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Jonathan’s long trip back to Otuoke

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Dele Sobowale

“It is the loser who finds the horrors of war on his very doorstep.”—Phocion, 402-317 BC, Athenian General.


“Politicians are their own grave diggers.” Will Rogers, 1879-1935.


Outgoing President  Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, GCFR, should now start preparing for the longest journey he had ever undertaken in his life. He is going home. Although, given any of the fleet of ten aircrafts at his disposal, and a military helicopter, the trip should not last more than one hour. But, to a Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, of any country, who has just been defeated in an election, every nautical mile will appear like ten thousand miles. Each will be filled with unpleasant sensations. And, arrival at the destination will bring more pain – unlike previous visits to the small community which were joyful.

President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan

To be sure, there will be people there to welcome him.  But, even the returning native son knows that the atmosphere, instead of being fun-filled, will be the opposite. The reason is simple. They don’t really want him back; at least not in 2015. And, they don’t want him returning like a beaten cock its feathers drooping and head bloodied. But, go he must; and receive him back, they must – for he has no place else to go. As Poet Robert Frost, 1874-1963, had told us, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” (VBQ p 93).

One of the major differences between this trip and others before it soon becomes manifest. Until now, the pilots and motorcades dropped him at home and waited for further instructions about where to go and what to do. This time, they off-load him and Patience, their luggage and  give him a final salute and they depart – to take instructions from the new Commander-in-Chief, Buhari. The era of GEJ has come to a close.

Since this is only a prelude to other articles that will follow on the RISE AND FALL OF GOODLUCK JONATHAN, permit me to stop there for now. At least one book will come out of this from me. It has taken four years longer, but I predicted this in 2011.


“You have given me your assurances of support but some of you are secretly campaigning for Atiku Abubakar. I can’t stand to be humiliated by you. I am the Captain of this boat. I am not going down alone. I am going to sink this boat and go down with all that are in it.

President Jonathan at the 55th National Executive Committee Meeting of the PDP in 2011.

That was Jonathan in 2011 and, those gathered there at the convention to dig their own graves with him, were not sagacious enough to understand that, like the pilot bent on committing suicide, given a plane to fly, he will take as many people as possible down with him. Many, whose political careers are in ruins today, should have had the wisdom to disembark from the plane. After all, an Area Boy like me, not even a professional politician could read the danger signals involved in flying with a captain who threatens to go down with everybody. But, what are Nigerian politicians if not grave diggers. They went on board anyway. Even some, who were not initially on the flight, squeezed themselves in at the last minute. Permit me to list, not necessarily in order of importance, all the individuals and organizations which went down with “Captain Goodluck”.

The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was an accident waiting to happen – right from the day one Chief Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo, newly released from prison, was admitted as a member in 1998. The real surprise to me was how long it took…More on this later.  The grand old men of Afenifere, AWOISTS, and their new young recruits, went into partial oblivion when they agreed that the Alliance for Democracy, AD, would present no Presidential candidate in 2003, in exchange for OBJ letting them keep their states.

They kept their promise; I warned them; then OBJ betrayed them. GEJ lured them into their own political coffins; Afenifere is now in the graveyard for sure; so is OPC… Niger Delta Militants, as well as their “god-father”, Chief Edwin Clark, have a new battle on their hands. Most of the militants are still young; but if they want to live to be as old as Chief Clark, they better now eschew violence. It’s a new ball game.

Finally, at least for now, Mrs Patience Jonathan can go home with her crude words and uncouth behavior. The office of wife of President had never been brought so low. Character can never be hidden. She called herself “Mother of Nigeria”.

My mother would never have insulted any person older than her as Patience did to Buhari. God had saved us from having to suffer through four more years of such a “mother”. She can now go and be a mother to her own children and grandchildren anyway she likes. My kids will never emulate her and they are teaching their kids not to even try…Bad manners will never be fashionable in decent society.

LAST LINE: Regards to Fayose, Fani-Kayode, my co-columnists who said it could never happen. Now everybody knows who is prophetic.


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