Since he was defeated in an epochal presidential election in March 2015, former President Goodluck Jonathan has refused to keep quiet. Known for his notorious flippancy and carefree tongue that has always been a source of embarrassment to himself, his party and his supporters, he has seized every opportunity to talk, even when such opportunities are better utilized keeping quiet. All his utterances since that defeat have been tailored towards telling us how good he was, how meritorious his regime was for us and how we ought to regret voting him out. Also, he had not wasted any time to tell of his graciousness in accepting defeat, though he does not tell us of any other option he would have taken in the light of the very many desperate but futile efforts he made to hang on to power. What else does a person defeated in an election do than hand over?
Jonathan does not waste time in telling whoever takes his words serious how Nigerians should regret voting him out and how his regime outperformed the one that replaced him, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari. But in all his cheeky efforts, Jonathan betrays the mien of a man sorely pained and living in personal turmoil. Jonathan, in his several careless utterances shows he still bears the sores of his defeat and he believes that by talking often, he will live down that sore. He shows clearly a man that is so eager to write his report card and exonerate himself of the legions of unpardonable indiscretions, awful corruption, impunity, indescribable incompetence that all ganged up to see him off power. He emits clearly the symptoms of a troubled mind, not very comfortable with his deserved place in history but who neighs, one way or the other, to re-write history to give him a more favorable verdict than that which he rightly got for his six years in power. Is he not struggling in vain? Is he not indulging in the childish act of bolting the stable door after the horse has escaped? He clearly is and this is shown by the series of angry reactions Nigerians always give to his frequent efforts to bathe himself in adoring glee. With each effort to remake himself, Jonathan comes off worse which speaks of a clear personality deficit he has no inkling how to deal with. When golden silence would have done him tremendous good, Jonathan hurtles out with annoying outbursts full of gaffes, unfathomable errors and vacuous claims that fly in the face of the bumbling mediocrity he is largely perceived of by Nigerians.
Expectedly, Jonathan’s waning party, the PDP, faced with the massive uprising that threw it out of power, had tagged alongside him in this futile effort. As Jonathan’s gains were PDP’s gains, his travails are also theirs. His baggage is also theirs. So they are right to shore up his poor efforts at self-recreation. They are Siamese twins who complimented each other in the egregious misrule that hobbled this country and therefore should seek to strike a partnership with each other as they battle life outside power.
They have not stopped telling us of the glorious era of Jonathan, when life was so sweet, painless and easy. They have constantly jammed our eardrums with sonorous rendezvous of the garden of Eden which the last PDP government writ here for us, only to be rewarded with a shock rejection in 2015. They have not failed to tell us that we never had it so good and rosy as in the Jonathan era where everything was almost free, there was enough money for every Nigerian to the extent that there were tens of trillions of Naira to be stolen without any pain felt by the country, food was almost given out free to Nigerians, hunger and misery disappeared, jobs were everywhere for the picking, security of lives and properties were air tight, life was more abundant and the heavenly Jerusalem was brought down to Nigeria. If you listen to an average PDP and Jonathan apologist, you certainly will miss your way trying to figure out the Nigeria they talk about because the tragic Hobbesian empire they created still exerts unforgettable scars on the minds of Nigerians who are always hit with pangs of bitterness if they remember the horror PDP and Jonathan made here for the years they were in power.
But the subject of this discourse is not to excurse into Jonathan and PDP’s trajectory as Nigerians rightly did a referendum on that regime in March 2015. I am not writing this report to contest the fairy tales with which PDP and Jonathan want to distort the reality that saw them thrown down the dustbin just two years ago. I am not contesting PDP and Jonathan’s frequent efforts to mangle our sensibilities and loot our minds for another tortuous journey in self-dubiety. This report is not about joining issues with Jonathan and his PDP in their self-delusional hope that they will re-build a cracked egg shell. It is not an effort to pore into their cocoon of belief that Nigerians are dolts who can be easily swayed by the kind of puerile white washing and fantasy-tale they are doing today.
It is obvious even to PDP and Jonathan that they are lying to themselves and Nigerians when they ceaselessly tout their achievements in power. It is obvious even as they mischievously believe it, that they are aware of the gash their steeling and looting of a huge oil boom inflicted on the country today. It is obvious even if they deny it, that these philistines know very well that President Buhari and his government are doing their utmost best to contain the negative fallout of the brigandage they unleashed here before they were booted out of power. They are aware that they are duping themselves (not Nigerians) by noisily singing their praises.
My concern is that a party that once governed Nigeria is still burying its head in the sand. My concern is that PDP and Jonathan are furiously romancing their thighs and believe they can get pregnant from that silly effort. You may wonder why I have these concerns? It is not for the interest of PDP which, each day, is hit by cases of desertion from its emptying core. If you doubt the sorry state of PDP, ask Doyin Okupe who wrote off his once-darling party as a tree than no longer bear fruits. Ask PDP former National Chairman, Ahmadu Ali, who had advised his party to stop hallucinating about 2019, as they can never win the presidency in 2019. Ask Governor Seriake Dickson of Jonathan’s Baylesa State who had told his party that it is impossible for PDP to win the 2019 presidential election. Ask Ibrahim Mantu who recently asked his party to go on its knees and tender unreserved apology to Nigerians for its sins as a way of seeking reinvention. Ask Ifeanyi Ubah who recently said that PDP is still digging its grave. Ask former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar who expressed the worry that PDP is not offering any meaningful opposition to the ruling APC.
But my point in proving the self-elected dubiety of the PDP on its achievements during its years in power, especially during the Jonathan years, is that presently, the rank and file of what remains in PDP, including Jonathan are crisscrossing the country, begging different people to fly its presidential ticket in 2019, the year they have noisily boasted they will take back power. They are now traversing the north and romancing several people to take their presidential ticket in 2019 with no luck. They even offered same to foremost businessman Aliko Dangote, who retorted that he is not a politician and even if he were, he can never ever seek to fly the presidential flag of the PDP against President Buhari. It is so bad for PDP! However, such public scorn has not deterred PDP and Jonathan from foraging for newer grounds in seeking someone that will take their presidential ticket in 2019 and you wonder what informed their vacuous boast of unseating Buhari when they are finding it hard to have a candidate to stand against Buhari?.
In the face of this public humiliation and given PDP’s insistence that the last regime turned Nigeria into an Eldorado under Jonathan, and that Nigerians have regretted replacing Jonathan with Buhari, why are they not tapping that golden opportunity by drafting Jonathan to contest against Buhari in 2019? Why have they turned nomads in the elusive search for a credible 2019 presidential candidate when they have a ready-made achiever in Jonathan? Why are they not putting Jonathan on the ballot so that Nigerian who have regretted voting for Buhari against Jonathan in 2015 can rectify their mistakes and bring Jonathan and PDP back to power? Why is the PDP wasting its efforts to search for an elusive candidate to beat Buhari in 2019 when they have a ready-made candidate in a Jonathan that was a super hero when he was here for nearly six years? Why is PDP not taking the Jonathan option but have been touting his regime as the best gift God deigned Nigeria after pure water?
Your wonder widens when you observe that Jonathan himself is also involved in this scavenging when he knows that nothing stops him from putting himself on the ballot for Nigerians to do a clear referendum on him against Buhari as he pretends not to know his rightful place in the history of the country. Jonathan contested as a sitting president and lost in 2015 so he is viable to stand for election again, so why is PDP not putting him up to snatch the seat from Buhari n 2019, knowing how well he performed before he was mistakenly voted out? Who is playing tricks on himself? Who wants to dupe himself?
However, PDP will prove those that posit that it plays pranks on itself right if they continue to market the horrendous travesty of Jonathan’s regime as a better option for Nigerians yet refuse to put Jonathan on its 2019 ticket. Nothing prevents Jonathan from contesting the 2019 election, so the best way for him and his sagging party to test their stand amongst Nigerians is to be put in the ballot in 2019 so that Nigerians will have that historical opportunity to rectify the mistake PDP and Jonathan said Nigerians did in rejecting them in 2015. PDP must quit its pranks. Jonathan must quit his well-known penchant to play the ostrich and enter the ring for the 2019 contest if they really believe in their jeremiad that Nigerians regret voting them out or that they performed creditably even to their own personal judgment. Nothing more than this is required if PDP and Jonathan are not conveniently lying to themselves to con Nigerians into embarking on another perilous journey we had when they were steering the Nigerian ship to perdition. So enough of this enfoolment. Let PDP re-present the Jonathan ticket for 2019, if they sincerely believe that they did well when he was here or keep quiet, apologize to Nigerians for the Jonathan/PDP tragedy and do large-scale reforms on the party before even presenting themselves as alternatives to what we have at present.
Peter Claver Oparah writes from Ikeja, Lagos. You can reach him at [email protected].