What Is Neither 'Good' Nor 'Lucky' About Goodluck Jonathan

by SOC Okenwa

NOTE: This article was written and submitted for publication before Goodluck Jonathan declared his assets in response to enormous public pressure.

Ima Niboro was a good professional journalist with one of the best opposition newsmagazines based in Lagos before he was ‘snatched’ away by politics and politicians to become a mouthpiece of the Vice President Dr Jonathan Goodluck. Some Sundays ago Dele Sobowale in his weekly column “Frankly Speaking” in the Sunday Vanguard was lamenting how professional journalists were falling over one another for political appointments, something that changes their status after the ‘political baptism of fire’. He cited few examples to back up his opposition to the ‘price is right’ attitude of men of the fourth estate of the realm: Olusegun Adeniyi (Presidential spokesman) Waziri Adio (former Senate President Adolphus Wabara’s media assistant) and many others who have left their beats for various state capitals as Commissioners, Special media assistants or what have you.

When Niboro rose in defense of his boss penultimate week against the background of attacks by the opposition AC party he went about his job as someone who has lost touch with basic logic. What was the AC through its secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed demanding of Jonathan Goodluck: D-Y-A; open declaration of assets. Though Niboro’s boss has broken no law sending his assets declaration papers to the Code of Conduct Bureau as stipulated by the law there is something to be said about a hitherto unassuming quiet man who has greatness thrust upon his arms by sheer providence.

Dr Goodluck Jonathan is a son of destiny, no doubt; as a discrete ‘scheming’ deputy governor of Bayelsa State he deputised humbly for the convicted Alams and upon impeachment of the thieving Diepreye Jonathan stepped into his shoes as governor of the oil-rich state. He had filed his form for re-election when suddenly President Obasanjo –searching desperately for those meek enough to succeed him — found the duo of Yar’Adua and Jonathan. In the two going by their mien Obasanjo saw and believed rightly or wrongly he had ‘discovered’ non-radicals who would not dare look back on his controversial activities as president long after he retires in Ota.

The on-going trial and prosecution of some former governors of the old outgone order ought to be instructive here. Jonathan Goodluck belonged to this generation of lootocrats as governors. He may have been one of those Nuhu Ribadu had accused among 32 ex-governors of dipping hands into state fiscal resources for personal ends.

The recent mind-boggling news emanating from London the UK as reported by the mass media is another case in point. James Onanefe Ibori whose antecedents pre-1999 were dubious succeeded through connection in high places to gain official entrance into the government house in Asaba as Delta State chief executive. Ibori’s questionably acquired properties and assets in England to the tune of 25 million Pounds Sterling were frozen by the London Metropolitan Police in collaboration involving the Interpol and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Southwalk Crown Court in London issued the restraining order on Ibori’s huge assets preventing the big crook from interacting with the assets, while the London Met conduct their investigations. There are a whole lot of Iboris as ex-governors. The EFCC has exposed just only five and more exposures are expected in due course.

What we are dealing with, it must be admitted, is a generation of rogue leaders up against history; the Nigerian state has been taken over at all levels by a criminal cartel and if we are to move forward we need to take them on. And in the campaign for restitution no one who has elected to ‘serve’ the people should be immuned from scrutiny. The stolen soul of the nation must be recovered!

Ima Niboro and his principal need to be reminded, therefore, that before the VP took up residence in Aso Villa his wife was fingered by a lady-front nabbed in MMA Lagos with hefty package of foreign currency in a spectacular money laundering errand for the first lady of Bayelsa State then. After that incident and its inconclusive aftermath a whole lot of Nigerians had lost confidence in Goodluck as a dove and prophet of frugality.

It is now clear that in the past eight years of much-vaunted ‘democracy’ what we had was a regime of lootocrats. General Olusegun Obasanjo (ably assisted by hedonistic marauding buccaneers) presided over a fiscal heist worst than Babangida’s and Abacha’s. That is about the verdict so damning to be ignored. And Goodluck Jonathan cannot claim not to be part of that regime! Nor can Niboro wish it away. Therein lies the heart of the matter.

What is therefore not ‘Good’ and ‘Lucky’ in VP Jonathan is found in his insistence on keeping his assets declaration form secret. Before the law he’s right but morally speaking he is found wanting. If Goodluck Jonathan is not afraid of his stewardship as Governor of Bayelsa State; if he is not hiding anything reprehensible from Nigerians he should then heed the popular call for his assets to be made public. Otherwise the perception that he is a moral burden to the new political dispensation will never go away.

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