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The Mountain in Front of President Jonathan

By: Kali Gwegwe
 Published April  26th, 2011

But for the surprising departure from traditional voting patter, President Goodluck Jonathan could not have won the April 16th presidential election. This development could be largely traced to the new electoral law, leadership of INEC, and the One-Man-One-Vote campaign. For the first time since independence, most Nigerians voted without paying serious attention to tribal, religious, and even party sentiments which they argue are shallow and parochial in nature. This is one strong reason why President Jonathan could put up a very strong showing in Muslim dominated north and ACN strongholds in the south-west. There is a fertile belief among the present generation of Nigerian electorates that good governance or quality political leadership transcends shallow and parochial inclinations such as ethnicity and creed. With the nation’s deep ethnic and religious divide, it was unimaginable for President Jonathan; a minority from Bayelsa State to win 25% and
above of votes in as much as 31 states and Abuja. This unprecedented development alone was enough for most uninformed people to agree that PDP rigged the presidential election. But as days go by, many among this clan of doubters are beginning to appreciate the fact that Nigeria has moved far away from the era when almost everything was done based on tribal and religion sentiments.

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To sustain this new found political culture, the president must do well to reward the Nigerian electorates by offering quality and purposeful leadership. He must also do everything possible to bless the memories of all those innocent citizens that were killed by the enemies of this nation. No matter their status in society, the murders and their sponsors must be given their rightful places in prison. That is where they precisely belong. No one has right to take the life of another when the law courts are there to dispense justice. Enough of this wickedness. What are these murderers and their sponsors doing with their hearts? Enough is enough! It is very clear that they do not want this nation to move forward because they are benefitting from the pains and sufferings of the masses.

I am very glad that the president has not rolled out the drums and red carpets to celebrate his victory to honour the hundreds of innocent compatriots- women, youths, and children that were killed by the shameless enemies of Nigeria. More than that, political leaders most times indulge in celebrating partisan victories and forget the sacred obligations they owe the masses. President Jonathan should therefore only thank God for His grace and get down to work. He should wait and allow the masses to celebrate him at the end of his tenure in office.

As with every other society, there are many mountains that usually stand in front of political leaders. However, one of them is always conspicuous. It has to do with how to manage the arrogance of kingmakers. For the sake of this piece, kingmakers are all those who do more than mere casting of their votes to make President Jonathan win the April 16th election. They are mostly made up of the leadership of the many campaign organizations and several generous individual and corporate donors. In most cases, kingmakers see their contributions as “investments” and therefore expect to make “profits.” There is nothing wrong with this. What is indeed wrong is the penchant for killing the society to make extra “profits” on top the conventional profit usually made while doing business.

Two ways kingmakers kill the society are as follows. Many that are given appointments see and use their positions to recoup and make profits from their political “investments.” Some of them that win contracts either abandon or simply deliver sub standard jobs. President Jonathan must take note of this fact and do everything within his powers to put an end to this negative culture. It is also pertinent to warn that no political leader should undermine the powers of kingmakers. They can easily destroy a government if their excesses are not properly managed. A lot of wisdom is needed in this regard. The president must openly champion the principles of due process, accountability, transparency, and rule of law. He can always take refuge in these societal pillars each time the kingmakers raise their swords over his head.

This writer joins other well-meaning Nigerians to appreciate the invaluable contributions of all those that contributed towards making Jonathan win the April 16th presidential polls. He was indeed the brightest among the whole lot. These kingmakers must give the president enough political space to lead Nigeria out of the woods. They do not have any better option.

I want to recall that while campaigning for President Jonathan, quite a good number of my friends from the northern part of the country confessed that they do not have problems with Jonathan as a person. Their problem has always been the people around him- kingmakers. I respected their opinions but assured them that Jonathan has the capacity to manage the excesses of his kingmakers. I believe that the president will not let me down.

Kali Gwegwe

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