Former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is feeling blabby again after a self-imposed hiatus occasioned by his apparent deference to wise counsel. At a rancorous meeting of the badly fragmented PDP the other day, the former president let it be known, contrary to wise counsel that Nigerians want the party he led to a disgraceful defeat back in power in 2019. Hear here!
Before his latest drool, Mr. Jonathan had gone to town to accuse imaginary enemies of being responsible for his anticipated defeat in the 2015 presidential race. In fact, the former president simply threw caution to the wind and saw nothing queasy in the way he launched a verbal offensive on perceived enemies. Whoever advised Mr. Jonathan to clam up after he imagined enemies where there were none did him a load of good. The former president has defied a golden rule of people who live in glasshouses: he is throwing stones!
If he has some gumption in him, Mr. Jonathan should henceforth sidetrack those third-rate publicists who led him by the nose down the dark, blind alley that took him nowhere. The way things are, the man who was lamely tagged a patriot-hero and was depicted by dishonest handlers as the next best act on Nigeria's crowded political stage conveniently refused to see the former president as no more than a pedestrian politician who is fit for the reserve team of the Niger Delta! The hens are truly coming home to roost!
At issue, still, is the decision by Mr. Jonathan to persist in his ineffectual, some call it counter-productive, pastime of resorting to criminating. Of recent, he has been shouting himself coarse to the hearing of whoever cared to listen that he and members of his family are being witch-hunted by the Buhari/Osinbajo administration. The former president, who serially claimed that stealing is not corruption has of late raised issues with several scandals that have been traced to him and members of his family.
So far, the former president has blamed everybody but himself for his self-inflicted misfortunes. He never picked any lessons from being slammed for the havoc his misrule caused Nigerians. If Mr. Jonathan is not accusing world leaders for plotting his ouster, he is busy blaming elements from a section of the country or adherents of a particular faith for his transgressions. All this while, nobody apologized for the pain caused Nigerians by the crassly incompetent and thieving Jonathan administration.
It must be in strict adherence to the former president's garbled dogma of 'stealing is not corruption' that influenced him and his rambunctious fans to believe he and members of his family are victims of a witch-hunt! If the Mr. Jonathan and his clappers must know, stealing is corruption and corruption is a criminal offence! To operate with the mindset that being called to account amounts to a witch-hunt shows how lowly people can go in playing to the gallery.
At the last count, the name of Mr. Jonathan has been linked to as many as three high-altitude scams! The most recent and, probably the worst of them, is Malabu-gate, a crime of no mean proportion that robbed the nation of millions of dollars. If reports that the former president was privy to the scam are true and that he pocketed $200 Million, Nigerians have not been unduly hysterical in demanding that Mr. Jonathan and other scammers be called to account.
Mr. Jonathan may not look and sound sharp but, when it matters most, he has the presence of mind of how to save his skin. He knows that his conduct and that of his close confidants, including his equally scandal-prone wife, Patience, made it imperative for him to ensure a smooth handover. Proof of this is that, for most part of his better-forgotten years in office, Mr. Jonathan looked the other way as his handlers threatened war without the semblance of whimper in the form of condemnation.
The man who now wishes to be seen as a hero saw nothing wrong when his wife waddled round the country to preach her hate sermons. If he had any sobering moments, Mr. Jonathan should know by now that he dug his political grave by over-indulging the empty-headed politicians around him. Of course, Mr. Jonathan was a weak leader in every sense of the word. In the six years he wasted the time of Nigerians, he succeeded in projecting himself as a man who was incapable of taking decisions. And, if truth be told, heroes are not made out of men who cannot rein-in over-bearing spouses!
Mrs. Jonathan and sundry publicists should accept the dishonour of sending Mr. Jonathan into premature political retirement. From her characteristic waddle to her unclassified okrika grammar, Mrs. Jonathan represented yet another classic example of how Nigeria became a stage for barely literate and unserious actors and actresses to play out their funny acts. While it lasted, Nigerians had good laugh at the antics of their clowning first lady but deep down, even those who ate from the crumbs off her table knew Mrs. Jonathan was incapable of any good.
That Mr. Jonathan retained his wife as a major plank of his campaign in 2015 after several public gaffes, characterised by hate speech, is a pointer to the kind of commander in chief Nigerians had in Mr. Jonathan. May be he even thought his wife was always right and Nigerians who cautioned her were wrong! Whatever it was, the former president's failure to caution his wife or stymie her damaging campaigns, especially after she ordered opposition politicians to be stoned, confirmed the saying that birds of a plume flock together.
Nigerians should be honest enough to look Mr. Jonathan in the face and tell him, quite frankly, that he was a disaster as president. He probably didn't fare any better as a husband! It is delusional of Mr. Jonathan to see himself as a hero just as it is deceitful of his fans to refer to him as a statesman when the reverse is the truth. Reason for this is that heroes are made of sterner stuff. Sadly, Mr. Jonathan is not made of any stern stuff.
At best, he will get a mention in history books as a clay-footed hero!
Magaji lives in Abuja and can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>