Jonathan: Rarer than a hen’s tooth

By Chidi Obineche

Harried, besieged and hounded most times in very extenuating circumstances, Nigeria’s immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan, more than twice in the just ended week emerged from a self- imposed silence to launder his 6 years at the helm of affairs.

He drew the first blood when at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP convention on August 12, flatulently attempted to position himself and his government in a certain way in the minds of the people and got off the hinge to deliver well aimed jabs at his traducers. Pronto, he got a surfeiting slide kicks enough to seal his lips once again. He had murdered silence. But the infernal prince would rather not cave in to the swift crackers on the loose. The epiphany came when he took on President Muhammadu Buhari’s government on the vexed issue of corruption which has roundly been adjudged the Achilles’ heels of his administration. 

The acetic exchanges rekindled the war of attrition that attended the 2015 electioneering that swept him out of office. He boasted: “Ever since 2014, Nigeria has not improved in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception index ranking and has remained 136 in2015 and is still 136 on the latest TI ranking released in 2017.” A flurry of reactions from the presidency and the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC flew out brimming with brine and got the ex – president who thought he had got the people dancing with his bravado hurriedly seeking for ill -planned refuge.

The counter exchanges presented a flaring scenario of   “an angel craving chaos and a demon seeking peace.”  Both sides portrayed the picture of “Devil and God” which foremost Austrian writer Dejan Stojanovic insists “has two sides of the same face”. Jonathan came reeling under the weight of accusations of memory loss which Harley King described as a sly “devil that pretends to wear the cloak of truth but deceives us both in our youth and age”.

The presidency gloried on self- edification, chest thumping and incipient hallucination that has come to be the trademark of power in Nigeria, and indeed elsewhere in the black world. But in that hissing moment of triumphal ecstasy they forgot Socrates’ wise counsel that the “secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” Their flame came to a pale blue, a burden refusing to be respected. They knew what to tell the former president to get him worked up. But he was rather buoyed up to tell it, so that it will become part of his past. His entrenched habit of soaking in the tensions of flings of debaucheries and other flicks of hits from the flimsy corners of these hit men was thrown overboard; now rarer than a hen’s tooth.

He had come full circle like the full moon, shining bright and ready for a go. He too forgot that by not moving on and getting over it, he was giving someone the satisfaction of watching him suffer. Regardless of what Thomas Paine said centuries ago that “Reputation is what men and women think of us, character is what God and Angels know of us “ He plunged into the dog fight. The roar is only beginning, the din will soon drown the cacophony of the pin drop silence and the music will blare beyond the 2019 breast tape. Elsewhere on graffiti in a nondescript chicken shop in Lagos is the bold inscription that “you will never have to tell a real man how to be one”.

Born on November 20, 1957 in Otuoke, Bayelsa state, he was a former deputy governor and governor of the state before serving as vice –president of Nigeria from 2007 to 2010. He became the president of the nation in 2010 and ruled till 2015. He is the first sitting Nigerian president to concede defeat. He holds a BSC degree in Zoology, an MSC degree in Hydrobiology and a PHD in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt. Before he got into politics in 1998, he worked as an education inspector, lecturer; and environmental inspection officer. He is married to Dame Patience and they have two children.

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