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Opinion: The Tragedy Of President Goodluck Jonathan

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It is tragic that under the current PDP-led regime of Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria is arguably a more dangerous, divisive and run-down place than at any other time in its history.  It is doubly tragic that much of the insecurity, destabilization and escalating pauperisation of the people is happening because of deliberate, impeachable acts of  impunity , maladministration and corruption on the part of an uninspiring and visionless potentate whose non-sober temperament and increasing  desperation  to hang on to power are pushing the country to the brink.  

Today, the president is behaving more and more like an antediluvian ogre of predatory politicking, part –Mobutu, part-Babangida, part-Abacha  and part-Obasanjo, his  creator and mentor.  That is to say that Jonathan is a Caligula-like incarnation whose turpitudes and administrative subversions, not to mention his remorselessly tyrannical assaults against perceived enemies, are wreaking untold havoc on democracy and the stability of the nation. Alarmingly, the man is running a rudderless outfit, a soi-disant government whose irresponsible onslaughts against revered symbols of authority, cohesion and tradition like the emir of Kano, the governors of Rivers State and Adamawa,  the speaker of the House of representatives, Tambuwal, just to mention a few,  or those of our democratic emancipation like the media, are badly endangering our collective peace and harmony. It is tragically ironic that a president who swore to defend and protect fellow citizens and their interests is now actively competing (others would say collaborating) with various forces of centrifugal rascality and terrorism like Boko Haram in the destruction or sabotage of our economy and other key sectors.

The unconscionable and unparalleled desecration of the Nigerian presidency that is inherent in the brazenly reckless, undemocratic and illegal conduct of Jonathan and his henchmen does call for a strong, clear response from the civil society and especially from genuine pro-democracy forces devoid of the historical duplicity, treachery and complacency associated with the leadership of organizations like the NLC. This is a clarion call for the urgent salvation of the country from malevolent forces of depravity, dictatorship, anti-intellectualism and sleaze led by an inept, rash and mean-spirited ruler whose worrisome abdication in the face of daunting national challenges is pushing us closer to perdition. A key aspect of the patriotic duty to confront the tragedy of the imperial president and his anti-people PDP is helping expose their reign of wanton profligacy and criminal misrule that favors a den of misfits and noisy, loathsome parvenus while at the same time savagely trampling on the decent but long-suffering majority and their welfare.   Crucially, it is also about deconstructing the sinister ploy which consists in desperately trying to hide the woeful and unpardonable failures of the under-performing president and his PDP kleptocracy behind a veil of pseudo-religious rationalization or heckling whose abject objective is the attainment of a diabolical divide-and-conquer situation through the cultivation of ethno-religious schisms. We join other decent Nigerians by insisting that Jonathan and his PDP confederates must run for election on their track record of societal ruination and anomie instead of seeking refuge in contemptible, cowardly, unpatriotic and criminal attacks against the opposition, the media and the people of Nigeria in general.  It is one of those tragic aberrations that the president is unconstitutionally using the army, the police, the SSS, the judiciary and other state institutions to settle personal scores. The immediate and long-term consequences of Jonathan’s misconduct here cannot be over-emphasized.  For instance, an army or any security force that takes sides in partisan or byzantine quarrels cannot be counted upon to defend the interests of the majority, talk less of defending the unity, security and territorial integrity of the nation as seems to be the case with today’s openly politicized military whose reputation of corruption and indiscipline does, to a large extent, mirror the Augean Stables around Jonathan and his PDP.  Sooner or later, an army or police force that is compromised politically gets factionalized along the lines of ideological or primordial allegiances with dire consequences. History should be our guide here.

As the nation continues to groan under the tragedy of criminal misrule, especially at the centre, and its cortege of calamities like kidnappings, robberies, communal crises, the Stone Age Boko Haram insurgency and tribal or sectional outfits in the MEND mould which are imbued with a xenophobic mindset, the Jonathan autocracy has typically chosen the path of infamy characterized by irrational and heretical posturing that has made matters worse.  Nigeria is in deep trouble all because of a bumbling, sleazy and incompetent PDP government whose anti-social nature and conduct have transformed the country into a dismal backwater of rampant desolation at the mercy of heathen forces of savagery and reaction (in the image of the PDP behemoth) as well as dubious foreign interests. Often brusque and lacking in civility in their interactions with the populace, President Jonathan and his megaphones have  a terrible habit of either rejecting with a sleight of hand cogent and useful advice from the opposition and particularly from the APC,  or desperately trying to score cheap political points by futilely trying to dress their failures in ethno-religious robes. Paradoxically and alarmingly, the same Jonathan has curiously become eagerly amenable to suggestion (if not orders) from foreign governments or their representatives in the wake of the recent abductions of over 200 Chibok school girls by the Boko Haram terrorists, a tragic event, the aftermath of which was characteristically bungled by the president and his aides who preferred to remain nasty and inhumane by diddling and playing petty politics with the fate of the young female victims.

The president’s alter ego, Dame Patience, even treated us to a bizarre pantomime of cruel, sacrilegious humor  when she flatly denied that any girls had been abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok while at the same time invoking God’s name as caution to those whom she thought were after mischief to discredit her husband and his precious regime. Sadly, this is how Jonathan has mishandled the entire Boko Haram-related quagmire. When decisive action was needed like the taking of measured administrative measures that included the deployment of an overwhelming force of dissuasion in order to neutralize the  apparently menacing sect before it became the dreaded terrorist contagion that it is now, the president and his government dithered, retreating into whiningly recriminatory finger-pointing with sectarian and sectional undertones. And, as the foyers of the deadly insurgency multiplied with corresponding devastation and barbarity, Jonathan and his government sought further refuge in their traditional incompetence and paralysis, only to be jolted by the spontaneous outcry that attended both the Chibok kidnappings and the regime’s scandalous dereliction of duty that followed them. A pertinent question thus arises: Is President Jonathan sober now in the face of the  national outrage and its international echoes that have greeted both the criminal abductions of the girls and the way and manner he and key members of his regime persisted in their revelry and partisan political intoxication or desperation in the critical period that would have been efficaciously utilized to secure their release?

We must hasten, though, to move beyond such rhetorical probing in the knowledge that Jonathan and his PDP confederacy are beyond redemption. To expect from them the pursuit of the common good that is the product as well as the consequence of exemplary leadership that is imbued with, amongst other qualities,  a sense of equity, decency  and lucidity, is to indulge in futility.  Jonathan and his eminence grise share the PDP’s mantra of “do or die” politics that is predicated on the reprobate behavior of brazen election rigging which allows them  to loot the national treasury without qualms,  thereby rendering the masses forlornly destitute. The president and his gang are more desperate and more dangerous also to the wellbeing of the average citizen. A case in point is their grotesque and undemocratic behavior in the last gubernatorial elections in Anambra and Ekiti, respectively,  and  in Adamawa State where the governor, Jonathan’s fervent critic and opponent, is being irresponsibly and dangerously threatened with impeachment of a  kangaroo kind.

As their woeful failures and contradictions keep exploding in their faces, it is obvious that the president and his associates are becoming more panicky ahead of 2015. They are indeed more vulnerable, too. That vulnerability may be exposing Jonathan and his regime to more undue and unhelpful pressures from foreign governments and their leaders whose various offers of assistance, whether against the Boko Haram terrorist machine or in other areas of national concern, may go against the strategic or other interests of our dear country. Vigilance is de rigueur here. We must beware Greek gifts ( or Trojan horses, depending on the angle from which one views the issue) from the Americans, the British, the French, the Chinese and any other providers of ‘aid’. Citizens ought to know that some of these foreign powers have always seen Nigeria as an enemy whose size, potential as well as integrationist ambition for the West African sub-region and Africa as a whole are perceived as inimical to the economic and strategic interests of these foreign hegemonies. Importantly also, we must reject any interference in our internal politics. Any attempt to prop up the unpopular Jonathan and his PDP tyranny will be repudiated by the citizenry. That brings us to the ultimate question: Are we the Nigerian people more sober now in our collective quest to save our country? Are we wiser today not to fall for the silly and illiterate skulduggery by an under-achieving, reckless  PDP and its clueless and sleazy owners who have ruined the country for 15 years now and are desperate to hang on to irresponsible power by wickedly and senselessly trying to promote ethno-religious division ?

Jonathan and his PDP can wallow in their hedonism and other vain pursuits, if that is their cup of tea, but we show that we are not substantially different from them if we condone what they do, are complacent regarding their criminal misrule which has brought us to this sorry pass and especially do nothing to redeem a badly battered Nigeria that is now a virtually failed state, chiefly due to the PDP mafia and its current boss.

Of all the parties in the Nigerian political firmament, the APC is objectively best placed as a credible alternative to the PDP.  Its optimism is borne out of hard work, vision and a rugged determination to do what is right by restoring hope to the majority through the provision of their basic needs and much more. The masses of our people should support and actively work for the APC’s agenda of change for the better. That agenda of change is precisely the antithesis of the tragedy of Jonathan and his PDP regime.  It is critical that the APC and the people of Nigeria remain focused, avoid any form of complacency   and work harder toward the salvation of the country. This quick recall, just to state what is at stake: Jonathan did set the tone for his calamitous rule by having the police and the army shoot and kill scores of unarmed and innocent citizens who were rightly protesting against his cruel fuel price hike. Coming on the heels of the fuel subsidy scandal whereby mainly PDP leeches were paid billions of dollars, some, for importing no drop of oil, those atrocities were followed by the military-aided deposition of the Bayelsa State governor through sham polls that saw the imposition of a Jonathan stooge called Dickson. The anti-democratic destabilisation antics, the unbridled corruption that is destroying Nigeria, the false piety of Mr. President and his men, the active promotion of ethno-religious division ,  the rampant violence and instability, orchestrated or not, the administrative ineptitude, etc., are sufficient reason to say enough is enough.

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Aonduna Tondu .  Email: aondunatondu@gmail.com.

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