President Goodluck Jonathan’s one-day visit to Burkina Faso was severely criticised on Wednesday by Nigerians who felt it was misplaced and illogical.
The President, in company with a few other African leaders, had gone to settle the political crisis rocking the West African nation. But many Nigerians kicked against the trip, arguing that he should have put an end to the ongoing carnage in the Northeastern states before accepting to mediate in another country’s domestic problem.
Although the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Dr. Reuben Abati, had earlier explained that Jonathan’s mission to Burkina Faso was imperative, having been nominated by the Economic Community of West African States, his words seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
The outrage became louder when Abati posted on Twitter, pictures of the President’s visit and interactive session with Burkina Faso’s interim Head of State, Lt.-Col. Isaac Zida.
Reacting to the visit, an online commentator, Esther Akin-Martins, lambasted Jonathan for failing to set his priorities right.
Akin-Martins said it was illogical for Jonathan to meddle in the affairs of another nation instead of quenching the fire burning in his home.
“His house is burning, yet he is mediating in another country’s political turmoil. He has failed to even step his feet on Chibok but he believes that the best thing he could do at this critical time is to poke-nose in Burkina Faso’s crisis,” she said, in a statement posted on Twitter.
Also, Abuja-based Eric Mallim urged the President to stop pulling a deceptive front by acting as if all was well at home, despite the fact that things were getting worse.
Mallim challenged Jonathan on Twitter to prove to right thinking Nigerians that his decision to travel to Ouagadougou is a brilliant one.
He argued that the continued killings on daily basis in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa and Gombe states must not be viewed by the President as mere setbacks in the ongoing war against terrorism.
“Your house is on fire but you chose to abandon it in order to help put out the smoke in your neighbours’ house, while your children perish. Is that a brilliant move?” Mallim asked.
In his reaction, online activist, Sada Abubakar, described Jonathan’s action as insensitive, inhuman and incompetent, while urging him to remove the speck in his eyes before attempting to remove the log in someone else’s.
“Boko Haram is ravaging a whole geo-political zone in the country and our President doesn’t give a damn,” he tweeted.
But, dismissing the outbursts, the Presidency said the business of governance and international relations should not come to a halt just because of the activities of insurgents.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, argued that only 16 out of 774 local government areas were currently affected by the insurgency.
Noting that the figure, by his calculation, amounted to only 0.02 per cent of the country’s territorial space, Okupe asked the President’s critics if anyone of them had refused to eat breakfast because of the insurgency ravaging the north east.
“Terrorists will not dictate to us how to run our lives. Have the pretenders criticising Jonathan not had breakfast in view of the insurgency? Life and government activities must go on in spite of terror. We shall remain unbowed. No matter what, we shall win in Jesus name. Evil will never triumph in our land,” Okupe argued on Twitter.
Insisting that the present government was not prepared for the insurgency, he said that President Jonathan was trying everything within his power to contain the menace posed by Boko Haram.
Okupe went on to place a ‘curse’ on those he claimed were accusing Jonathan of not showing enough commitment to the prosecution of the current war against terrorism in the country.
“How can you prepare for a war of this scale before you enter government? Are you people for real? Now all that is happening is about crass opportunism. Sometimes it appears that many of you defenders of the opposition suffer from ‘cerebral arrest.’
“If you say the government is not fighting at all, may the God of the widows and fatherless children of our fallen heroes judge you,” he wrote on his Twitter page.