Recently this writer had the rare opportunity to chitchat with Vice President Jonathan Goodluck. The interview took place on Monday August 1st, 8-9am, at the Nicon Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Sabella: Dr. Goodluck thanks a lot for agreeing to this interview. It is such a privilege and an honor to be with you today. Thank you!
Jonathan G: You are welcome. I am happy to be here with you. It is my hope that with this interview people will have a better understanding of me and for what I stand for, i.e. my core values, worldview and things like that. At this point in time, my own people, the Ogbia people…er, er, I mean the Ijaws have an unfavorable perception of the kind of man I am. Journalists like you should write positive things that would bring development and advance knowledge, instead of writing speculative stories that lack substance.
Jonathan Goodluck: (cuts in). Could you please address me as “Your Excellency.” My official position demands you address me as such. You know I have a doctorate degree, I have chieftaincy titles five times over, I have been a governor and now I am just a heartbeat from the presidency…
Sabella: Yes sir, yes, your excellency
Jonathan G: Good, now we can continue with the interview.
Sabella: Your Excellency, in your righteous and well-thought out opinion, how do you think the Ijaws can move out of poverty, fetidity and hopelessness; how can they achieve development?
Jonathan G: The Ijaws can move out of poverty whenever they are ready to move out of poverty. They can farm and fish and sell Ogogoro. What else do they need to achieve development? All the talk I hear about ecological disaster nothing but crap. Let them go about their farming and fishing endeavors.
Sabella (cuts in): What about education, availability of infrastructures, the right public policies, etc, etc.
Jonathan G: No, no, no the Ijaws don’t need things like that. You are going to be destabilizing their community when you bring in things like that. Besides, it is way too expensive to put such things together. It better we concentrate on developing the whole country instead of just a section. As far I can tell Ogbia is the only part of Ijaw nation that need such amenities.
Sabella: Your journey so far, from DG to VP…Isn’t that Chief Obasanjo’s doing?
Jonathan G: Believe it or not, I was chosen by God almighty; he only used OBJ to manifest his will. . He made it possible for me to become the deputy governor, and later the governor. And through his intervention, I am now the VP. Thank God for such mercies! And so I am only accountable to God and his angels, not mere mortals.
Sabella: Regarding the issue of development…
Jonathan G: Yea, yea, yea… Bayelsa and the Ijaw race will move forward and achieve greater development among the comity of nations if they will encourage one another instead of dwelling in the current attitude of pull-him-down syndrome. Encouragement is what is needed: encouragement, prayers, that sort of things. They should keep praying to God to deliver them. What’s the need for all those militant activities; what’s the need criticizing me; what’s the need sending petition to government; and what’s the need taking up arms. Let them go on their knees and pray to God almighty.
Sabella: So, the Ijaws has been trying to pull you down?
Jonathan G: Oh yea, without a doubt! They don’t like me, they don’t respect me, they don’t fear me; and they have taken all and every opportunity to sell me short before the Nigerian people. They are accusing me of mismanagement and other corrupt practices. Whatever they are accusing me of is all lies, fabrications. I did not steal anything.
Sabella: Your Excellency, you mean you didn’t steal their money? And can you categorical say you don’t have accounts in South Africa, Ghana, the US and UK and other places?
Jonathan G: I was the governor; therefore, I was the government. Government’s business was my business and my concern, and whatever I used the money for was for the good of the people. I kept bags of dollars, pounds, euros and yen in my house in case any of my subjects needed money. It is their money not mine, I was merely the custodian of such money.
Sabella: What do you have to say about all the killings and kidnappings and the fact that some GMG got burnt the last time your home attacked?
Jonathan G: Well, I don’t want to say much about the kidnappings. Let’s leave that matter alone since I still have parents and relatives in my village. I wouldn’t want them kidnapped. But as for the killings, well, if we continue to kill ourselves, in another 15 years to come, we will not make progress and we will continue to be where we are. The killers are responsible for the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta. Once the killings stop, there will be progress. And let me make this crystal’ clear: there was no GMG in my house….no money was burnt. Nothing; just my university diplomas.
NOTE: This is a mock interview, just in case that didn’t get across.