Nigeria Matters

What President-Elect Goodluck Jonathan Needs

“My guy, like fellow Nigerians, I can’t wait for the sunrise of Sunday May 29, 2011.”

“Why are you so anxious?”

“Why shouldn’t we be anxious? Transition is always a big deal in Nigeria. It’s only during times like this that relief is written all over the wrinkled faces of old young Nigerians.”

“I still don’t understand your point”

“Okay let me take you down memory lane. Do you remember the May 29 that Obasanjo handed over to Yar’adua at the Eagle Square?”

“Yes I remember the frown dimple on baba’s wrinkling face”

“How did you feel as a Nigerian?”

“Well, memories of those OBJ days are still fresh. His administration had vibrant rock-solid foreign relations although internal crisis preponderated. Hence I was happy to see the end of over packaging and PR-centered administration.”

“Then, what was your perception about Yar’adua before he took the oath?”

“Yar’adua looked like the missing piece that the nation needed at the time. Unlike OBJ who travelled out almost fortnightly, Yar’adua looked like someone who loved the nation more than our own Air Force One. The only major reason he travelled out was his ailing health and on major and lesser Hajj.”

“But your view of him changed afterwards. Am I right?”

Yes

Why?

“Who didn’t hate his incessant leaves of absence? Nigeria paid medical bills in Germany, Saudi Arabia and several other countries that only Turai and the inner caucus know about.”

But we are a very rich country; you can’t hate your president because he’s sick.

“I agree with you. But the nation was facing a lot of crisis at the time. The Niger Delta was boiling, NLC was on strike, ASUU was fuming, schools were shut, and the little structures of anticorruption institution that OBJ built literally crumbled due to the inability of the incumbent president to oversee the nation from his sickbed.”

“Also, Nigeria’s average intelligence quotient nosedived or how do you describe the nation being held to a standstill by a housewife; attorney general of the federation’s assertion that the president can rule from anywhere – hospital bed, ICU and morgue inclusive; or the pusillanimous impotent legislature that couldn’t fathom the constitution?

“The Aboki guy that sells suya in my neighborhood had a better legal understanding than the lawmakers with the world’s highest wages. While discussing the state of the nation, he touched his tongue with the hot blackened swearing finger and said ‘Kai, these fifle no know anything faa. They are annoying me walahi’”

“You are funny”

“It wasn’t funny. But we thank God they came back to their senses.”

“Jonathan assumed duty yet you guys weren’t satisfied. Wetin happen this time?”

“I think what most Nigerians with scores to settle have against Jonathan are majorly his eloquent typical “no idea” responses to sensitive issues.”

“Can you please elaborate?”

“Sure. When there was pandemonium in Jos, what did Jonathan say?”

“Our security officers will get to the bottom of the matter; perpetrators will be apprehended and they’ll face the full wrath of the law”

“But did that stop Jos from exploding again and again?”

“No”

“What of Boko Haram crisis in the north? GEJ gave the same response almost verbatim yet Boko Haram remains our own Al Qaeda in Nigeria but unlike Obama, GEJ has no concrete intel report on how to solve the simple puzzle.”

“The story is the same with the various low and high profile killings and kidnappings across the nation. In Yoruba analogy, GEJ is more like the lion on oil canvass that looks scary but cannot bite. That is why security remains the number one problem we’ve had under GEJ’s outgoing administration – bombs are now easily accessible and are blasting almost on per second billing in Borno and other places”

“But he won the election. Why didn’t the so-called Nigerians vote en masse for Buhari et al?”

“I think GEJ won not because he’s the best candidate, but for some underlying issues including ethnic/racial sympathy, other candidates’ apathy, and electorate empathy. Of course, the post-elections crisis up north showed that he’s the lesser evil of the two top contenders”

“You have right to your opinion. Since it’s going to be a Jonathan-to-Jonathan handover ceremony, what do you think will be different in the incoming administration?”

“Nothing much except he brings in new names like Olisa Agbakoba.”

“Then why are you anxious?”

“As an Ijaw man, I’m interested in how GEJ will utilize our first shot at the presidency.”

“Why?”

“If he doesn’t rule well, then my kinsmen can stop thinking about the post for a minimum of forty years considering the “agreement” with the northern elites, agitating Igbo leaders and the south west that can spring surprise anytime with BRF who is doing a great job in Lagos”

“I now understand you. If you were GEJ, what will you be doing now?”

“I will lock out lobbyist, political prostitutes, praise singers and other distracters. I won’t even attend to Patience in order not to loose focus. I will get a covert team who will take me undercover in the various remote parts of Nigeria. I will endeavor to feel the real pulse of Nigerians, experience their challenges, familiarize with the poor standard of living and fraternize with the downtrodden because they are the real Nigerians, not the president’s neighbors in Abuja.”

“Hmmmmmn. You are very intelligent. Abuja is truly a façade. But where will you recommend that Jonathan should visit without his fierce looking State House security officers?”

“There are lots of them. I’ll recommend Orji in Owerri, Bere in Ibadan, Okenne in Kogi state and Borno bomb planes.”

“You wan kill am?”

“No. He just needs a share of the national cake. You can’t solve the problems without knowing the problems. He can’t give hope when hope itself is worthless. Also, how can he keep us safe when he has battalions watching over him unlike other Nigerians whose lives are at risk daily?”

“But I can bet my pension on the fact that GEJ will never leave the confines of affluence in pursuit of your silly undercover covert operation to understand Nigerian problems. You don’t have to be poor to understand the poor; it’s a matter of commonsense. Who doesn’t know Nigerian problems? Cart pushers can suggest brilliant solutions to Nigeria’s power crisis and market women also have ideas on the panacea to Nigeria’s unbalanced wealth distribution, economic woes and alarming unemployment rates.”

“I guess he needs to develop more interest and passion for Nigeria”

“On that, you are also wrong. OBJ was passionate about Nigeria yet the entire south west ganged up against him; Umaru had good intentions and seven strong agenda yet his health and advisers failed him. Alao Akala claims that he rules with the fear of God and in the best interest of the people. We both know where he’ll be two weeks from now”

“I’m bereft of ideas. What do you recommend?”

“Like I said earlier, commonsense is all that he needs. Nigeria is very simple to r

ule and Nigerians are very easy to govern if you rely on your commonsense. The workers are asking for new salary scale which the country can afford. Commonsense implies that you give them. Lecturers are giving ultimatum before embarking on strikes in protest. What commonsense requires is that you listen to them and be flexible. There is crisis in the Niger Delta over the deplorable state of the region. Commonsense demands that you compel those responsible to act right. A politician is fraudulent, commonsense will tell you to remove him instead of hiding under political affiliations and legal complications to cover him up.”

“What about the crisis up north?”

“Very simple to solve. Get to the root of the matter, recognize the warring factions, drag them to the roundtable on live TV and help them reach a compromise. Kidnapping, bombing and killing cases are best resolved when commonsense is applied”

“So what you are saying is that we are where we are because our current and past leaders lack commonsense?”

“Maybe, but don’t drag me into the blame trade game.”

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