Pius Adesanmi: Ten Notes On Respecting Nigerians After A Bomb Blast

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1) I was waiting to read reports of the blasts in Adamawa and Maiduguri from proper sources before going public – lest the news be the latest pastries from the resourceful ovens of Scannews, Trentonline, Pointblank News and other rags from the Ministry of Sore Loserhood.

2) Credible news outlets have now reported another festival of blasts and blood in the usual places. Condolences to the affected; condolences to the nation.

3) Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu: tweet responsibly. Pleased be advised that every Nigerian has the right to react to another tragic episode in our lives. They have every right to demand answers from their President. They have every right to expect comfort and reassurance from him. Some will react out of genuine and patriotic concern for Nigeria.

4) Some will react out of base instincts fed by hate, pettiness, and sore loserhood, totally divorced from any concern from Nigeria. They still have the right to the expression of such reactions and it is not in your place to try to outdo pettiness by displaying ignorance of the basic demands of your office. If you feel that some shades of reaction are so ignorant as to beggar belief, your job is clarification, not delegitimation of a citizen’s right to pillory your boss with hostile opinion.

5) If you or Lai Mohammed or even Oga patapata care to talk to us about these blasts, we don’t want to hear you from BBC or Al Jazeera. We don’t mind AIT. Just make it local. An apology that it happened yet again would be kinda cool. You may start by saying that you know that such statements are now routine but it must still be done. You could then let us in on specifics. What exactly are you doing to enhance the sort of intelligence gathering that could help us unravel these bomb plots before they reach execution? What, for instance, is on the to-do list of the President and anybody involved in securing the life of the Nigerian citizen in the next two weeks? What are the strategy meetings? What are the directives he is giving and to who?

6) We do not expect a miracle. We do not expect you to end these blasts with a magic wand but there must be a methodical, actionable roadmap whose details are open to public scrutiny and engagement. It is on the basis of such respect for us that you can carry us along and solicit our help and cooperation. Intelligence gathering is easier from a public that you respect, a public that understands what you are doing and is carried along via regular communication.

7) We already know that Dasuki’s heist has a remote impact on your ability to secure our lives. Do not rush out with a tiresome line about how he is directly responsible for today’s blasts or how those who died today paid for the sins of Goodluck Jonathan. Your responsibility, from day one, was to imagine that you were going to work from scratch and with nothing. Your working assumption was securing the life of the Nigerian in an ethnically and religiously polarized national context and with zero funds. That we are divided and that Dasuki stole funds does not minimize or mitigate your immediate responsibility to make sure that the citizen wakes up tomorrow with his life and intact. Remember where the buck now stops and stop passing it please.

8) To the Nigerian Army, we will discuss these blasts to our heart’s content. Spare us the psychological humiliation of issuing those public warnings about what you would do if we discuss these things in ways you do not like. Consider yourselves lucky that you are operating in a context of insurmountable civic illiteracy where most of the citizens do not know that you do not even have the right to be doing the things you do. Somebody in your ranks will just wake up and issue threats and directives to the public, dictating how to discuss and what to discuss about security. You are lucky that you are dealing with a public that does not even know that the regularity with which your jackboots are seen in civilian spaces is an abnormality.

9) On top of your jackboots violating those civilian spaces, you will be issuing directives to the public “upandan” (Olufunke Phillips, 2014).

10) I don’t blame you. I blame your C-in-C.



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