Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind: President Goodluck Jonathan’s Politics of No-Good-Content
Writing your first piece for a blog, first as a guest-writer, then with the hope of a longer writing relationship is not as easy as it seems; there is first that saying about a first impression lasting longer. Secondly, there comes a nagging question from within: Can I really write? It is even more difficult when the last piece you wrote was an academic paper. And it is most difficult when you are supposed to ‘hand in’ your piece on a Friday and on Thursday night you still are not sure of what to write about. Yet, I have to write. I see it as a great privilege to be called upon to write; especially when it concerns issues of our common interest, about our country’s journey to nationhood. It is one call that cannot be rejected. It is a call, which cannot be left unattended.
The next question is: So how do I start? Do I start the Nigerian way of doing ‘ijuba’ (pay homage) to the host or plunge right into the topic?
I choose the latter.
Late 2013 was a season of letters in Nigeria; an ex-president fired the first salvo, while Nigerians were busy packing the debris of the fired salvo, a daughter to the ex-president stirred the waters and did what many Nigerians won’t do – she accused her father openly of many atrocities. Not to be out-done in the letter-war, the incumbent president, actually, I meant presidential aides, sent a seemingly benign letter that was pregnant with meaning to the ex-president who started it all. Well the content of the president’s letter has stayed with me since then. Not actually the whole content of the letter but a particular paragraph in which the president claimed to be the first president from a minority group.
Here it is: ‘While, by the Grace of God Almighty, I am the first president from a minority group, I am never unmindful of the fact that I was elected leader of the whole of Nigeria and I have always acted in the best interest of all Nigerians.’
Acting in the best interest of the country is left for posterity to judge but from what we know, the above claim is not absolutely true.
I believe the President routinely and deliberately reminds us of his minority status. Hence, when he is criticised for his inefficiency in what he was elected to do, his foot soldiers are always quick to respond: It is because he is from a minority group!
The President seems to enjoy the fact that he has a good excuse not to do well at what he was elected to do. So important is the President’s minority presidency that in the speech he made during the centenary celebration, he said: “Perhaps one of the most amazing stories of our political evolution in the last hundred years is that an ordinary child of ordinary parentage from a minority group has risen to occupy the highest office in our country”.
In actual fact, the president is not the only “ordinary child of ordinary parentage from a minority group (that) has risen to occupy the highest office in our country”. His is not the singular story of ordinariness that eventually made it to the highest office of their occupation in the country. In fact he is also not the only ordinary child of a minority parentage that has risen to occupy the highest office in the country. On national and political level, there is also General Yakubu Gowon, an Angas, Northern minority Head of State.
It seems that at the end of the president’s tenure, one of his greatest achievements will be that he was a minority, no-shoes president who became the president of the most populous black country in the world. When in actual fact the celebration of his achievement as the first elected minority president should not have gone beyond his first days in office. By now, we should be celebrating months of uninterrupted power supply, working refineries, a corruption-free government, good universities that are among the best in the world, good healthcare provision and a whole lot more.
On a final note, I wish the president would take this piece of advice: Please face your work! Stop the the play of politics of ad based on ethnic divide! Get your hands on the plough and do some real good job!
Then there will be better achievements to celebrate and they, like the belly of an overdue pregnant woman, naturally will speak for themselves and invariably for the president.
Mr. Tanimomo is student and resident in Germany. He is ahjotnaija guest-blogger. Readers will enjoy at intervals “Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind” like this one on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com