Exactly this date last year, this site got up and running. It has been one full year of huge challenges, but one from which we emerged champions. We have grown from an obscure blog to a prominent opinion-driving political voice, attracting the best minds in sociopolitical analysis. We have built an amazing army of readers and followers from all around the world. Our strength is in our closely-nit team of young and passionate Nigerians who believe in the daunting but necessary task of rescuing a nation at the verge collapse. With this team still brimming with zeal for more exploits, the years ahead promise to be even more exciting.
As part of the plans we lined up to mark this threshold, we bring to you, our dear reader, the VERY FIRST ARTICLE that announced our journey into the rough world of Political advocacy.
We hope you have a great read…
The Psychology Of The President They ‘Abuse’ – By Chinedu Ekeke
One of the reasons I believed the Wikileaks Cables – especially those that originated from Ambassador Robin Sanders and her staff – is because they presented to me a clear picture of the quality and content of discussions our public officials held in private – a place they believed was shielded from the prying eyes of both local and foreign media. Any information released by any Nigerian public official in such places, in my opinion, should not be dismissed with a mere wave of the hand.
Robin Sanders’ cables were composed in the manner of the minutes of high powered government meetings – quoting intermittently speeches made by the participants in such deliberations; and only inserting notes in the paragraphs where the Embassy staff felt compelled to air their opinion on the issue(s) in discourse. Apart from the few notes, every other thing was a report of the discussions held, and the statements made by the various Nigerian big men during such discussions.
It is with such belief in the credibility of the Wikileaks cables that I have come to define this outing by President Goodluck Jonathan which is totally lacking in promise. While it is easy for our government officials – who have long acquired a notoriety for the inability to distinguish between telling lies and refuting allegations – to describe the Wikileaks releases as mere ‘’beer parlour gossips’’, events on ground have consistently upheld the contents of those releases as true.
Of particular relevance to this piece is one of such releases in which President Jonathan was quoted as telling the American Ambassador of his unpreparedness to continue as Nigeria’s president after May 29, 2011, citing lack of experience as his reason. ‘’I was not chosen to be Vice President because I had good political experience. I did not. There were a lot more qualified people around to be Vice President…’’ Jonathan told Robin Sanders.
The same cable continued, ‘’Jonathan said he does not anticipate standing for elections in 2011 and that he was not working towards being a presidential candidate”
What happened between that day those confessions were made and the day his campaign of ‘’No shoes’’ and ‘’Fresh air’’ was launched can only be traced to Sycophants – those who knew they stood to benefit more from a Jonathan’s presidency than Jonathan himself. Goodluck Jonathan knew he was deficient in the requisite mettle to lead Africa’s most populous nation, but his friends and associates were looking at the harm his refusal to stand for elections would do their purses and ambitions.
Between the time the man was candid enough to admit to them – I’m sure he did secretly – of his inability and unpreparedness to run, and the days he was flying from one state capital to another for his campaigns that were strictly anchored on the fallacy of argumentum ad misericordiam, the president apparently got some propping up. They must have wondered aloud to him why he so undervalued himself and his abilities as to admit his inadequacies to them. Was it not you, Your Excellency, who ruled Bayelsa as its governor for about two years? Is the seat of a governor not an executive position just like that of the president? Are you not the immediate past Vice President of this country? Isn’t that office the most powerful office in the land after the president’s? What is difficult in the Office of the President that scares you this much? Does it involve exerting physical energy? How about the God factor in all of this, Mr President? Haven’t you observed the hand of God in your political ascendancy? Do you intend to disappoint God?
And so they talked him into accepting a job for which he was ill-prepared. They made him believe he was disappointing God and destiny if he failed to accept the challenge. And run, Jonathan did.
From the moment he was sworn in for his full term in office, every signal he has so far emitted has carried a message of ineptitude. He is on national TV and he sputters unimaginably. He delivers a speech and pressmen search in vain for a line that can inspire. He talks on the economy and you see a man not knowledgeable in facts and figures as they affect us. Long before he informed us that he had outsourced his pilot’s seat to God, I noticed, with great discomfort, that he outsourced it to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. After that confession of his, on the Independence Celebration Church Service, which shocked analysts, I promptly understood that two pilots had been steering the Nigerian airplane: God, the chief pilot, and Ngozi the co-pilot. And President Jonathan? Well, he is comfortably seated on the passenger’s seat.
It is important that we examine the psyche of the President. His recent outburst that we “abuse’’ him is a sad tale that reminded me of a president who still views his office from the standpoint of a state governor. Those who gave him the reasons to contest the presidency unfortunately forgot a major difference between the positions of experience they cited and the position they wanted him to occupy. They didn’t remember to include in the descriptions they gave about the job the inevitability of the president’s office being the centre of attention.
It is not that one must have been a president before to become a successful president. No. It is just that initial ambition developed over the years has a way of preparing one for the job when it eventually comes. The presidency of a complex country like Nigeria isn’t one of such jobs you assume just for the sake of the benefits accrued to the office. This is where the Jonathan presidency is finding it difficult. And this is where he needs to learn fast or completely mess up this outing.
He was quick to buy the logic of having been a governor. But he didn’t remember that there’s no existence of privately owned media in almost all the states of Nigeria. In the various state capitals, you will only find state owned – and controlled – television and radio stations and newspapers which were primary established as propaganda tools for the state governors. So in Bayelsa State, there were no editorials that threw darts at Governor Jonathan for his cluelessness in governance. There were no radio phone-in programmes that allowed citizens to call him names for disappointing them. There were no television platforms that allowed citizens to analyse how Governor Jonathan created a fertile ground for the growth of corruption. Bloggers were too interested in what happened at the centre to have time for the states. And even if states attracted the attention of journalists and analysts, Bayelsa wasn’t one of such, given the quietness of the same Governor Jonathan.
When he bought the you-were-a-Vice-President idea, he didn’t remember that the Nigerian political system doesn’t position deputies to attract much public attention. He forgot to remind himself that – apart from being naturally quiet – the part he toed as Yar’Adua’s deputy was based on his understanding of the danger a different approach, say the I-am-too-important demeanour of his predecessor in office, Atiku Abubakar ,would have posed to his position. He smartly wanted to avoid the kind of treatment Atiku received from his emperor boss, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Simply put, the Vice President’s office doesn’t attract much attention; except, of course, in the event that there’s something extra-ordinary happening there. That is why the logic of Jonathan being a former Vice President was not supposed to have been a sufficient reason for a man who knew himself well enough to have wanted out to budge; ditto for the logic of having been a State governor.
So Mr President wonders why Nigerians cant understand that he is doing his best. Hasn’t he pulled a whole Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala out of the World Bank to come and serve as a minister in his regime? Is that a mean feat?
Hasn’t Mr President been engaging his numerous friends on Facebook? Which President ever did that before Dr. Goodluck Jonathan? Do these abusers not even know that it was the President himself who “brought Facebook to Nigeria’’, and popularised it as well?
And they keep grumbling about corruption. Do they expect Mr President, a well brought up Nigerian who understands the virtue of giving respect to elders, to maul Olusegun Obasanjo into prison in the name of fighting corruption? And even if Obasanjo isn’t old enough to command the President’s respect, how about the need for the president to obey the law of political reciprocity? Was it not Obasanjo who ensured the inexperienced Jonathan was made the Vice President even when there were a lot more qualified people to take the job? If they were in the President’s shoes, would they go after such a good man and dish out a plate of ingratitude to him?
And they are even calling for the prosecution of IBB. Do they know how powerful IBB is? Do they think it is easy for Goodluck Jonathan – who probably was a struggling lecturer when IBB held the whole nation in his palms and called the shots for eight whole years – to ask him questions about missing money and the General’s inexplicable source of wealth? These people just do not understand.
The God who put him there will ensure Nigeria works; and then once Nigeria is good, corruption will die a natural death. Already, Mr President has commenced efforts to nip electoral malpractices in the board. His six-year single tenure takes care of that. He told us the other day that he is building institutions.
I can safely assume that in his closet, all he tells himself is: ‘’This country is in God’s hands’’. He must be wondering why those who abuse him find it difficult to understand this very simple truth.
And so in his wonder, he let out an inner pain – a pain upon which his detractors have ridden to further lash out at him. A pain which brought to the fore the psyche of a nation’s non-commanding Commander-in-chief.