Since we could not have a presidential debate, the presidency has decided that they would showcase what the president has prepared to dish out had there been a debate. They will showcase it tonight in a special media chat on current national issues.
With handpicked journalists from government owned media, this media chat, like the ones before, is expected to showcase the same softball questions that will produce routine answers; answers, so slimy that they could drag the elephant down the throat of a fish.
Anyone who has followed the media chat could predict the questions to be asked and the typical answers the president would give in each case. What would be different would be the delivery and the occasional slips. Each time the president goes off the script, he delivers a colorful language made up of fanciful new expressions.
That was how we got the answer, “I don’t give a damn” to a demand that he should declare his assets. And in another media chat, he argued that, “stealing is not corruption.”
Just for a change, what if we ask President Jonathan ten philosophical questions?
1. You often refer to yourself as a politician. You do so with gusto. You talk about what you and your colleagues do as ‘playing politics.’ It comes off the way people use the expression in villages, especially when they know they are doing something wrong. But the politics that men in your position play has impact on the lives of millions of people. What does ‘playing politics’ mean to you?
2. American preacher, James Freeman Clarke said that, "a politician thinks of the next election; a statesman of the next generation.” What is the most important thing that you have done in the last 6 years for the next generation of Nigerians?
3. A great man once said that the history of the world is nothing but the biography of great men. How do you want history to remember you? And what do you make of the first draft of history that has been written about you? How much of it have you read?
4. Nigeria’s leadership landscape is littered with men who succumbed to some form of Oedipal Complex? How much of it do you concern yourself with? Do you think you can avoid such a fate?
5. Even the worst of your critics acknowledge that you are a humble person. Are you humble because of your upbringing or are you humble because it is a political tool that opens doors for you? How have you used your humbleness to advance your political goal? How does humbleness work within the bubble of the presidency?
6. If a graduate student decides to work on the 'Jonathan political philosophy' and comes to you for advice, which philosophy would you tell them is yours? Where was it conceived? How do you want to infuse it into your legacy?
7. If you die and find out that you have the option to come back again, I assume that you will like to come back as a Nigerian. What kind of Nigeria will you want to return to? And how will you say your actions of the last 6 years helped bring about hat Nigeria?
8. Theodore Roosevelt noted that, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” What has been the greatest mistake you have made in governance over the last 6 years?
9. Being the president of Nigeria comes with a lot of frustrations. You have talked about receiving conflicting advice from people around you amongst other frustrations. If you have a magic wand and could wish one frustrations away, which one would you eliminate?
10. You have been propelled by luck in your career. In fact, you have acknowledged several times that God knows why He placed you where you are. Have you figured out the reason? Do you think you have lived up to the expectation of the God who placed you there?