It is no doubt that Nigeria suffered another major blow on that black Friday, which incidentally was her fiftieth birthday. A day to most nations, of honor and glory for surviving nationhood at 50. But unfortunately for us, it was a day marked for horror by evil. At the apogee of the jubilee celebration, Nigeria was bombed; A major part of the central area, some few meters from the Eagle square Jubilee ground, a twin bomb was detonated killing 12 and injuring many in an unprecedented style. As the case may be, the numbers of both dead and injured has become controvertible.
But I will subscribe to Jonathanâ€™s position and records that, as at, Sunday, 3rd of October, only 12 persons had died so far from the bomb blast that occurred, Friday 1st,October,2010, at the peak of Nigeriaâ€™s golden jubilee celebration at the eagle square in Abuja. The act is condemnable in all ramification. It is also a heinous way of visiting brigandage on the Abuja residents.
Any body could have been caught in the blasts including those who are trying to make a mole out of an ant hill with unfortunate but callous hit.
My acceptance of the presidential figure is principally because, as Chief Security Officer of the nation, he was better positioned to have more information on the matter than any other Nigerian.
His figures for now indicate 12 deaths as against the outrageous number of casualties fed to Nigerians by the various media since 1st of October when the sad event occurred.
But ,however, not until Sunday when president Good luck Jonathan put the numbers emphatically at â€œ12 so farâ€, there has being unconfirmed and staggered figures of the actual casualties of the Golden Jubilee bombing.
Some accounts have it as 16 and 14 with about 66 and 50 injured respectively while others still limited themselves to 7 and 8. Which ever figures so far bandied, the question that will for long remain in our lips is, who killed the Abuja 12?
But Sadly though, President Jonathan had while making a brief comment at the Sundayâ€™s inter-denominational church service to mark the golden Jubilee anniversary, at the Christian Centre, in Abuja, noted, that it was the handiwork of the devil and the enemies. He stated rather unfortunately â€œ that the enemy of progress will work relentlessly, even at the day of celebration to attempt to humiliate the nationâ€.
Therefore, if we shift from figure emphasis and peep into the intrigues and row generated from the bombings ,we will see much of political coloration of the sad occasion yet it is only patriotic for us to pray for the repose of the soul of the Abuja 12. May their Soul Rest in the Bossom of the Lord, Amen.
Dateline; Abuja- Nigeriaâ€™s Golden Jubilee Celebration,3 Arms Zone, Eagle Square; Almost few moments to the end of the epic celebration, Suddenly, a Bang! Then Pandemonium; Abuja has been bombed; The Nation is thrown into Mourning. Nigerians are in a wild frenzy over the sordid anniversary gift; Then they weep, especially for relatives of the cityâ€™s residents, whether their loved ones had become victims of the dastardly act . Online reports monitored shortly from the Net, quotes, Emma Ojukwu, Force Public Relations Officer, stating that â€œ7 persons died with others injuredâ€ after frantic efforts by both security agencies and other government rescue operators to bring the situation to normal.
The brief account perhaps give a graphic representation of what the scenario may have been on that black Friday: An abominable, condemnable and dastardly act. Figures , as to the numbers of the dead and injured is only not the concern. What really is critical and sad for us as a country is the motive. What is really amiss â€œwith a great country and its good peopleâ€ such that we ask such fundamental question and issue, like Why Bomb innocent Nigerians Now?
What ever the actual casualties whether 16 persons killed and 66 injured, according to unconfirmed reports culled from some of the nations tabloid, or my strait limitation to the Jonathanâ€™s arithmetic of â€œ12 so farâ€, what however, is important and pathetic for me and many Nigerians in this moment of grief in our political history is the innocent souls that paid the supreme price for no fault or offence of theirs.
In Abuja, a forth night ago, activities preceding and as well heralding the golden jubilee celebration was quite exciting for every body including the bomb victims. As patriotic country men and women , majority of the bomb victims may have been among few enthusiastic Nigerians who partook in the golden jubilee celebration at the eagle square on that day or those in the category of celebrants hoping to conclude the jubilee in a picnic – like atmosphere at the Millennium Park, few meters away from the scene of the blast where they were eventually killed. If that is their case therefore, they died as heroes at that great moment for this country and deserved posthumous honors as National Heroes. Great Country! Good People!.Or Great People! Bad Country? You may say.
Moments after ,the world reacted swiftly. The Nigerian president too. Other heads of government of sister nations as well as prominent groups both local and international also condemned the bombings. Dr Good luck Jonathan described the explosions as a dastardly act by those who do not wish Nigeria well.
â€Coming at a time that the world had gathered together to celebrate Nigeria at 50, these bomb attacks are the worst anniversary gifts any nation can get, he had noted, adding that the purpose of the bombers was to ensure that the celebration at the eagle square was cancelled by all means.
The Government of the United States and the UN Secretary General ,Ban Kinmon, who also lend their voices in the fray, all condemned the bomb attack.
For the US, through its Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs in New York, Philip Cowley, the bombings attempted to mar Nigeriaâ€™s golden jubilee, they said, pointing that it was unfortunate that there remained those who would resort to violence at this critical time the country casts its eyes forward to new elections and reaffirmation of democratic values.
Un scribe, Kinmon said the attack was particularly sad coming on the day on which Nigerians were celebrating the 50th anniversary of its independence . He expressed support for president Jonathanâ€™s efforts to consolidate the significant gains made in promoting democratic governance and improving the welfare of all Nigerians .He also condoled the Government and families of the bereaved.
Interestingly, however, of the lots of commentaries over Fridayâ€™s unfortunate killings by international blocs and political heavyweights , are two critical statements credited to former anti corruption Czar and ACN presidential flag bearer, Nuhu Ribadu and the US which pointedly informed this discussions.
Said the US,â€ it is unfortunate that there remained those who would resort to violence at this critical time the country casts its eyes forward to new elections and reaffirmation of democratic valuesâ€ while Ribadu is at loss over aggrieved Nigerians will resort to such ignoble act of bombing innocent citizens instead of seeking dialogue to settle political or personal scores. Hear his admonition; â€œRibadu urged aggrieved Nigerians to seek dialogue rather than violenceâ€, expressing dismay, nonetheless over the harmless Nigerians who didnâ€™t have linkages with the grievances but were victims.
Expectedly, we sure bet that after the Fridayâ€™s misnomer, the country will witness a round of negative political mudslingings while the bereaved families will be left helplessly to bury their dead. Needless, we also fan tom that there will be arrests of a higher altitude, like it is also not amazing that the political coloration and dimension the ill fated Friday misfortune has tilted.
Blames and counter blames, again mudslinging and names calling. Not surprising to discerning political minds, is the first salvo thrown by the IBBâ€™s camp to Jonathan for absolving MEND of complicity in the bombings. My name sake and spokes man for the campaign organization, Kassim Afebgua, I had recalled, accused Jonathanâ€™s government of lack of coordination and insensitivity to the break down in the security of the nation.
He said and I quote â€œ it was wrong of Jonathan to have absolved MEND of complicity in the explosions, instead of a passing glance. The position of the FG on the very bombing on Golden Jubille celebration did not only expose a break down in the security of the nation but also exposes the lack of coordination of the Jonathan led governmentâ€
In their response, the presidentâ€™s camp, lashed at the former military leader for playing politics with the blasts and blood of the innocent Nigerians as they exonerated president Jonathan from making comments absolving any group.
According to Jonathanâ€™s campaign organization, â€œ those trying to make political mileage from this sad event can only be provenance of people whose staple is the violation of the lives and property of Nigerians. Continuing, the group said they were â€œ shocked that IBB would use the blood of the victims of the bomb blast to advertise his credentials; â€œWe all know what the juryâ€™s verdict on these credentials are. And indeed, if security is the forte, the Nigerians who lost their lives during IBBâ€™s heinous reigns would be living todayâ€
These verbal warfare for me are not surprising as it is least expected that drowning and disgruntled politicians from a particular zone in the country would cap on such ill-fate on Nigerians to overheat the polity. Security challenges of the country predates the present government. From the post 1979 democratic era of Shehu Shagari till date, the insecurity of the Nigerian state had assumed frightening dimensions with the worst and novelty in hi-tech crimes being perpetuated during the reign of Ibrahim Babangida. Historically, it was in his times as head of state that Dele Giwa was bombed via a parcel, a novelty or scientific marvel or ingenuity which till the end of time cannot be unraveled.
Before May 6th,which incidentally Jonathan took over as president, he had inherited from his late boss and pasts presidents and heads of state, an overhang or arrears of insecurity and high hydra security challenges which the administration has carefully commenced their resolutions by among other considerations, removing some security chiefs and purchase of modern day weapons and flashy automobiles for the police nationwide to boost crime busting and prevention .
But for Bombings which have assumed a worrisome dimension in criminality in the country right now, we cannot say it is part of our daily criminality index. Though it assuming an emerging trend in bringandage, bombings as a security issue, is not alien to the security lapses of past and present leadership and in the country, except that its solutions are vigorously pursued by the Jonathanâ€™s administration before the ill fated Friday blast.
Unlike the previous ones which are targeted at perceived enemies and opposition to the military overlords, last Fridayâ€™s unfortunate blast was left loose at the detriment of the would- be victims. In this case, two fundamental questions require analytical appraisals. One, was the bomb detonated in Abuja just to kill innocent Nigerians and list the nations capital as an unsafe place to live in or to discredit the rising profile of president Good luck Jonathan against the arrears of mounting security challenges he inherited, or to impress over the grievances by a section of the country who are still vexed by what they described as the unresolved zoning controversy of the PDP.
Between 1979 and the 1983 tenure of Aliyu Shehu Shagari, NITEL was ignited. And till date the faceless hoodlums are still at large. Like Shagari, other Nigerian presidents after him faced severe security challenges which is why the meaningless political coloration given by Adamu Ciroma and his group over last Fridayâ€™s Abuja mishap is uncalled for and unnecessary.
Or how do we Nigerians explain the laughable and very touchy scenario of a former military leader who on his own planted bombs across the country in order to create fears on Nigerians that the country was unsafe and that it was he alone as the military ruler that could solve the security problems at that time, and not a civilian government that was being awaited by Nigerians and the international community.
Of note, the fact that it was the military leader that planted bombs that almost killed one of his military administrators, while a journalists, Bagaudu Kalto was not too lucky as he was felled by one of the blast in a famous hotel in the North.
Or is the bombings which was previously a way of life in the Niger delta region or the one put in a parcel that killed Dele Giwa still not part of our security history that demands sustainable solutions?. These are the issues expected of quality past leaders instead of apportioning political blames.
However, the Friday scenario or type which is a new act to criminality that takes the shape of terrorism in scope and nature may be described as an inhuman action which we plead the seriousness of the security agencies never to let happen again lest, like any other security flash, be addressed considerably by the present administration.
Inflamed by this anomaly, is Nuhu Ribaduâ€™s warning that the â€œ issue of security is a challenge, law enforcement must take the responsibilities to do what is right. Government he noted, must take the issue of security as a priority and give adequate protection to the people. If you cannot protect the people, then you have no reason of being in governmentâ€, he had said recently.
Like Ribadu ,a presidential flag bearer whose comments on the blast speaks of him as a patriot and a responsible Nigerian citizen, the Senate and Benue Governor, Gabriel Suswam have also risen to the occasion condemning the northern leaders attack on Jonathan and their call that he be impeached or resign.
This attitude of the Senate and Benue Governor, Suswam are test cases of patriotism and a pointer to the Babangidaâ€™s northern cohorts to learn how to love their country especially, as Nigeria is more than them. Wednesdayâ€™s senate plenary condemned such inflammatory statements. Its resolutions flayed the northern leaders and their unfortunate comments following which they urged the federal government to arrest and prosecute those behind the dastardly act and improve on the security state of the nation.
Informed by this act of unpatrotism, Gov. Suswam to the G15, â€œDonâ€™t return Nigeria to Ground Zero, he warned, cautioning that the former finance minister and his group are all out to create confusion.
Regrettably ,the verbal cross fire may be on for some time until may be another intriguing challenge crops up or befalls the country, but for now, I submit that all of this verbal warfare, including Mohammed Harunaâ€™ back page commentary on Wednesday â€˜NATION NPSâ€™, describing Jonathan as a dangerous president, are the shenanigans as well as the mudslingingâ€™s not unconnected with president Jonathanâ€™s recent declaration of his presidential ambition to run under the PDP platform in next years general elections and his eloquent analysis of the PDP zoning controversy which had being settled by its NEC and which still anger the northern elites of Harunaâ€™s character.
Their idiotic actions, (G15) if I must subscribe to IBBâ€™s â€œidioticâ€ word, is their clandestine and subversive moves to undo Jonathanâ€™s bid with the recent plot to institute through their representatives in the National Assembly, an unnecessary impeachment process against the president. What their anger is, Nigerians are in the know, is Jonathanâ€™s insistence to run for the 2011 presidency, and not the unfortunate twin bombing they have politicized and which is also an inherited age long security challenge, Babaginda and his co travelers could not solve during their tenures. Do a retrospect of the countryâ€™s security profile, much of the abuses and lapses were recorded in IBBâ€™s time more than any other Nigerian leader.
However, it is also not premature at this juncture to concede to Mohammed Haruna and the G15 who say they champion the Northern cause, that the waiver given the president to run, is the PDP, NEC disposition and not that of Jonathan .More so the president is neither a member of NEC nor an officer in the national working committee of the party, where most of the decisions which allowed him to conclude the tenure of his late boss Umaru Musa Yaradua were taken.
But one reality those already crying fowl of the Jonathanâ€™s bid are mistaken, is that, even the primaries of the party which is a litmus test for all the aspirants under PDP has not been conducted, talk less of the elections proper which has also not been conducted for Nigerians to decide whether they will vote for the PDP whose maladministration they are fed up over the years or whether they will stick their necks for a more credible candidate from the among the other parties, like Buhariâ€™s CPC and the Ribaduâ€™s ACN, etc.