2015 and the Jonathan crowd
PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan’s campaign has finally taken off – against all odds.
I salute His Excellency’s courage. Faced with the obvious blackmail by his numerous opponents, not to talk of the army of busybodies and unrepentant slanderers, who have been too mischievous to see his gigantic achievements, many a leader would have shied away from it all. Not so Dr Jonathan. His campaigners have flooded the land with rallies to celebrate their man. Television advertorials portraying him as a great man, just like many other giants whose opponents believe he shouldn’t be ranked with, are relayed all the time.
Can you blame those excited young men and women who have launched a huge road show to drum up support for Jonathan’s re-election? Now, the whole country is on pins and needles for what Dr Jonathan will say about the numerous calls for him to run in 2015. An ever compassionate man, who has refused to be overwhelmed by Nigeria’s daunting problems – corruption, insecurity, poverty, violent crimes and others – Jonathan, I am sure, will not let them down. He will surely throw his hat in the ring.
The campaigners, eminent citizens all, have been called all manner of names by those idle fellows who hide under the nomenclature “social commentator” to hurl abuses at others. Fraudsters. Tricksters. Pranksters. Crooks and cranks. They have been so called.
Unknown to the critics, these are visionary men who saw through it all. They knew that the various irritants and distractions that we all see as problems are what they are – an amateurish attempt to discourage Jonathan from exercising his right to run next year.
Consider the Boko Haram nonsense. The Presidency knew early enough that it was a mere political contrivance by the opponents of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who vowed that what they could not make they must break. The President once said that members of the dreaded sect had infiltrated his administration. Why don’t you flush them out? Some cheeky fellows, who obviously are ignorant of the workings of a modern administration, asked His Excellency. Then, there were some bombings here and there, but not enough to loosen the grip of a government that is bent on damning all the odds to pursue religiously its widely maligned but highly successful transformation agenda, the fruits of which are all over the place now.
Apparently not satisfied with the little attention it got after bombing the UN office in Abuja and the police headquarters, Boko Haram stepped up the game. It went in the dead of the night to abduct over 200 schoolgirls from their hostel in Chibok, Borno State, drawing global attention to what has been described as one of the biggest mass abductions ever.
At first, the government dismissed it all as another political stunt. It was unmoved. It sent a team to validate the claim, challenging the “faceless” parents of the girls to show up or keep quiet. So serious and urgent was the matter that the First Lady joined in finding a solution. She summoned the school’s principal, the WAEC chief and others. Her conclusion, even though not surprising, was highly revealing: some mischievous fellows, most likely politicians who obviously lack the fear of God and do not want to see anything good about the President, had forged the abduction to malign him. She admonished them to fear God, crying: “Dere is God ooo”.
There seems to be no evidence that those fellows have changed, despite Mrs Jonathan ’s admonitory tears. When the President wrote to the National Assembly, seeking permission to borrow $1billion to purchase equipment to fight Boko Haram, he was pilloried like a coach whose team had just lost a game it had under its firm control. Some said the cash was to fund his campaign for 2015, the same campaign that some patriotic Nigerians are now funding with ease. Others said he should first account for all the cash that had been voted for defence since he mounted the saddle. Yet, others simply said the money was too much. Are we talking about cutlasses and axes for political thugs? Bows and arrows for village vigilantes? Haba!.
Now, Boko Haram has seized some key towns. It has declared a caliphate. A few days ago, some leaders of the North issued an ultimatum, saying Jonathan must get the Chibok girls out before October or forget about 2015.
Where have these northern leaders been? Hasn’t the government said several times that it knows where the girls are and will get them out at the appropriate time?
As if all that was not enough, an American – Liberian, Patrick Sawyer, an Ebola patient, flew into Lagos, fell ill and was admitted at a hospital. His desperate attempt to flee the hospital was physically resisted by a remarkable woman of a remarkable character who contracted the disease and died even as she opened our eyes to the big danger Sawyer posed.
A source told me last night that he learnt from a politician whose uncle is close to a fellow who knows a man whose friend used to work at the Presidency that a team of local scientists with deep knowledge of human behavioural patterns analyses have been commissioned to crank out studies into the various distractions the President has been facing. One of the preliminary results of this massive academic exertion is the discovery that an opposition party may have hired the late Sawyer to unleash Ebola on Nigeria.
Trust the President’s men. They have refused to be deterred. The campaigners have stepped up their rallies. Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), Protectors of Nigeria’s Prosperity and many others are in the new game in town. Surveying the podium the other day, a colleague wondered how people could be chucking their money about, promoting a controversial cause. Now we know why the subsidy fraud probe never really got off the ground, he said, noting that some of those accused of creaming off billions in the fuel subsidy bazaar are the leaders of the campaigns.
They have been talking about President Jonathan’s transformation of the railway, roads, ports and sports. In their excitement, they seem to have forgotten the wonders wrought by the transformation agenda in many other areas. How about the Almajeri schools that are now turning out potential professors, the glittering airports with top range equipment and schools that are set to be designated “centres of excellence” after just about a year of closure and those killer-roads that are now as smooth as airport runways, and the first class hospitals. The rice revolution and the cassava bread that has sent wheat farmers gasping for breath and the roaring textile mills. The steady electricity supply that has sent diesel and generator merchants screaming for help. As they say, the list is endless.
As we pondered these “giant strides” of the administration, Chika Okpala, the one called Chief Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo, alias 4.30, just popped up on the screen, white moustache and all, saying: “Does anybody need mirror to look at what I have at hand? Nooo! These are the ingredient of life. Automobile industry, Goodluck.. Petrol yanfu yanfu …Goodluck. Goodluck can do. Goodluck are going to do and Goodluck will be done. Are you seeing what I’m saw?”
My colleague shook his head, gave a harsh, derisive laugh and concluded: “Now I know the whole thing is nothing but a joke.” Is he right?
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