When I wrote last week about President Goodluck Jonathan’s participation in Council of State meeting that held penultimate week, I didn’t expect the kind of vitriolic reactions it elicited, especially the responses that were received through The Facebook feedback pages.
More than 90 percent of the respondents called for my head. However, I found out that only a few read through the length of the article published.
Others only put up shows of rage by merely glancing through the few paragraphs that were chosen by the editors responsible for publishing the piece to ‘promo’ the article.
While some labelled me a traitor, a few were able to discern the hidden elements of mischief and sarcasm therein. But like ex- President Jonathan, an ethnic Ijaw like me, popularly said at a time, ‘I don’t give a damn’.
The message was well delivered in the first part of the piece but because only a few got the gist of the article. The discussants didn’t notice that many of Jonathan supporters had waited for the September 7, 2016 Council of State meeting.
Quite a number had argued that he wouldn’t attend the forum. Those who took to bet believed that their hero will stay clear of that environment having been blamed and still being demonized for the current economic woes the country is going through
I had argued that such a man that has not been spared by opponents and a section of the media from the day he mounted the saddle of leadership till the time he left office shouldn’t sit among his castrators.
Jonathan must be amused by the ignorance of his traducers in consistently assassinating his character.
He has suffered from the barrage of allegations heaped on him, even though some of the accusations may not be true but fictitious and politically- motivated.
Alas! Those who argued against the idea carried the day, advocating that Jonathan is a man with a broad heart and a sound mind. They felt that as a statesman he has become, in the Nigerian context, he shouldn’t begrudge anyone who tries bringing him down. Like Michelle Obama has consistently said of Donald Trump and his co-travellers, Jonathan should continue to go high while his enemies go low.
Like him or loathe him, his advocacy for peace through declaration that ‘my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian’ speaks volumes in defence of the man. With further assertions that he is a believer in a united Nigeria even though he was unable to protect all of the country’s territory from terrorists, kidnappers, armed robbers and the bigoted psychopathic messengers of death in the northeast called Boko Haram who at some point held on to some territory in parts of Borno State at some point towards the end of 2014.
What the readers who pronounced me guilty did not understand is that, I am a witness to the fact that the Jonathan administration built more kilometres of road than any government that has administered the affairs of this country. With echoes that ignorance had fuelled my write-up I felt I should use this opportunity to make further clarifications on why the man who built 25, 000 kilometres of roads in his five years as a president of this country shouldn’t sit amongst those who can’t stop bashing him in spite of the one-day-one-trouble they are grappling including the rather embarrassing Barack Obama Speechgate Plagiarism. Don’t be surprised if Jonathan is blamed for that too.
Until the Agriculture Minister, Audu Ogbeh, announced that the government was going ahead with the Jonathan administration’s transformation programme by saying the ‘regime does not want to suffer a policy somersault’, the administration had on every open opportunity carpeted the programme insisting that nothing was achieved through it.
A serving and a well-known loquacious APC governor also came forcefully at talking down the programme until former agriculture minister and now head of the African Development Bank silenced him with a highly technical and deflating response.
There was the case of another minister who couldn’t also find the rail tracks initiated and constructed by the Jonathan administration until he was meant to lead the President to commission one of such projects a few months ago.
The minister had during his tenure as the leader of the governor’s forum kicked against saving for the rainy days insisting that all monies garnered from the sale of crude should be shared amongst
Today, that rainy day has come but nobody seems to recall he was the loudest voice among the share-the-money campaigners
Today this people are heroes of change. Why then should the derelict Jonathan have anything to do in their company?
The vision of the Jonathan led agricultural transformation strategy achieved a hunger free Nigeria and this was proven by absence of food shortages after the flood of 2013. As earmarked in the vision, the sector was to accelerate food and nutritional security, generate employment and transform the country into a leading player in the global food market and create wealth for millions of farmers, especially young people who were incentivized to take up farming.
The same programme also curbed corruption in fertilizer distribution. Yet, the man who anchored such and ran with the vision is demonized today.
In the past few days it has been one day one trouble, from one denial to another refutation on issues relating to the supposed ineptitude of Jonathan. This makes it not just appalling but unacceptable in seeing Jonathan trusting, and sitting amongst people who keep discrediting him for leaving nothing in the coffers of the government despite initially owning up that his administration left behind over $30 billion in the foreign reserves, about $3 billion in the excess crude account and another $1. 5 billion in the Sovereign Wealth Fund, so much for not saving and leaving the coffers empty. Meanwhile, that same foreign reserve has been depleted by over $6 billon in months and another $1 billion shed in five weeks.
All these form parts of the reason Jonathan needs to have a rethink by keeping away from any jamboree that can never be appreciated by those who have taken up a better, glaring and highly visible role in cluelessness even if Jonathan’s diehard supporters will disagree with me.