JONATHAN GOODLUCK AND DAME PATIENCE GOODLUCK JONATHAN: MIRROR IMAGES OF THE NIGERIAN QUANDARY
Since society is attributively organic and inorganic in its nature, therefore, one can seek the understanding of what a society is, from the prism of people relative a society. Predicated on this premise, this article sets out to contend that Jonathan and Dame Patience Goodluck-Jonathan personify the problems that have rendered Nigeria a failing state.
To begin with, a nation, on a specific note and a civilization, on the broad range, is made by the education that grows its people. It is education that develops, moulds and engrains the minds of the people constituting a nation with the developmental traits, which ultimately, transforms into the physical indexes that are seen and used in gauging a nation’s growth and development. It is through education that variety of problems, human, societal, environmental are researched and ideas articulated on how they can be solved. This is why education is a nation’s problem-solving centre. However, in the Nigerian case, from being a problem-solving- centre, our institutions of learning have sadly been transformed into problem-creating and corruption breeding grounds, which turn out uneducated graduates, sophisticatedly incubated crooks, who, following a sadistic and cyclic trend, unleash their crookedness on the state and start the process time and again by replicating their likes through biological and fraternizing means. From the standpoint of gross underfunding of our institutions at all levels, one needs no extraordinary logic to discern why Nigeria is donning a despicable and ghetto-like jagajaga appearance.
Therefore, since we have decided to kill the problem-diagnosing and solving-centre, then, the end result is what Nigeria is witnessing as a gravely diseased state. Also, the level of corruption in our country is a reflection of the corruption that prevails in our education sector. Moral, academic and financial corruptions have not only reached alarming proportion in our various places of learning, also, they have sadly become integral parts of our learning culture. We have educational handlers, academic and non-academic, that occupy places not merited. Our educational centres, particularly, the public ones, are populated by bribe-takers, certificate forgers, plagiarists, fund looters, abusers of oath of service and those who receive monthly salary for services not rendered. On our campuses, grades trade for money, sexual-pleasure and etcetera. Also, students engage in all sorts of malpractices with parents as aiders and abetters. Therefore, if Nigeria is to experience a positive and enduring change, all we need, is to re-make, retool and give our education, its traditional role and as a well-facilitated problem diagnosing and solving centre.
The question now is, does Jonathan Goodluck posses the credentials needed to solve the Nigerian education crises? If the proverb, "Nemo dat quod non habet" which means “you can not give what you don’t have” is anything to go by, one may be saying the obvious that Jonathan Goodluck lacks the aptitude to either initiate solutions to, or o preside over the problem-solving attempts in our educational sector. This is for the simple fact that educationally, Jonathan is a patient who is dire need of a doctor’s service. Jonathan is by all standards, a good example of sub-standard doctoral degree holders that the Nigerian education system has produced. It is sad to note that, a man who has been awarded a doctoral degree and worked as an education inspector, lecturer, and environmental-protection officer, for years, does not understand the simple rules of grammar. As pointed out by Farooq A. Kperogi, a Nigerian-born scholar that is resident in the United States, Dr Jonathan language is “awful. He doesn’t seem to be aware that there is something called subject-verb agreement, as evidenced in statements like, “I wish to thank the esteemed members of the Council on Foreign Relations for its continued interest in Nigerian affairs,” “issues of corruption bothers us,” etc. And “Muslim faithfuls”? Well, there is no word like “faithfuls” in the English language, Mr. Acting President. And by “sectoral crisis between Muslims” did he mean “sectarian crisis between Muslims”? Hmm.” If Jonathan does not know the difference between “sectoral” and ‘sectarian,’ and the elementary rules of subject-verb agreement, then, one may logically submit that, Jonathan is educationally unfit to preside over the solution-finding attempts to mass failure in English language in our secondary schools.
Also if Jonathan, a doctoral degree holder in zoology would utter un-zoological statements such as “we are diverse in terms of different human species,” then, one may be saying the obvious that Jonathan cannot proffer solution to the Nigerian education problem. If, as pointed out by Farooq A. Kperogi, “a putative Ph.D. in zoology (the branch of biology that studies animals, including humans) doesn’t know enough to know that all humans belong to the same species,” then, it may be illogical to expect such an individual to churn out a pragmatic and effective roadmap on how we can solve our education problems at our levels.
It is sad to note that like her husband, Dame Patience Jonathan-Goodluck also posses questionable and defective educational credentials. Madam Patience, holder of National Certificate of Education (NCE) in Mathematics/Biology from the Rivers State College of Arts and Science, and a bachelor’s degree in Biology/Psychology from the University of Port Harcourt, one may be prompted to conclude, belongs to the generation of Nigerian students who obtained their degrees through fraudulent means.
As documented by Farooq A. Kperogi, despite a bachelor’s degree, it is weird and mirthful to hear Madam Patience, “Our politics is without bitterness, my husband Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and Sambo is a very good people, !”; “the president was once a child and the SENATORS WERE ONCE A CHILDREN”; “my fellow widows”; “the people sitting before you here were ONCE A CHILDREN”; “it is not easy to CARRY SECOND in an international competition like this one”; “the bombers, who BORN them? WASN’T it not a woman? They were ONCE A CHILDREN, now A ADULT, now they are bombing women and children making SOME CHILDREN A WIDOW”; “my heart feels sorry for these CHILDREN WHO HAVE BECOME WIDOWS by losing their parents for one reason or another”; “We should have love for our fellow Nigerians irrespective of their NATIONALITY”.
From the foregoing, it amounts to saying the evident that Jonathan Goodluck and Dame Patience Goodluck-Jonathan are mirror images of how defective is the Nigerian educational system. If a quote which reads, “My doctor says that I have a malformed public duty gland and a natural deficiency in moral fibre,' he muttered to himself, 'and that I am therefore excused from saving Universes,” (credited to Douglas Adams, a prominent English writer and dramatist) is anything to go by, Jonathan would need to excuse himself from presiding over and on the discourse on the Nigerian education. Since it is also rational that Nigerians should borrow a leaf from Erma Bombeck’s counsel that “Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died,” then, it will be a disservice to wisdom by allowing a man who is grown by dead education and whose doctorate degree is dead to preside over our affairs.
At this juncture, attention will now be focused on the issue of integrity, corruption and the Nigerian state. While some exponents are of the opinion that the lack of integrity and not corruption is the root of the Nigerian problems, others have either argued the other way round or considered both factors as the core of our problem. Based on the concept of cause and effect, I have informed basis to toe the line of those who consider, dearth of integrity, the hub of our problem. It is a known fact all over the world Nigerians are looked down upon as people who cannot be trusted. There was a time we were making efforts to convince a company to invest heavily in portable water projects in different parts of Nigeria. This company works in collaboration with one Asian-based Non-Governmental Organization in undertaking portable water projects based on the philosophy of Build, Operate and Transfer. While at the advanced stage of our deliberation, we requested that the company should allow us submit to the appropriate Nigerian authority, a detailed proposal on this project. They declined. Why?, one would want to know. It was said that if given such document, the Nigerian government will hijack the idea and sell it out to another body to execute.
On patriotic grounds, we insisted otherwise, but, in our minds, we knew, that was the bitter truth. When I shared this experience with a friend who has been working in conjunction with some young entrepreneurs in Nigeria, he confirmed the fears exhibited by the Asian-based company as the Nigerian reality. He narrated how they initiated some ideas which gave birth to some projects which were later proposed to some Nigerian government officials for implementation. He recounted how approval issued for the projects’ execution was reneged and given to another company that knows nothing about these projects. In either of these narrations, the common denominator is that Nigerians are seen as people who will never honour agreements. Failure to honour agreement will often create mistrust and mistrust will create atmosphere of suspicion which in turn will give birth to the feelings of animosity and hence, instability.
If Nigeria and Nigerians are now synonymous with distrust, then, the refusal of Jonathan Goodluck to honour his party’s constitution on zoning (PDP Constitution,Section 7.2.c), clearly suggests that Jonathan is what distrust is to Nigeria and what Nigeria is to distrust. Section Section 7 (2) (c) of the PDP constitution which backs zoning reads “…in pursuant of the principle of equity, justice and fairness, we adhere to the policy of rotation and zoning of party and elective offices at all levels.” Jonathan, a man who, according to records, not only witnessed the PDP’s deliberation on zoning but also voted in favour of zoning, later made a U-turn and 360 degree turnaround by distrustfully stating that, “Either by virtue of the PDP Constitution,… the presidency of Nigeria has never been zoned to any part of the country. There is the concept of zoning and rotation in the PDP constitution to encourage power to move from one part to the other and it is not limited to the Office of the President”.
If the number one in Nigeria, the supposed father of the nation will distrustfully deny the obvious, it has only shown that he is living the much held view that Nigeria and Nigerians are now synonymous with distrust. Little wonder, Shehu Abdulqadr wisely submits, “The state itself is nothing but its leadership and a leader is a reflection of the society that produces him.” If being a Nigerian is what Reuben Abati describes thus, “you must learn the lesson that nothing is ever fair, and that indeed anything is possible,” then, by denying zoning, Jonathan deserves to be elevated to Grade A Emeritus of a truly Nigerian.
Therefore, if Nigerians consider distrust a national disaster that should be fought at all fronts, Jonathan is therefore not a reliable hand that can be looked up to spearhead such must-win battle because his action inspires Nigerians more to distrust than to honouring pledges. If as stated Vincet Lombardi, there must be truth in the purpose and will power in the character for a leadership to be based on truth and character, therefore, Jonathan, a man who contemptibly disregarded an agreement to which he was a party and called the bluff of his party’s constituent, lacks the wherewithal that is required to lead based on truth and character.
Since corruption is what I consider the effect of distrust, therefore, focus would now be on how Jonathan and his wife are mirror images of the Nigerian dilemma. One of the reasons why Nigerians are looking for alternative to the ruling PDP is because it has earned itself the infamous appellation as party of looters. Corruption is in truth not just a PDP problem; it is in reality, a problem that is affecting most Nigerians. Corruption is so pervasive in Nigeria that if a Yoruba man accuses an Igbo man of being corrupt, the latter would as a defence; mention the names of the Yorubas who have looted the country to stupor.
Jonathan, the man who is a truly Nigerian, has on a number of occasions exhibited this trait. Virtually all aspirants have alleged Jonathan to be ruling and heading a government of corrupt persons. Although these aspirants are merely saying what prevails in the minds of most Nigerians, the PDP is saddened that Buhari, a leading Presidential aspirant in the ongoing democratic dispensation is favoured by the electorates because he is seen as an incorruptible person. Realizing this as his strength, Buhari has focused his campaign on anti-corruption crusade. Overwhelmed by the effects of this on his electoral worth, Jonathan, a typical Nigerian, warned Buhari in particular that, he and Ribadu are no apostles of anti-corruption and that he will expose them as members of the corrupt empire. To argue his case, Jonathan cited the case of the controversial 52 cases which was allegedly smuggled into the country in 1984 during Buhari’s regin as the Head of State. This was in reaction to a case of $13.5 million Dollars (US) and another N104 million money laundering case involving Jonathan and his loving wife, Aunty Patience which Buhari’s campaign team has been making issue of. Therefore if Nigerians are interesting in overcoming the crisis of corruption, one direction not to direct our gaze at is that of Goodluck because it reminds us why our resources are not used in providing for our daily needs.
On a concluding note, since it has been established that Jonathan Goodluck and his wife, Aunty Dame are mirror images of the Nigerian quandary, then, if we desire a better future, it is only logical that Nigerians should seek change and a better future in other individuals who are aspiring to lead Nigeria.
Adebiyi Jelili Abudugana, a former Unilag student union leader can be reached through [email protected]