President Jonathan: Africa's Man Of The Year
Conscientious Leader. Nigerian Patriot. African Exemplar
-Attorney Patryk Utulu**
My team and I have spent the last 3 days researching every “leadership transition” in the 54 nations of Africa starting since Libya (1951) and Egypt (1952) became the first African nations to gain political independence. (Yes, we researched Ethiopia too, starting from Emperor Haile Selassie, even though Ethiopia was already a nation for over 1000 years before Jesus was born).
What did we find?
That fewer than 18 African leaders have ever voluntarily handed over power to their successors. YES, FEWER THAN 18 OUT OF OVER 225 AFRICAN LEADERS!!!
It is always difficult to disprove a negative: like forcing a man to demonstrate that he was never pregnant. So we grant the dim diversity that from either ignorance, mischief, malice or primitive inability to be gracious some Nigerians will continue to spew the willful delusion that voluntarily giving up power is so politically normal. Those are also likely to be the same people who, for the past six years, have publicly spurted hate-filled certainty that nothing but political evil schemes should ever be expected from President Goodluck Jonathan. Granted, there is no law against primitive arrogance. But Nigerians should know that it does not matter what the naysayers say or believe. The judgment of the world has been swift. Global political stakeholders and historians have already released their combined first draft and rendered their dispassionate conclusion: that President Jonathan’s voluntary decision to put his nation’s well-being above his personal ambition saved thousands of Nigerian lives and averted what could easily have morphed into Nigerian Civil War II. Greater heroism our nation has never known.
FACTS MUST BE AS STUBBORN AS SOME PEOPLE ARE DELUSIONAL: So Nigerians must be reminded of our history of violent transitions of political power. We are a nation of homicidal coup plotters. There are those who would keep pretending that Dr. Jonathan gave up power because this election showed a mandate. A fair win is a fair win but Gen. Muhammadu Buhari merely won a plurality. Regardless, even indisputable national mandates have NOT always guaranteed peaceful transfers of political power. On June 12, 1993, Chief MKO Abiola won the freest and fairest all-corners-of-Nigeria presidential election. Rather than the Presidency however, he was harassed, jailed, tortured and then murdered.
BUT THE 2015 ELECTION HAS BRUTALLY HONEST MESSAGES FOR ALL NIGERIANS. THAT: (1): the notion of ONE-NIGERIA IS NOW AND FOREVER IRREVERSIBLY DAMAGED; (2) Party-APC is now the party of the Nigerian North-East and North-West while Party-PDP is now the party of the South-East and South-South; (3) the Christianity versus Islam leadership divisions within the South-West AND the Christianity versus “Geography” confusion within the Middle Belt (North-Central) have crystallized to the point that these two political zones will henceforth provide enough political battle ground to enable APC and PDP to keep pretending that there would ever again be a President of ALL Nigerians; and (4) come election times SOME Nigerians will never again be citizens of ALL parts of Nigeria. (Humans do not voluntarily give up winning formulas: once violence and credible threat of violence backed by unpunished deadly consequences resulted in the disenfranchisement of political opponents, the terror tactic is here to stay).
FACTS ARE STUBBORN: OUR LEADERSHIP TRANSITIONS HAVE BEEN HOMICIDALLY VIOLENT. SEE THE LIST FROM 1960 INDEPENDENCE:
President N. Azikiwe (1960-1966) – Overthrown: Military coup
Prime Minister T. Balewa (1960-1966) Overthrown/Killed: Military coup
Maj-Gen. JT Aguiyi-Ironsi (1966-1966) Overthrown/Killed: Military coup
General Y. Gowon (1966-1975) Overthrown: Military coup
General M. Mohammed (1975-1976) Overthrown/Killed: Military coup
Maj-Gen. O. Obasanjo (1976-1979) Resigned voluntarily***
President S. Shagari (1979-1983) Overthrown: Military coup
Maj-Gen. M. Buhari (1983-1985) Overthrown: Military coup
General I. Babangida (1985-1993) Forced Out: intra-Military squabble
Chief E. Shonekan (1993-1993) Overthrown: Military coup
General S. Abacha (1993-1998) Died in office: poisoning suspected
General A. Abubakar (1998-1999) Resigned***
President O. Obasanjo (1999-2007) Resigned involuntarily
President U. Yar’Adua (2007-1010) Died in office: natural causes
Now, President (Dr.) Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (2010-2015). Our impunity and primitive blood-lust data is shown in black and white, above. Military coups and killing of our leaders have been so rampant that giving up power peacefully has been almost un-Nigerian. Undeniably General Buhari’s victory is a victory for our democracy but, please, let’s STOP pretending that President Jonathan giving up power voluntarily and peacefully is not a big deal. It is a big deal worldwide. It is a big deal for an African leader so to do. It is an even bigger deal in our nation of violent military coups. Our history is both raw and recent. After all it is NOT as if Nigerians have forgotten the bloodletting and lives lost after the 2011 election.
Therefore, as Chinua Achebe would have harshly whispered: a nation whose democracy has been strengthened and citizens’ lives spared by the selfless act of a great man should, at a minimum, not forget to be silently thankful.
Attorney Patryk A. Utulu
U.S.-based Attorney & Strategic Communications Specialist
Global Defense Analyst and Global Events Commentator
Executive Vice President, Nigerian Diaspora-North America
Executive Director, The Center 4 Community Empowerment & Lifeskills, Inc
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