Once again, Nigerians are looking for the people’s president. The people’s president can be explained as that man or woman who will not rest until Nigeria regains its momentum and realizes its potential.
He is that man or woman who strives to ensure that Nigerians are safe and well in their homes and work place, or that person determined to create the right atmosphere for Nigerians to achieve their life goals and visions in a society of free and equal citizenship.
The question is: Is Dr. Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP the man? Does he have the proven track record for going to any length to give Nigerians the ‘good life’? Is he going to work tirelessly to deliver on Nigeria’s dreams and to create the kind of federal structure the founding fathers designed and envisaged for the country?
These are important questions Nigerians must ask themselves at this point.
It is time that all well meaning Nigerians, irrespective of class, ethnicity or religion took a deep dispassionate look at our country and rose in unison to take back our country from the looters and local colonizers who have sworn to rule us for a hundred years. Why is the polity so quiet while the people are being deceived? Are we all practicing the politics of the belly?
Tam David-West, a man of great learning and moral assets, proves that some people cannot be bought. I have profound respect for Professor David-West for his critical and objective assessment of Dr. Jonathan. I see David-West as a bold and fearless man who is ready to say the truth—whatever the personal price.
Inspired by his example, I feel duty bound to reveal certain facts in this essay in order to help our teeming misled and misguided Ijaw people to grasp the dynamics of society and politics. No minority ethnic group can survive without basic agreements and principles in society. Sadly, our president does not understand the meaning of social agreements.
On April 9 2011, Nigerians will choose between twenty-six presidential candidates. But I believe that the ultimate choice is between Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari. Our choice will shape the social-political future of Nigeria. But who are these two candidates?
The answer to this question will go a long way in helping Nigerians decide whom to elect. We know Buhari in different ways depending on where and what you were between 1984 and 1985. Some see him as rigid; others see him as tough. Some view him as a religious fanatic, but others see him as a decent incorruptible man. The political elite see him as their tormentor, while the teeming masses see him as their liberator. Who is Buhari? In a two part series I will dissect these two personalities, as I know them quite well.
In this first part, I throw the searchlight on President Goodluck Jonathan. Who is he and what does he represent? Many people are bound to be greatly disappointed after reading this piece because their prejudices and misconceptions about this man will be shattered.
To begin, politicians in their natural and constructed elements are master deceivers. Whether in America or Europe they are all the same. They deceive you and make you see what they want you to see. Goodluck Jonathan is a good apostle of this doctrine. A critical look at the events in the country would demonstrate the truth of this assertion. The Jonathan I know presents the very opposite of what he preaches, revealing a man of two
Goodluck Jonathan will promise to secure Nigerians and make security his priority, but the real Jonathan will spare no life in achieving his personal ambition. The story of the massacre in Jos is an excellent illustration of this attitude. His friend and co-conspirator Timi Alaibe is having it rough in Bayelsa State while Jonathan pretends to be deaf and dumb. He is not unaware of what his protégé, Governor Timpre Sylva, is doing with executive power, but Jonathan deceives his friend, Alaibe, that he is supporting him. If Jonathan cannot stop bombs in Bayelsa, his own state, what happens to the rest of the 35 states and Abuja?
The real Jonathan looks for people to use and do his bidding because of his lack of capacity and ability. I have read many people describing him as very humble and very quiet. On the surface, he exudes these characteristics, but it is all part of a game of pretending to be a listening man. It is part of his weapons to disarm and destroy. Aristotle in his wisdom wrote that humility is a vice while pride is a virtue. If you have a reason to be proud having accomplished a great feat, what is wrong with that? And if you have nothing to be proud of, why would you not be humble? Jonathan’s sense of humility is a fake custody of weakness and lack of enlightenment.
As the second in command to DSP Alamieyeseigha and Umaru Musa Yar’adua, Jonathan used this weapon in dislodging and capsizing them at the nick of opportunity. The rest is history. He presented the image of a humble man for a long time, but when the time came to show real loyalty, he betrayed DSP and sold him to former President Obasanjo and was adequately compensated for his treachery.
I am sure DSP himself is not aware of the role his humble and loyal deputy played in his impeachment. They say it is politics. Today, because of the craft of Jonathan, the Ijaw nation has been decimated, decapitated and made powerless and subdued. The experience of the Okerenkoko and Ayakorama peoples illustrates Jonathan’s perfidy. You wonder if Jonathan is really an Ijaw man.
Any attempt to completely unmask Jonathan would be impossible since the man is more crafty and wily than former General Ibrahim Babangida, the Maradona of Nigeria, more brutal than OBJ, more political than Atiku and more slippery than Machiavelli’s prince. The same people he dribbled over the zoning palaver, he is romancing. This is his trademark. For instance, my sources in Bayelsa revealed that when he was appointed vice to Yar’adua in 2007, he nominated one Francis Doukpolagha who came third in the primary to replace him. But he watched as his political organization, the ‘Green Movement,’ tore the man to shreds until OBJ dropped him. I am sure Doukpolagha is still in shock. The truth is that he simply deceived Ijaw people into believing he loves them. His then deputy, Peremobowei Ebebi, and his then Secretary to the State Government, Godknows Igali, can tell more about these antics. The humble and quiet Jonathan finally accepted Sylva when OBJ settled for his archrival, Timi Alaibe. And while Bayelsa people are ruing Sylva’s misrule and lack of direction and preparing for a change in 2011, Jonathan was comfortable to re-present Sylva.
To get the PDP ticket in 2006, Jonathan was ready to do anything and everything to please his godfather. He thus left a big hole in Bayelsa finances when he left in 2007. Sylva attempted to spill the beans, but was immediately called to order—and his then political adviser, George Fente, was sacrificed as he lost his position when Jonathan reached a truce with the governor. What a lot of people did not know was that, while DSP was being prosecuted, Jonathan was only marking time for his turn. However, in a deft move, he was able to use this weakness to negotiate his survival. He became governor, funded the PDP fully, and massaged the OBJ ego well, including funding and supporting third term. He became Nigeria’s paymaster to all and sundry, including actors and show businessmen, at the expense of development in Bayelsa. Today there is no project that carries Jonathan’s signature. Ask EFCC and Ribadu for Jonathan’s file. It has disappeared.
In his typical element, Jonathan is nothing but an opportunist. But some may retort, are we not all opportunists? Is it not the nature of man? This may be true. The only concern and imperative is that those who wish to be in public service and hold public office must exhibit great character and acumen. Being an opportunist is not one of them. Those who wish to lead must be above board. Not that they must be infallible, but they must be men of integrity and high intellect.
Some people make a big deal of his doctoral degree. I laugh. What is the connection between having a PhD in Hydrobiology and leading a society of 150 million people? None. The man simply lacks an iota of idea on how to run a clan much less a multi-ethnic and highly complex society. Jonathan does not read. He has no knowledge of political philosophy or ideology. He knows nothing about the principles of justice and political stability—two areas of urgent need in Nigeria.
It is typical of a ruler of Jonathan’s ilk to adopt all Machiavellian tactics he can muster including pretending to be very religious. See him going to churches and kneeling down to be prayed for. What a sacrilege! He knows that the organization he and his godfather belong to is antithetical to Christianity. Ask the Olowu of Owu and Alake of Egbaland to explain Jonathan’s position in their “kingdoms.”
He had decided that the game must be played according to their gospel of deception. There are collaborators along the line, to ensure that people are fooled. Those who know Jonathan well would tell you he has so much disdain and contempt for Pentecostals and would only be ready to do business with them when it would enhance his personal political interest.
Part of the deceptive arsenal of this President is the campaign of freshness and fresh air. Interesting, is it not? It’s like saying that IBB, Atiku, Anenih, Ahmadu Ali, Arthur Nzeribe, Ojukwu, Nnamani, and the like are the fresh air Nigeria needs. The people who cried themselves hoarse over zoning and Northern presidency are the same people falling for his pretence for rapprochement. He has so bamboozled these political zombies that they believe they can enter into an agreement with him to do only one term and return power to them. The man must have abundant political charm and charisma to be able to manipulate all these politicians, but I believe it is more than that. The witches and wizards that worked with him against Atiku would be smiling to the bank now.
Meanwhile, history has shown that you cannot deceive the people all the time as Mubarak, Ben Ali and Gaddafi can testify. The funny thing about deception is that it ends up deceiving the deceiver himself. Nigerians are beginning to see the fruits of deception. After ten months as president of Nigeria, Jonathan has no clue where the country is going and has spent all his time buying support—just as the colonial masters did in the client-master type of politics. The economy is comatose, there is no safety of life and property, and the ship of state is stinking and sinking.
Nigerians must brace to the fact that Jonathan’s presidency is first and foremost to promote and protect the political and economic fortunes of his political group within and outside the PDP. Nigerians must not be deceived into believing that Jonathan is popular. He pays any amount even if it means borrowing to buy support to get political power. And then he gets lost on what to do with the power. He over patronized a section of the media so much so that we hardly know the truth from propaganda, as Nigeria has become a commodity for the highest bidder—and nobody wants to be on the losing side. People today flow to Jonathan because that is where the money is. They forget that the structural-functionalist nature of society makes all members of society victims of wrong leadership, whether they like it or not.
Our president needs to come clean with Nigerians on his weaknesses and allow those with the character and spirit to take the country out of the woods. His confessions to the Americans last year, according to Wikileaks, represent the true portrait of the real Jonathan—timid, fearful, weak and opportunistic.
Those who want to take power from Jonathan must know that those who misunderstand the real meaning of power and end up abusing power will never let it go without a fight. Think about it: If Jonathan leaves power today, where does he go, the classroom or business? Neither. He is therefore on a suicide mission that simply translates to: It is either I win or I die. It is a variant of his godfather’s do-or-die politics.
From now on, Nigerians must begin to organize and mobilize for change whether Jonathan wins or not. If nothing is done by the masses and if there is no signal of an impending catastrophe in the form of a people’s resistance, the PDP will rig and damn the consequence. They will argue that the courts are there for electoral disputes. And while that is going on, the settlement scheme introduced by his mentor and good friend IBB would be unleashed.
Compared to such peers as Malaysia, India, and Brazil, Nigeria has drifted far away from the mark. As the father of the late Umaru Musa Yar’dua said in the First Republic, while the world is running towards the North, Nigeria is running fast towards the South, obviously in the wrong direction. With Jonathan as president, Nigeria will continue to go southward—at dizzying speed.