Chinomnso Awazie, (NIGERIA MOMENT).
“The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet.”” – Psalms 110:1 (NLT).
One of my favorite sayings is this: “People are whom they are”.
You will find the truism of this saying through history and if you pay close attention to the flux of humans that go through your life. As humans go through life processes from conception through childhood and teenage, they imbibe some characters but majorly, at adulthood, they are pretty cast in marble. You might argue that people change. I argue in the opposite; they don’t. What I posit is that we humans ADAPT! And in most instances, when the idea of ‘a changed person’ is bandied, it usually is a case of people around a person finally realizing the real person inside him, one that might have been mis-defined by certain one-off events, mistakes or even the bias of the observers.
In these chances of mis-definition lies the wisdom of ‘the benefit of doubt’ to apportion long enough time to establish the true content of the container. Again, time is relative; even religions measure time differently, ‘a thousand years like a day before The Lord’ and similar quotes.
The crux of the matter remains this: PEOPLE ARE WHOM THEY ARE. There is a foundation in every man, a skeleton upon which any flesh is built. A window or a door might be replaced or a new coat of paint applied from time to time, the fellow might get fatter or thinner as circumstances dictate, but the foundation, the skeleton never changes! This has informed wise counsels through ages which include this one.
“If the foundations are destroyed, what shall the righteous do”.
I first heard of Jonathan as a certain deputy governor of one of the South South states called Bayelsa. Reliable reports today indicate he never was a CAREER politician; it was trust into his hands! I’ve come across many that knew him from the days of little beginning and one theme is constant from all stories from these diverse sources; HE IS HUMBLE AND PEACE LOVING!
Someone even told me that in their youth and school days, Jonathan had this uncanny capability to be right there and manage to go unnoticed. That is not timidity or shyness, rather one who is totally secure and confident in himself that he doesn’t need to create drama to compensate some insecurity or inadequacy. That is someone who is so at peace with himself and understands he’s not at competition with anyone.
Alamesigha, an icon of the Niger Delta had his rocky ride in politics. Though his falling out with Obasanjo over fighting for issues of his people (chief amongst them being resource control) led to Obasanjo deploying his propaganda arsenal to redefine his image, this man is loved by his people. And we all know that it takes a peaceful foundation for any reasonable achievement to be accomplished.
Imagine for a second, if GEJ was your typical Deputy Governor in Nigeria, fighting his boss left right and centre. Do you believe Alams would have had enough time for other meaningful achievements, including turning Yenegoa from essentially a swamp with houses on sticks to the bustling modern city it is today? Never mind what the South West news media corridor has to say, Bayelsians know whom Alams is to them and GEJ made that possible by creating the enabling atmosphere for those achievements through his unalloyed loyalty and humility.
Again, I reliably learnt the Vice Presidential thing ‘happened’ on him. He never fought for or sought it. I recall back in the day, like the Amaechi of last night, Sir Peter Odilli was so sure he was going to be the Vice President of Nigeria. I don’t know whether there is a curse on Rivers State treasury to this end as one would have expected Amaechi to learn from what happened to Peter Odilli, who made him what he is today and he was so close to that Judith his wife today was the house girl to Justice Mary Odilli. At least, Sir Peter Odilli had the dignity of not allowing himself to be made into the court jester: he retired in peace, living a fortress corralled by all manner of court injunctions the constitution can support to prevent further harassment on him.
As Vice President of Nigeria, again he demonstrated total humility and 100% loyalty to his boss, Late President Yar’Adua (RIP). But for the unfortunate death of his boss, GEJ was content with having a large office with beautiful ladies serving him tea and a non-stop stream of newspapers as I’m made to understand that it was what he was reduced to. At this point, it is pertinent to note one theme: his bosses always rewarded his loyalty and humility with contempt and disrespect. With no intentions to malign, those with deeper and clearer understanding of his political trajectory know his meekness, loyalty and humility was ALWAYS rewarded with the opposite of those virtues. It happened when Alamesiya was his boss. It happened when Yar’Adua was his boss. It happened when Nigerian people were his boss.
The dangerous thing now about this man is this; he has always emerged victorious from every oppression to the chagrin of his oppressors, and more dangerously, HIS OPPRESSORS ALWAYS MET DOOM! Again, I draw on the wisdom of ‘people are whom they are’. This is one of the reasons I strongly believe Buhari might fail, which in all honesty, in some quarters, he’s already considered a failure going by his scorecard from the over 15% of his administration that has elapsed. Equally, the Nigerian people deceived into hating him by well crafted propaganda seem to be on the relieving end of this operative law of karma in his life. I read a ridiculous headline that stated governors are saying they can no longer afford to pay minimum wage. Fret not, it’s all part of the ‘change’ package.
Today, this humble and loyal man who stuck to his promise that ‘no blood of any Nigerian is worth his political ambition’ is 58. Real age, not ‘football’ or ‘military records’ nor ‘civil service’ age. If you want to pretend you are not aware of the ‘Nigerianess’ of those frauds, I won’t join you in that pretense. On that promise kept, I recall three phone calls he made to save this nation a lot of planned bloodshed. Funny enough, only one of those calls is known today, the one he was ‘forced’ to place to Buhari.
I won’t say further on the ‘forced’ word, and of course in the interest of peace, GEJ himself would rather deny the details of the ‘forced’. Besides calling Buhari, he also called our famous ‘we won’t accept that’ Orubebe. I have my highest regards for Orubebe also. He is a loyal soldier, he knows to take bold steps and fight, and still, even when the adrenaline still runs high, he knows to obey his leader. Also, a call to Dasuki at Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport equally saved this nation. I won’t elaborate, but trust me when I tell you that Buhari is not going to leave Dasuki alone for any reason.
Forget these media stunts and trials he’s trying to pull on Dasuki, his issues with Dasuki, in addition to the former playing a vital role in ousting him as HOS and being in possession of dangerous Intel on him (ranging from his profile on corruption to involvement in terrorism, he was a former NSA in case you’ve forgotten!), Dasuki ALMOST prevented Buhari from being rigged in. GEJ it was that stopped him with the hopes of saving lives. Again, I have maximum respects for Dasuki. He is a disciplined soldier, knows when and how to deploy and yet listen to his commander in chief even when it is totally uncomfortable for him to do so.
Under GEJ, no one could truly cry of marginalization, rather, the jig-saw was about whom he favoured more. And the drama of that accusation knew no ethnic or geopolitical boundary! His own South South people took him to the cleaners for favoriting northers more than them, while northers were 1000% sure GEJ was empowering only South Southerners. The other ‘not-born-to-rule’ geopolitical blocks played the crucial roles of ‘spectators’ (South East) and cheer leaders (South West), both with their own occasional marginalization rants.
Bottom line became that under GEJ, there was an equal marginalization and favoring of everyone! Check that with the ‘conqueror’ mentality prevalent in the polity today. The order of the day has changed from attempts at total inclusion to brazen displays of injustice and hatred from the Fulani Dan-Fodiotes to any other geopolitical zone that disagrees with them. Their herdsmen are ‘softening’ or shall I say ‘tenderizing’ the nation with their incessant attacks in preparation for the ‘bigger bang’ from their ‘misguided brothers’ whose Jihad they are quietly heralding to unsuspecting and gullible Nigerians.
GEJ was and still is a bridge builder.
GEJ was a peace loving president willing to let go the highest office in the land in the interest of peace.
He had EXTREMELY high regards for human life.
He was a wonderful team leader. He kept repeating ‘as a leader, if you have to use above 40% of your powers before others would follow, you have failed as a leader’. Absurd to prior with despotic and dictatorial mentalities, but that is what is obtainable is sane climes. And that was GEJ’s problem; he brought to Nigeria ideas, philosophies and policies that were beyond our time.
Nigerians love drama, GEJ denied us that. We love to see people in handcuffs, wearing only singlet and boxers or brazier and ‘shimi’ as the gender demands, that’s our idea of fighting corruption, not minding if it is all well scripted drama to let people off the hook, charge them today and in 8 days time, their matter is overlooked as new episodes of the drama came along.
Instead of giving us drama, GEJ was concentrating on tackling the structures that breed corruption. IPPIS flushed out close to a hundred thousand ghost workers saving the country billions of dollars monthly. He failed on that point because there was no drama attached to it, making it a ‘boring’ achievement. Fertilizer scam running into several billion dollars that is as old as Nigeria he stopped, again he committed the cardinal sin of denying us our beloved drama.
Developments and improvements in our airports were tsunamic, car factories were piping up like mushrooms all over, the trains came back, power stations were built, hydroelectric dams were being built, wages were improved, the economy was performing, women participation in governance improved, almajiris were taken off the streets and being given education, 2nd Niger bridge was begun. All these and many more happened but there was no drama, a cardinal sin in Nigerian context. Well, EVERYTHING HAS CHANGED. It’s no longer ‘business as usual’ with our economy, FDI, Stock Exchange, our military driving Boko Haram out of Nigeria, CHANGE has come. Current food prices can attest to that wonderful change.
And one thing is clear; Buhari has absolutely no intentions of making same mistake GEJ made; he is giving us drama in double episodes. Sarakigate how far? Diezianigate how far? Has the $60billion dollars whispered by an American official to the cape verdian mugu been found? I’m totally surprised missing Chibok girls and $20 Billion dollar tales are now totally useless. We heard Dasuki even planned to overwhelm the Federal Government with seven riffles and a couple of hundreds of rounds of ammunition, never mind he is a retired top military brass, never mind he is just the past NSA. Even foreign businesses are not being spared.
From ‘hitting the ground running’, we were transitioned through ‘body language’ and ‘cleaning the augean stables’ to the present condition of ‘give us time’. The change even affected the promises as those have also changed! The propaganda machinery, the only working thing in this current administration is at 100% capacity!
And the fate of GEJ oppressors seem to be falling in Nigeria as a whole. Every sector is being affected. May I suggest we beg this man to come pray for Nigeria and forgive us?
Sadly, of all the things he was, GEJ was not a fighter. That is the truth. He was an EXTREME PACIFIST, an ideal he payed for dearly but willingly. Add that the the much-shied-away-from truth from his ardent followers that there were quite a handful of very horrible Nigerians that were around him. I will call two out; his former CSO, Mr Obua. That man single handedly made more enemies for GEJ than any other living soul. He damaged GEJ more than Boko Haram damaged his image! Blame the rift between Obj and GEJ on this horribly wicked and corrupt man.
This man was dos devilish that he exploited the ‘over trusting’ nature of his boss and would further run down those he’s stoking their anger on GEJ before very same GEJ. Don’t argue with me. He was seconded in destruction by none other than Doyin Okukpe. This man was a horrible image maker as far as they go. He went about insulting everyone and creating bad blood everywhere! I gave up on him the day I watched a video of him saying Nigeria cannot afford new trains despite the fact that there were new DMU trains already operational and purchased under an administration he was the spokesperson. I recall watching this man drink a cup of water at a meeting in celebration of APC choosing Amaechi as the running mate for Buhari. In that meeting, little me knew it was not true but this guy with such resources at his disposal didn’t know!
My heart bleeds today as I watch Nigeria slide into anarchy, confusion and destruction by his predecessor who sees the presidency of Nigeria solely as a tool for vendetta. Just take a look at his cabinet!
However, the stone the boulders rejected have become the cornerstone in two African countries elections. GEJ gave peace to Tanzania in the just concluded elections. Jimmy Carter has called him ‘Hero of Democracy’. He is busy doing what he knows best; being himself without pretenses. He’s adding a little flesh here, a little swag there. Within six months of leaving office, he has become a respected international figure, rapidly evolving into a replacement of Mandela.
To a true democrat, a Hero of Democracy and Peace, a believer in the sanctity of life, I join millions of well-meaning to wish you a happy birthday. You came, you saw and you conquered!