Bishop Kukah and the Jonathanian Logic -By Olalekan Waheed Adigun

Filed under: Political Issues |
Olalekan Waheed Adigun

Olalekan Waheed Adigun

 

His second point–perhaps the Jonathanians’ strongest–is that Jonathan is a hero. He is a hero because he conceded defeat in an election he clearly lost. This perhaps was what he meant by “spectacular actions” he took. He is a hero therefore should not be investigated. He is immune from been called to account for his stewardship just because he accepted he lost an election. Apart from this argument being jejune, I find it even more ridiculous coming from a clergyman.

It appears that a set of Nigerians are yet to get used to the fact that Goodluck Jonathan is no longer Nigerian president. We recall before the March 28 election, in their bid to show him their “love”, they threatened to make the country ungovernable should their benefactor get sacked from his job.

Watching closely, some Jonathanians (incorrigible supporters of the former president), have still carried on even after he has been defeated. These are the most loyal supporters you will find anywhere in the world. After he had “conceded” defeat to General (now President) Muhammadu Buhari, this class of Jonathanians made him their “worshipful master” or hero who is infallible and untouchable. As far as I am concerned, these are nothing but tribal pirates, religious buccaneers, and ethnic bigots. This class was created thanks to Jonathan leading “our son’s government”. And since President Buhari is yet to appoint “our sons” into his government, Jonathan is regarded as “the best President Nigeria has ever produced”. This is logic, as far as Jonathanians are concerned!

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah needs no introduction. His credentials as a social critic is quite glittering, although he cannot fall into the class of giants like Desmond Tutu. His role as a member of the National Peace Committee during the tense moments of the March 28 election is also not to be swept away with a wave of the hand. These are his exclusive privilege which no one can take away from him! The question I asked recently on hearing of Bishop Kukah’s recent widely-reported interview is: “What went wrong?”

Just recently, the National Peace Committee led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar paid a courtesy visit to the President. There were several rumours with regards to the intentions of the visit. The issues became clearer some days ago when Bishop Kukah, who incidentally is the spokesman of the Committee, gave a shocking interview, wherein, on the on-going probe by Buhari’s government, he said: “There is no such thing as probe in a democratic setting like ours. What obtains is investigation, and once people lead and things are not right, investigation becomes necessary.

“However, in doing that we must never be distracted from spectacular actions undertaken by former President Jonathan. He is an individual.” In the same interview contains an unsolicited advice to President Buhari to “face his work”.

For Kukah’s records, part of Buhari’s job on which platform he was elected, as contained in Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution and I quote, “The State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.” This is a bold political objective which any sane President should be willing to pursue. So, one agrees with the clergyman on this: Buhari is busy with his work and he is not distracted at all. Again, with due respect to the “spectacular actions undertaken by former President Jonathan”, we must be aware of the fact that he is not insulated from taking responsibility for the administration he presided over. So President Buhari has a constitutional responsibility, and it must be carried out!

In my search for what the Clergyman meant by the “spectacular actions undertaken by former President Jonathan”, an insight came from another interview he recently granted. Many watched Channels Television’s breakfast show, “Sunrise”, where on Saturday August 13, 2015 where he really spoke like the Jonathanians we know. Among other things, he criticised the Buhari administration and called Jonathan a hero. How faithful a Jonathanian can one be?

In the said interview, he echoed two traditional pro-Jonathan arguments. First, he criticised Buhari for being too slow. Need we remind the Bishop of Aesop’s fable of “The Hare and the Tortoise”? The moral of that story is very simple: thoroughness and quality counts for more in the long run than speed. The race is usually not to the swift, as there is no sense in starting fast and ending poorly. How often has the Bishop heard this told?

His second point–perhaps the Jonathanians’ strongest–is that Jonathan is a hero. He is a hero because he conceded defeat in an election he clearly lost. This perhaps was what he meant by “spectacular actions” he took. He is a hero therefore should not be investigated. He is immune from been called to account for his stewardship just because he accepted he lost an election. Apart from this argument being jejune, I find it even more ridiculous coming from a clergyman.

For the purpose of clarifications, former President Jonathan did Nigeria no special favour. If there was any favour done, it was Nigerians that did him a great favour. Nigerians gave him to privilege to lead them for about six years; they gave him shoes he once did not have; and if the same Nigerians who gave him shoes no longer want him, does he have any other choice but to vacate the office?

Maybe the clergyman meant that Jonathan did himself a favour by choosing to leave peacefully. In any case since he lost the presidential election, he was duty-bound to leave. All those who have lost elections in Africa have left office, so Jonathan did nothing special. Laurent Gbagbo is facing the International Criminal Court (ICC) for refusing to vacate office peacefully in Ivory Coast in 2012. Maybe Jonathan was only trying to avoid that embarrassment. In any case, we thank him a lot for his contributions, but he must be called to account for his stewardship. This alone is beyond emotions!

In fighting corruption, as a new saying in Nigeria, corruption fights back. We need to get our footing right in dealing with the systemic corruption that has brought us this backward. We need to know how many jobs can be created with the USD$20 billion missing from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) coffers. We are interested in the number of industries that could have been created with that amount. We want to be in the comity of responsible nations so that we can have investors’ confidence. We are interested in preventing goats from finishing our hard-harvested yams. At this point President Buhari needs to treat with caution the advice he receives. As far as I am concerned, Bishop Kukah is only playing Jonathan’s cards with the likes of Ayo Oritsejafor in the self-appointed National Peace Committee.

 

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