The debate currently going on whether or not a 4 star General has requisite qualifications to be certified as a candidate in the next election is a development that would come back to haunt Jonathan long after he loses the election on February 14. It is a development that can open a can of worms on the first Prime minister and most of the past Presidents of Nigeria from the North who were flag bearers of the same PDP and its predecessors like the NPC, the NPN and NRC. What qualification did Tafawa Balewa have to qualify him as the first Prime Minister of Nigeria? The same people raising the question should tell me what qualifications did Ahmadu Bello have to emerge as the pre and post- Independence leader of the Northern Peoples’ Congress and de facto leader of the whole country?
What paper qualifications did Aguiyi Ironsi have to lead Nigeria after the January 15 coup of the Majors in Nigeria led by Chukwuma Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna? What qualification did Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha or Abdulsalam Abubakar to qualify them as Heads of State in Nigeria? Umaru Yar Adua who succeeded Obasanjo in 2007 had a Master’s degree and could be said to be the most educated by way of paper qualification among the rest of his predecessors.
Goodluck Jonathan who succeeded terminally ill Yar Adua as the first minority from the South/South zone had a Ph.D not in Education or Administration or Law or Literature or History or Mathematics or Bio Chemistry or Physics but in Zoology, (the care and management of animals) to put it bluntly.
Ebele Jonathan had his degrees not from Harvard or some Ivy league University in Nigeria like Ibadan or Nsukka or Ahmadu Bello, Zaria or better still from, Oxford or Cambridge talk less of similar ivy league institutions in the US or anywhere around the world
When Obasanjo picked him, he picked him because he looked like the most docile of all the South/South candidates on Obasanjo’s merit list like Duke or Odili and one or two others. Obasanjo was looking for a yes man with no track record but whose wife was a Madam Defarge who behaved as if she was ready to take a bullet if needed to have her husband catapulted to the running mate to a terminally-sick Yar Adua and the possible implication of that for the shoeless Ijaw man from Otuoke who everybody knew was therefore a heartbeat from the presidency of Nigeria should anything happen to Yar Adua.
The couple was hoping for the worst but mentally- ready should things go the other way. Obasanjo’s rigmarole was no way to pick a President for the most populated country in Africa but he did it any way in what I call a one party dictatorship that has ruled Nigeria in military or civilian outfit for half a century without anybody raising a finger or a challenge. Madam Dame Patience paved the way for her husband by arranging a private visit to Ebora Otta in his Taj Mahal at Abeolumo promising to bring her husband back “Ajagunmole Oluwo Orun” and the “Agbebodorun” of Nigerian Politics in a fortnight.
When the president want to be came to see Obasanjo, he greeted Obasanjo like any Yoruba younger man would have done telling Obasanjo he had come as a follow-up to his wife’s visit and that he wanted to thank Obasanjo as father of the nation for even thinking of him. He promised he would not disappoint Obasanjo. That was how Ebele Jonathan became Vice President because Obasanjo assured him in Egba dialect interlaced with English, “Omode yi. Bi o tie d’ibo, o ti wo le” “Don’t worry, my boy, your selection as VP is a forgone conclusion as long as I am in charge. Go get yourself ready to be Vice President of Nigeria.”.
Two years into his first term Yar Ardua who spent as much time at a Saudi or German Hospital like he spent at Aso Rock died but he is death was kept a top secret from his Vice and the rest of the country as his wife consulted top lawyers in Britain and the United States. She played the Corazon Aquino card on Nigerians trying to ascertain if she cannot be sworn in as acting President to complete the remaining years of Yar Adua because the presidency had been zoned to the North for 8 years and not even Death can change that in the convoluted mind of Jonathan and his supporters in Nigeria.
It took the combined effort of Obasanjo, many progressives in Nigeria and respecter of the Nigerian Constitution plus the news media led by Sahara Reporters of New York to rise in support of a timid and weak Ebele Jonathan to put the vocal northerners in a retreat and to let Jonathan serve the last 2 years of Yar Adua and to have another 4 years of his own from 2011 to 2015. The only good thing Jonathan has done in 4 years was to appoint the first credible northerner to head the Nigerian INEC. After kicking and screaming to begin with, he finally agreed to hold a toothless bull dog of a national conference to discuss the problems of Nigeria at a cost of close to 10 billion Naira with little or nothing to show for it as the conference lacks legitimacy in Law. Nothing is going to stop all of those reports from gathering dust in the basement of the National Assembly building in Abuja as we speak.
Our President with his Ph.D. in Zoology wants Buhari disqualified from running so he can be returned unopposed. His justification for that is because Buhari cannot produce his School Certificate result because Jonathan and his Jega-led INEC do not recognize whatever training and education the General must have received from Sandhurst and Aldershot in Britain talk less of any training he had received at the Kaduna Defense Academy, The Man’Owar Bay in Lagos and the famous Institute of Strategic Studies at Kuru Jos talk less of any training he might have received anywhere around the world in his close to 24 years in the Military and regardless of any promotions he might have earned from Second Lieutenant to General in one of the best
Military in the Third World with the possible exception of India, Pakistan and South Africa and Egypt.
That should tell you the kind of Commander-in-Chief Ebele Jonathan has become in his desperation to stop General Buhari from humiliating him on February 14. If he can pronounce as an illiterate one of the best 4 Star Generals Nigeria has produced when the Nigerian Military was still the pride of Africa and the most dependable peace keeper Military in Africa. Michael Dukakis Jonathan’s alter ego in America who justified his military readiness for office as an American President by having somebody drive him around in a make-believe armored vehicle in uniform and head gear could never have done what Ebele Jonathan has done by calling a retired 4 star General in his own Military a stark illiterate.
The statement says a lot more about Jonathan than it says about Buhari. That suggestion by the Commander-in-Chief himself or any of his hatchet men like Okupe or Reuben Abati is nothing short of treason in my judgment. The statement if it is not withdrawn is bad enough to force the President to resign or be impeached in a serious country, but in an animal farm kind of situation Nigeria now finds herself Jonathan would probably get away with the statement but he would pay dearly for it at the polls on February 14 when he loses the election to a worthy General who has served his nation to the best of his ability.
I am surprised that Professor Jega the current INEC chairman the first PH.D holder from the North to hold the job in Nigeria, has so far failed to put an end to the certificate racket debate by quickly issuing a statement asking Nigerians not to go there because the debate has a potential to open a can of worms that could be a major distraction for the INEC in the coming election. How could INEC now disqualify General Buhari who was a former military Head of State in the rank of a General for roughly 2 years and has put in no less than 20 years as a commissioned officer in the Nigerian Military? He has been cleared to run for the same office three times and is now going for the fourth round because millions of his supporters across the country now believe he is a far superior candidate to sitting President.
It is true the man does not have a Ph.D like Jonathan. The man does not need a Ph.D before he can be a great President. Jerry Rawlings was only a flight Lieutenant in the Ghana Air Force when he led the Revolution that finally shook Ghana to her very foundation preparing the nation for the triumph of Democracy. The last time I checked a ruling party led by Jerry Rawlings was defeated by the opposition in Ghana.
Today Ghana is enjoying the full dividends of Democracy as a leading nation in Africa to the everlasting glory of Jerry Rawlings who could not boast of a master’s degree talk less of a Ph.D. What Nigerians need to worry about at this point is not whether or not Jonathan is qualified to be President. What they should worry more about is the state of his Head and his mental stability at this point. Nigerians ought to remind him that the hood does not make the Monk. That a man has a Ph.D does not make him an educated man. As I will prove with the remaining segments of this write-up
The PDP is now raising the point because they are now beginning to see the hand writing on the wall that a David with only a catapult in his hand could predictably defeat and humiliate their Goliath with a Ph.D and the keys to the Nigerian Treasury in his hand. If Professor Jega is truly as smart as some people think, he should have nipped the certificate debate in the bud by simply telling the PDP and their supporters not to go there as those who live in glass houses like the PDP must be careful never to throw stones. By keeping quiet Professor Jega is inadvertently encouraging those PDP supporters to think they finally find a point they can use to derail the Buhari candidacy.
They have been throwing everything at the General including the kitchen sink but they have so far woefully failed to dent the general’s image as a Napoleon against the Lilliputian Jonathan. The great majority of Nigerian voters have now decided they are going to judge our leaders based on their performance and the personal qualities and integrity they bring to the table. Jonathan is in deep trouble as we speak because he has more deficits than assets in this election.
The PDP and their supporters have tried to blackmail General Buhari as a religious bigot who is going to Islamize Nigeria if elected forgetting that the man had been a military Head of State who could easily have done what Ibrahim Babangida one of the PDP leaders had done in his more than 8 years as President of Nigeria. As a matter of fact no military Head of State before Babangida ever had the impunity or the effrontery to call himself President until Babanagida came on board. None of our former Heads of State starting from Nnamdi Azikiwe to General Aguiyi Ironsi, General Yakubu Gowon, General Murtala Mohammed and General Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari or General Buhari ever conferred on their first lady as much power as Babangida did to his own first lady, Mariam Babangida.
Babangida started in Nigeria a new phenomenon of First lady behaving as an elected official. History would record that it was Babangida, one of the PDP king makers who damned the consequence to enroll Nigeria as a permanent member of IOC. The PDP now seems to have forgotten that the bunch of military dictators in their party like Obasanjo, Babangida and even Odumegwu Ojukwu (who at one point in his life was an NPN member), were all more dictatorial than Buhari. Obasanjo ordered Nigerian soldiers to raise odi to the ground and he got away with it.
Babangida was known to have delivered a time bomb that silenced Dele Giwa forever from writing a book on Gloria Okon, the drug pusher. That allegation was never disowned by Babangida till tomorrow. The PDP seems to forget that Abacha, Abdulsalam Abubakar were no less a dictator than Buhari whom they now want to tarnish and rubbish, but they all forget that Buhari did all he did including the caging of Umaru Dikko in a crate because he was bent on pursuing corrupt Nigerians to the gates of Hell. It was exactly the right thing to do if Nigeria is to survive.
Having failed in all their efforts to stigmatize Buhari, they are now embracing a new low in their depravity and desperation by insisting that Professor Jega’s INEC must disqualify Buhari from running if the General cannot produce his West African School Certificate. It is simply unbelievable that Professor Jega would be encouraging such garbage and innuendoes by keeping quiet.
The PDP is a party which has supported the Ekiti Governor, Ayo Fayose who ran against and defeated two former Governors of Ekiti even though many in Nigeria are still questioning till tomorrow whether or not Fayose has the OND or the HND he claimed to have earned from Ibadan Polytechnic. Since when has educational qualification become such a valuable asset to the PDP, the successor of NPC, the NPN and the NRC in Nigeria if you are following their profile and history like I do? Fayose who had a criminal case pending against him should have disqualified from running in Ekiti. He got away because Ebele Jonathan was the chief promoter of hooliganism, election rigging and corruption in Nigeria. To him stealing was nothing but a little misdemeanor which can be overlooked.
Tafawa Balewa was a Grade II teacher with an Associate Diploma from the UK. That did not stop the NPC from sponsoring him to run against Ogbuefi, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe with a Ph.D from Lincoln University or Obafemi Awolowo with a degree in Economic and another degree in Law before going into Politics. Balewa’s paper qualification was never a disqualifier at the time and he went on to beat the two intellectual giants of Nigeria. Balewa was not called the golden voice of Africa for nothing.
The man was an orator.
There were many in the Balewa Federal Public Service and Cabinet who could not boast of a West African School Certificate talk less of a University degree. In spite of those limitations, they offered Nigeria a less corrupt Government than the Jonathan Government of today. I can tell you that because I was in the Federal Public Service as a graduate and as an administrator for 25 years of my life. Sir Ahmadu Bello the leader of the NPC who could easily have become anything he wanted to be in Nigeria did not have a Ph.D, but he was a good leader of his people any. As a matter of fact, there were many of us in the South who thought that Ahmadu Bello could not speak English at all. He was definitely versed in Islamic education which also had its own merits in world civilization.
I would be the first to admit as a historian and as somebody who has been exposed to Western education and Islamic education. I was the representative of Nigeria to the Board of Trustees of CAFRAD (African Training and Research center in Administration for Development) based in Tangiers, Morocco for 3 years from 1979 to 1981. Who says Islamic education is inferior to western education? If you have ever heard anything about the Persian Empire, the Ottoman Turk Empire and the great Egyptian Empire, you will appreciate that anyone with Islamic education can hold his own against anyone trained in western education. Buhari should not be counted out because of his Islamic education and exposure.
I was amazed the first time I listened to Ahmadu Bello speak at the Nigerian Constitutional Conference in London where he won the day when he told the British that the North was not ready for independence in 1957 as proposed by Azikiwe and Awolowo. The man actually granted an interview to a British journalist and he spoke flawless English explaining why he had to initiate his “Northernization” policy to stop the Igbos in particular from completely taking over and dominating his Government and public service. He argued with conviction that if you give the Igbos in particular and the southerners in general, a foot, they would take 3. He described the Igbos as the proverbial Oliver Twists of Nigeria who are always asking for more just like they are doing now in the Jonathan Government.
If you take out the ijaws, the Jonathan Government is, by and large, dominated by the Igbos and that is why the Igbos are now the most vocal supporters of Jonathan who are begging Professor Jega to bar Buhari from running because they now know he would be difficult to defeat in a fair and free election. I won’t be surprised if they turn round to encourage Jonathan to annul the election altogether, if he loses. They would claim Babangida did it before and it can be done again should the election go against Jonathan.
They are now drawing attention to General Buhari’s qualifications to be President because they have figured out that Jonathan is a hard sell. Because he has a Ph.D that Buhari does not have they want Jega to disqualify him. They totally forget the history of Nigeria that Jonathan is about the first Nigerian Ph.D holder to be elected a president in Nigeria. Many of us supported him because we were putting too much emphasis on paper qualifications. We now know that not all that glitters is gold. Father Ejike Mbaka has said it best. The Good luck we thought we knew has turned to bad luck. Obasanjo who gave us the bad luck is now begging Nigerians to forgive him because he made a horrendous mistake. That is why Jonathan is going to lose to Buhari.
You can be sure the Igbos and some northerners in the PDP are going to decamp into the APC if Buhari loses. Right now they are going to do whatever it takes to irredeemably damage Buhari. But because God is at work for Buhari and because his time has come, God has raised individuals like Governor Okorocha, individuals like Igbokwe and most especially Rev Father Ejike Mbaka whose Christmas or New Year homily has done an irreversible damage to Jonathan. The PDP are now begging their members who decamp to the APC to please return to PDP because they fear they are going to lose.
The APC and General Buhari only need to widely circulate the content of Rev. Mbaka powerful sermon by possibly circulating a video or showing a slide of that video or sermon in all of their political rallies because not even General Buhari or Professor Oshinbajo could have made a more persuasive case. It was a very powerful indictment of Jonathan next only to the Obasanjo indictment of the President in his new book and all the subsequent interviews Obasanjo has granted to the News media. They should make commercial on many of the gaffes and Freudian slip of Jonathan and his first lady. There is no way in the world both of them can survive the onslaught. That is why they are now begging many deserters of the PDP to return and hoping that a good Governor like Oshiomhole can disown the APC this late in the game because they think money can buy Nigerians.
If Obasanjo who handpicked him to be President could be so much opposed to him today, what more justification do Nigerians have to vote for Jonathan on February 14? Obasanjo, the former Chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees and the most powerful PDP member in Nigeria is telling Nigerians that Jonathan is radio-active. What more evidence do Nigerians need to make up their minds on him? The guy has long lost my vote and those of people like me.
I cannot for the life of me encourage any rational Nigerian to vote for Jonathan. A few nuts and lunatics among us and those who benefit the most from his corrupt Government would still vote for him I get that, but the rest of us must not.
I, for one, will take Jonathan’s bribe, because I know it is part of our stolen money. Spending 27 billion Naira for election alone is colossal waste of money. By all means take whatever bribery Jonathan offers you, because the key to the Nigerian Treasury is in his hands. Take the money but go into that polling booth to vote for General Buhari. If in 4 years Buhari does not perform, we all reserve the right to vote him out in 2019. Performance from now on should be the yard stick or bottom line. Education is only a means to an end not the end in itself. I will be leading the opposition to him in 4 years if he does not perform.
Don’t be deceived about the import of a Ph.D. There are many of us with Ph.Ds who cannot untie the latchet of the shoes of some Nigerians without any Ph.D. I am a good example. Sometimes when I read some of the stuff written by a gentleman named Ozodiobi Osuji, a Professor in clinical Psychology and a columnist of the ChatAfrik web site on the Internet, I view myself as his student because that man is something else. I have had occasions to write to him and to openly admit that he is a genius. I am not ashamed to say that because the closest I can ever get to perfection is to know my limitations. Jonathan has to learn that General Buhari is not on the same pay grade with him with his Ph.D.
I took a second Master’s degree in Social Work and Psychology from the Yeshiva Jewish University of New York from 1991 to 1993. I do not know any Professor in Psychology in that great University who can beat Professor Osuji. I take off my heart for that man just like I do for some of the other columnists like Rudolf Okonkwo, Okey Ndibe and one Sonala Olumense to mention a few. They don’t flaunt a Ph.D but they are prolific writers better than most of us.
I knew some Nigerians in my civil service days that did not have University degrees, but who proved themselves better and more intellectual gifted than many of us who were graduates. I once had a colleague of mine named Reuben Omo Olorun Modupe from Idogun near idoani. He and I attended the University of Ife for an O and M Diploma course and we both went to the Royal Institute of Public Administration at Mabledon Place London.
Reuben was only a grade II teacher from Ondo /Oyo Joint Provincial Teacher Training College at Ile Ife before joining the Western Nigerian Public Service first in the Executive class grade before crossing over on promotion to the Administrative class. I was in the Federal Service but we both went to London to study at the Royal Institute of Public Administration. Reuben came top of our class beating most of us who were already graduates. I did perform very well in the program, and we both became good friends because the guy is as smart as hell, but the guy beat me in the final examination.
I was not surprised when the guy was promoted a Permanent Secretary and later on the Secretary to the Government of Ondo State under Governor Olabode George. After his retirement the guy went back to Ekpoma University to study Law. He is today a board-certified member of the Bar in New York State.
I recall the achievements of Pa Odumosu who later became Secretary to Government in the old Western Region. He was never a graduate, but he was among the best Permanent Secretaries in the old West. I recall Mr. M.A. Tokunbo, the former Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Establishments in Lagos way back in the 60s and early 70s. He was not a graduate but he was one of the best Permanent Secretaries. I recall Alhaji Sule Katagun, the former Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission while the late (Dr) Sir Manuwa one of the first qualified medical doctors in Nigeria was his Deputy. Both of them were good and very competent men, but Alhaji Katagun never saw the four walls of a University but he was one of the best Chairmen of the Federal Civil Service Commission. I recall serving at one point in my career under Alhaji Ahmed Joda; a journalist turned Permanent Secretary who only had a Diploma in Journalism before becoming a Federal Permanent Secretary in the federal Ministry of Education. The man taught me all I knew as a young graduate working for him. He rose by hard work to become one of the “Four Musketeers” or Super Permanent Secretaries which included Allison Ayida, Philip Asiodu and EME Ebong at one point in the history of the Nigerian Civil Service.
My point is that General Buhari did not have to produce any paper certificate to be qualified to run for President. As a General in the Nigerian Army, talk less of the other prestigious positions he has held in Government at a time Jonathan was still a shoeless young boy running around in the creeks of Otuoke in Bayelsa, the man has nothing more to prove he is the better candidate in this election
Buhari has the credentials and the name recognition to run for President. It is even as insult to him for anyone to be demanding his paper qualification from a man who has been President before. That is my point. The General does not have to show any certification to run for President. If Professor Jega does not believe him, the Professor is doing a disservice to Nigeria and insulting the intelligence of Nigerians. If Jonathan wants to prove he is intellectually superior to General Buhari, let him prove that to Nigerians at the Presidential Debates to be organized by the mainstream of the Nigerian News Media.
I cannot wait to see that happen.