Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: The Historical Turning Point In Nigerian Politics
This is the last week of the leadership of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. By this time in few days, he will be referred to as immediate past president, former president or Ex-president or by any other prefix desired by anyone depending on how whoever would want t address him.
The truth is that a new man would be on the block and that man is currently being referred to as President-Elect General Muhamadu Buhari. The truth also is that a new political record has been broken in Nigeria. Thank God for all the electoral intrigues which in split second like the pendulum swung the other way suddenly to the benefit of all that we now shout Uhuru!
Many of us were taken aback in our political calculations even up to the last minute! In our maze of thoughts, the big one happened. God spoke with a very loud small voice and the His hearer this time was not Samuel, but Goodluck Ebele Jonathan! The instruction was simple, clear and direct and swiftly too, yet it was obeyed to the letter. Suddenly there came peace like a river! My sense of probability failed me when the strongholds of the PDP.
I mean Adamawa, Niger, Benue Jigawa and oh Bauchi! Were ther loose gaps or manipulations in most northern states? That now is left for posterity to judge. As far as I am concerned, the blame game for GEJ ends in few days and the high impeccable expectations of Nigerians begin. No excuses. Mr. Remedy will be on the block he has promised to fix all with the speed of light! Thank God we celebrate 100 days in office in Nigeria.
The history of elections in Nigeria has been marred with violence from independence in 1960 to 2011. Every informed historian will never forget the “wars��� in the old western region with the political differences between late Samuel L. Akintola and late Chief Obafemi Awolowo of the Action Group and NCNC days. Can we forget the Ife/Modakeke crisis? Or is it possible to forget the Akin Omoboriowo NPN/UPN of old Ondo state of the 80’s? All these with their attendant death in thousands not to mention the civil war! Then of cause the military, who in their obstinacy, dealt death blows to innumerable families during their over thirty year’s misrule of Nigeria. All these cost us lives, properties and national setbacks.
Enter 1999 the new Democracy. Despite the trust vested in Obasanjo, he, at best led us to trust the least in electoral processes. Killings, disobedience of lawful court orders culminated destroying, instead of promoting Democracy. Between then and now your guess certainly is as good as mine in the record of thousands who have died needlessly in defense of our greedy rulers. Then enter Boko Haram (which nailed the government of Jonathan), and the anticipated blood sheared with all the if’s… if Jonathan loses, if Buhari wins. If Jonathan wins… if Buhari losses! But in split seconds, God cleared the air! So we all slept with our eyes closed and have been sleeping even better even days to the inauguration of the new government come May 29, 2015! God is great. This is one possibility least expected.
That faithful day, everyone woke up asking questions if the media were reading the wrong script at news time early in the morning. That Goodluck Jonathan threw in the towel just like that! Many were disappointed. But whether we liked it or not, the “happen has happened”- apologies to late Chief K.O. Mbadiwe, and everyone regardless of position, party, religion, tribe, creed, like or dislike were put in permanent SHUT UP! I was on the way to the Airport heading to Abuja early that morning and was confused whether to continue the journey or return. Courageously l travelled and arrived Abuja to the true reality that GEJ had actually heroically conceded defeat.
Then the surprise or is it shock? Right from the Airport to Wuse, Maitama, Asokoro etc in Abuja, nothing looked unusual. People were talking in small groups and minding their businesses. At Garki village, some people even in their joy went on rampage. Since then all have been quiet.
Many have written so much about the ills of the outgoing government and in praise of the incoming one. All the evils of Buhari suddenly were forgotten or forgiven and everything Goodluck Jonathan did become BAD! Hummm. I muttered. Maybe it was thought that some us were in some kind of slumber before now or had fizzled out having no steam any more or considered being deflated by the seaming defeat of GEJ. The truth is that there were no victor no vanquished. Every player in the game knew that very well. Again, the APC have been in wild sing song of victory yes. Today it is their turn, I mean the turn of the APC. Victory is not a birthright and we cannot all be on the same side of the divide. In a way the PDP should have a taste of failure too so they can put their house in order. That is why I make a laughing stock of all defector from the PDP to APC. They are all the losers in the new and coming democratic leadership.
So how did this man save Nigeria of the doom so obvious? It was Julius Caesar who said that it is difficult to see a man construction in the face. Agreed that GEJ have been apostle of no violence, one man one vote and given the theater of players during the end game, it looked so very obvious that trouble was unavoidable. But it was not to be. As we savour the peace which we now have, it occurred to me that it must be appreciated that we got here at a price too great and heavy and must not be taken for granted. Ghana was once faced with similar choice at a time, but then, it lined up their leaders and killed them in one fell swoop. That did not stop corruption. At best it postponed the evil day. Today, one critic in the same Ghana said the other day that it remains for the government to sell human being as they have taxed everyone and everything to the hilt.
Goodluck Jonathan’s government remained the most criticized in Africa and the president himself acknowledged it. But when it mattered most he chose to remember that “… his political ambition is not worth the blood of anyone” As it came to be known, stories have it that not even the wife of the president knew when he caught that moment to harken to the tiny voice of God. In Christendom, we say that “the spirit of God descended on him”. It did on King David twice as he gained possession of King Saul. Once David took Saul’s water Jar and arrow. Again he had another opportunity but he chose to cut off the edge of Saul’s robe. On both occasions, he choose not to kill even when the choice was his. Today, David is easily remembered as a man after God’s heart. Gehazi was another would have been great prophet but he lost it when at his turning point, he preferred a bribe from Naaman to the waiting leadership position for him. Ruth and Orpah were married to the children of Naomi. But when their husbands died, and Naomi wanted the wives to go but a turning point arose. Orpah choose to be with her people and her gods and her story ended there. But Ruth chose to go with Naomi and became part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ! Shall we go on? No this is not a class in theology.
Today, because Gadaffi could not offer the Goodluck’s humble option nor could Assad of Syria. These nations and more have known no peace since they refused to harken to reason and take the part of honour for the sake of mankind. We have growing Terrorism because as we say in Nigeria, I nor gree!!! If not me, no other! Mahatma Ghandi of India lived and died as a non-alliance crusader. He was not very popular then, but his simplicity gave India their strong democracy which is a reference point in world politics. But even when we strive to copy them, we fail to apply the same rule to ourselves because of the greed stint in our value system.
Those of us conversant with the bible truth know that there were many turning at which point telling ourselves the truth became inescapable. For instance there was a turning point when Moses despised the Kings palace and sided with his people; turning point was in the making as he delivered the Israelites from bondage. When Elijah and Elisha were parting ways, it was recorded that people were mocking Elisha because they knew that his master was leaving him. The mocker became the mocked at last when the mantle of leadership was finally handed to Elisha. Esau had an opportunity to remain the head of his family. But when the turning point came, he lost it for a plate of food. He never recovered and wept bitterly for the loss.
A reading of Charles Dickens – “Tale of Two Cities” confirmed that there was a time in French before the revolution when a bus could transport passengers for a distance of 500kilometers without anyone talking to one another for fear of being arrested. Nigeria was once in a near situation. Time were too, when assassins were on the prowl for any and every reason. Then in the USA, the likes of late Michael Jackson moved around with a hall full of paid security officers. Same time too, Lionel Richie when interviewed on what he did to protect himself, he said that when you are in a hall playing before an audience of more than ten thousand, anyone who want to kill him had a good chance. So, try as he would, he left his security largely in the hand of God. It must be acknowledged that whereas GEJ is going off the seat now, it must be memorable too that all through his tenure, not a single Nigerian was put behind bars, detained or arrested for any known or flimsy reason.
In Liberia, Sgt Samuel Doe, Charles Taylor and Johnson had the ripe opportunity to take the right decision but failed. Even as I write, their nation is yet to recover from the loss occasioned by the choice these rulers made at the expense of the life of the people when it mattered most. Eritrea did not have this luck, nor did Angola, South Sudan and many other countries. Where it to be so, we would not have wars all over the world compounding the problems of natural disasters and hunger in the mixed of plenty. Burundi is currently having a sour taste and have the choice of simple compromise now. Should they fail, the rugged and infamous part trudged by Liberia, and other like countries awaits them. South Africa would have been in the news for the wrong reason the other day with their sudden hatred for fellow Africans christened Xenophobia, but for the intervention of world leaders.
In South Africa, Frederick de Clerk had the choice to continue with the white regime just as Mr. Ian Smith and Butho did. But he chose the right side of history. The late South African icon Nelson Mandela had the choice of an elongated ruler ship or even revenge, but he chose the right side of history.
We were almost faced with these same circumstance and situations when Goodluck Jonathan decided to take the side of positive history and step out of the luxury of Aso Rock Villa. To explain it better, try and imagine yourself a Nigerian taking that decision. But the good news is that he has scored another first and killed the notorious notion that people do not leave the Villa same way they came as was the case with Abacha, OBJ, Yar’adua and IBB. Even after the First Lady survived 13 surgeries!!! GEJ Aluaa!! Welcome home!!
Let me ask one final question. Fmr president Olusegun Obasanjo, where are the thousands of Snipers purportedly trained by GEJ to distabilise the country so that he can continue to rule as you accused him of? These are some of the lies told to black mail only to promote their greed.
Finally, like him, hate him, ignore him or even do what you like. The truth is that GEJ has proved that elections in Nigeria may not be free, fair, and inconclusive or marred with unfair comments but without violence or death. Truly, “…his political ambition is not worth the blood of anyone.” Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has introduced a new political order in Nigeria.
Mike Akpati is a Public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt
Mike Ossai Akpati
God Is All Sufficient