The name on everyone’s lips today is that of Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s third reluctant president. Yesterday, I was taxiing to work and the driver suddenly quipped, ‘Walahii, this Goodluck Jonathan faa, he get flenty luck. I go give my next fikin Goodluck so that he go bring Goodluck and become acting fresident!’ Even on the internet, the gist point to Jonathan’s alleged uncanny ability to somehow replace anyone he is subordinate to. The advice is that if you were to be involved with any organization as leader and a deputy whose name is Goodluck is assigned you, you must do very well to decline his deputyship. The circulating gist says that Goodluck was assistant head boy in primary school and eventually became bad luck to the former head boy because he was expelled. The same thing was said to have happened in his secondary school and spilled over into his time as deputy local government chairman. Jonathan was again said to be the bad head responsible for that chairman being involved in corruption and his subsequent removal from office. And then the Diprieye Alameiyeisegha yamayama took place. From the way we all see Mr. Jonathan now as a bad head to those he had been subordinated to, it would not be out of place to assume that Jonathan was the matron that dressed Alamieyeisegha up in those feminine robes and smuggled him through the cast-iron protocols of the London security system. And some even pursue that stupid notion that the name Goodluck is synonymous to pericarditis.
But all of this is rubbish. The only way anyone can explain this is to link these trains of thought to the bandwagon mentality of the average Nigerian – a neighbour takes to selling sachet water and succeeds and everyone wants to sell sachet water, all an affirmation of our inability to indulge in creative pursuits and be original in the expression of our rational propensities. I want to make bold to assert that there is nothing uncanny about the name and antecedents of Mr. acting president that somehow are indicative of the fact that naming our children Goodluck will usher in the good things of life. I was reliably informed recently by a trusted source that as deputy governor to Alamieyeseigha, Jonathan did not always have good luck because his former boss starved him of funds, to the extent that he often begged close friends for money to credit his phone. And even as vice president, his fortunes did not change. Sundry allegations present him as a figure head whose real role, together with the trappings of his office were hijacked by Yar’Adua’s kitchen cabinet. At the beginning of this administration, many of us saw him as the Augustus-Aikhomu incarnate of the IBB regime, and a fall guy expertly set up by the Otta farmer to achieve his third term ambitions.
But the other thing that I really want to discuss today is the propriety or otherwise of making Goodluck Jonathan acting president. Apart from those who are already splitting their hair over it, some have even gone to court. They said that the Senate and House of Representatives did not follow certain sections of that worthless piece of paper called the Nigerian Constitution. Yes, I say so without blinking that that piece of paper is useless because it was foisted on us by a power mad military despot, and determining our fate on that paper alone is not acceptable. My country, our country was on a precipice. We were the laughing stock of the entire world, and I think we were just fortunate that the khaki boys exhibited a high level of professionalism otherwise we would be another Niger Republic today.
Other countries like the UK that do not have constitutions fare well. They have written proclamations. They have ways and means of doing things and do not necessarily have to rely on a piece of paper. Their over-riding interest in government is usually people focused. They do things with the people in mind. Is that the way we do ours here? No way. We want to protect our tiny little constituencies at the expense of the over-riding public interest that should propel our country forward as the stalwart giant it truly is. You see, from the way I am speaking I am on the verge of tears for this country, having lived in a certain civilized country for two months and seen how the governments throw in everything they have because of their people.
So, I have a message for a certain category of persons today. And the message is for those who think Goodluck is lucky to be president. It is also for those who have gone to court because they think that the ‘proper’ rules were not followed in putting us back on track as a nation. Before I go on to relay the message, I want to say that Goodluck is neither lucky nor a bad-head. He is just a victim of certain circumstances that an environment throws up to highlight the fact that if you have a good and kind heart, nature and the owner of the universe creates opportunities for you. Therefore, what I have to say now is that we should let well alone and allow the unfortunate man to give us his best shot at lifting this hungry nation and her people. If we do not, all our rumblings and whimpering ordinarily represent the cacophony and embarrassment of a broken record.