They Don't Really Care About Us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
All I wanna say is that
They don't really care about us
– Michael Jackson
On June, 25th, the world will mark the third year anniversary of the death of the late great Michael Jackson. Three years ago when Michael Jackson died, the world witnessed a joint frenzy of grief unlike no other time. For those of us who absolutely adored Michael, our appreciation of his achievements in music and the legacy of his philanthropy shows no sign of waning.
Michael left behind music that still echoes in every corner of the globe. In his melodious body of work, Michael told the world stories of unity, understanding, patience and peace. As I write my annual tribute to the King of Pop, I can’t help but recall that final image of Michael dancing just hours before he passed away. As Michael and his dancers navigated in military-style movements, the stereo blasted; “(Doom, Doom, Doom Doom) All I wanna say is that they don't really care about us (Doom, Doom, Doom Doom) All I wanna say is that they don't really care about us).
Michael’s song, ‘They Don’t Really Care about Us’ conveys the undeserving injustice inflicted on people together with the strife suffered by the innocent, in a world that is often cruel and uncaring. Michael expressed his songs in a highly personal way. They were often about what was going on in his life from his perspective, but his messages were almost always about the bigger picture. In this song, Michael represented himself as everyone in society who has been on the receiving end of abandonment. The song was one of his biggest hits and an aggressive hip-hop production about social ills.
One would be hard pressed to find any other country in the world at present that has more social ills than Nigeria. From the barbaric suicide mass-murder of innocent people, to the counter-accusations of a most sensational bribery case, to the ineptitude and disorientation of the densest leader we have ever had, to an increasing surge of ethnic suspicion and incessant bigotry, Nigeria has definitely seen better days. But of all these issues, the one that has left Nigerians in a daze is the degree of violence targeted at innocent citizens while the government looks on nonchalantly.
It would probably be fair to say that the final act in the tragedy of what Nigeria is becoming is yet to be written. But enough of the story has already unfolded to conclude that the Jonathan administration is a catastrophe that has failed to deliver on their primary duty to protect the citizens of this country. Judging by the bewildered look on President Jonathan’s face every time he is confronted with a tragedy, one wonders if, before he took his oath of office, anyone took the time to explain to him that an integral part of his responsibility as the Head of State is to protect Nigerians, take accountability for the welfare of the country and stop any destabilization of authority.
After last weeks’ tragic mass murder of innocent Nigerians, it was a forlorn looking President we saw speak about his despair, telling us in a rather pathetic manner that Nigeria must now look for God’s intervention. It is really ridiculous that a national tragedy occurs in a nation Mr Jonathan governs and all he can offer to a people who are scared, lost, disunited and confused is basically…, next to nothing. Meanwhile, his administration is diligent in colluding with oil marketing ‘armed-robbers’ to plant secret recording devices and mark dollar bills in order to thwart a report likely to expose their bosom-buddies.
Since the violence started, the president has made several hollow pronouncements on the state of security. He has told us of far reaching conspiracies, of boogie-men in his government and given us dates for the total amelioration of Boko Haram. But regardless of what he has said, even he has to come to terms with and address the yawning gap that exists between his shallow oratory of peacekeeping challenges and his ‘will’ and capacity to meet that challenge. The president’s words of ‘never again’ and ‘by June, it shall be over’ are of no comfort or importance to anyone unless he can put an end to the violence or give us an understanding of our Security forces inability to respond decisively to the present threat in Nigeria.
Towards the end of 2011 Mr Jonathan announced that he knew who the sponsors of the Boko Haram offensive were and that some were in government. But till this day, we have not seen those people exposed and brought to full justice. Instead, the one man who the world has identified to have been instrumental in igniting the initial conflict with the original Boko Haram, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, appears to enjoy a sort of presidential protection from Mr Jonathan.
To understand and learn from the still unfolding tragedy, the president must go beyond his rhetoric and answer hard questions about why his administration has been unable to translate its security commitments into effective practice. He must accept that he has failed woefully in his position to protect and make provision for the welfare of the Nigerian citizenry. He must confront the fact that the careless and stubborn choices he has made regarding who runs our national security and how they run it has contributed in bringing this country to the brink of total chaos.
The buck stops with President Jonathan! He is the commander-in-chief of the Nigerian armed forces; he has authority over the military and law enforcement. He has a duty to use all necessary apparatus to bring an end to the offensive against Nigerians. The burden to find ways to deter the mass murder and act on early warning signs to protect civilians before the death toll becomes uncountable is his and his alone. If the president feels overwhelmed by this primary duty, he can explore alternative options such as reorganizing his security in exchange for a team that is better able to handle the disaster. He can also ask for assistance from intelligent external forces or better still, he can step aside. Leadership is not meant for everyone and if President Jonathan cannot handle the job that he opted for, then he should just resign. The later option seems more pertinent now that Mr Jonathan makes the outrageous judgment of jetting out to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil to attend a UN Earth Summit, at a time that the earth in his country burns and his people die.
We are witnessing dark days in Nigeria; days of abandonment, threat and undeserving injustice inflicted on people, together with a strife suffered by innocent people, in an atmosphere cruel and uncaring. People take the law into their hands because they feel anxious and they feel as if the people in authority don’t really care about them. As I consider the un-seriousness of our national security chiefs and ineptitude of President Jonathan and as I recall the desperate words Michael Jackson sang at a time he felt abandoned, I too am inclined to repeat his words and tell Nigerians, “All I wanna say is that they don't really care about us!”
Michael Jackson was my favorite singer. His inspirational songs and strong lyrics are very powerful and three years after his death, he is still very much missed. As we mark the anniversary of his passing, I believe that the messages his music conveyed still inspire and motivate people to change the world for the better. Let’s hope it can do something for us her in Nigeria.
Peace to you brother!