The unending Jonathan-govs feud

In Nigeria, governance, policy making and politics are one and the same. While President Goodluck Jonathan and some governors are engaged in partisan politics and constantly bickering, the business of providing good governance and infrastructural developments is suffering.  Their idea of dividends of democracy comes in form of increased poverty, terror attacks and lack of protection for the citizens, who are more vulnerable today than ever.

The latest in the war of words between the PDP and APC—because it is pure rivalry between the two main parties—are the salvos being thrown at each other by Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa state and the president. Governor Nyako had intimated he would take a legal action on the president for ethnic cleansing, and for not doing enough to stop insurgency in the North. The president through his special adviser on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe replied with equal measure when he accused the governor of being a known sponsor of Boko Haram. Okupe also said that Nyako was reported to have imported mercenary Fulanis from outside the country to exacerbate the clashes around the country.

Now these are serious accusations and counter-accusations that bother on national security and the first citizen is trading words over it. Surely, both of them have questions to answer; if not now, sometime in the future and if not here in Nigeria, somewhere at the Hague at the International Criminal Court. But to be sure, the Jonathan/Nyako face-off is only one of such unpresidential actions of Mr president. Last week, it was the President and Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state. Again that quarrel had some corruption and illegal dints to it.  The president said Kwankwaso embezzled the money he sent to Kano for (to rig?) the 2011 election. The governor also alluded to the president’s corrupt tendencies. Yet there is a law against campaign expenditures, while ICPC and EFCC do not appear to show interest in the revelations about embezzlement and corruptions. Again, these two have questions to answer.

Not too long ago, the president was at daggers drawn with Governor Sule Lamido over the latter’s membership of the G-5 governors which later dissolved into APC. The verbal war stopped when the governor eventually did not follow his colleagues to the APC. This time it was all politics and not good governance. The president on national television visibly expressed his anger over Borno governor, Kashim Shettima’s comment that Boko Haram seemed better armed thatn the JTF. The quarrel did not endure because the peace-loving governor did not talk back.

The president started his altercation with the then governor of his home state of Bayelsa, Timipriye Sylva, because of the president’s avowal to replace him. Despite pleas from well-meaning Nigerians to allow a free democratic process and reason to prevail, the president did not relent until Syla was out of office. The battle then shifted to nearby Rivers state. The president engaged in a proxy war with the governor whereas the battle is seen to be between Governor Rotimi Amaechi and minister of education, Nyesom Wike, himself was fighting the first lady’s war. In actual fact, the first lady wanted to extend her ‘sphere of influence’ beyond Abuja and Bayelsa to Rivers state… her home state. Again that was a needless wrangle that served no useful purpose. This is one president that has devoted more energy to politics than beneficial policies. It is preposterous that instead of competing to outwit one another in performance index, our leaders are brawling dirty reminiscent of gangster war.

Politicians should, therefore, understand that, when they fight, as they will always do because they are human beings, and things go awry, they should not blame someone else because to do that is politics. They engage in blame game to gain cheap political advantage. Between now and 2015, the bickering and blame game will intensify. It is up to the electorate to be circumspect of such tactics that will ultimately not serve anyone’s interest. But these slipshod errors cast a gloomy shadow over the Jonathan presidency in particular; it is unprecedented. Even if the president does not try to be above   board, he should be more cautious. You can’t open war on all fronts and expect to win all. Ask the generals who had been to the battle field.

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