I am sure Mr. Jonathan will be thinking of engaging ghost writers to write his memoir. He has a lot to write about. The Nigerian system that always manages to throw up the least competent in its political sphere goodlucked him from an unknown zoology lecturer to the presidency of the Feudal (pardon me) Federal Republic of Nigeria. He has come a long way from insipid Otuoke to the dizzying heights of Aso Rock with no known remarkable achievements or vision or even an inspiring mien. Just a patient political pawn moved by powerful hands in a twisted political equation that evidently ended up in a sum total of zero.
Two things have marked the presidential personality of Mr. Jonathan from my point of view. The first is his incredulous perception of his position and power. Many people have always wondered why Mr. Jonathan smiled on all occasions during his tenure even during meetings to discuss the most tragic events that befell this country. Some have wrongfully ascribed this to a good nature, but I see it in a different light. I suspect that every day during his tenure, Mr. Jonathan felt overjoyed by his position and power. He simply could not believe his luck. Those ubiquitous smiles were external manifestation of an inner joy. They had nothing to do with any event or any person. Caught in and haunted by his background, he was overpowered emotionally by the privileges of presidency. I can imagine the expression that popped up in his mind every morning: “Na me be this?!” And the army of sycophants and praise-singers did not help the matter. Understanding his obsession with self-admiration, they kept him happy by singing him praise songs in different languages while they frittered away the goodwill that brought him to power in 2011. They stole and squandered the nation’s commonwealth while Jonathan spoke and smiled to himself in the mirror. It is these same praise-singers that kept Mr. Jonathan happy that accusing fingers were pointed at for monumental corruption. And people naively expected him to fire them! Who would sing the praises of the prince of Otuoke if he fired them? He wisely kept them. His own happiness mattered more than the management of the country and its difficult people.
And when the praise-singers took flight for greener pastures after Mr. Jonathan lost the election, he felt lost and unwanted to the extent that he publicly complained. His loneliness, not the abysmal state of the economy and the plight of Nigerians became his favorite subject for public discourse in his last days as president. His wife, Patience shed light on the inner workings of the mind of the couple when she publicly declared that they were happy with their personal achievement despite the loss at the elections because they never knew they would ever reach the pinnacle of Nigerian political system. Their tenure was simply about the self rather than services to our country. The couple may be happy, but Nigerians with the exception of those who were on Jonathan’s payroll are not happy with him. And I doubt they will ever be happy with him and his tenure.
The second thing that marked his presidential personality is a common Nigerian trait, but taken to a ridiculous level. A Nigerian believes that he can implement any task and will not shy away from any. It is quite un-Nigerian to admit that it is impossible to implement a task even if the person has no requisite competence or skills for the task. Here in this country, masons claim and pretend to be civil engineers, nurses are surgeons, medical doctors are contractors, bankers do not shy away from road construction, and zoologists are politicians. It is an endless list of quacks invading all possible professions. And when the question of quality is raised, they are quick to pass the responsibility to God. “God will do it. God can handle it”. Nigeria is probably the only country in the world where God is assigned mundane tasks on a daily basis. And when the task fails because the necessary skills were not there in the first instance, the blame is quickly placed squarely on God’s shoulders. “That is the way God wants it!” God abuse is a national crime in Nigeria. As a true Nigerian, Jonathan simply abdicated his responsibilities of good governance and passed them to God with the approval of his CAN president friend and a legion of Christian sycophants. “God will rule Nigeria…..leave everything to God”. “God will defeat corruption if at all there is! God will handle Boko Haram! God will bring the Chibok girls back home! God will handle the economy.” And Jonathan did ! He glued himself to the mirror of self-admiration while the ship of the country navigated tough waters without a captain. And when it was time to give account of his stewardship, he invented a plethora of imaginary achievements and went from one prayer session to the other to engage God to vote or rig the elections for him. What God abuse!
Was Jonathan naïve or clueless during his tenure as many would like to think and claim? I do not think so. His mission in Aso Rock was not about governance of the Nigerian State, it was all about himself. And this, he achieved. His best memories of his tenure as president would not be a creative solution to some knotty national problem, but probably a meeting where all his sycophants were gathered and a silly song was coined for him to sing his praises. And he danced to this song too.
Now that he has run the country to its historical low, I will advise Jonathan not to contemplate writing any memoir. The mind of the Nigerian is his history book; the most creative ghost writers cannot in any way change what we have written in our minds. Ask IBB. But just in case he decides to write, I suggest a title that will catch world attention and boost the sale of the book: “DIY – How to run Down a Country in Four Years Using God and Self.”