By JESUTEGA ONOKPASA
ANY competent mathematician would tell you that it is not possible for probability theory to only throw up bad leaders from a pool of good people. If, ultimately, a nation gets the leadership it deserves, then Nigeria has, by and large, ended up with clumsy, sub-standard leaders because its citizenry must itself be highly morally compromised and intellectually deficient.
The truth may indeed be bitter but then, it must still be told for the truth is the bitter medicine we must all swallow to be cured of the malaria of our own conceit, delusions and self-aggrandisement. Indeed, my fear is that as 2019 draws closer, we are about to make the same mistakes we have made time and again in this country. One such mistaken notion is the idea that whoever should succeed President Muhammadu Buhari come 2019 must be a fresh face.
In fact, attractive as it might seem, no position could be more politically naïve and unwarranted. None of those presently angling for power would appear to have the capacity to actually defeat Buhari and in any case, the idea of trying someone else has already backfired on us with the monumental failure Buhari, himself, has miserably proven to be.
Indeed, it would appear that whomever we try in this country, we end up regretting it. Well, instead of gambling any further with the destiny of an entire nation, I would propose that we try what we have already tasted before and therefore someone from whom we can be sure of what to expect. So, come to think of it, why not Jonathan?
Quite a few pundits had predicted that Nigerians would come to rue their choice of Buhari and his change we are all now desperate to change. On their part, the likes of Tanko Yakassai had opined that the North, in particular, would come to regret its rejection of Jonathan. Indeed, for all his shortcomings, it is becoming clearer by the day that President Goodluck Jonathan is the best President we have ever had in Nigeria!
While tolerating dissent more than any other erstwhile President or Head of State and otherwise respecting the tenets of democracy more than any one of them,
President Jonathan also built more roads and executed more projects than any other ruler before or after him! What’s more, even for the Northerners that largely rejected him for Buhari, Jonathan ended up developing the North more than any other ruler including any of the Northerners who were before or came after him! Be careful what you wish for and it is perhaps fitting that having rejected the best friend they ever had, God gave the North a President from their midst to torment them with hunger, insecurity, disappointment and broken promises for stabbing their greatest benefactor in the back. Unfortunately, since we have one President in this country, all of us, North and South, alike, have found ourselves in the same boat, haplessly sinking together.
His faults aside, President Jonathan was ultimately a victim of heinous disinformation, shameful spin and dastardly lies told by the opposition.
President Jonathan alongside his former boss, President Yar’Adua, are arguably the most normal Presidents to come to power in this country.
Whereas, due to his untimely death, we may never know the ultimate pedigree of Yar’Adua, history should always judge him kindly as one of the finest gentlemen to come to power anywhere in the world. As for Jonathan, whatever the naysayers may say, he is already a colossus of world history if only for being the first Nigerian ruler to superintend a civilian to civilian transition of power, having proved himself to be that rare breed of the African willing to yield power without bloodshed.
Thus, where we had an Obasanjo whose strategy for retaining power was a “do-or-die affair” and then a Buhari whose reaction to loosing an election was to wish upon his country such bloodshed that even baboons and dogs would have ended up being soaked in buckets of human blood, we find in the good-natured Goodluck Jonathan, the goodly and godly President whose philosophy of power was that his “ambition is not worth the life of any Nigerian” to the extent that to prove the democrat in him and in order for peace to reign, he conceded an election no other Nigerian leader is likely to have conceded! Far from being anything “clueless”, President Jonathan has become an icon of Sub-Saharan Africa and the frontrunner for the Nobel Prize for Peace whenever it comes to Africa again!
While most Nigerians are already salivating in anticipation of the post-Buhari era come 2019, we have as usual not really averted our minds to the feasibility of any of the current presidential hopefuls being able to actually upstage Muhammadu Buhari. In fact, the fundamental problem of rescuing our country from the lying and clueless rabble of the broom-wielding All Progressives Congress, APC, is who to field against Buhari with a clear, viable and feasible likelihood of defeating him. I can assure my fellow countrymen that trusting any of those with their hats already in the ring to do the job is irresponsible wishfulness of the highest order.
Whatever might have been the faults of President Goodluck Jonathan, he must have thoroughly, painfully and indeed, regrettably learnt his lessons by now. Come 2019, we could therefore reasonably look forward to a rebooted President Jonathan with all his wonderful good points accentuated by the benefit of reflection in his four years out of power and his faults corrected by the lesson of his defeat, last time around. Instructively, Buhari has always admitted that he does not believe in zoning.
Well, many claim that it was because Jonathan did not adhere to zoning that he lost the 2015 elections. That should all be fine to the rest of us for, in any case, between the ten years from 1999 to 2019, two Northerners and two Southerners would have ended up ruling Nigeria and even if not for the same number of years, once we go backwards before 1999, Northerners would still have ruled the country far more than Southerners have.
At federal level, it is time to jettison zoning for the very best man to emerge. As it was in 2015 so let it be in 2019. Let it be Jonathan versus Buhari and let the better man win for the betterment of Nigeria.
Mr. JESUTEGA ONOKPASA