It appears to me, that a set of Nigerians are yet to get used to the fact that Goodluck Jonathan is no longer Nigerian president. We recall before the March 28 election, in their bid to show him their “love”, they threatened to make the country ungovernable should their benefactor get sacked from his job.
Watching closely, some Jonathanians (incorrigible supporters of the former president), still carried on even after he has been defeated. These are the most loyal supporters you will find anywhere in the world. After he had “conceded” defeat to his arch-rival, General Muhammadu Buhari, this class of Jonathanians made him their “worshipful master” or hero who is infallible and untouchable.
As far as this writer is concerned, these are nothing but tribal pirates, religious buccaneers, and ethnic bigots. This class was created thanks to Jonathan leading “our son’s” government. Since President Buhari has not yet appointed “our son” into his government, Jonathan is regarded as “the best President Nigeria has ever produced”. This is logic, as far as Jonathanians are concerned!
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah needs no introduction. His credentials as a social critic are quite glittering, though he cannot fall into the class of giants like Desmond Tutu. His role as a member of the National Peace Committee during the tensed moments of the March 28 election is also not to be swept away with the wave of the hand. These are his exclusive privilege which no one can take away from him! The question I asked myself only recently when I heard of Bishop Kukah’s recent widely reported interview is: “What went wrong?”
Just recently, the National Peace Committee led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar paid a courtesy visit to the President. There were several rumours as regards the intents of the visit. The issues became clearer some days ago when Bishop Kukah, who incidentally is the spokesman of the Committee, gave a shocking interview.
Before I wrote this piece, I had to read the Bishop’s statements severally. Please permit me to quote him (on the on-going probe by Buhari’s government):Â “There is no such thing as probe in a democratic setting like ours. What obtains is investigation, and once people lead and things are not right, investigation becomes necessary.
“However, in doing that we must never be distracted from spectacular actions undertaken by former President Jonathan. He is an individual.”(Italics mine). In the same interview contains an unsolicited advice to President Buhari to “face his work”. If I had not known Bishop Kukah well enough, I would have sworn he is an incorrigible Jonathanian or GEJite as they are sometimes called. If not a Jonathanian, who will argue this way?
For Kukah’s records, getting rid of corruption is part of Buhari’s job on which platform he was elected, as contained in Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution and I quote, “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.” This is a bold political objective which any sane President will be willing to pursue.
So, we agree with the clergyman on this: Buhari is busy with his work and he is not distracted at all. Again, with due respect to the “spectacular actions undertaken by former President Jonathan” this writer insists he is not insulated from taking responsibility for the administration he presided over. So President Buhari has a constitutional responsibility, and it must be carried out!
In my search for what the clergyman meant by “spectacular actions undertaken by former President Jonathan”, an insight came when I read the transcript of another interview he recently granted. Many watched Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise, where he appeared as a guest on Saturday August 13, 2015 where he spoke really like the Jonathanians I know. Among other things, he criticised the Buhari administration and called Jonathan a hero. How faithful a Jonathanian can one be?
Let us bring the clergyman’s interview into clearer perspective. On the said interview, he echoed two traditional pro-Jonathan arguments. First, he criticised Buhari for being too slow. We need to remind the Bishop about Aesop’s fable, The Hare and the Tortoise. The moral of that story is very simple: Thoroughness and quality count for more in the long run than speed. The race is usually not to the swift as there is no sense in starting fast and ending poorly. How often has the Bishop heard this told?
His second point, perhaps the Jonathanians’ strongest, is that Jonathan is a hero. He is a hero because he conceded defeat in an election he clearly lost. This perhaps was what he meant by “spectacular actions” he took. He is a hero therefore should not be investigated. He is immune from being called to account for his stewardship just because he accepted he lost an election. Apart from this argument being superficial, I find it even more ridiculous coming from a clergyman.
For the purpose of clarifications, former President Jonathan did Nigeria no special favour. If there was any favour done, it was Nigerians that did him a great favour. Nigerians gave him the privilege to lead them for about 6 years; they gave him shoes he once did not have; if the same Nigerians that gave him shoes say they do not want him anymore, does he have any other choice but to vacate that office?
Maybe the clergyman meant that Jonathan did himself a favour by choosing to leave peacefully. In any case, since he lost the presidential election, he is duty-bound to leave. All those who have lost elections in Africa have left office, so Jonathan did nothing special. Laurent Gbagbo is facing the International Criminal Court (ICC) for refusing to vacate office peacefully in Ivory Coast in 2012. Maybe Jonathan was only trying to avoid that embarrassment. If heaven did not fall in Gbagbo’s case, it could not have fallen in Jonathan’s. In any case, we thank him for his contributions, but he must be called to account for his stewardship. This alone is beyond emotions!
In fighting corruption, as a new saying in Nigeria asserts, corruption fights back. You have to get your footings right in dealing with the systemic corruption that has brought us this backward. We need to know how many jobs can be created with $20 billion missing from the NNPC coffers.
We are interested in the number of industries that could have been created with that amount. We want to be in the comity of responsible nations so that we can have investors’ confidence. We are interested in preventing goats from finishing our hard-harvested yams. My unsolicited advice to President Buhari at these trying times is to vet the advice he listens to. As far as I am concerned, Bishop Kukah is only playing Jonathan’s cards with the likes of Ayo Oritsejafor in the self-appointed National Peace Committee. Maybe he has genuine intentions; one may not be too sure. This is only a personal opinion!