Posted by News Express | 26 April 2017 | 1,940 times
Many years ago, Chief Ebenezar Fabiyi Obey, Juju music exponent, fondly called Baba Miliki, sang this popular tune: “Aimasiko londamu eda o-o, oro mi l’owo Oluwa lo wa a.” This means, ‘We lack the knowledge of what the future holds; we continually struggle, but my fate is in the hands of God.’
Before his assumption of office as the deputy governor of Bayelsa State in May 1999, not much was known of former president, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. When his erstwhile boss, Chief Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamiayeseigh of blessed memory, then governor of Bayelsa, had problem with federal authorities, which bordered on abuse of office. This led to his subsequent impeachment, while Jonathan performed his assigned duties as deputy-governor. He was not anxious or desperate, during the impeachment process of his boss, to ascend to the position of a governor. That does not mean he was not ambitious. “Thy will be done.”
After Alamiayeseigha’s impeachment, Dr Goodluck Jonathan was sworn-in as the substantive governor. At that point, he began to gain national popularity within the political space. By divine grace, he became the vice-president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, obediently doing his job even when President Umar Yar’Adua became visibly ill and unable to perform his duties. Later, Jonathan became acting president. Painfully, President Yar’Adua eventually died, and Dr Goodluck Jonathan was sworn-in as substantive president of Nigeria. In all of these, beginning from his journey as deputy-governor up to the substantive president, Jonathan made God his pillar of strength and support, no lesser gods were contacted, and that worked favourably for him.
In my usual research expedition on the Internet, I stumbled on an exposition written by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah, a man of high spiritual stock and pedigree, whose writings are usually profound, articulate and rich in knowledge. This is he said concerning former President Jonathan:
“…How can one become a president in a democracy without their names (his name) being listed? How can one rise to the highest position in a democracy without asking for a single vote to be cast for him …? How can one ascend the successive rungs of the ladder of politics without even a personal declaration of intention? How can one rise to the highest level of political achievement without spending their (his) own money? How can one become victorious in a contest without actually participating in a contest? In other words, can you win the world cup; take it home without even wearing a jersey, kicking a football or getting on the pitch of play?”
“This man’s (meaning Dr Jonathan) rise has defied any logic and anyone who attempts to explain it is tempting to the gods.
At this juncture, permit me to interject momentarily. We shall return to Bishop Kuka shortly.
My endeavour is to bring to our attention why Jonathan lost the presidential contest in 2015, despite the enormous funds, in different currencies, at his disposal. He lost by a wide margin of over 2 million votes, against the current president who did not have a quarter of the enormous financial resources. That is a message in spirituality.
I can conveniently say without any contemplation of doubt that our former amiable president lost out in the contest because he ignored an important element in the affairs of men, and by extension, in his electioneering strategy: God. He assigned God to the back seat, brought the lesser gods to the front seat; unlike in his previous political journeys where God featured prominently.
Let us further profit from Bishop Kuka’s narration:
“We cannot refer to this as an achievement. It is not because you only achieve what you have set out to pursue. In the course of that, you would normally have spent time, energy and resources working towards the attainment of those goals. You would also have had to create a template of activities, scheme and plan how to execute those goals. An achievement is the result of sacrifice and hard work. Dr Jonathan has done absolutely nothing to warrant what has befallen him. I am sure I can safely say he has neither prayed, lobbied nor worked for what has fallen on his lap.
“This man has never spent any money to purchase a form declaring his intention to run for public office in politics. This man does not seem to have been sponsored into politics by any known godfather. Like the rest of us who are considered children of lesser gods, he comes from an insignificant family and a village that hitherto, could not easily be found on the national or state map. Dr Goodluck Jonathan does not seem to have invested heavily to become either deputy-governor or governor, vice-president, acting president and now President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. All these events have cascaded on his laps within a period of a mere 12 years…”
“The very notion that in a democracy where the only route to power is through the ballot box, someone has reached the epoch of politics without any single vote being cast for him is rather counter-intuitive. It is futile for anyone to attempt to unravel this mystery. By way of providing some background, let me offer some concrete postulations. For a start, the easy part is to say that this is God’s work and that it is true… First, given our notoriety for seeking short cuts in life, a generation of Goodlucks, and Patience’s will be spurned across the country from now on… Secondly, there will be those who will think that by prayer, their children will achieve something close to what President Jonathan has achieved. These parents will be disappointed because our very selfish prayers do not guide God, especially when we think that by our prayers, we can compel Him to change the course of our lives. … The essence of our prayers is for our faces to turn really and truly towards God.
“The main article of faith remains that only those with godfathers and money will rule Nigeria.” (The meteoric rise, without godfathers and money, of Dr Jonathan has proved faulty this assertion. Additional emphasis mine.)
“God’s love is gratuitous and free….if God can pick a Goodluck Jonathan from nowhere, confer Patience on him without him paying anything or having any money or godfather, we should see him as a metaphor of what our future might be if only we remain focused, sincere and patient. Should President Goodluck run next year (meaning 2015)? Why not?” asked Kukah.
Now the big message from Bishop Kuka:
“In doing so, he will be taking over the steering of his life from God’s hands (emphasis mine).. and will have to foot his own bills. We will then see if he drives better or is richer than God.” Kuka wrote this exposition in 2014.
It is important I make this open declaration that my endeavour here is not to vilify ex-President Jonathan. I do not have any reason to do so, rather I have profound respect and regard for him. I have said so on many occasions in my previous articles published in the online media and some national dailies in the last one year. In fact, the former president should be commended by all peace-loving Nigerians for his maturity and decency of mind, during the announcement of the presidential results at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, where Elder Godswill Orubebe had gone to create that infamous stir, a stir which would have set the country on a huge political genocide; similar in proportion to what happened to our brothers and sisters of the Hutus and Tutsi extraction in Rwanda in 1994. Elder Orubebe has since apologised to the nation and regretted his action.
The fact that former President Jonathan gleefully accepted the expressed wishes of the Nigerian electorate, and his patriotic phone-call to the current President, mitigated or averted all that. I salute his respect for the sanctity of human lives. God will continue to bless and grant him good health in retirement and successes in his other endeavours, provided he would allow God to take the front seat.
Finally, the spiritual dimension of this exposition, which must not be lost, is rich and a guide for those aspiring to high offices, not necessarily in the political space but, indeed, in the various spheres of human endeavour . The importance of God in our daily activities must never be over-looked. This is a lesson for us all to learn and the significance of Ebenezer Obey’s lyrics. And that is the context in which this entire narrative is essentially based.
•Bernard Balogun writes from Wuse District of Abuja.
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