PRESIDENT JONATHAN'S CROSS
I DO not envy Dr Goodluck Jonathan his dilemma after the 'landslide' or 'moon slide' victory he secured from Nigerians by garnering over 22 million votes while his rival, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari recorded 12 million votes to come, perhaps, a distant second.
I felt sorry for Buhari whose draconian Decree 4 sent two leading journalists Nduka Irabor and Tunde Thompson of the Guardian stable, into the cooler for publishing the truth when he trotted the corridors of power with another non-smiling General, the late Tunde Idiagbon.
General Buhari may have foreseen his defeat at the polls even before the elections were conducted. During his epoch making display of tears at a news conference in Abuja, he recalled that throughout his long service to Nigeria as military officer, military commanding officer, as Minister of Petroleum Resources, Director of Petroleum Trust Fund and as a former Military Head of State from December 1983 to August 1985, before he was elbowed out of power by the gap-toothed General IBB, he intoned: 'I have never stolen one kobo from the Nigerian Treasury'.
I knew from then on that he was not going to win and the realisation that in spite of his holier-than-thou profile in public office, Nigerians would not vote for him.
A 'General' with a weak heart was, perhaps, not good enough for Nigeria, in these times when the wind of change was clearly in favour of 'bloody' civilians, most especially politicians of the new breed who are determined to transform Nigerian from its old, monolithic and divisive tendencies, driven along the lines of North and South dichotomy.
What I foresee as a mind-boggling cross on the shoulders of the innocent looking son of a fisherman from the gas-filled and crude oil devastated terrain of Otuoke in Bayelsa State is the fact that his victory was oversubscribed by almost a national consensus.
From the millions of voters from the far North peopled by Muslims, who in the distant past would have readily packaged their votes for fellow a Muslim, Buhari to Yorubas of Oduduwa land in the South West who could easily have played the spoiler's role and voted for Nuhu Ribadu, the anti corruption czar, who flew the ACN flag. They could have gone into a working alliance with Buhari's CPC and scuttled Jonathan's overwhelming electoral victory.
Then as we move away from the South West to the South East, where the Ohanaeze Ndigbo President General, Chief Ralph Uwechue, a confirmed Pan-Africanist and also a Pan-Nigerian had rallied all Igbos to file behind President Jonathan in the recent presidential elections and they all obeyed the clarion call of the Ndigbo leadership, and literally delivered their votes without any preconditions.
And for the South-South, their only son from a minority group whose bowels had provided the oil wealth that had sustained the country for 50 plus years, and had eagerly waited patiently like the Vulture, to have a shot at the presidency. For a fleeting four years(2011 - 2015), they can now savour with glee, power and glory, what strangers had always done in disdain, making us the proverbial ' hewers of wood and fetchers of water'.
And we, like the Middle Belters of the North, also rallied with us to ensure total and unmistakable victory, such that in the years to come, any Nigerian can aspire and even inspire all who can access power at the centre without let or hindrance, irrespective of place of birth, religion or ethnicity as equal stakeholders to partake in the democratic contest to reach the highest office in the land.
The burden of the cross placed on the shoulders of Mr. President has come into bolder relief now that it is time for sharing the spoils of office across the land. Already, between the South West and South East, there appears to be emerging, what seems to me, a tug of war over who gets the number three or four slot in the hierarchy of offices.
Who becomes the Speaker or Senate President is already brewing. Ministerial nominees are being compiled and everywhere, there is feverish feeling in the air and the Nigerian women who were promised the 35 per cent appointive positions would demand that Dame Patience Jonathan keep her word after they had voted massively for her husband. The pressure of delivering on election promises is as difficult as picking the right men and women as ministers.
One does not envy President Jonathan, especially in the wake of the post-election violence where 10 patriotic youth corps members were killed in Bauchi because some fanatical miscreants thought they were, perhaps, waging a 'Holy War' against some unbelievers, who had the effrontery to win the polls against what they perceived as their anointed son in Gen. Buhari.
Mr. WILLY BOZIMO, a commentator on national issues, wrote from Asaba, Delta State.