Stunted Presidency and Goodluck Jonathan ’s revelations
Today, the polity oozes nothing but tension; alarm (both false, true and the ridiculous). We are caught in a web of events that awe us to no end. We live in a state of imagination. We imagine the state of health of our president.
We imagine where he is operating from. We know it is from home. But what we don’t know is which part of the home he is operating from. Is it from the living room, kitchen, dining room, veranda, other room? Electors elected him to work but they can no longer see him because he prefers rest. It is a stunted presidency.
Today, he is at Juma’at prayer, next time, he is absent. It is the same in the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting. Twice, he has been absent. Those within the presidency explain it away with gay relish.
The President, they insist, is under no compulsion to preside over the FEC meeting Ok; we accept this position since we are left with no shade of choice, but how about presiding over the country from his cosy home? Or, can the president govern from anywhere as we learnt during the time of late President Yar’ Adua when some hawks filled our eardrums with tales of how then president could govern from anywhere? One had better not rehash the shenanigans and sheer inanities that played out at the time.
After all, we belong to a clime where events unfold with lightning speed and maintain same pace while mutating from the sublime to the utterly ridiculous. That said, we wish our president well. But the nation should not screech to a halt because of one man. No. If his body can no longer stand the rigours of power, is inking a signature of resignation a huge ocean to cross? One is wondering aloud. But let’s allow sleeping dogs rest.
Talking about sleeping dogs, is ex President Goodluck Jonathan aware of this age long maxim? I am moved to ask and also doubt going by recent revelations by the ousted Otu-Oke born lecturer-turned politician in a recently published book by ace journalist, Olusegun Adeniyi entitled “Against the Run of Play’’. Apparently yet to exorcise the painful defeat handed to him by a now mumbling and fumbling but convalescing president Buhari, Jonathan has suddenly woken up from a long slumber.
He now points finger to those and institutions he feels let him down during a poll that saw him become the first incumbent president to lose election in this clime. One had thought that the former president would have maintained the calm mien and candour which had earned him rave reviews across the globe after he conceded defeat and placed a symbolic call to his conqueror.
Like a fish out of water, the man who is now battling to save a wobbly Peoples Democratic Party from final plunge into the cesspool of ruination says then INEC boss, Professor Attahiru Jega failed him with the way he handled the electioneering processes. He accuses Jega of forming part of a cabal that plotted and oiled his fall. Said he: “I was disappointed by Jega because I still cannot understand what was propelling him to act the way he did in the weeks preceding the elections.’’ He maintained that Jega’s INEC mismanaged the distribution of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and all what not.
Taking more than a cursory look at this, one can deduce that the Bayelsa State born politician implies that poor distribution of PVCs also contributed to his failure.
Continuing, he also aimed a dig at Mallam Adamu Mu’azu, the man who went with the appellation “game changer’’ lived his name. It is not out of place to think that the former two-term governor of Bauchi State saw a party that had ‘change’ in its kitty hence bought it. As a game changer, he may have been overwhelmed with the kite of ‘change’ flown by the then opposition party hence his collusion, (according to Goodluck Jonathan) with them against our beloved son. Who knows? Let’s hear from Goodluck Jonathan: “for reasons best known to him (Mu’azu), he helped to sabotage the election in favour of the opposition.’’ As if that was not enough, he also accused ex US president, Mr. Barrack Obama of working in concert with France and UK to cause his defeat.
The accusations, to say the least, have shocked many. Not a few people have wondered why he has chosen this time to pass blame or even talk about what many have long forgotten and would prefer it remains in the shelf of history.
On the issues raised by Jonathan, the one that he would not have let out of the bag was the rift between his wife and then governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi. Jonathan told an obviously disinterested public that Amaechi had no issues with him but his wife.
Imagine. Nigerians have responded with rage regarding this line. Many have queried: “was your wife the vice president or the SGF to dabble into matters of state to the level of having a running battle with a sitting governor?’’ He has been tongue lashed pitilessly. Many are of the view that his wife’s acerbic and loose tongue contributed to his mass rejection in the North. They say her comments at campaigns and various fora slighted and demeaned the North and their leaders.
Another shocking issue that has cropped up is how madam Patience once addressed Aminu Tambuwal (then Speaker of the House of Representatives) in a telephone conversation they allegedly had. Hear this: “you this Housa boy, you want to bring down the government of my husband; you want to disgrace him out of power? Una no fit! God no go allow you.’’ She allegedly railed at Tambuwal on the grounds that the ex Speaker as it were, nursed presidential ambition. Tambuwal, it was learnt, confided in David Mark with the aim of having him mediate on the matter all to no avail.
Embattled ex governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu says people of the North did not forgive Madam P over her statement at a political rally in that part.
She is alleged to have said: “our children no dey born children wey dem no dey count, our men no dey born children trowey for street; we no dey like people from that side.’’ See? What had this got to do with votes and voters? Observed from any prism, one will always come to the conclusion that Goodluck Jonathan ’s failure had bold imprints of his wife’s written all over it.
One is strongly of the view that if he had asserted his authority as the man of the house, his wife would have controlled her gaping mouth which she ran and unleashed with devastating effects on whom and wherever she deemed fit.
But bro Jona was not your ‘Buhari’ who once dismissed his wife’s claim of being sidelined from the scheme of things by simply saying that her place is in the kitchen and the other room. Nigerians did not spare him even as the womenfolk drew blood and brimstone.
Goodluck Jonthan was a meek president – one that bent over backwards for anything including the monumental sleaze that sullied his administration. But Nigeria is no country to be led by a man of Jonathan hue. Truth be told, one needs some grit such as paraded by the enfant terrible of Nigerian politics, Gov. Ayodele Fayose and that of his counterpart in Rivers State, Barr Nyesom Wike and a good dose of it like Obasanjo, to navigate the tidal waters of the Nigerian presidency. It’s not a cake work here.
Even the hitherto steely willed Buhari has since discovered this hence the reason he solicits for prayers and a plea for rest every other day. One should be a dove and a snake to survive here.
In the final analysis, I wager that ex president Jonathan should have let bygones be bygones. Even if he is still embittered by the manner he lost the poll plus the betrayal he claims he suffered, it would have been wise and fitting to have maintained the stoic equanimity that saw him earn wide acclaim following the air of refreshing resignation he displayed after losing the election to Buhari and the APC.
One needs to tell him that silence is still golden. The regret many harbour today over his presidency is still fresh and still pains. Those from his homestead are not smiling.
Those of us here know all too well that Goodluck Jonathan ’s presidency is better not recalled. One only but wonders when someone from this part will occupy Aso Rock again in order to undo the damage wrought by Jonathan in cahoots with our ‘strongmen’ who looked the other way while our then president flopped and floundered a great opportunity bestowed on him by mother luck to salvage the South-South geopolitical zone from its years of neglect and woes.
They all kept mute and joined in the frenzy of the moment. They were all accomplices by their criminal taciturnity. One recalls with angst in the heat of the 2015 electioneering when, as then candidate of PDP, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan came to Akwa Ibom State to campaign.
When it was time for him to address the teeming crowd, he conceded that he did nothing for the people in his 6-year or so reign as president, but solicited their support with the promise to right the wrong when elected!
Today, we lay all blames on Buhari for the state of affairs including those things that should have been a given had Goodluck been proactive. He wasn’t and had the ill luck of being surrounded by wrong people who were only ingratiating themselves with him for what they could gain and not for the general good.
If those that had his ear told him the truth and impressed on him to curtail the excesses of his wife, maybe he would still be president today! If one had told him that power is transient, maybe, he would have taken the right decisions and begun charity at home.
But he took coals to Newcastle. If he had combined politics with the right policies, the 2015 disaster would have been way minimal. But he watched five governors dump the party without uttering a word. He allowed some governors become lords of manor and told him everything except what could have helped him. Impunity reigned in his the party. Election became selection. The party deified individuals and demonised a larger chunk of its members while making mincemeat of our institutions.
Goodluck Jonathan, by all means, reserves the right to blame those he feels betrayed him, but methinks it is logical and wise if he remains in his cocoon and luxuriate in the eulogies pouring his way for his show of sportsmanship after his defeat, focus on his drive to assemble the shredded umbrella of his party rather than treat us to canticles and tales of those that made him lose election. We already have a potpourri of unnerving thorny issues to contend with.
By Kenneth Jude
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