President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Of Nigeria hardly needs much introduction. Being the president of the largest oil producing country in Africa and the most populated country on that continent, he is a force ““ willingly or unwillingly – to recon with. It does not hurt that his names, Goodluck and Ebele (Mercy) seem to define the political life of this once relatively unknown Nigerian, who journeyed from the political oblivion to become the president of Nigeria, the10th most populous country in the world. Ordinarily, with its position in the world, Nigeria would be a juggernaut of a nation. A nation that would rattle the rest of the world whenever it has any hiccup. You now see why President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan ““ at least from the influential position of his country – is not just like any other president. There are presidents; and there are presidents. You hear me? Ok, stay there and continue gazing at me as if they put the battery inside you like a robot.
But despite all the advantageous positions Nigeria occupies in the international arena, it is a country heavily suffering from the political migraine. Eeee! What do you expect from a lone head, carrying a heavy load? You have never heard the saying: Big head, big kata kata! What? You don`t know what “Kata Kata“means? And you are reading from the Kata Kata Cartoon Magazine site? The first yellow card! You know what the second yellow card means. The meaning of Kata Kata? Have you ever heard of “wahala“? No? Banange! Which part of the world are you from? Strange to know that you are not from Naija; I always thought, after all, that the world begins and ends with Nigeria. The good, the bad and the ugly of a country! Ok, let me come to your semantic level. kata kata? Let us try: “problems“, “chaos“ “pandemonium“¦.“ Aha, now I can see a big smile on your face. You now understand what I mean. But before you smile further, let me finish what I was saying. Like I was saying, Nigeria is suffering from political anemia. Being the president of Nigeria, Jonathan becomes enmeshed in those problems. Uneasy is the head that wears the crown. It is either he becomes part of the problem or part of the solution.
Until recently, President Jonathan has been defined or his performance rated differently by different individuals and groups ““ based on the speaker`s interest or ideology. To some, President Jonathan is a lucky relatively unknown man, who out of luck, found himself at the apex of power in Nigeria. You now understand the talismanic effect of that name, Goodluck? No wonder why thousands of families – especially politicians in the Northern Nigeria have recently made it a duty to name their newborn kids ““ irrespective of the gender ““ “Goodluck!“ Don`t ask me why, but if you insist, come back with your question after 2015. A deal? Another group defines President Jonathan as a weak or near incompetent leader. Yet, to others, President Jonathan has been an honest, determined president, who has the interest of Nigeria in his heart, who is, unfortunately being distracted by few selfish disgruntled elements (both inside and outside his administration), who want to make the country ungovernable for him. Aha! You see those images of Boko Haram havocs, kidnapping“¦?
I happened to be in Nigeria recently with my family. Shamefully enough (shamefully?), I was for the very first time, proud to be called a Nigerian. I don`t mean being called a 419 operator or Boko Haram member. No, far from the truth. I was visibly touched by the level of infrastructural development in the country. Roads are well tarred and road signs (at least in the major cities) well marked, ATM machines at every corner of the street (although the two boys I paid specifically to carry my little money in a bag, during my first trip, were this time not happy with the new ATM installations), exclusive housing estates springing up everywhere. Aha, before my kids would phone kidnappers to go on holidays with papa, I must never forget to mention those malls everywhere (some of them opened till late at night), very few beggars on the street, as opposed to some 15 years ago when I was in the country with my wife. According to the world economic geniuses, in about 5 years to come, Nigerian economy will overtake that of South Africa as the largest economy in the whole Africa. Shall I continue? I am not saying Nigeria is in a perfect state (which country is?). Boko Haram is having a field day in Madugiri and its surroundings, Kidnappers are still flexing their murderous muscles in the south. Epileptic electricity has not disappeared completely. Armed robbers have not gone on a sabbatical leave. Although for the whole three weeks we were in Nigeria, we were on the road, covering close to 20 states of the federation without any single bad incidence. Despite these setbacks, one does not need TB Joshua to be told that things have improved tremendously in Nigeria. Yet to some, President Jonathan is a cankerworm, which must be annihilated. A cancerous tumor, which must be removed immediately to avoid spreading to other parts of the body. Ok. Bring it on: Boko Haram, religious violence, scandalous stories, character assassination, political chase games aimed at the political wilderness of the president. You hear them shouting loud with impunity: “We will make the country ungovernable for you?“
I have never seen myself as a politician or a sycophant. Nor do I intend to be one in the future. Still looking at me in confusion? If you still do not understand why I have very few friends, then I wonder how else to explain this to you. No one has ever called me a praise singer in my entire life; so don’t even go there. Honestly speaking, I had categorized President Jonathan in the same vision -less presidential club as many Nigerian former leaders. That was before my last year visit to Nigeria. But my perception changed completely some days ago after I got a rare opportunity of interacting with the president during the recently concluded Nuclear conference in The Hague, the Netherlands. I met a young, humble and energetic man. An honest gentleman (I guess), who seems to have the interest of the country in his heart. A president, who is not trying to create an air of invincibility, but a simple man who is neither shy nor afraid to open up and accept his mistakes and criticisms. Definitely, President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is not the type that would train snipers to silence political opponents, as some have accused. Nor is he the type, I guess, that would use the anti corruption agency as a weapon or bulldozer aimed at his political oppositions or nemesis. In fact, the president I met seemed to be the type that is too good, soft and gentle for the Nigeria political climate. For sure, I would not call President Jonathan`s gentleness, weakness. This is a president that practically, has more power than the most powerful man in the world, President Obama. Despite this huge power, he is more or less reluctant to apply it against his opponents. Ironically, I would say that part of the problems, challenges and opposition, President Jonathan is facing today is as a result of his gentleman attitude. It is sad to say that Nigeria is not used to polished and restrained presidents like Jonathan and late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Obviously ““ and sadly for that matter ““ Nigeria needs a president with a bit of no nonsense attitude and pragmatism.
Regardless flaws in his character ““ just like you have in every human being – there is no doubt that President Jonathan is committed to a better Nigeria. Why can`t any right thinking Nigerian who has the interest of the country in their heart, partner with this president and work judiciously towards the betterment of our country, Nigeria? Instead of vowing for destruction, we should aim at peace, unity in diversity and social ““ political and economic developments of the country. I heartily call my fellow Nigerians to wake up from the slumber and ask themselves ““ rather honestly – What is wrong with President Goodluck Jonathan?