My piece titled, ‘2015: Why I will vote Jonathan’ elicited mixed responses. One reader, appalled by what he saw as my volte face on Jonathan, asked if I’d been ‘seen’. Clearly, he hadn’t bothered to read till the end. Another, who did read to the end, argued, tongue-in-cheek, that Mrs. Patience Jonathan’s entertainment value and Dr. Jonathan’s rather dubious experiment with our $20 billion were not enough reasons to vote Jonathan. So I have found another reason to explain my choice for 2015: Jonathan is a genius.
When Jonathan became acting, then later president, in 2010, the Boko Haram insurgency was just entering its bloody phase following the directive by his predecessor, Umaru Musa Yar’adua that the group be crushed. The options before the new president were: (a) Initiate comprehensive peace process (b) Order an investigation into the extrajudicial murder of Mohammed Yusuf and others (c) Listen to the appeal by Borno Elders for a negotiated solution (d) Publicly deride Boko Haram as ‘ghosts’ who should come out.
The genius of Jonathan chose option (d).
A little over two months ago when over 200 girls were abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, the president also had a number of options: (a) Refuse to believe that anyone was missing (b) Tell the world that the abduction was staged to embarrass your government (c) Order an immediate operation to free the girls and visit Chibok (d) Wait until the girls were out of reach, cancel a planned visit to Chibok, then request foreign intervention.
The genius of Jonathan selected (a), (b) and (d).
The administration is facing strong criticism about prevailing corruption in the oil industry, especially the $15 billion stolen in the name of fuel subsidies and the $20 billion allegedly ‘lifted’ from the NNPC. Again, the president had number of picks to choose from: (a) Turn a blind eye after oil marketers had compromised the subsidy probe panel (b) Go on live television to say, “There is no corruption in Nigeria, only mere stealing” (c) Destroy the credibility of the very report you authorized by having a hatchet man write a separate report. (d) Implement the report of the Ribadu panel and sanitise the oil industry
The genius of Jonathan decided that the best options were (a), (b) and (c).
For most of 2013, the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) was on strike to force the implementation of agreements reached with the government. President Jonathan had several decisions to make on the matter: (a) Relate with ASUU like a former lecturer and immediately settle the crisis (b) Allow universities to increase fees to pay for their services, then soften the burden on students by establishing a students’ loan scheme from the excess crude account (c) Do nothing for nearly one year, then accede to practically all of ASUU’s demands after the academic year had been wasted (d) Allow ‘area boy’ Wike to thoroughly insult university lecturers and threaten to sack all of them.
The genius of Dr. Jonathan elected to pick options (c) and (d).
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, whom Jonathan unconstitutionally ‘suspended’ from his post as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria had just been appointed the Emir of Kano, and President Jonathan was faced with the choice of what to do: (a) Rise above the fray and congratulate the new emir despite past differences (b) Create confusion by allowing the PDP to congratulate a rival candidate to foment trouble in Kano (c) Order a blockade of the Kano Airport to stop opposition governors from congratulating the new emir (d) Do nothing and let the Constitution take its course.
Without even pausing to think, the genius of Jonathan decided on (b) and (c).
Again, back in Kano: the Abacha family reportedly still had unreturned loot amounting to over N400 billion, but you need every possible ally in Kano to win votes from the highly populated state. What are the choices? (a) Allow the legal process to take its full course and retrieve stolen funds for Nigeria (b) Trade off over N400 billion in return for N36 billion simply to secure Mohammed Abacha’s inconsequential support in 2015 (c) Tell the world that the return of N36 billion was a major landmark in the anti-corruption effort (d) See nothing, hear nothing, do nothing.
Without batting an eyelid, the blazing genius of Jonathan chose (b) and (d).
A genius is defined as a mastermind, whiz kid, or one with an intelligence quotient (IQ) that is higher than average. It is assumed they are able to see far beyond what normal human beings can see and therefore take decisions that may appear extraordinary at the moment. From some of the consistently unusual and unexplainable decisions Jonathan has made as president, it may be that he is a genius.
The problem is, the line between genius and neurosis is often thin; in which case, genius can be self delusional.