It is sometimes ironic to label Nigeria “Africa’s giant”. Despite being the most populous country in Africa and laying fresh claim to being Africa’s largest economy, the reality makes these statistics seemingly useless.
Under incumbent President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Nigeria has battled corruption as well as insecurity; the latter seeming out of control for the past year.
The fundamentalist group Boko Haram ran roughshod over Nigeria’s territory, with Borno, Adamawa and Yobe being the hardest hit regions. Despite a state of emergency as well as the deployment of more soldiers, insecurity continued to worsen.
There are claims that Boko Haram killed well over 10,000 people in 2014 alone. If the people are frustrated with the government of the day, perhaps they have good reason. The government has always blamed its woes on political detractors as well as the opposition.
The narrative was constantly that of a good natured President whom the odds were stacked against; he was in a war against “cabals”. At the height of insecurity, the Presidency tried to pass off the abduction of the Chibok girls as a hoax.
In a recent and exciting turn of events, the Nigerian Army has finally made headway in defending as well as recovering lost ground. It makes it altogether curious that it is at this time, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan finally decided to take some share of the blame.
In an interview with ThisDay newspaper, he admitted he underestimated the militant group; “Probably at the beginning, we, and I mean myself and the team, we underrated the capacity of Boko Haram”.
Although it beggars and boggles the mind as to why the government’s response came as late as this- in a six week period where the Army forced INEC’s hand and literally dared INEC to go ahead with the elections.
It is altogether impossible to decide if the recent upturn in security fortunes in the North East will earn the incumbent some political capital in what is shaping up to be the sternest test of his political credentials.