By Donu Kogbara

LAST week, I said that most of the Niger Deltans I know are anxiously hanging all of their hopes on President Goodluck Jonathan, that Jonathan reminds me of an only child who is the sole focus of his parents’ ambitions and that I sometimes pity Jonathan because it isn’t easy to be under so much pressure.

This article attracted many responses from Vanguard readers. The following response from Preye Agedah, Esq ([email protected]) was the most touching.

My Dear Sister Donu,
It is true. Goodluck Jonathan is “our only child”. For us not to have had anyone sit on that throne in almost 50 years of Nigeria is a serious matter indeed. Now all our hopes, dreams and aspirations are on his shoulders. It is not really a matter of government patronage in the form of bunkering licenses and all that. It is more a matter of a politics of national inclusion rather than exclusion.

We have come so near, yet some of our Northern brothers make it look so far away. If the reason is equity in zoning, then where are we in the equation? Our Northern brothers should know that providence has entrusted this into our hands in trust for all Nigerians because we have been left out for too long.

Besides, if they truly know Jonathan and look at his track record as Bayelsa State Governor and Vice President, they will see that he deserves support because he is not the average Nigerian politician who is desperate for money and power.

Jonathan will be a blessing to Nigeria if given this opportunity. And I find it difficult to understand why some politicians from the Niger Delta area do not seem to understand the simple fact that Jonathan is “our only child”.

While we all have a right to choose whom we support, I cannot fathom why people like our own High Chief Raymond Dokpesi [the founder of AIT], have decided to join the Babangida train. If the respected Chief should be doing anything about the 2011 presidential election with Babangida, he should be persuading the self-styled “evil genius” to support “our only child”, Goodluck.

Besides having been there before, Babangida comes from the North which has produced most of Nigeria’s Heads of State; and his presidential bid is merely an attempt to prolong that lopsidedness in a federation where equity and justice ought to be upheld.

Northerners like Professor Jerry Gana and Chief Solomon Lar understand this lopsidedness and have publicly stood against it, unlike hardliners like Ciroma.

My dear Sister Donu, please do not pity “our only child” because God has endowed him with the wisdom to handle the pressure. I have participated in politics at the grassroots level and know that when the chips are down, Jonathan’s opponents will be swept away like debris in the track of a hurricane.

I know that these opponents will throw everything at him, including finding a brilliant, respected young candidate from the North to stand against him (those who understand the game know that neither Babangida nor Atiku will succeed, despite the millions of naira they will pump into the system). Fortunately, “our only child” will weather the storm for he is our very own Barack Obama!

This is our chance to demonstrate to Nigeria that beyond being the goose that lays the golden egg, the Niger Delta can positively contribute to this country in other ways and provide great leaders who will solve the nation’s problems.

Dokpesi’s ‘defection’

MR. Preye Agedah is not the only reader who has contacted me to express dismay and bewilderment about the fact that Chief Raymond Dokpesi is not just backing Babangida (IBB) but actively heading IBB’s campaign team.

Such critics remember Dokpesi being a staunch South-South Presidency advocate for many years and are
surprised and upset that he has chosen to use his considerable media muscle and strategic skills to help
a candidate who is not from the South-South.

Since I passionately believe that Nigeria owes the much-neglected oil-producing areas vast amounts of
gratitude and several presidential terms, I too would have been happier if Dokpesi had thrown his weight
behind Jonathan.

But you know what? I don’t see why Dokpesi should be insulted

There are Northerners who are sincerely committed to securing an electoral victory for Jonathan. So why shouldn’t some individuals from Jonathan’s backyard be equally committed to Jonathan’s Northern rivals?

Life is complicated. One doesn’t always feel comfortable with one’s kith and kin. Some of the greatest
acts of kindness I have received have come from Northerners. And since it is a free world, we are all entitled to change our minds.

I have abandoned some beliefs that I held dear when I was younger. And it isn’t necessarily dishonourable to change one’s ideological stances as time goes by.

It is also quite healthy, in a society that has often been tragically polarised by tribalism, to make political decisions that are not based on ethnic sentiments.

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