NOTHING is new in Goodluck Jonathan’s claim that God made him President of Nigeria. We are used to leaders who resort to the Almighty as cover for their actions, particularly when they face opposition for anti-people policies.
Dictators and democrats, alike, claim a divine mandate. If the Almighty mandated them to rule, who are mere mortals to question their actions? If you cannot question the Almighty can you contest the views of His appointed, who tend to forget that the Almighty also made these mere mortals who they are — and what they are? Whether president or peasant, the Almighty made them all.
The use of divine mandate to shut people up is one of the most undemocratic tendencies taking roots as more people question policies of the administration. President Jonathan stretching the divine connection at a rally of the Peoples Democratic Party, in Kogi State, said God who made him President, would also give the party’s candidate, Idris Wada and his running mate victory in the governorship election billed for Saturday.
Jonathan said: “I believe that the same God that made me president would give victory to our governorship candidates for the December 3 election.”
The mandate might have been divine, but the President needed the votes to win. “I want to use this opportunity to thank the good people of Kogi State for supporting me and my vice-president, for voting en masse for me during the last April elections,” the President said. “In making sure that Kogi is my second home, I decided to pick the commander of my last line of defence as my aide de camp, simply because I have a great hope in Kogi State to support my transformation agenda.
“I want to reinstate that I do not believe in the principle of do or die politics, and I promise that the blood of Nigerians should not be spilt to win any election. I want to make it known that I would support whoever wins the Kogi State governorship polls, irrespective of political affiliations,” he said, meaning Kogi State was already enjoying the dividends of voting for him.
We do not grudge the President on his thoughts on how he attained his presidency. It is important that he gets a broader perspective to the various flanges that made him president. He is accountable to all of them. However, if he chooses to operate from the celestial, the accounting standards are even higher.
Power belongs to the people. The Almighty owns the people. Whatever the Almighty does with power or the people would be entirely up to Him. There are no complications in these matters.
Nigerians understand that they voted for a president last April. A president emerged. The most important thing to them — similar to the expectations of Kogi people when they vote on Saturday — is that the elected should care for the electorate.
We hope that this proclivity to explain elected office as divine is not the beginning of a journey to the infallibility of the President, a leaf that other elected public office holders would conveniently borrow, in their strive to prove the irrelevance of the people.