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Jonathan-in-the-Race: From Speculation to Inauguration

By: Franklin Otorofani, Esq.

Published September 18th, 2010

Run, Jonathan run, for the promise of a New Nigeria lies not in the tired, corrupt hands of retired military generals and Customs officers, but in the fresh and nimble hands of a new generation of leaders, who understand and can interpret the dynamics and imperatives of modern economies and technological advancements required to launch the nation on the path of sustainable growth and development in tandem with the principles of equity, justice, and equal rights, and respect for human rights and dignity of all peoples.—Franklin Otorofani, Esq.

On the face of it, the title of this piece might sound presumptuous to some readers in that the 2011 presidential election is at least four clear months away from now, and it’s therefore somewhat presumptuous to talk about inauguration for a yet to be held election. However, the title goes beyond its face value or literal meaning to encapsulate the dynamics of a self-fulfilling prophesy about Jonathan’s candidacy in the forthcoming presidential election, his eventual electoral triumph thereat, and his inauguration for a four-year term beginning May 29, 2011 down the road, by the special Grace of the Almighty God, who is a God of infinite possibilities and clearly at work in Nigeria at this historical moment in the life of our nation.

As my readers would readily testify this writer has invoked the divine in every twist and turn every step of the way in his analysis and commentaries on the Jonathan presidential odyssey. But even in the face of denial and resistance of the divine by those who hypocritically wear religion on their sleeves to advertize their false piety at the public square the divine script continues to roll out inexorably for us mere mortals to read and decipher with our ill-equipped, puny brains, and ethnically and tribally contaminated mundane mindsets that are incredibly resistant to all notions of divinity in human affairs. It is quite remarkable indeed that this divine roll out has maintained a steady and progressive trajectory all along, neither detouring nor slowing down or otherwise suffering from any latency whatsoever on its chosen pathway.  

In crafting this title therefore this writer has, as always, taken into account this divine element at work. Therefore this title is in recognition of the undoubted fact that what began as mere speculation has not only acquired a life of its own, but has turned into a monster hurricane, or to put in Nigerian parlance, a Harmattan wild fire that’s threatening to consume all that are stuck in its perilous path. (Please see my previous article titled: Permutations and Projections into Nigeria’s 2011 (HURRICANE JONATHAN MAKES LANDFALL!)

And who are those on its perilous path? They’re the very ones whose morbid fear of Jonathan’s potential candidacy breathed life into his candidacy in the first place. It’s quite ironical that no one contemplated a Jonathan candidacy until the former PDP Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, made it an issue even before Jonathan became acting President. The sycophantic Ogbulafor fighting to be in the good books of a dying president, who stubbornly refused to hand over power to his loyal deputy, arrogantly and petulantly went on air to summarily disqualify then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan from gunning for the presidency under the PDP platform, singlehandedly without recourse to the party’s NWC or the BoT.

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Power drunk and in league with Yar’Adua’s notorious Kitchen cabinet, Ogbulafor constituted himself a law unto himself and went on rampage against Jonathan. It was as if the powers that be at Wadata House had an axe to grind with their number two man his legendary loyalty to his bedridden boss notwithstanding. If that is how to reward loyalty few would choose to be loyal to their bosses. Atiku might have learnt that lesson a long time ago and he put it to work under OBJ to great effect almost upstaging his boss in 2003 PDP primaries. But disloyalty is never a virtue but a vice no matter how much we try to rationalize it to serve our immediate interests. OBJ had his own faults and weaknesses but it’s no excuse to stab him in the back as did Brutus to Caesar. That’s unforgivable and Brutus paid dearly for his treachery against Caesar. God does not forgive acts of betrayal and disloyalty because he expects his children to be loyal to him. How then would he reward acts of disloyalty and treachery?

The man who goes by the name Alhaji Abubakar Atiku is paying the price today for his acts of disloyalty to OBJ. In a previous write up, I predicted that Atiku’s political sun had set and he should go to sleep, politically that is. He’s finished politically and the man he sought to upstage has bounced back to national reckoning because disloyalty is a vice that doesn’t go unpunished by the divine. You don’t get invited for dinner by the head of a family and after helping yourself to a sumptuous meal decide to defecate on the dinner table of the family. Such acts do not go unpunished. The man Atiku is finished in his own local government area, in his own state, and in his own party, heck, in his own country. Politically, he’s a dead fish floating with the current. It’s little wonder then that he’s latching on to IBB, the veritable political reject of his generation to cling to the phantom of zoning.   

Zoning, the gospel according to Apostle Vincent Ogbulafor! That was sweet music to presidential aspirants of Northern extraction in the PDP patiently waiting on the imminent death of late President Musa Yar’Adua to step into his shoes. These folks cared little about the health of President Yar’Adua while it lasted. For all they cared he was standing in their way to acquiring presidential power on the cheap, courtesy of PDP zoning. Both IBB and Atiku were simply waiting on the wings to fly when the death knell was sounded on the president. Thus when Nigerians were busy praying night and day for the recovery of their leader these power hungry presidential aspirants were doing the opposite-scheming to step into his shoes while pretending to be concerned about his ill-health. They couldn’t even wait for the man to die before they began their underground campaign to succeed him in the name of the North. So much for their professed love for the late president! If that’s the stuff love is made of give me betrayal or treachery, please! I want no love.

However, in coming out publicly to summarily disqualify a serving deputy president from contesting an election on some nebulous zoning formula Ogbulafor had stirred the hornet’s nest. He had trampled on the political sensibilities of many a Nigerian, including yours truly. Nigerians would have none of that impunity and injustice embedded in PDP’s garrison politics and rose up with one voice to say “NO!” to Ogbulafor and his clique in the PDP.

Nigerians rose in one accord to pull the brakes on the locomotive of reactionary forces in the PDP bent on foisting an unconstitutional and illegal contraption on the nation through the back door with thunderous reverberations throughout the world. Democracy was on trial in Nigeria and an exasperated world watched with bathed breath as light moved to confront darkness in its darkest hour. Darkness was forced to beat a hasty retreat to fight another day, but never conceded defeat. A state of stalemate dogged the nation for months with no end in sight with Yar’Adua still in a state of comma and all manners of evil machinations and plots emanating from the bowels of Aso Rock which became the Mecca of Nigerian’s opportunistic clergy class speaking from both sides of their mouths in tongues. They had been possessed by the spirits of Aso Rock. 

However, the investiture of Jonathan with the imprimatur of acting president at the behest of the National Assembly despite the spirited opposition of Ogbulafor and his clique at Wadata House swept away Ogbulafor and Yar’Adua’s Kitchen cabinet in one gale. Yet the fire of zoning they had lit continued to burn threatening to tear the nation apart on a purely intra party matter.

While the animated debate seized the nation by the throat President Jonathan kept mum all along leaving his detractors to dance themselves naked in the market place before the real dance began. He kept them all guessing until they wore themselves out and spoke into existence their innermost fears. Yes, their morbid fears of possible Jonathan candidacy which drove them madly to force zoning down the throat of the nation have materialized in the Jonathan candidacy. That’s the reality they are facing today. They spoke their fears into existence and thereby fulfilled their self-prophesy.

Hard to believe but the truth of the matter is that the opposition created the Jonathan phenomenon. Jonathan is a creature of the opposition, period. When you single out an individual for unjust treatment you have indirectly empowered that individual politically. That has been the lesson of history from time immemorial. Whether true or not, that Atiku suddenly became popular at the tail end of OBJ administration was due to the public perception that he was being singled out for persecution by OBJ due to his opposition to third term. That was the line fed by Atiku to the public which seemed to have carried some credibility at the time due to OBJ’s own militant and vengeful style of governance. Hitherto Atiku was as popular as Abacha. Now, however, he has frittered all that goodwill with his political prostitution and reactionary politics of exclusion. Jonathan is now the new kid on the block with Atiku now sharing the same desk with IBB in the class of political infamy, and Jonathan basking in well deserved political limelight.

How times change!

It all began right when Yar’Adua took ill and continued right through the PDP NEC meeting till this moment of his declaration. By ceaselessly harping on zoning and tearing the nation apart his detractors had removed the fangs from the issue and ended up reducing it to a non issue in the end.

Thus at the time the PDP NEC eventually pronounced on the issue, it had lost its fangs like the bees—thanks to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution which imposed their supremacy on the PDP constitution and thereby rendered its zoning provisions null and void and of no effects whatsoever. Although the provisions remain in the books zoning is dead and buried. The final proof is the fact that presidential aspirants are coming from both north and south to slug it out on the party’s platform.

Since that is the case today it’s certain to be the case in future as was indeed the case in the past. Pray, what else is left of zoning? Those who had sought to subsume the nation’s constitution under a party constitution for their own selfish reasons were doomed to fail ab-initio, and that’s why they resorted to threats and intimidation and bully tactics because they knew they had lost the argument in the court of the constitution and the laws of the land.

All that Jonathan needed was to stand up to their bully tactics by throwing his hat into the ring in a formal announcement, come Saturday this week. But his Facebook declaration of intent, which came a few hours before IBB’s declaration at the Eagle Square, Abuja, was a master stroke that effectively took the wind out of the sail of the evil genius. Jonathan executed a virtual coup against the professional coup plotter, IBB. By making that declaration at the time and date he did as well as on the forum he did it, Jonathan had sucked the oxygen from IBB declaration. That’s reason why IBB declaration generated no waves at all but went flat on its face. All of a sudden every newspaper and news organization lapped on Jonathan’s Facebook declaration making it the first line story before that of IBB came in as a footnote of sorts. IBB declaration was forced to take the back seat where it was destined to receive grudging and perfunctory mention. It was a technical knockout for IBB even before Jonathan entered the ring for the fight proper. That was a double whammy for IBB’s deserted launch. Deserted because only a few serving dignitaries showed up there. IBB’s candidacy can be likened to Nigeria’s elephant that refused to get off the ground and take to the skies. Only in Nigeria would elephants attempt to fly.

Jonathan pulled a punch that crippled the IBB launch. That is the power of technology. He was being both media savvy and digital at the same time. One only needs to compare Jonathan’s memorable lines to IBB’s bland statement at his declaration. Here are some samplers from Jonathan in that historical, one-of-a-kind declaration:

"I know you are tired of empty promises, so I will make only one promise to you today. The only promise I make to you my friends, fellow citizens and Nigeria, is to promise LESS and deliver MORE if I am elected.”

 "In presenting myself for service, I make no pretence that I have a magic wand that will solve all of Nigeria’s problems or that I am the most intelligent Nigerian. Far from it. What I do promise is this – if I am elected President in 2011, I will make a covenant with you the Nigerian people to always do right by you, to tell you the truth at all times, to carry you along and most importantly to listen to you, fellow citizens in our communities and also those of you on this page. I do not want to win your affections by giving you promises of things I would do in the future which others before me have given and which have largely been unfulfilled. Rather, I would want you to judge me by my records. Since God Almighty and yourselves permitted me to serve you in the present capacity, I have busied myself with setting Nigeria on the path of peace and progress. My team and I made no promises on adequate fuel supply in Nigeria. We simply did what was expected of those who govern, we delivered it, and you are living witnesses to that…”

What? A Nigerian leader entering into a covenant with the people of Nigeria! What a refreshing departure from the old! Change has come to Nigeria!

This is just desserts before the main course is served hot and sizzling on D-Day, Saturday. By the time this article hits the press Jonathan will have served Nigerians the main course, which is certain to be just as delicious as the samplers above, if not more. This article is timed to coincide or go with the Saturday declaration. However, the precise timing of its publication is outside the powers of the author and it may or may not come out before or after the Saturday declaration. Regardless of the timing of its publication, however, this author would look up to the Facebook samplers as a harbinger of what’s to be expected on Saturday and the days to come from the Jonathan stable. It promises to be the dawn of a new era of Nigerian leadership, which this writer had long foretold. For once Nigeria appears to be on the verge of an enlightened leadership which had eluded her since her independence. The present generations of Nigerians therefore have every reason to be grateful to God for turning the page on Nigerian leadership in their lifetimes. The concept of servant leader championed by the late President seems to have found practical expression in Jonathan.

This is not to say or to even suggest that all of Nigeria’s problems will suddenly disappear overnight with Jonathan in the presidency. Rather, it is to say that those problems that have defied every solution due to lack of sincerity, honesty and commitment on the part of previous leaderships, will be chipped away one block at a time with a sense of mission and duty to the fatherland. That’s why Jonathan’s words and more importantly, the sincerity and honesty with which they’re uttered give us a great cause for hope and belief in their material transformation from promise to fulfillment in due course. Nigerians are not looking for a magician but a performer who will deliver on his promises on the challenges confronting them. And the man simply said to his fellow citizens and the nation that he’s tired of promising because Nigerians are tired of getting promises. Therefore he’s simply delivering…without first promising!  Now, that’s a new take that’s at once refreshing and philosophical at the same time. And who knows, perhaps the days of the philosopher king are here after all.  

One therefore notes with delight that Jonathan’s declarations are laced and infused with uncommon wisdom, humility, forthrightness, pragmatism, keen sense of urgency and, above all, patriotism and justice. I looked for a memorable quote from IBB declaration and I couldn’t find one. Rather, what one got from the retired general was the same tired, worn out clichés of an “experienced leader” bullshit that he had been mouthing all along to no effect. Experience my foot! Might have been referring to experience in election annulments or missing oil windfall. 

What better indication that, God forbid, IBB leadership would be more of the same? Ever seen a left-handed man suddenly becoming right-handed at old age? I don’t care whether he/she is a northerner or southerners, any Nigerian who so hates the country so bad as to casts his/her vote for IBB deserves a place in hell. The blood of Dele Giwa will haunt that person. Abiola’s ghost will torment that individual. Vasta’s blood will chase that individual. And the blood of Nigerians mowed down by IBB Gestapo forces during the CD campaign to drive him out of Aso Rock will visit the homes of such individuals to exact punishment. IBB’s hands are literarily dripping with the blood of innocent Nigerians who met their untimely deaths during his close to nine year despotic rule, including the 32 or so young military officers who mysteriously died in a plane crash. His records of financial profligacy and corruption remain unequalled even by Abacha standards, his military successor and comrade in tyranny.

It’s no surprise therefore that nearly all his lieutenants are deserting him. How many of them showed up at his miserable launch? Just a handful! IBB will soon find out that he’s a fish out of water, who can only thrive in military coups where there is no accountability. Democracy demands accountability and he is ill-prepared to offer one. Till date he has yet to clear his name in the annulment of June 12 election and the missing $12.4bn Gulf Oil Windfall. Perhaps part of that is what is coming back to the Nigerians who have lured him on this ill-advised adventure where he’s certain to face the humiliation of his life.

Who knows, Abiola and Dele Giwa’s spirits might be doing something to this man in the spiritual realm unknown to us mortals. Otherwise, what business has an octogenarian who was disgraced out of power some 20 odd years ago before the present generation was born got to do with presidential election in 2011 when he should be busy writing his will and seeking reconciliation with his Lord for his sundry atrocities committed against his fellow citizens and his fatherland? That he’s not in jail is testament to our political underdevelopment as a nation. Something has got to be pursuing this man to meet his waterloo at the polls to settle the score with him. That something has a name in the books. It’s called the Law of Karma! It pursues its target until it squares up with him or her. IBB will meet his waterloo in the hands of Jonathan, his nemesis. His fate is sealed, signed and delivered. And so is Atiku’s. Muhammadu Buhari will fare much better than this discredited twosome in a marriage of infamy. It’s right there in my previous article that Buhari is in a much better position than either Atiku or IBB in the North. And this shall come to pass at the polls. Yet Jonathan holds all the aces. His victory has been foretold and it’s contained in a divine decree, not to be confused IBB or Buhari’s military decrees.

Run, Jonathan run, for the promise of a New Nigeria lies not in the tired, corrupt hands of retired military generals and Customs officers, but in the fresh and nimble hands of a new generation of leaders, who understand and can interpret the dynamics and imperatives of modern economies and technological advancements required to launch the nation on the path of sustainable growth and development in tandem with the principles of equity, justice, equal rights, and respect for human rights and dignity of all peoples.

The stars are in perfect alignment and the cards are snugly falling into place. Nigeria is on the throes of making history. Heck, it’s her second independence!

Mr. President, see you at inauguration! Your political enemies have spoken it into existence. And it’s your duty to formally bring it into fulfillment with the nation solidly behind you, ready to chart a new course in this 21st century.

Franklin Otorofani, Esq.  Contact:

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