By Tolu Ogunlesi
Lagos, Nigeria (CNN) — Last Sunday the world woke to news of ethnic and religious violence in Jos, central Nigeria.
Television footage soon emerged of hundreds of bodies, mostly of women and children, hacked to death by bands of marauders who invaded defenseless villages under cover of darkness. It was the second time this year that Jos would be making breaking news on CNN.
On both occasions, while Jos burned, Nigeria’s corridors of power battled their own “fires”: A series of intrigues that raged as insiders struggled for power in the absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua, who in November 2009 traveled abroad for medical treatment and has not been seen in public since.
Jos is not the only tragedy that has happened in the absence of the president. On Christmas Day 2009, a month after Yar’Adua literally vanished, a 23-year-old Nigerian national was arrested while allegedly trying to detonate explosives aboard a U.S.-bound flight, minutes from landing.
That action put Nigeria in the news and earned us a place on a United States terrorism watch list. Alas, there was no president to defend us before a curious world.