Even the most fanatical supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan would admit, even if grudgingly, that despite promises of fresh air and transformation, Nigeria has ended up with the most ill-prepared president at the most ill-opportune moment. But despite fears that he may be leading the country to the abyss, there is a convoluted move to ensure Jonathan’s re-election in 2015.
It is not mere hearsay. It is for real. Forget the vehement denials that he has not made up his mind. As a matter of fact, he MUST contest. Which is why, in the last two years, the most lucrative business in Nigeria has been supporting President Jonathan at all costs and by all means. Remember the thousands of groups that emerged overnight to plead, beg, cajole and threaten mass suicide if ‘Uncle J’ didn’t run for president?
Today, all members of those groups and anyone who actively supported Jonathan are billionaires and millionaires. True, a few of them have sold the Range Rovers that became a must have and many more have been thrown out of the hotels in which they were living, but most of them are immune to the rising costs of food, fuel, rents and the general cost of living.
The rest of us must find means of surviving the hardships exacerbated by Jonathan’s incompetence and lethargy. Ironically, the most ingenious way to do so is to support him early and vigorously – for a second term in office. It is not too early. Remember, the early bird catches the worms. In our own case, the early supporters will catch the dollars….
Forget the fact that in a proper democracy, Jonathan would not have been governor, much less president. But massive bribes as well as religious and ethnic divisions were exploited to impose him. Now, even ‘my people’ cry forlornly, “Of the millions of intelligent, hardworking and visionary Niger Deltans we have, why Goodluck?” Don’t mind them.
And just when you think that the quality of leadership in Nigeria cannot possibly sink any lower than it has with Jonathan, the records of two potential successors within the PDP – Vice President Namadi Sambo and Senate President David Mark – are disheartening. The fact is, Jonathan is not necessarily the worse specimen the world’s most corrupt political party can throw up.
As a major government contractor, there are charges that Sambo’s firm hardly completed projects. Others claim he had a hand in a major water supply scheme at his hometown; he didn’t complete it as a contractor and couldn’t be bothered as governor, so most parts of Zaria still do not have water.
How two non-performing governors ended up as president and vice president is a serious indictment of our political culture.
On the other hand, David Mark represents all that is wrong with leadership in Nigeria, having been part of government in one form or another for most of the last 40 years, eventually emerging as military governor of Niger state as reward for coup plotting. Not many in the state remember any solid legacy he left behind before his reassignment as minister of communications where his most ‘important’ achievement was his statement that telephones were not for the poor. No wonder, he now wants to restrict social media, too.
Mark owes his standing to his knowledge of the Nigerian system which thrives on corruption, chaos and injustice.
Back to Jonathan: With his laid-back mien and outward unwillingness, it is easy to underestimate him. But the man is a much more consummate power player than many give him credit for. The greatest myth around Jonathan is the notion that he has always been a reluctant politician and that by some divine miracle, power had always come to him. To have successfully sold that dummy is one of the smartest acts of political subtlety in Nigeria.
Millions of Nigerians, including ‘my people’, may want Jonathan out of office before he completely destroys what is left of the country, but if he decides to run, what can stop him? Nigerians may be in for another rude shock.
At the appropriate time, and with the fitting level of reluctance, Jonathan will ‘unwillingly’ allow himself to be persuaded to run for president in 2015. He won’t be running because he wants to remain in office. He will run only after ‘deeply reflecting on the clamour from Nigerian patriots home and abroad, traditional rulers, state governors and out of respect for the wishes of the Nigerian people’. It will be his ‘patriotic duty to run for president in Nigeria to consolidate the achievements of the last few years’.
So, who wants to become a billionaire?
Block your nostrils to hold off the stench; choke your conscience; threaten fire and brimstone and insult everybody who dares to oppose or even disagree with Jonathan. Tell the entire world about the good work Jonathan is doing, and declare that only he can save Nigeria. You will become a billionaire. It is a proven formula.