will give an idea of what to expect in days to come.
So far, we've realized that the president needs to get his priorities right, he should employ better advisers, and should be told that Nigerians deserve swifter actions in the right directions. He should also contact (or contract) President Obasanjo's efficient foreign affairs crew and should no longer hesitate to fire security chiefs that aren't ensuring the safety of every Nigerian. Mr. President should also stop his incessant assurances and vague promises of apprehending perpetrators after sending many into early widowhood. Mr. President, justice cannot reverse death.
Naira is weak. Power problem is strong. Unemployment is high. Education sector is nose-diving and the world's worst terrorists are here. GEJ has a fuller plate hence he shouldn't go about looking for more trouble by nursing the idea of removing fuel subsidies and dishonoring agreements he personally signed into law. He needs to speedily abandon his proposed six-year single term before pissing off more Boko Haram-related organizations.
If there is anything that the first hundred days of the incumbent administration has successfully made glaring enough for everyone to see, it's the fact that good or bad, luck is not enough for Nigeria.