Before Jonathan Becomes A Hero By David Oluwasegun Ogundipe
They have a dream- they have a dream that one day, when you alight at your destination from a bus, you shall be welcomed by a celebratory clatter for such heroic act of coming down. They have a dream- they have a dream that at the expiration of your tenancy on your Landlord’s property, you shall be awarded a heroic medal for not refusing to vacate the apartment. They have a dream- that every cock and bull stories must not go uncelebrated. They have a dream- that doing the normal should be celebrated in an abnormal way. They sure do, the team of individuals who can’t live with the shock of the expiration of Jonathan’s tenancy at the Aso castle.
A couple of years back, I have observed that the major problem of Nigeria lies in the common men on the streets. For a study, the conflict arising on the grounds of religion and ethnic groups does not matter to those who matter. The problem is predominant among the populace who cannot think deep enough to observe that the affairs of Nigeria is not like the affairs of a church, a mosque, a Yoruba community, an Igbo clan or a Hausa town. When it comes to national affairs, Nigeria is Nigeria. Our concern should be a competent Nigerian. Not on the grounds of religion, tribe or social status. That is why Jonathan is the President of Nigeria and not that of Otuoke. That was why Obasanjo was the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not of Owu. However, with the brand of Jonathan’s unrelenting praise singers, our reputation as a nation stands on a dwindling end.
After the figurative burial of President Jonathan in the political landscape, I thought that I was done with him. Nevertheless, his type of supporters won’t let one rest. They are nauseating shouters who won’t stop at anything to be heard. It is difficult to address them without making a reference to Mr. President himself. His supporters are the proverbial ‘eran ibiye’- Ibiye is the name of a man who was blind on the right eye. Ibiye had a stubborn goat which was blind on the left eye. Each time the stubborn goat erred, victims of its trespass would insult it by saying ‘iwo eran oloju kan yi.’ Due to the ambiguous nature of the sentence, Ibiye did construe it to mean that the goat is being addressed as a one eye man’s goat. Jonathan supporter’s are like Ibiye’s goat. They are more like it when you consider their chants for making Jonathan a hero.
Shall we jointly consider the matter at hand beyond the lenses of political affiliation and bias? In doing this, we should examine the gap between the words ‘normal’ and ‘exceptional.’ For the sake of practicability, certain persons whose names have appeared on the heroic list in Nigeria should be considered here for this unprejudiced litmus test. Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikwe and Ahmadu Bello in the political landscape. Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka in the literature field. Fela Anikulapo, Ladi Kwali, Olufunmilayo Kuti and others also come to mind in different areas. It should be worthy of note that while the above sojourned in those areas mentioned, they were not without contemporaries. Yet, their ingenuity and relevance cannot be dispensed with because they were exceptional while their contemporaries who did not make the list were normal.
To rule is normal, just as to rule right is normal. It is just a logical expectation. It is not different from a student attending a class or a conductor beckoning on passengers to board his vehicle. A man with the proper reasoning skills knows that driving on a smooth road is not a privilege that should warrant a noise, it is a right. The government that did such did not do it at its expense, it did it on the collective wealth of the nation- tax payer’s money. I admit that as Nigerians, we are not use to good governance. Our leaders know it and that is why 5 hours of electricity in 24 hours and fixing 130 kilometres of a 240 kilometres road would make campaign achievements. We buy it! The political circumstance has altered our reasoning- we have ‘grown’ to see anomalies as norms and then norms as incredible. If you have your doubt, go for a survey of opinions of politics. It would be hard to meet someone who would condemn embezzlement outrightly. The best you can hear is ‘if I get there, I would take mine too, but not much.’ A beautification of impunity!
When there is a leader, and certain things go wrong like the Chibok case, the NNPC fund, the power saga etc. It behooves on us as a people to canvass that those in power be mentally examined. If satisfied that their nonchalance and insensitiveness towards the problem has no touch of mental issue, a vote of no confidence should follow. But not in Nigeria. A dormant leadership is what we understand. It has been and whoever wants to change it is a joker. That is why in the 21st century, you could hear a shout and rush out, only to realize it was all on ‘up NEPA’. Through this problem, people like Jonathan are set to reap and even be made hero. If I may ask, which hero does Jonathan share an iota of semblance with? Nelson Mandela? Awolowo? Azikwe? Ahmadu? Thinking about it is as good as exercising in preparation for madness.
On Jonathan’s heroic assumptions and suggestions, I did not want to make any remark, but the shallow thought syndrome is being sold and bought too fast. Did I hear someone saying he is the father of Democracy? Then what do you say about Abdulsalam Abubakar handing over in 1999? What do you say about Ibrahim Babangida stepping down even as a military leader? President Jonathan did something just normal- something like paying a food vendor for the service of providing you meal. Something as normal as vacating an apartment when your rent is due. Something as ordinary as driving on the road instead of the lawn. How many people has such made a hero?
I do not want to do a review of Jonathan’s harsh policies and economic hardship. I want to believe that he was a lesson for Nigerians never to choose on the ground of pity again. Yet, President Jonathan is nothing near a Nigerian hero. In Otuoke, he could be one- the first of their kind to attain that height. There, they need not bother about what he achieved. But in the glare of the nation and the world, Jonathan is nothing short of a guitarist who broke his guitar strings before a global audience, he should vacate through the backstage without more.
David Oluwasegun Ogundipe