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The Macbeth in Jonathan

Posted: Apr 4, 2015 at 4:56 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

with Justin akpovi-esade

THERE is a bit of Macbeth, William Shakespeare’s character in the tragedy titled Macbeth, in our president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, especially with the role his wife, Patience, played in his ambition to be re-elected president of Nigeria after a  four years in office.



That is why Jonathan’s last feeble attempt to play the statesman by rushing to congratulate his main opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, did not fly with many Nigerians, when viewed against the backdrop of his desperation in the run up to the elections.

Shakespeare wrote Macbeth between 1603 and 1607. At a point in the play, the wife of the tragic hero, Lady Macbeth, was the one running the show after the Scottish General had received the prophecy from the three witches. A similar case with Jonathan when his wife, Dame Patience, was the one doing all the attacking of political opponents. Jonathan was viewed as an unwilling partner in the quest for re-election at a point, going by his laid back attitude matched against the fire spitting nature of his wife who never hid her desire to remain ‘First Lady’ for another four years. That was the typical Macbeth attitude in the Shakespearean classic.

Just like Macbeth, Jonathan did not heed to the warning to be beware of the Ides of March. He took to the advice of his minders (including his wife most probably) and postponed elections from February to March where he met his waterloo at the polls in the hands of the popular retired general of the Nigerian Army, Buhari. Jonathan went to the battle so confident of the ‘prophecy’ of some Obas (kings) that were pointing some native staff of office at him as he knelt meekly and undignifying in their midst (the three witches prophecy to Macbeth comes to mind here). Jonathan brushed aside the feelings of the people of Nigeria who will vote for him at the polls. He relied on the ‘prophecy’ of some washed out Nollywood actors and once upon a time popular musicians who he gathers at intervals and fetes with drinks and foods with of course ‘thank you for coming’ envelopes. He relied on the raw strength of ethnic war lords and militia who he used to terrorise the same people that he wants to vote for him. And he was actually expecting them to vote for him because his name is ‘Goodluck’ and he has been assured by everybody that is anybody that he will get re-elected because he is the best president Nigeria will ever get.

Even in the middle of severe petrol scarcity and pump price hike, Jonathan, because he had been assured by the ‘three witches’ still believed he would become ‘king’ of Nigeria for another four years. And he did everything short of killing Buhari (unlike Macbeth did King Duncan) to ensure he won last Saturday’s election.

If Jonathan had not been living in his own small world cocooned from the realities on the ground in Nigeria, why would he be carried away by any prophecy by any three or more ‘witches’ that he stood any chance at the polls? Did he feel all Nigerians are so dumb that he could manipulate them into re-electing him for another four disastrous years? Did President Jonathan think Nigerians are ready to be fed with daily doses of excuses for another four years, as to why he could not do all he swore to on assumption of office? Anyway, he has learnt his lessons the hard way and this is also a lesson for Buhari that Nigerians are becoming more aware and demanding of their leaders. Gone are the days that Nigerians would bend to some cheap sentiments like the ones Jonathan effectively whipped up in the last six years to cover for his lapses in governance.

Going forward, no leader should listen to any prophecy from either three or two million ‘witches’. If you do not perform well, you will be kicked out of office like Jonathan has been kicked out of office. You cannot employ the services of paid and unpaid sympathisers who run around daily showing the people ‘development’ as if they are blind. You cannot have a minister in the mould of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala who has been busy telling Nigerians that our economy is the biggest and best in the world when the people can hardly feed. There is no stable electricity, no security, no good roads, corruption has gone haywire yet the woman minister keeps insisting all is well… in fact, Okonjo Iweala is among the ‘witches’ that deceived Jonathan into going to battle in March and got the beating of his life. Just like Macbeth, Jonathan did not heed the Ides of March warning.

Jonathan would have been the later day statesman long ago if he had thrown in the towel and backed out after the expiration of his first term. So calling to congratulate Buhari does not make him the statesman, a cloak too big for him to wear. You cannot behave unstatesmanly from day one to the last day and suddenly you want to leave some false legacy behind.

Of a truth, I do not know what Nigeria would have become had Jonathan won another four years in office. I don’t want to even imagine it.

Nigerians have never been this divided before the coming on board of Jonathan as president. The social media further exposed the division among us. Young people now confidently spew hate messages and display xenophobic tendencies. Another four years under Jonathan, Nigerians would have ended up beating people to death in the fit of raw xenophobia in different geo political regions.

Just before I go, I will say congratulations to General Buhari. You fought a good fight, Nigerians who were fed up with Jonathan’s government of excuses voted for you. Do not disappoint us, if you do, we will kick you out in four years.