Goodluck Jonathan: Commended Abroad, Criticised At Home

2 mins read

“I just returned from the United Nations General Assembly in the US. (Barack) Obama, when he spoke, commended Nigeria, but back home we are being abused. When we had the Security Council meeting outside the General Assembly, Nigeria was commended, but here we are being abused”- PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN

An obviously exasperated President Goodluck Jonathan made this startling statement, during the interdenominational service to mark Nigeria’s 51st Independence Anniversary, at the National Christian Centre. If ever we needed evidence, that for our leaders charity begins abroad, that was it. The president cannot understand why  Obama,  Zuma or Bongo will ‘commend’ him, while those he described as “Goliaths”, “terrible Goliaths”; “the ones that can even kill their father, their mother and even their children in order to stop government”, and “are willing to do it”, will  dare criticize our dear Goodluck!

The issue is so serious that Jonathan felt concerned enough to mobilize Nigerian Christendom prayer warriors, so that “these terrible Goliaths that are trying to frustrate us” can be routed. Afterall, “every Goliath has an exposed forehead”, their prayers can transmute into a sling in the hands of our own ‘David’, the ever-lucky Jonathan, and his stone of “transformation” will puncture the forehead of “all the Goliaths that are stumbling blocks to the development and growth of this country”. He offered a clue on the rapid multiplication of “Goliaths” during his very short tenure as Nigerian president: “You know, these days (just ‘THESE DAYS’!) for you to be an intellectual and for people to listen to you, you have to abuse (ABUSE?) government”. This is very serious indeed, because apparently, our PH.D holder president is unable to make a nuanced difference between a CRITIQUE of government and an ABUSE. This personalizing of a serious constitutional obligation is very ominous. But Section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution says “the press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to… uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”; while Section 39 states that “every person is entitled to freedom of expression including freedom to hold opinion, receive and impart information without interference”.

I think our president should awaken from his ‘spiritual’ flight of fancy. What Obama, and those Fela called ‘BEASTS OF NO NATION’ at the UN, say, cannot be more important than how the Nigerian people feel or perceive his performance. It is Nigerians that live under the dysfunctional state that you preside over, and if your first One Hundred Days are used as barometer of ability, there is not a lot to be hopeful about. The president also pointed out in his “sermon”, that people want him to be “a lion or a tiger”, or “to operate like the Pharaoh of Egypt” or “Nebuchadnezzar”. I think he missed the point. Nigerians want leadership not dithering. We want a leader at the forefront of a nation-building program, not an indecisive individual unable to inspire confidence. Nigeria faces a mountain of problems and unfortunately, President Goodluck Jonathan does not inspire confidence nor has he shown himself competent enough to deal with a rigorous understanding of the complexity of the Nigerian condition. His speeches do not inspire; his tendency to commit a faux pas, whenever he talks has become legendary. I think even a cat of nine lives can expend his currency, while there is a limit to “good luck” in the nation-building process. The kitchen of presidency of Nigeria is hotter than a cauldron, and if Jonathan cannot stand the heat of criticism or “abuse”, as he prefers to describe it, he has no business in their in the first place. The perks must be consumed with the paprika; they go together. Oh by the way, has President Jonathan ever heard of Bertolt Brecht? Unlikely! Well, Brecht has an old poem “Die Losung”, which satires leadership exasperated with a critical people, just like our President Jonathan apparently is, at the moment. Brecht said in part “…the people had forfeited the confidence of the government/and could win it back only by redoubled efforts/would it not be easier/in that case for the government/to dissolve the people/and elect another?” Mister President described our constitutional obligation to critique government as “abuse”. Oh, well, we won’t dissolve!  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.