“…But as much dissatisfaction as I have for President Jonathan, I have been sentenced to loving him and to stand by his side.
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President and commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is a president grinding in the ‘wills’ of Oppression.
He may be a lucky man but he is certainly not a lucky president.
The President is oppressed. I know it sounds bizarre to think of the President as oppressed but such is the strangeness that has befallen him. If you disagree, you actually need to think more than you are doing now to be able to convince me otherwise. Your thoughts need to spring from another heart; not this self serving, parochial heart of yours, diseased with tribal sentimentality.
You need more than written words- no matter how well stratified, layered and tailored- to convince me otherwise; eloquence, oratory, a rhyme scheme that belittles Shakespeare’s will not do it. Why because, the facts stand tall, taller than the Everest.
Dr Jonathan emergence as President is punctuated with special circumstances and situations that make room enough for his oppression. You must have heard people allude that he sits on a northern seat- sorry- turn.
Of course you know he is from a minority tribe, don’t tell me to forget that; because in Nigeria cancelling out the role tribe and ethnicity play in our politics will be the mother of all stupidity.
His family name, Ebele, rings no bell. No military rob-on, not from himself, his father, his father’s mother. Unlike the other academic, he has no Turaki (General Shehu Yar’adua) for an uncle.
Apart from the circumstances that surround his rise to the presidency, haven’t you noticed that every one pokes their fingers into his eyes? Toni Kan writes, ‘I don’t envy Goodluck Jonathan’s ophthalmologist, whoever he may be, because he or she must have a hard time keeping the president’s vision sharp with every one poking their fingers into his eyes.’
The opposition, Pastors, former Presidents, former Ministers, the children on the streets of twitter and facebook, turbaned governors of the central bank, governors of states who want his job and the list is endless. If you argue that he is cause for the many fingers poked at him, my question is; what evil has Jonathan done that others before him did not do and do even better?
Lately I have commended the President more than I have condemned him and I owe no man under the sun any apology, including the array of persons who call in to say how much I have changed upon their reading my articles or hearing my mouthed position on issues of National concern.
They can’t be right, I have not changed, in standing for Jonathan, I stand for an oppressed man. I stand for a man victimized, quarreled, and insulted for the ‘wrongest’ of reasons.
Until, the negotiation between the G7 governors and the President broke down, I followed. I waited for their meeting- usually on Sundays- I read the position of the governors concerned.
What were their demands on the president? “Recognize my faction of the governor’s forum, restore to my hands the party structure of my state, sack the party chairman (now resigned), then, the more audacious one, confirm you wouldn’t be running for a second term.”
If there were more demands they all sounded like these ones we just mentioned. There were no demand, tasking the president to better performance, there were no allegations of sniper trainers, a to- kill- list, oil wells, water project and all the things we hear today.
It is true that there hasn’t been political assassinations that should make anyone tremble at the mere sight of the president, it is true that this president unlike others do not force party chairmen or others to resign at gun point, it is true that perhaps, this president does not know how to cork a gun, let alone a war veteran but, are these reasons good enough to oppress the President?
It is also true that he is the first president of a Nigeria state deeply rooted in the soil of the social media, true that, where he comes from, cannot boast of professors like the Yoruba’s, that they are not as numbering as the Igbos, that they do not have an array of former Heads of state, service chiefs, etc to parade like the Hausa- Fulani, but again, are these reasons enough to oppress the president or better still, to keep silent and watch him oppressed?
Just because you do not want people to begin to think you are in the president’s payroll- that would dent your hard earned reputation. Like most of you have expressed in your concerns, I have always stood and will always stand- as much as God gives me strength-for the oppressed, and by my training, silence in the face of injustice is itself unjust. And in my thinking an oppressed man is an oppressed man regardless of status.
Do I think the president should be criticized? I do not just think, I beg you to- please criticize him. I have and I still do criticize, fuel subsidy-cum-SURE P, the East-west road, increase in oil theft, the missing money, Stella Odua, the 2014 budget, his ‘body language’- corruption, his inability to make appreciable self sacrifice with regards to how much we hear the first family spends for spoons, folks, cutlery and on kitchen in general, the number of jets in his fleet, the number of cars that make up his convoy and lots more.
But again, if one is knowledgeable enough to condemn, he should be wise enough to commend when there is need to. Chinua Achebe tells us of an Igbo proverb; ‘that a man who does not know where the rain began to beat him cannot say where he dried his body.”
If one is strong enough to dig out the details of the evil that have come to surround us, he should be strong enough to also dig deeper to find out what the government has been able to do to seize the evil by the neck. The federal government is not your local government; it is not until your village tap bleeds water that you appreciate the efforts of the federal government in making potable water available. Nigeria is a big country, and if the collapsing of Nigeria has taken years, it will require even more years for a total transformation to take place. For, it is easier to build than it is to destroy.
As much as I am dissatisfied with Nigeria, as much as I hear and sometimes fall victim of all those bad stories I yet make conscious efforts to find out exactly what efforts government make to better things. Because I do know that, a half informed man is a more danger to the society than a stark illiterate.
In this administration, I have heard of, read and seen- ordinary Nigerians without godfathers -getting grants from the YOU-WIN program. Players in the manufacturing industry of our country have come out to say they have never had it this good. I have read that Jim O’Neill, the renowned British economist best known for coining BRIC- the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China- to represent the shift of global economic power away from the usual suspects, is at it again. This time, he has coined the MINT. The N in that acronym, standing for Nigeria. He calls them the ‘emerging economic giants’ to follow in the footsteps of BRIC. Have you noticed the growth in the GDP? Have you seen the rating of the economy by the international agencies? In 2009 Nigeria’s per capita income was $109.1. Today it is $ 1721, in 2007 average life expectancy in Nigeria was 47years. Today it is 52 years, in 2010 inflation was 15.60%. Today, it is 7.9%. In 2007 maternal mortality rate was 750 per 100,000 births. Today it is 580. Notice how well and transparent the privatization process of the power sector was carried out, a sharp deviation from all other privatization we have seen in this country; the southeast now has an international airport; see the reviving of the railways; see the 12 new federal universities in 12 states of the federation that had no federal universities; notice that 123 Almajiri Model schools equipped with Malam’s Quarters, Hostels, Qu’ranic Recitation Hall and Science laboratories have been completed while 277 are awaited; you must have seen the advert from ABC Transport Company ( a private company ) which announced the slashing of fares on the grounds that our roads have seriously improved; notice the 3389 Health Centre Nationwide, the national cancer screening centers nationwide ( one in the university of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital ), the heavy investments in the health sector by the GEJ’s administration have led to the first Stem Cell Transplant Surgery ever in Nigeria at UBTH in 2012, by October of same year UCH performed the first Open Heart Surgery in Nigeria. Under this administration, the football and sport sector witnessed an overhaul, the result of this overhaul is visible for all to see, and there is an ongoing revolution in the Agricultural sector.
These are not mere paper statistics, they are palpable and they can be seen, as much as I know there are more that have escaped my listing I also believe that, there are more to do; many more that can be done.
I believe that this administration deserves the support of anyone who wants the survival of this country, for we have never had it this good. I have not changed; I have just enlisted to support and in standing for GEJ, I stand for an oppressed man, I stand on who I have always been, for you, I leave you to your conscience- but I do know that, now and always, good prevails over evil.”