My piece today contains a “classified ad.” Nigerians are looking for a certain kind of person – someone to do an important job for them. Do you have the qualifications for the position?
“Wanted: Someone with a heart loyal to Nigerians. No age limit. Experience not necessary. Educational background immaterial. Physical limitations no problem. Open to anyone, regardless of race, color, sex, or national origin. Equal opportunity employer. No mandatory retirement age.”
Everything about President Goodluck Jonathan is divided: from his counselors to his country to his heart attitude toward Nigerians especially victims of Boko Haram bombings. If Boko Haram leaders were to cast the headline on the second Nyanya bomb blast, it might have read: “Boko Haram Takes Over Reins of Government.”
For the second time in two weeks, Boko Haram has turned Nyanya to the valley of unquenchable fire by killing nine Nigerians as at the time of writing. Nyanya in the hands of Boko Haram terrorists has now become a city dump with perpetual bomb fires of which it has become a symbol for hell.
April 14, Boko Haram blast in Nyanya killed more than 70 people and injured 120.
The spiral is clearly downward, and time is running out for President Jonathan and Nigeria. Indeed, Mr. Jonathan inherits a nation that is spiritually cold, militarily weak, and politically disorganized.
And brutal Boko Haram forces threaten Nigeria’s very existence. What should Mr. Jonathan do first: reorganize his security forces or rearm his intelligence apparatus? Foolishly, he chooses dancing at a fundraiser and make his 2015 reelection campaign his administration’s top priority.
When the Boko Haramists come, Mr. Jonathan handles the danger as he has handled so many decisions before: lackadaisical and wimpy. And so his administration limps on forever to meet force with force with the Boko Haram.
There are two parts to any military conquest: the initial assault, and the “mopping up” operation that deals with any lingering resistance. Keeping that in mind, consider this principle that holds true both in military and political realms: pockets of resistance, if left unchallenged, can lead to rebellion.
Dealing with those pockets is not optional; it is essential if complete victory is to be achieved. Mr. Jonathan has failed in both the initial assault and the “mopping up” operation of the Boko Haram terrorists.
In fighting terrorism, there should be no room for compromise or tolerance. This is one of the particular instances when tolerance cannot be tolerated. Mr. Jonathan has long court the friendship and the friendliness of the Haramists by asking for dialogue.
Once upon a time, his prioritized strategy to fight the insurgents was to offer them ice cream and marshmallows by promoting compromise and negotiation. Mr. Jonathan’s strategy was to form alliance with the Haramists to fight the Haramists. Events of recent and lately as of yesterday, proved that the Boko Haram insurgency is rougher than roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories.
What Mr. Jonathan and his counselors failed to understand is that when you partner or attempt to partner with terrorists, you are asking for trouble. And that’s what we’ve gotten now. Moral failure impacts every part of leadership.
A leader can delegate anything except responsibility. A leader cannot give it away. A leader can model it, can teach it, and can share it. Which is why President Harry Truman said the buck stops with the leader.
Responsibility is defined as “the ability to meet obligations; the act of being accountable; a duty of trust,” is one of the indispensable qualities of a leader. When Mr. Jonathan became president of Nigeria, he assumed a trust. Like any responsible leader, he was to lead the people, protect the people, and manage the resources of the nation. But Boko Haram is his greatest challenge to date to his leadership.
As determined as the Boko Haram is, and as hopeless as the security and safety of Nigerians seem, Mr. Jonathan could still provide us with a beautiful story of a human leader who did what was right. Today, he can resolve to take the following appropriate steps:
1. Though Mr. Jonathan is terrified, he can fight his fear and refuse to let the Boko Haram paralyze him. He can stay calm enough to think how to wipe out the killers of our people and the abductors of our children.
2. Today, Mr. Jonathan must bring some synergy to the problem by addressing the nation on the issue and what his plans are, and by not acting alone by bringing together the best of our best on how to fight the terrorists.
3. Mr. Jonathan must catch the vision by listening to the cries and voice of reason of our people to know what to do.
4. He must bow his head and buy the idea of the most effective way to dismantle the Haramists and embrace the steps he and the nation would take.
5. Right away, he must map out a plan by assembling the key players and instruct them on what to do.
Some leaders assumed positions of power out of love and sense of mission. Others seek leadership merely to gain power over others and to revel in a smug feeling of superiority. Normally it doesn’t take long to determine which sort of leader we’ve got. It took no time at all to decide in the case of Mr. Jonathan.
President Jonathan is an extreme example of a leader motivated not by love, but by power, prestige, and position. It never takes long to spot the difference.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters