Jonathan and his manifest destiny
DO you regret supporting Jonathan’s presidential candidacy?”
“Not at all. As a matter of fact, if we are again faced with a similar set of circumstances as obtained last year, I wouldn’t hesitate to support him a second time.”
I had gone to pick up my London-based professor-friend from the airport. As we drove back into town I rehashed the reasons my only option was to be rooting for Jonathan’s election as President. As the memoir Power, Politics and Death by Olusegun Adeniyi, President Umaru Yar’Adua’s media adviser, has confirmed, Yar’Adua was already incapable of discharging the functions of his office well before he was moved to a Saudi Arabian hospital in November 2009. Yet, for many agonising months thereafter, vested interest prevented power from devolving to Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as stipulated by the Nigerian constitution. This needlessly creating a dangerous power vacuum.
Throughout the trying period Jonathan conducted himself impeccably. This was also the way he behaved in 2005 when, as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha ran into a political turbulence that forced him from office. Jonathan neither gloated nor carried on as though the globe rotated around his person.
He simply stooped to conquer the challenges of his governorship. He was in that position when he followed Yar’Adua to Aso Rock as Vice President in 2007.
On a strictly personal note, I didn’t see why someone good enough to be a lover should be considered ineligible for marriage. The protestations of the disgruntled, that Dr. Jonathan should not contest the presidential election on account of an unwritten zoning “agreement” left unanswered questions. From before independence and through the First Republic, the country broadly stood on the Hausa-Igbo-Yoruba tripod. If a political party zoned the presidency into a North-South dichotomy, did that mean that the northern leg of the tripod boasted a population balance with the two southern legs? How did zoning redress the injustice of the South-South never ever producing a president? How did it justify the South-East suffering just about the same kind of relegation?
There are other questions. Why should the very economic sustenance and survival of Nigeria be indexed on oil from the South-South and, by the way, from the South-East also, when some posit it as an article of faith that politicians from the two geopolitical zones might not aspire to tenancy in Aso Rock?
How come that it was essentially those vociferously against Jonathan assuming the Vice-Presidency that formed the bloc against his running for the main prize? Was it right that the discriminatory political attitude distinguishing the hewers of wood and drawers of water (those sentenced to perpetually holding the cow in check) and the few divinely set apart to permanently direct national affairs (those who alone might milk the cow) should be allowed to forever obtain?
The presidential election came. In its wake Goodluck Ebele Jonathan emerged victorious. It was an election pronounced free, fair and credible by both local and international observers.
*Mr. ICHUKS ILOEGBUNAM, editor of PM Review,wrote from Lagos.