Jonathan’s last card: ‘statesmanship’ | Independent Newspapers Limited
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On The Prowl

Jonathan’s last card: ‘statesmanship’

Posted: Apr 11, 2015 at 2:03 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

with Justin akpovi-esade

OUTGOING President Goodluck Jonathan is being hailed as a statesman because he conceded defeat in an election that was clear even to the blind that he would lose badly to his familiar rival, General Muhammadu Buhari.



And the question I am asking some Nigerians hailing him as a hero, is, what were they expecting him to do, dig in and refuse to give up and plunge the country into crisis? Were they actually expecting President Jonathan to dispute the election results that he was trailing by over two million votes with just one state (an opposition state for that matter) result left to be announced? Were they expecting Jonathan to act out the Ivory Coast’s former President Laurent Gbagbo’s script and turn our country into a killing field by refusing to concede defeat?

That would have been Jonathan’s biggest mistake in life, that is, if he had dug in and decided to follow up on ex minister, Godsday Orubebe’s macabre drama aimed at disrupting the results collation/announcement exercise. Although the ruling party, the People Democratic Party, PDP, had distanced itself from Orubebe’s shameful action, not many are convinced that there was no invincible powerful drummer beating the drums that Orubebe danced to, shamelessly, on national and international TV that fateful day.

President Jonathan is a very smart person; he wanted to leave a ‘legacy’ behind that will make some Nigerians forget his lackluster six year rule. He knew he was boxed in already, what with the international community breathing down his neck not to tamper with the outcome of the elections. The whole world including even his die hard supporters saw the signs that Jonathan would lose the election badly, and he would be tempted to manipulate the outcome and indeed, Orubebe tried to, but for the Independent Electoral National Commission, INEC chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega, who was not seized by the same ‘devil’ that took control of Orubebe, who effectively doused the tension and cowed the ex minister into silence, the story would have been different from what we are telling now.

Jonathan has succeeded in getting into the head of some Nigerians; he is now the ‘hero’ of democracy, he has succeeded in leaving a legacy behind, definitely not a legacy of good governance but that he saved democracy, he ‘saved’ our country from bloodshed. Yes, he did save us from bloodshed because had Jonathan refused to accept defeat, in a contest the whole world knew he had already lost, by now the army would not have just Boko Haram insurgents to contend with but angry Nigerians killing each other. So I ask; what manner of a man would have towed that part of infamy in 2015 just because he lost an election?

Let us examine carefully, Jonathan’s desperation to remain in office in the run up to the election held on March 28 and march it with his latter day statesman.

This was a man who hounded both real and imaginary political opponents or was Jonathan not president when the House of Representative Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and his supporters were locked out of the national assembly and they had to scale the high gates just because Tambuwal decamped to the then opposition All progressives Congress, APC? This same Tambuwal’s security detail was withdrawn by the Inspector General of Police acting, no doubt on the orders of the presidency. The IG of police was bold enough to tell a Senate committee on national TV that Tambuwal was no longer the Speaker (when no law court had not said so) and till date nobody queried him. A president who turned the blind side to this plus more is now the same person being hailed as ‘statesman’.

We all saw how Jonathan used the then Commissioner of Police of Rivers State, Joseph Mbu to nearly overthrow a democratically elected Governor Rotimi Amaechi. What about the Governor’s Forum election that 16 became greater than 19? Was a man like that who hurriedly recognized Jonah Jang as the ‘new’ chairman of the Governor’s forum is praised about a year later as the savior of our democracy?

How can Jonathan who supervised all those callous documentaries on opposition presidential candidate Buhari and other APC politicians during the campaign period be praised as a statesman just because he conceded defeat when it became clear he had been trashed so mercilessly?

A man who was so desperate he even enlisted the services of ethnic militia, OPC that ‘occupied’ Lagos State for three weeks, leaving destruction and brutality in their wake in the name of campaigning for his re-election, cannot be a statesman.

What about Rivers State where alleged ex (?) militants have taken over leaving death and destruction in their wake all in a bid to ensure someone was re-elected…

Come on, not all Nigerians can be fooled so easily. A statesman will run a clean campaign and not kneel down before pastors, Imams and Obas pointing some funny sticks at him in a fit of raw desperation. A statesman will not turn the blind eye when his supporters are killing and maiming people and destroying property. You cannot suddenly be a statesman in defeat when events leading to your defeat leave a sour taste in the mouth.

Jonathan is not any hero of democracy; he is not qualified to be a statesman yet. He joined the list of defeated presidential candidates and incumbent presidents. He was beaten and he had no choice than to throw in the towel, which any sane individual would do under that circumstance.

Jonathan played his last card effectively well, even though he had no option.