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Date Published: 07/05/10

Jonathan’s ‘gods’ are not to blame By Jude Egbas


There was something esoteric, eerie and ethereal about his rise to the throne as Nigeria’s substantive president on the morning of May 6, 2010. You got the feeling that Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the man who now stood before the Chief Justice of Nigeria, reading and being read the oaths of his office, was ordained by the ‘gods’—to clean the augean stable that is Nigeria and bring succour to the vast majority of its 150 million suffering people. It was almost surreal: that the son of a peasant farmer in Nigeria’s Delta region would rise so quickly to becoming the number 1 citizen of Africa’s most populous country almost overnight, from the hallowed confines of the Ivory Tower. 

Religious groups went berserk as did those who believed in traditional forms of worship. His name ‘Goodluck’, further served to buoy those who held that he was nothing short of an offering from the ‘gods’—God sent and divine—the man who would eventually put Nigeria aright. Were the ‘gods’ wrong? Is Jonathan singing from the same song sheet held by his thieving predecessors? Is he a chip off the old PDP block; that most corrupt of blocks with the sole agenda to further pulverising the people? 

Six months after becoming President and two months after ascending the throne consequent upon the death of his predecessor, it is beginning to look like ‘the gods’ may have gotten this one wrong. This may yet be early days to adjudge Jonathan’s Presidency, but for a man who has less than a year to run his term, I am afraid even with a four year tenure, he would not be any different. Most of his steps have been couched in missteps. The signs are worrisome from Ogoja to Abuja and Zamfara to Kwara. He certainly doesn’t cut the picture of a reformer, he lacks gravitas and panache and is beginning to wine and dine with some of the most graft minded persons in the land. 

All of which makes Jonathan not any different from the army of politicians in Nigeria who have brought the country called Nigeria to its knees. We were not expecting anything different from another card carrying member of the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP), mind you, but we expected a man on whom the ‘gods’ have smiled on to at least conduct his business with some civility. We wanted Jonathan to cut a different picture because fate and providence were smiling at him; each willing and prodding him to be different. 

Every bit of news I have read on Jonathan in the past couple of weeks, makes me sick to my stomach. He has been caught talking from both sides of his mouth in recent times. Take the Bankole EFCC report for instance. Is he in possession of same or is he not? I guess, like those before him, we may never find out the truth. And then we learnt of his ‘Owambe’ visit to Canada in the company of several hangers on who had no business in his entourage. As we try to dismiss all these reports with a wave of the hand, we open several dailies to read of a certain 10 billion naira sum that has been set aside to mark Nigeria’s golden jubilee in a country where 80 percent of the population still live below the poverty line. 

Before now, mind you, we have read of reports of Jonathan sitting astride reports indicting serving or past politicians ostensibly to curry favour and support for his 2011 presidential ambition. 

Whether by default or design, Jonathan is veering off course from the blueprint the ‘gods’ may have set before him. He is gradually becoming tiresome and burdensome—yet another politician with lying lips and ulterior motives; reeking of subterfuge, manipulation and deceit. And in unison, the ‘gods’ are wondering where they got it wrong. 

But this is in no way their own making. If and when Jonathan gets back to his senses, he would realise that the presidency of this nation was thrust on his laps to be used for the wellbeing of all Nigerians. He would realise he was presented with a golden chance; a once in a lifetime opportunity to write his name in gold in the country’s annals—the first man from the country’s Delta region to be so honoured—but who blew it with Nigerian inefficiency. He would learn that there are several domestic problems to resolve and the Power Sector is chief of them all. 

Only then would he look up above, to the ‘gods’ for an answer; another chance. But it would have been too late. The ‘gods’ could be ruthless in that sense.

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