Jonathan and the letter to Obasanjo

If the president’s uninspiring response to the weighty issues his godfather had raised in his December 2, 18-page letter about the shortcomings of his administration was all the committee he appointed to draft a reply came up with, the president should consider that as a betrayal. They have done great injustice to the president as a statesman either due to incompetence or because they are self-serving sycophants that have succeeded in capturing the president as alleged by Obasanjo.

In any case, if moaning, name-calling and bellyaching were the answers to the issues ex-President Obasanjo had identified, what many of us have said of Obasanjo and his brand of politics would have been sufficient. In this regard, help for the presidency even came from an unlikely quarters, Iyabo Obasanjo, the ex-president beloved daughter. Her alleged letter to his father which our peerless columnist Olatunji Dare says “is perfuse with contempt, ridicule, scorn, and loathing abhorrence of the most visceral kind”, inflicted more damage to her father’s reputation than Jonathan’s abuses could have ever achieved.

Just as we have said of Obasanjo who calls himself ‘Mr. Nigeria’, who Jonathan, his godson has since reminded us does not own Nigeria, of trying to define his baleful legacies including imposition of Jonathan on Nigeria, it is also obvious Jonathan was motivated only by concern for survival and his legacies and not about Nigerians. This came out clearly from the tenth reason he advanced for responding to his godfather’s letter. “The tenth and final reason why my reply is inevitable”, he says, “is that you have written similar letters and made public comments in reference to all former Presidents and Heads of Government starting from Alhaji Shehu Shagari and these have instigated different actions and reactions. The purpose and direction of your letter is distinctly ominous…” Consequently, nearly everything the president says in his letter is about his own survival and legacies which he like his godfather erroneously thinks he can define.

Thus, on Obasanjo’s appeal that the president as the leader of PDP takes some measures to prevent the imminent collapse of the party, Jonathan says he is a better PDP leader than Obasanjo backing his position with a long list of PDP founding fathers he rightly claimed Obasanjo frustrated out of PDP.

On corruption that has become a source of embarrassment to even friends of Nigeria including the late revered Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Britain’s Cameron, he says to Obasanjo,: ‘You will recall that your kinsman, the renowned afro-beat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti famously sang about it during your first stint as Head of State. Even in this Fourth Republic, the Siemens and Halliburton scandals are well known. And for a good effect, he added ‘sons of some of our party leaders are currently facing trial for their involvement in the celebrated subsidy scam affair. I can hardly be blamed if the wheels of justice still grind very slowly in our country’.

On kidnapping and armed robbery, President Jonathan shot back “it is just as well to remind you that the first major case of kidnapping for ransom took place around 2006. And the Boko Haram crisis dates back to 2002. Goodluck Jonathan was not the President of the country then. Also, armed robbery started in this country immediately after the civil war and since then, it has been’.

In response to what he described as the most ‘invidious allegation of training snipers to assassinate political opponents’, he said: ‘I have never been associated with any form of political violence. There have certainly been cases of political assassination since the advent of our Fourth Republic, but as you well know, none of them occurred under my leadership.’

On the president’s alleged undertaking to serve for six years; he turned the heat on his godfather accusing him of a resolve to ‘embark on a virulent campaign to harass (him) out of an undeclared candidature for the 2015 presidential elections so as to pave the way for a successor anointed by Obasanjo.’

The first nine other reasons the president gave as justification for responding to Obasanjo were equally all about Jonathan: three un investigated assassination attempts on his life in 2007, his administration better score card in foreign relations compared to Obasanjo’s; his administration’s attraction of $25.7 billion FDI in just three years compared to Obasanjo’s $24.9 billion in seven years, and his creation of level playing ground for Labour in Ondo and APGA in Anambra governorship elections unlike Obasanjo who favoured some PDP candidates (short of admitting Obasanjo had rigged for PDP candidates in Edo, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun).

Many Nigerians must have felt diminished by President Jonathan’s letter. Jonathan was already our vice president when Obama became American President. Obama inherited a deeply divided and disillusioned American society facing two wars and saddled with $16 trillion foreign debt. When his aides started moaning and bellyaching about the legacies of Republicans and their half-educated President George Bush jnr., Obama coolly admonished them insisting American voters elected him to solve those problems. In other words he wouldn’t have been elected president if those challenges were not there.

But let us for a moment even concede it to the president that he is overwhelmed by challenges of his office, a domestic insurrection by Boko Haram, punctured and leaking PDP family umbrella that once provided sanctuary for all manners of characters from which some elected PDP governors and legislators have since escaped seeking refuge under APC, crisis in his home Bayelsa and Rivers fuelled by Nyesom Wike, supervising minister of education who swears by the name of the president’s wife, kleptomaniac ministers, etc, but what can we say of belligerent and combative advisers, paid through the public purse to protect the president but chose moaning and name-calling as answers to daunting issues merely echoed by Obasanjo?

Nigerians are not amused that the president chose to agonise over the un-investigated assassinations attempts on his life back in 2007 when he was a governor and vice presidential candidate. What Nigerian expected of the president who has been in power for close to five years was to have revisited not only the attempt on his life but other high profile assassination of his PDP family members like Marshall Harry, Aminasoari Dikibo, Funsho Williams, and others like Chief Alfred Rewane, and Bola Ige, an attorney general killed in his house under the nose of those detailed to protect him. Does a crime cease being a crime because there is a change of guard at the presidency? Once again, Nigerians are not asking the president and his advisers to invent the wheel. They can take a cue from Barack Obama’s five year crusade against American Congress over the battle to allow the 558 detainees in Guantanamo Bay detention Camp in Cuba face criminal charges in American courts or repatriated back to their respective countries.

Nigerians feel insulted by President Jonathan’s advisers’ trivialization of problem of corruption by making reference to Obasanjo’s kinsman singing about corruption during Obasanjo’s first coming as Head of State. Instead of addressing the serious issues of corruption, it amounts to bringing governance to kindergarten level as alleged by Chief Bisi Akande, the APC interim chairman. The president must not be deceived by his self-serving advisers. Nigerians are angry about Jonathan’s lack of political will to fight corruption as alleged by the speaker of the lower house. Nigerians are angry he has laid a bad precedent by pardoning convicted Diepreye Alamieyeseigha who is also wanted for money laundering in Britain. Nigerians feel insulted and taken for granted by Jonathan’s silence on ‘Oduahgate’ after a House Committee’s indictment.

Nigerians want their God-fearing president who was given a landslide victory in 2011 because they trusted him, to revisit the KPMG report on NNPC, the Ribadu report on fuel subsidy theft and the House Committee Report on fuel subsidy scandal. Our jobless youths whose future is being mortgaged want the president who was once a ‘shoeless’ youth, to revisit the House Committee Report on Privatization that recommended some of the companies given away to cronies at next to nothing, be taken back by the state so as to create job opportunities for some of our army of unemployed.

0 views0 comments