By Michael John
September 11, the world remembered the tragedy of the bombing of the Twin Towers and the other dastardly attacks on America by al Qaeda. Of course you should remember where you were when you heard of the news of the bombing on September 11, 2012. Events like that freeze time. They leave such an impact on your mind that they are cast in stencil in your heart. It happened eleven years ago but it is still as fresh in my mind as a sour Banga soup.
I had a patient in the hospital and had just returned to a relative’s place when I caught television footage of a commercial plane flying right into a building. Not sure I was seeing right (given the fact that I was tired and hungry and had stayed awake all night), I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and wondered whether this was some kind of horror channel. Down the screen, I saw the legend, “CNN.” I swore at the damned pilot, for being damned fool enough to fly his plane into a building. It was after a little while that I discovered that the plane hit the building on purpose – piloted by terrorists.
The CNN had a hard time trying to keep pace with the carnage as other planes thundered into buildings and more destruction took place. At a point the CNN reporter could not handle the situation anymore, she broke down and wept as she voiced her report. It was one of the most gripping, shocking and heart-rending things ever seen on television.
President George Bush, who was the president of America at the time, was not an exactly bright kind of guy.
However, in the aftermath of September 11, George came out of the “Bush” charging and proved his cynics wrong. He spoke with such indignation that he gave hope to Americans. He said that America will either bring them to justice or she will take justice to them. It was a compelling speech dripping with steely determination and ice-cold anger. You could see the anger in every contour and wrinkle in his face. You could perceive it in his brow and in his eyes.
Like every bad thing (HIV, armed robberies, meat pies, candies etc), which starts abroad, suicide bombing has arrived our shores. When the bombings occur in Nigeria, President Goodluck Jonathan will speak – at times. Jonathan is a good orator. Whether he is addressing a gathering of the Red Cross Society of Nigeria, or addressing a convocation of the University of Ife or addressing the nation after a suicide bomb blast had killed a hundred Nigerians, he speaks in the same tone.
There, the fine gentleman would stand and put on his glasses. Then he would “condemn the attack in the strongest terms” and ask Nigerians to join in condemning the attack. My wife would lift up her hand in the comfort of our bedroom and say, “I join!!!” The only emotion will be that he would blink at times but not because of anger but rather to adjust his eyes to the camera lights. He would go on and if you are awake when he finishes the address, you may end up pitying him more than the victims and their families. You will pity him because he is too good a man for some young upstarts to keep raising his blood pressure and not allow the man to have some sleep and rest in perfect peace in Abuja.
You see, the point is that President Goodluck Jonathan is not George Bush. He has simply been a lucky man and such men do not get angry easily. His spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, is doing a good job of getting angry for the man in his press releases and articles. He is playing the role of Reuben in the Bible…Reuben was the guy who tried to save Joseph from being killed or sold into slavery. This Reuben is doing a nice job of ensuring that Nigerians do not do any harm to Mr President. In fact he even let out that the Federal Government was dialoguing with Boko Haram to end the spate of bombings.
Nothing wrong with dialoguing with Boko Haram because President Jonathan never said he would not dialogue with them. He simply confined himself to “condemning them in the strongest terms…”
Hear George Bush after the September 11 attacks, “The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbour them.”
Now compare this with President Jonathan after the Christmas bombing: “The bombing of innocent citizens on a day millions of people all over the world are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, is a dastardly act that must attract the rebuke of all peace-loving Nigerians. These acts of violence against innocent citizens are an unwarranted affront on our collective safety and freedom. Nigerians must stand as one to condemn them.”
What exactly did President Jonathan tell us? We should all join the condemnation party…
By Michael John