I remember being on the second floor of the Melanby Hall in the prestigious Premier University, University of Ibadan on that fateful morning when the breaking news flashed on CNN and a friend of mine, Ahmed called out in a very loud voice “Bisi, come and see what’s going on in America”! I quickly rushed into the room and sat down in awe and couldn’t comprehend what was going on. The World Trade Centre and Pentagon was being brought down by the terrorist group named Al-Qaeda, I presume my readers already know am talking about September 11, 2001 attack on America on the American soil.
The point of my writing is not to describe the events that happened but to examine the actions of some of the world leaders whose countries or territories have been faced with various disasters of all sorts in the recent past. I shall be doing this with a view to address the issue of untimely and ineffective responses from our own Nigerian leaders. Therefore, this article will be addressing the lessons that can be learnt from other world leaders in the event of crisis and disaster management.
Back to my September 11 story, I can also vividly remember that the then President of the United State of America, George Bush Jnr., went on National Television to address the citizens of America and the world reassuring them of the government’s commitments to get to the root of the problems – terrorism confronting his country. I can also remember that he launched a man-hunt for the leader of the terrorist network, Osama Bin laden.
The stories and tales that followed the wars in Afghanistan and even Iraq is an issue for another day but worthy of note is that we all know that George Bush acted and was able to gain the confidence of his people on the crusade to hunt down the despicable terrorists. By the way Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is still in existence even after Osama Bin Laden was killed by another American President, Barrack Obama.
The government building in the Capital City of Norway, Oslo was bombed on July 22, 2011 by terrorists throwing the whole city into pandemonium. It was a rude shock for a country which no one would ordinarily have expected terrorism and related activities but it happened. However, the Prime Minister, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg quickly place a call to the National Television providing assurance that he and his cabinet members were save. Without wasting time he addressed his citizens and the world stating that his administration would make sure the perpetrators are brought to book. The man behind the bombing was arrested. How? I do not know but he was.
The way and manner the government of the United Kingdom handled the recent widespread riots in their country is another event that readily gives us exemplary leadership lessons. The riots started during the summer period when everyone is usually on holiday and vacations all over the world. David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Boris Johnson were no exceptions. However, in the wake of the disaster that was going on at home they left their respective holidays in order to cater for the citizenry. The number of arrests and prosecutions made are available to be verified. Again, the events that led to the riots in the first place are stories for another day. What is most important here is that leaders acted when they were needed.
I want also examine other events outside of bombings and riots that has brought some leaders to international limelight. The most prominent of those incidents that immediately come to mind is the Chile Rescue Operation of the trapped miners.
I personally admire the courage, zeal and enthusiasm of the Chilean President, Sebastin Pinera for the way and manner he and his team handled the rescue operation of the 33 miners that were trapped under the ground for over 70 days. Mr Pinera said he hoped people would now associate Chile with the mission to get the miners out, rather than its years of military rule. The President and people Chile used the opportunity of the disaster to correct the impression of the world about their country.
This is one event that I can never forget for the rest of my life not because the people were rescued but because of the synergy and momentum created by that singular event that commenced early hours of October 12, 2010. It was absolutely a magnificent, tightly and neatly controlled operation. There was team work because the goal was clear and purpose well communicated. I can vividly remember the jubilation and joyous singing of the country’s national anthem. I wept that day because I honestly couldn’t remember when last we sang the National Anthem in such a joyous mood in my dear sorry country Nigeria so also I can’t figure the next time that would happen but I’m in the belief that it will surely happen someday wherein men and women of Nigeria will stand shoulder to shoulder for jubilation.
Talking about Nigeria, I can remember at least in the last 365days there have been several bombings, killings and maiming all over the nation and I can’t seem to remember anyone that has been seriously prosecuted to a logical conclusion. What is the difference between our leaders and other leaders of the world? I am struggling to understand why our own government cannot or have decided not to arrest talk less prosecuting the perpetrators of these cowardly acts. It’s so shameful that on our 50th Anniversary in the presence of the world and other visiting leaders the venue of the ceremony was bombed. I personally lost a friend and so did many others who lost families and friends.
One would have expected that with the issue of insecurity and unimaginable bombing of Police Headquarters, the present administration would hunt down those evil doers but in a more audacious and even far ambitious move those terrorists struck again at the United Nation in Abuja leaving many dead and others with various degrees of different injuries. It’s so pathetic yet so annoying that Mr. President was nowhere to be found neither did we hear a word from him until over 5 hours after the event.
A comparison of four different heads of government including Nigeria whose country have been bombed makes me conclude that our President is very feeble. George Bush in 2001 said “this is an act of war against the United States, we will hunt you down, you can run but you cannot hide”. Even though he couldn’t get Osama his successor carried on from where he left off and Osama was killed eventually on May 1, 2011 in far away Pakistan almost ten years after the American attack. Tony Blair addressed the world after the London bombing of July 7, 2005 and these were some of his words: “…we will track you down and make you pay”. While Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, the Norwegian Prime Minister’s address on July 22, 2011 stated that “…we will use all the state resources to hunt down the perpetrators of these evil acts” our own very Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan eventually spoke and said “Nigeria is not an isolated case. Many countries have suffered from terrorists attacks; maybe it is the turn of Nigeria”
Mr. President, I am not particularly sure if you understand that you’re the commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You’re the supreme force here in Nigeria and so you should NOT allow anyone, whoever he or she is to hold you and the nation to ransom talk less of the faceless terrorist group called Boko Haram. It’s time Mr. President to take cue from your fellow leaders some of who I have mentioned above and start leading this country like you’re truly a leader. We CANNOT continue to be at whim and caprices of some retarded bigots.
Our society has now been turned into harbinger of terrorism where terrorists are being bred and churned out on a daily basis to unleash terror in our land and yet we spend so much money on security in the land with nothing to show for it. Mr. President the security of lives and properties in our country has gotten out of hand and we need a drastic action and significant force to abate the tide. If someone is out to make look incompetent and you have always and consistently played to the gallery I daresay the fellow is doing a good job. The security in the land is part of your primary assignments. In fact it should be topmost on your agenda! It’s high time you stamped your authority on issues that are bordering on national security else provident will judge you and the history you seem to have made may be eroded in no time.
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