Dr. Ojoughoh, Et Tu Brute? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Columnists, The Roundtable

Dr. Ojoughoh, Et Tu Brute?

Posted: Jul 15, 2015 at 3:27 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

On seeing those he thought were his friends screaming “Long live the incoming king” even before the curtains had finally fallen on his administration, it suddenly dawned on a petulant President Goodluck Jonathan that not all smiling faces harbor smiling minds and that the typical Nigerian politician is deeply entrenched in the politics of “chop and clean mouth.” What galls me the most about our obtuse political elite is that even as they are “chopping and cleaning mouth,” majority of them are very ruthless and have no scruples using the same mouth to savage the hands that fed them as a matter of expediency!

It is understandable that the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) made Jonathan feel the full rigour of their tongue during his tenure, but to be equally subjected to jibes and name-calling by senior members of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP, must have hit Jonathan where it hurts the most. He must indeed be feeling like that cripple in an Igbo proverb who lamented that his wife sleeping with another man in his presence doesn’t bother him as much as the bad words they are saying about him.

“When a dog bites a man,” as the saying goes, “that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.” So, it is big news when a fellow South-Southerner and top party colleague in the person of Dr. Cairo Ojougboh unabashedly hangs Jonathan’s dirty linen in the market-place for Nigerians to behold and pinch their nostrils. Speaking recently in Abuja, the PDP National Vice-Chairman (South-South) unsparingly held Jonathan solely responsible for the party’s humiliating defeat in the immediate-past presidential election.

Hear him: “The reason the North decided to vote President Muhammadu Buhari is because Jonathan failed to honour a gentleman’s agreement…to serve a single term…Jonathan himself said he would do only four years. Emirs, leaders and stakeholders in the country accepted that Jonathan will do only four years so that power can shift to the North. When time came, a lot of ‘Macapa’ dances started. People started putting pressure here and there and people started encouraging Jonathan to contest.”

He then proceeded to deliver an upper-cut to Jonathan’s already-bruised psyche: “Unfortunately, Jonathan didn’t have the nerves to say No, I will keep my agreement…The North didn’t take kindly to that and they said ‘No’…Even the Christian North that used to be very friendly, especially the North Central, said ‘We had an agreement’ and five governors left because of that.”

Let’s say, just for the sake of argument, that Dr. Ojougboh is correct. Why now? “A truth,” averred English engraver and poet William Blake, “that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.” For crying out loud, Dr. Ojougboh was a very prominent member of the Chief E.K. Clarke-led Delta Elders Forum and a topmost member of the Southern Peoples Assembly. Their members consistently maintained that the ‘agreement’ was a mirage conjured up by those who believed that governance was their birthright.

They even contended that since the nation’s constitution had precedence over that of the party, all talk of agreement and zoning simply amounted to a mere academic exercise. Virtually everyone in the South-South, South-East and a large swathe of the North-Central concurred. This was of course when Dr. Ojougboh was a familiar face at Aso Rock Villa where he was always received with wide-open arms. He was even appointed chairman of a federal government parastatal reputed to be a high-yielding cash cow.

So, what has changed between then, when Dr. Ojougboh’s groups unleashed a stream of invective on former Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu and former President Olusegun Obasanjo for having the ‘animal boldness’ to publicly insist on the existence of such an agreement, and now, that he has chosen to deploy such wicked mandibular ‘koboko’ on a ‘kinsman’ already spreadeagled on the muddy ground of Otuoke?

The correct answer is that Jonathan lost and Buhari won. An adage says that when a man climbs a tree full of thorns, he is not doing it out of courage but because he wants to survive. It was touch-and-go for a while when, after the defeat they neither expected nor prepared for, strident voices arose from the South-East, South-South and sections of the South-West calling for the disbandment of the party’s national working committee.

Unless Jonathan’s motives were transcendental, I strongly believe his refusal to accept the post of the chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees exclusively offered him was wrong-headed. His refusal, and attendant lack of influence in the system, made his loyalists vulnerable and provided a life line to the other side to rally and regain the upper hand. Evidence abounds that Jonathan’s electoral defeat has radically altered the combinations and permutations of PDP politics and not everybody now wants to mimic the “We have no regrets for supporting Jonathan” monologue of South-easterners.

“Pure truth,” posited English clergyman and writer Charles Caleb Colton, “like pure gold, has been found unfit for circulation, because men have discovered that it is far more convenient to adulterate the truth than to refine themselves.” This is sadly the case with Dr. Ojougboh. He claimed five governors defected from the “Christian North-Central” and tried to use this ‘fact’ to explain why the North turned its back on the PDP’s presidential candidate.

On the contrary, out of the five governors that defected to the APC, only one is a Christian from the South-South and the only one from the North-Central is a Muslim. When all is said and done, Jonathan must be disbelievingly wondering like Julius Caesar did on a similar occasion: Et tu Brute?