By Francis Abayomi
Absurdities of Nigeria’s political space are exemplified by pervasive lack of principle. Commitment to standard and integrity is readily sacrificed on the altar of power. Power seems to be all that matters; and usually not about the country and the larger interest of the people. Recent media reports of plans to draft former president Goodluck Jonathan into the 2023 presidential race has further been heightened by the visit to the former President by a group of governors under the banner of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). Presumably a courtesy call on account of his 63rd birthday, the visit nonetheless came across as auspicious; fueling possibility of another GEJ presidency in 2023. Ordinarily, no one should be bothered about such plot so soon but this is Nigeria where such joke is damn too serious to be taken lightly! Even if Nigerians love to be confounded by the political class as it would appear, it should be evident by now that convenience of “politics of anything goes” has done more harm than good to the polity. It is nonetheless doubtful if the motive of those behind the plot of another GEJ presidency (assuming there is) has to do with the collective interest of Nigeria or that of the man at the centre of the plot. It should, by now, be evident to former president Jonathan that a presidential bait at this time is more of a poison than a plausible option worthy of toying with. Beyond Jonathan, the idea of another packaged presidency in 2023 should not just come across as amusing but be seen as worrisome. It should be curious why the best Nigeria could possibly get in the 21st Century is a president negotiated within the narrow interest of a few who assume the responsibility of deciding for the rest if the citizens.
Those flying the kite of possible return of former president Goodluck Jonathan to the political turf ahead of 2023 general election may as well be entitled to their plot as it remains within the ambit of political engagement. But the concern however remains at what cost and in whose interest would Nigeria be toying with an option of another packaged presidency either in the name of Goodluck Jonathan or anyone else? The fact that the supposed plot is linked to those whose primary interest is essentially about desperation for succession agenda makes the whole idea curious. It should however be reiterated that our worries regarding such plot are clearly beyond the persona of the former president. The immediate concern should not be whether such plot can succeed or not. What the idea portends should be seen within the larger framework of the habitual horse trading that has left the polity in perpetual crisis since the restoration of civil rule in 1999. The worry therefore should be about Nigeria and the self-serving agenda of those behind such plot.
We should be concerned about what the plotters think about the immediate future of Nigeria and what they possibly hope to achieve with another Jonathan presidency now that the clamour for a shift of presidency to the south appears almost irrevocable. Why has the return of Jonathan to Aso Rock become attractive considering that there seems to be no consensus regarding the geopolitical zone of the southern bloc to produce the president come 2023? It should therefore be clear that the motive behind the plot has nothing to do with love for Jonathan but essentially about a predetermined agenda. One wonders what could possibly be the attraction to return Jonathan to power less than six years after a grand plot that foreclosed the realization of his second term bid was orchestrated! It is almost certain such plot can’t be in the best interest of Nigeria and Nigerians and may just be a kite aimed at ruffling existing permutations and therefore largely diversionary in entirety. The pertinent poser therefore should be why it has become conceivable to drag the name of the former president into the chessboard unmindful of the hoopla his candidature was bound to elicit.
The administration presided over by former president Jonathan yet remains the most vilified for leadership inadequacy and corruption. The motive behind the plot could possibly have come across as altruistic if the former president had not be held largely responsible the problems in the country as further accentuated by the presidential broadcast marking sixtieth independence anniversary. Are we then to see a replay of Oshimhole scenario in Edo when supposed promoters of 2023 presidential bid of the former president would be left with no option than to repudiate their pre-2015 accusations against GEJ? The fear therefore is that the whole idea about pushing for a return of former President Jonathan may just be a ploy to achieve inordinate agenda of the power oligarchy. Certainly, what Nigeria needs at the moment is not the drama about resuscitating the ghost of an administration that was once held responsible for all the woes in the country. How do we grapple with the notion of another Jonathan at the helms of affairs when the past for which he was held responsible still feature prominently in our consciousness.
Even when it has become evident that most of the propaganda that went into the plot against Jonathan’s presidency prior to 2015 are coming across as patently insidious and malicious, the man on whose shoulders the burden of that responsibility squarely rest should be allowed to have a deserved break just as the country deserves a break from the bitter and malicious political contestations which degenerated into camps of hailers and wailers. Fortunately however, providence has been the lot of former president Jonathan after leaving office and notwithstanding the scathing commentaries that have continued to trail his presidency. His life after Aso Rock as regional and global icon of democracy has been, to say the least, enviable in spite of the haze that still rage over his tenure as Nigerian president. Those gambling with the idea of getting the former president into presidential race can’t possibly be wishing him anything better than the honour providence has brought his way after a turbulent presidency. Do we then need to further advise former president to simply “calm down” (in the Nigerian parlance), watch, smile and embrace a future of statesmanship away from another gamble for the presidency of Nigeria? For Goodluck Jonathan, the bait of 2023 is laced with political poison that must be avoided. There is however no doubt the former President obviously understands where the choice lie!
Francis Abayomi – 08023307892 (firstname.lastname@example.org)