By Dele Ajaja
Dear President Jonathan:
Disconcerting corruption, dispiriting nepotism, distressing sectionalism, daunting ineffectiveness, and disturbing religious bigotry were thriving in the land before you, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jonathan, became the hapless principal of the Nigerian nation.
Consequently, Nigerians were not looking for a magician to banish bribery, favoritism, tribalism, bureaucratic clumsiness, and spiritual chauvinism overnight when you became the 14th head of state, following the May 5, 2010 demise of erstwhile President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. The people knew it would take some time and work to rid the nation of its vices.
The browbeaten, distraught, and exhausted people of Nigeria were basically looking for an inspirational leader – a man or woman with character, integrity, and courage to lead the renewal effort. Nigerians were looking for a pathfinder to show them the way out of the jungles of exploitation and humiliation.
Regrettably, you became the lucky ruler of an unlucky people who needed a leader! As at the day you became the substantive president of Africa’s most populous country, the state of the nation presented you an unmatched opportunity to shine.
The decadence in the land was at a level where any leader perceived as “trying” would have shined. It wasn’t the best of eras for Nigeria. Treachery was the conventional rule, not the exception. Idolization of the corrupt and silencing of the patriot was the tenet, whilst the nation celebrated mediocrity. It was an epoch when multitudes of irrational minds drowned the scarce voices of reason.
It was a period when a few individuals with illogical minds trounced the sensible thinkers in the land. It was an age when lie was the truth and truth was the lie. It was a time when venerated men and women of God discounted devoutness, and reveled with the malevolent. Paradoxically, that was the phase when a patriotic leader could have shined – by making a difference. Tactlessly, you chose dullness.
You, President Jonathan, failed to provide inspirational leadership when your Fatherland needed a game-changer. Alternatively, you oversaw the expansion of the open sea of corruption in Nigeria for slipshod public officials to swim inside. You shaped an affable alliance with the corrupt cluster of the polity and stripped the land of your birth bare.
You validated fraud and unshackled the duplicitous politicians incarcerated by your predecessors. Your naïve rapport with the corrupt, to perpetuate you in power, commuted immorality to righteousness and righteousness to immorality. You wrecked the nation’s educational system and inadvertently released the school-age youth to the whims and summons of the spiritual extremists.
Subsequently, your artless commissions and omissions granted a free reign to anarchy, and public safety became an extinct commodity. At the end of it all, you failed to be a man among men; and fellow Africans started discounting you and your country. Very appalling!
Nature, they say, detests a vacuum – it fills an empty space with air. Vagabonds take over when there is no leadership. The Taliban, for instance, took over when there was no real leadership in Afghanistan. In the same vein, unethical bureaucrats, Boko Haram, religious chauvinists, ethnic jingoists, kidnappers, and other forms of lawlessness took over Nigeria in the absence of inspirational leadership.
Now, the nation wonders how the lucky individual, named Goodluck Jonathan, with a good chance to shine, ended up as a lackluster figurehead. You have lost your grips on the nation’s political sword unceremoniously. A forlorn president, you have played all of the cards on your debauched political table, and have no game left on the ideological bench. The man at the wheel of the Nigerian ship has lost his moral compass. Under your watch, the nation is now recklessly approaching the precarious iceberg of dissolution.
Every honorable leader concedes that he is no longer a trailblazer when his personal fortune increases as those of his countrymen and women decline. Lamentably, you and the members of your cabinet flaunt the affluence misappropriated from your own country. Your individual possessions have grown exponentially, while deprivation, infirmities, and dearth of basic infrastructure have afflicted the people.
Your associates, adherents, party devotees, and members of your cabinet brazenly abuse their offices through material gains. The whole wide world now knows that the Nigerian ruler is pathologically corrupt and irredeemably unethical. You have become a mere streak in the horizon; a tragedy in the course of human history. You have refused to challenge the process; and you have failed to alter the status quo.
You would recall that Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom about five-and-a-half decades ago. Like a nation destined to reach the stars, the homeland took off with the agility of an express shuttle. A light in a dark place, Nigeria became the indisputable shimmering star of Africa. From Abeokuta to Zaria, Aba to Zungeru, Azare to Zuru, the land earned itself the title reserved only for the unsurpassed.
Christened ‘the Giant of Africa,’ it was the best of times for us. Today, the myopic, avaricious, blundering, and unpatriotic officials have devalued our land from the ‘Giant of Africa’ to the ‘Charlatan of Africa.’ Now, we watch like feeble sentries as our land drools into oblivion under the league of unethical officials led by President Jonathan. Once an irrefutable regional power and audacious emerging market; some of Nigeria’s equals in the 70s, including China, India, South Korea, Brazil, and Malaysia, have left Nigeria in the dust.
Those who defend you and your immoral leadership are quick to point at the staged ‘achievements’ – designed as ‘Election-Year Campaign Projects’ – by your government. Habitually, your minders debunk superior reasoning with inferior arguments, while trying to make you look good. They throw tantrums at fellow Nigerians who dare question the debased and bungling cabal in power.
Characteristically, the most polite among your devotees ask Nigerians to proffer solutions to the nation’s problems, instead of faulting the president. While your followers struggle to demystify loftier opinions with mediocre arguments, it doesn’t occur to them that you didn’t have to run for office if you lacked ideas. Using public resources illicitly, you ran for government; swore to the Nigerian people that you were competent; and promised to solve the nation’s problems.
Regardless of their region, religion, sex, political orientation, or level of edification, observant and patriotic Nigerians no longer take you, President Goodluck Ebele Azikwe Jonathan, seriously.
The only categories of people who revere, applaud, or consent to the reprehensible scheme run by your administration include: (1) those who derive their unethical livelihood from the slimy regime; (2) those who are satisfied with sharing the same region with an immoral and non-performing president; (3) those who are clandestinely seeking something from you or the governors and other officials who support you, and; (4) those who are not capable of processing the nauseating developments in Nigeria. I am gratified that I’m not one of them. Being a southern Christian like you is not enough for me to consent to the monumental corruption and haphazard administration you preside over in Abuja.
With the prefix of Dr and suffix of PhD in the beginning and the end of your nomenclature correspondingly, many Nigerians hitherto presumed that you should be able to gauge the mood of the nation. Awkwardly, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, PhD, has proved the nation (and the world) wrong. You have demonstrated that academic laurel and integrity are not always of the same parentage.
You partake in insensitive and wasteful carousing, solemnizing the matrimony of your own “child” when other people’s children are being murdered, as a result of your uninspiring style of management. You divert the nation’s resources to illegal campaigning by proxy when parts of the nation you preside over are in the throes of violence. You slight Nigerians by making them look like a people who accept every licentious insult thrown at them.
Let me tell you what I know about power. Like a candle burning in the open, power lacks definite term of luminosity. Pleasant breeze sustains the candlelight, but an abrupt gust of wind takes the glow out of the flicker. Like the glowing candlestick, the individual with power retains his shine when he operates in a pleasant constituency. But his candlelight goes out when he inadvertently agitates the air around him.
How long the candle of the one with power burns depends on the kind of breeze he generates. As a power holder, you have generated windstorms of anger, hunger, poverty, and hopelessness around your own candlelight. Shrewd and detribalized Nigerians, who are capable of comprehending how slighted their Motherland has become amongst the nations of the world, are sick of your unprincipled antics.
You cannot take credit for the hoopla tagged the ‘emergence of Nigeria as Africa’s leading market.’ This does not enhance the lives of the indigent Nigerians plunged into the adversities lengthened by your government. It is simply the rebasing of Nigeria’s GDP – most of which caters to the small circle of crooked elite.
Your lack of candid leadership has amplified the waning of Nigeria’s reputation. Needlessly, the nation has lost multitudes of young and old citizens to the venality, dithering, and incongruous exploits of your regime. As karma pays men and women according to their deeds, the spirits of our precursors shall be hostile to you.
The anguishing ambiances of the present day Nigerians shall question your insensitive soul. Times-gone-by shall consign your name into the trivial margins of the books of leadership.
Posterity shall banish your monogram into the cold, and history shall be unkind to you.