The President, Goodluck Jonathan, needs all the help, even the devil can give. It is that bad presently. The president is in dire straits. That much is the impression one gets (today 17-09-13), listening to Raypower phone-in radio programme, Channels TV news and even NTA network news.
The issue to put it simply is; why is Jonathan having a bad press, and some would rightly say, very terrible press? There are two self suggestive approaches to the question. The first is that the President is not performing adequately, or is not even performing at all. The other is that he actually is, but is at a loss on how to project his achievements to his superiors, that is we the Nigerian peoples.
If we are to attempt answers they will come in this form and fashion. Records show that President Jonathan despite the portrayal of his abilities or lack of those, he is actually one of the great performing Nigerian presidents. In the pantheon of our great presidents and prime ministers, he has only Balewa and perhaps Shagari to compete with.
The reasons we admit are, but are rather not too self-evident. This is especially so because of the very poor conceptual frames upon which we erroneously judge our political chief executives. But it is important we get our bearings right, or we will be lost however far we travel or analyze situations. Distance as important as she may be, is even less so than direction. Leadership is first and foremost about direction, not speed or displaced distances. Headed wrongly, no journeys can be taken to have been made, except to hell and damnation.
Now if we discounted the Shagari years, the reigns or tyrannies of Generals Gowon, Murtala, Obj, Buhari, Ibb, Abdulsalami come with one evil eye or mark. They all happened on us and against our will. These men were leaders solely on the strength of their guns and sheer physical brutality or threat of same, against our lives. That is to say they were self-elected messiahs or deluded they were/are. But after their long and endless reigns, by guns and threat of guns, what happened? Records confirm that as they left, we the Nigerian peoples became a damned and an accursed generation. And the nation they bequeathed, sorry left behind, was in tatters, little other than a shipwreck.
In a sense this was expected and could have been foretold. All over time, especially modern times, the works of dictators run parallel, and are like the works of the devil. When the devil comes to your help, or to work for you, its final purpose, firstly hidden, is to ruin you. So the very goodness of the devil or the dictator is a hidden prelude to your fatal and final collapse. That is to say all the good times the dictators gave us, from Udoji award to SAP, are the causes of the very collapse of the present Nigeria.
Their disaster is especially tragic because theirs was a self-elected redeeming mission. Now all we are left with are their dubious heritage of a wounded nation. Truth is that it is not Jonathan who made Nigeria in this present image. Those who did are the military adventurers. So what the hell are ignorant peoples talking of, as if the Nigerian past was the golden years?
If one took to the Obj comparative years, it is clear that even his admirers admit it was a near complete disaster. Billions were awarded for roads that were never built. Billions more were ‘appropriated’ for electricity even as the nation entered into greater darkness. And to match these and more, there was the remarkable absence of media uproar or censure.
Even more remarkable is that the man while he was the president folded the ministry of petroleum and NNPC into his black-hole financial agbada. Now control of the oil ministry and NNPC gives one the greatest opportunity, about 80%, for corruption in Nigeria. If corruption is Nigerian, then that Nigerian is NNPC. Yet one man took it and concentrated the opportunity for corruption unto himself and his self chosen special Nigerians. The media’s only worry then was: was it legal?
It is proper here to remark that the presidency is such an onerous task, that if one took on the job any conscientiously, he will scarcely have time for little else. And this includes the detail work of running any or all of the ministries or departments. The example of Obama is telling. Obama a younger dude has gone almost completely gray, just for being President. But while and when our man was there, the presidency was like a fattening room for Calabar maidens. And it showed.
Now imagine a scenario where GEJ seized and tucked in the Petroleum ministry under his resource control hat. It is certain the media would have raised a Tsunami size storm.
This media partiality to GEJ was well expressed by a phone in guest at Raypower radio. He asked why we are pretending GEJ inherited a country, Nigeria that was like Singapore and ruined it by making us revert to being Nigerians all over again.
And to add to same, David Mark was on NTA/Channels bemoaning that those he called political jobbers and opportunists have seized the political space and are setting the agenda. That is that the larger Presidency, of which he is a senior and inner caucus member, is losing the media, power and grandeur projection war. It was quite a pity. And I had one on GEJ.
So if GEJ is doing well, why are his party, the presidency and related caucuses losing out on the communication front? We shall conjecture as follows. The error is in the popular but mistaken Nigerian view that presidential or high power communication is a media thing. Communication is not about the media save as a channel, and as one of the channels.
What media men possess is the access to print or air space. Access is not logic, is not content, and is not imagination. And these virtues or values are more needed than access to space. In fact articulating them is the real task.
It is quite a pity then that even the locational-greatness that is Jonathan has not been conveyed with imagination. No presidency or PDP party hand has shown ability to seize the day and make Nigerians see Jonathan, not as a contingency, but a necessity, a Nigerian necessity. That is the task of presidential communication. It is not to reply opposition as if communicating with the people won’t have existed without the opposition. Presidential communication is not warfare with opposition. Presidential communication is at its best a love affair between the people and their president. Even to riposte the opposition should be a made a rendezvous with the people. GEJ handles should not split the focus.
It is important to remark that Jonathan may suffer a collateral damage even if he wins his second term bid. With the way the media theatre is being lost, Jonathan would, even if he wins his second term, have turned out so wounded a president, he will rule without gravitas, will literally be a lame duck, a Maradona without balls. Such a pity.
Are there any solutions? Perhaps they should seek help, even if from the devil himself. If they are lost for his address, perhaps they should ask his apena. Ahiazuwa.
How come the folks of the provinces want to rule the centre?
The call for the resignation of Dr. Okonjo-Iweala by the group of seven governors is bewildering. How can governors elected to run the provinces want to rule or run the centre? Who elected them to be assessors of the performances of their jurisdictional superiors? They themselves are under watch and measure. It is not theirs to want to be political arbiters or judges.
It is the same old problem of the Nigerian, whether he is governor, agbero or philosopher. He never gets to be civilized enough to know that there are weights and measures, as well as limits and distances.
Though there is freedom of speech, yet decorum demands that we be aware what our remits and limits are. This is especially so for folks who are elected to represent us. A critical part of being elected is the assumption that the man who offers to be elected can self-supervise himself; and not turn freedom into license.
If Okonjo-Iweala is to go, then it is Nigerian peoples or their representatives at the centre who should canvass such opinions and then with reasons. But for a group who has continuously mismanaged their states to call upon the centre to sack or not sack its operative is malarial nonsense.
Is she the silver bullet for the Nigerian economy? Nobody is. However the truth is, Okonjo-Iweala is doing a fantastic job, given the heritage of abuse and rape Nigeria has been under all these long years. And it will be wonderful to see any governor establish he is managing his constituency state any better, any more prosperously than Okonjo-Iweala runs the national economy. We await. Governors biko ronu.
Abacha rejoins the race
If I were to suffer the indignity of being a politician, a Nigerian politician, my sympathies will lie with PDP. The reasons are simple and I have been faithful to it. PDP is the only pan-Nigerian party. As far as we know, our history instructs that the only meaningful Nigerian project today is that we set about and achieve a rainbow, an all- inclusive consensus. Before this, little else has meaning or relevance.
If that consensus be that we all in unison ruin or loot the country, let it so be. If it is that we all move the country forward, the better then will be our lot. The worry about corruption, indiscipline is pure balderdash. Not even the devil, if he is Nigerian needs it. It is better Nigeria is corrupt and in one consensus, than that Nigeria is torn to shreds by the ambitions of partisans wearing nationalist clothing.
To emphasis this, is the insight Mohammed Abacha gave for his decision to return to PDP. We quote in part. It is the best move now we have come to the realization that no other party captures the whole country, every tribe, every religion as the PDP.
The statement requires a dedicated reading. He says, the whole nation, every tribe, every religion. Compare this to the farce of other parties. Their game is built on the inessential lie that Nigeria must be run on a two member Security Council style arrangement. So in some cleverness they put their party together on the logic of existing parties and their strengths and not on the peoples, tribes and religions of Nigeria. Meanwhile their partisan parties are representatives of their own Nigerian peoples.