Re: The Canonization Of Jonathan...By Hakeem Babalola
I did not know I was canonizing GEJ when I wrote the article, "The Victorious Exist of Jonathan Goodluck," in which I joined other pragmatic minds all over the world to pat the Nigeria's outgoing president on the back for his maturity approach of conceding defeat. Not once until I read Sabella Abidde's "The Canonizing of Jonathan" in which Mr. Abidde lambastes anyone who praises Jonathan Goodluck for conceding defeat to Buhari in the just concluded presidential election.
In the said article, the writer brutally crucifies and labels us "Canonizers" of Jonathan. Among other things, he says our praises are bogus and exaggerated. And such accusation coming from one who screams: The Canonization of Jonathan! The Canonization of Jonathan? If Abidde's act of wanton aggression in his choice of title to persecute us is not bogus and exaggerated, then I don't know what it is. Hum
Thus it amazes me whenever the so-called learned people, or those who think they have read so much book complicate things. They often make something so simple so difficult. They muzzle things up just because they have a way with words. They write to scream; use hyperbolic sentiments to distort. It is the way they have been screaming. And their screaming has always succeeded in changing baton of governance - not its essence. This government is not good, that government is not good. Screaming for nothing. But you have to give it to them, for they have mastered the art so well.
Before going in perspective, let me steady the writer's impudent aggressiveness, for he sounds like a bundle of nerves just like a bridegroom on his wedding day. Those praising GEJ for conceding defeat do so not because they think he is a saint; not even because he is a competent leader. But for the mere fact that he managed to curb the blood of monkey and baboons from flowing unlike his predecessors in times like this. Oh no, the polity was heavily provoked before the elections. Is Abidde blind to this?
I submit here that Abidde is wrong in his assessment of those who choose to appreciate the smooth and maturity way the outgoing president handled it. The writer insinuates that Jonathan has no option than to concede and goes on to list the options. Well, here I could sense that Abidde has not tasted power before. Jonathan could mess up the whole process if he chose to. All of them did it including Buhari, Abidde's hero. Let us assume he has no other option than to concede, it is still to his credit. If Abidde is envy of this, na him sabi and then good luck to him.
"Jonathan had a choice," writes one Fazona. "He could have fought the election result on the premise that it was fraudulent, especially in the north, for any reason. And Nigeria would have imploded explosively, most especially in the north, leading to more loss of lives as in case of 2011"
Yes, praising GEJ for relinquishing power that quick is a sigh of relief to those who could see beyond a warped sense of humor. It is a motivation of such; a way of saying this is what we cherish in our country. No, we are not promoting mediocrity rather appreciating a culture of laying an unusual foundation, which could be regarded as part of the whole process. As part of the change in which the likes of Abidde has been crying for. Real change starts from unusual happenings like a Nigerian ruler conceding defeat. It is not natural in our land for leaders to do so as Abidde portrays it to be. So it is not about individual ego and pride.
Therefore it is the use of hyperbolic sentiments of this nature that invited the insurgents like Buhari to take over power illegally; to hijack an emerging process in those dark days. Social commentators should be cautious in the ways they choose word. Abbide's article falls into the category of making simple thing so difficult; making mountain out of molehills. Spitting fire! Wrong and false accusations just because we are pointing out something anew in our polity? Even after doing what seems impossible in the history of Nigeria and Africa by conceding so soon, Abidde still bear grudge on this single act. Na wa o.
But mind you, this man Jonathan had earlier made it known to whoever cared to listen. "My ambition is not worth the blood of Nigerians," he says. Mr. Abidde, what else do you want this man to do? For Abidde to even think of canonizing Jonathan is disrespectful to someone like me who is only giving credit for an act I see as unexampled in the history of Nigeria. Whatever is Abidde's grudge, he cannot take this away from the Otuoke man, who seems smarter than imagined - even in defeat. Obviously, Jonathan could not have solved Nigeria's problems which had been there even before Abidde was born, and I made this clear in my article about Jonathan as early as 2011 when he assumed office.
Abidde should know that the knowledge to be acquired in this world is goddamn too much for a person to acquire in a lifetime. Abidde should know that no one - not even hundreds of Abidde can solve Nigeria's problems in ten years talk less of four years. Not even Abidde's hero. Each one would come and do his or her best and leave. Yes of course, I agree that we have to inspire the leaders to a higher standard. And this point is well noted from Abidde. Perhaps that's why one Mo Ibrahim came up with an award for a time like this when an African leader would leave office peacefully so that monkeys and baboons' blood will not flow.
It is unfair in the name of criticism to turn a blind eye to a single act of magnanimity displayed by Jonathan by conceding. It is also a deceit to pretend that Jonathan's behavior is nothing. Yes, we should not accept mediocrity, but we should also call a calabash a calabash. It is simply unacceptable to suppose that he is being canonized by those who see a real change in the history of a nation through electoral process.
Who made this possible? No, Mr. Abidde, in spite of Jonathan's error and mistake and incompetency (characters of African rulers), we just want to appreciate his visionary mind - of being an incumbent president to give us a life of choice. The point lost on someone like Abidde is the fact that, though meek, the man Jonathan is bold enough to lay an electoral foundation. Would Abidde rather prefer bloodshed to a Goodluck mature way of conceding defeat. I agree with Chinedu Askia who posits that some people simply can't stand how Jonathan reshapes his reputation in one move.
Did Abidde's hero call GEJ in 2011 to congratulate him? We know what followed. Many people lost their lives because of one man's quest to realize an ambition. Headlines like this: Nigeria: Post Election Violence killed 800. This is the kind of thing I have in mind when I pen that article. This is what inspires some of us to appreciate GEJ for not scuttling the whole thing, especially the change all of you are chewing like kola-nut. How can Abidde not see that Jonathan's gesture might be part of the so-called change! Abidde my friend, ah, how can you canonize a living person!
Abidde should remember that America where he seeks refuge had predicted that Nigeria will break up in 2015. It takes GEJ to stop it. Even Buhari's camp has just revealed they had feared GEJ would not concede defeat. For this, the APC camp says it will forever be grateful to Jonathan whose move it describes as phenomenon. So much for the canonization of Jonathan! Things of this essence motivates me to pat GEJ on the back a bit in my article. I just have to give credit whenever it is due irrespective of whether I admire the government or not. How can any sincere person ever think of calling GEJ or anyone for that matter a saint. Abidde surely knows this but just being either mischievous or nudging personal grudge.
I want to believe Abidde quite knows the truth but just being mean. I believe he knows that most of us who appreciate Jonathan's gesture of conceding so smoothly do so not because of Jonathan's effective leadership. Congratulating GEJ as a statesman does not mean we are saying he is not corrupt. All of them - the so-called elder statesmen - in Nigeria, Africa and all over the world are not saints. Apparently Jonathan Goodluck cannot be different.
Hurrah, the blood of monkeys and baboons did not flow in Nigeria - at least for now, and we all breathed a sigh of relief. And that is why I submit that Abidde's The Canonization of Jonathan's think tank falls partially into the category of loud and empty and confuse talk - mere rhetoric.