Dear Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, in case in your natural humble disposition, you have not realized, permit me to let you know that there is hardly any living statesman on the continent of Africa that will be as acceptable to a wider selection of peoples as you. That does not mean you did all you should have done when you had the opportunity, but the effect of the much you did, stands out in your favour.
It is not typical of people in our clime to walk away from power even when it is the most honourable thing to do, but you did. Yes, I have heard postulations that you stood no realistic chance in that election in 2015, so had no other option. I disagree completely. Whether you could have overturned the results already against you at the time you threw in the towel or not, is really inconsequential.
What matters is that at a time when your silence could have spoken quite loudly and in diverse tongues, you spoke and silenced the numerous blood-soaked chants of deceit. You said that no one’s ambition is worth the blood of any citizen. Not a few people saw that as part of the shallow political rhetoric that means virtually nothing to even the man who voiced them. Fortunately, yours was different. You said it, meant it, and did it.
This singular act of yours, Your Excellency, accepting defeat in an election you were also the incumbent, even before the results were fully declared, sets you apart from the whole lot.
Six years after this feat, a time you took to rest, reflect and rebuild your intellect, we hear Sir, that they want you to return as President. Same people that were ready to sink the ship of nationhood instead of see you re-elected. Same people that threw mud at you at the slightest opportunity. You won’t forget so quickly how you were insulted and vilified as if their lives depended on it. They are the ones plotting this hijack.
Your Excellency, permit me to mention just one reason why they suddenly realized you are the best thing to happen to Nigeria and turned you to an emergency bride. Those coming to you have one thing in mind, and that is to ensure that the south do not find the harmony to articulate and pursue a unified agenda in taking over power by 2023.
First, they know that you may have a legal impediment in ever becoming the President of Nigeria again. In 2017, section 137 sub 3 of the constitution as amended was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
“A person who was sworn-in as President to complete the term for which another person was elected as President shall not be elected to such office for more than a single term.’
What this section means my dear GEJ, is that if you fall for this plot and accept this Greek gift, you will serve as pawn on their board of political chess. By the time the shenanigans are ripe, they will inform you that you are not qualified to contest for presidency again. And by then, it would have been too late in the day to salvage the situation.
It is not likely you will budge as you are not one of those that lose their senses over ambition. But if you do, your joining APC will be the most futile step you would have taken all your life. You still enjoy massive followership in your party and a significant percentage of them, including governors and other elected officials will move with you. By the time they pull the rug off your feet, you and your followers will be in the middle of nowhere, while the PDP would have been depleted massively to be able to put up any reasonable resistance to what may become an APC stroll to victory.
In the slightest possibility a different thought is sold and bought, contesting and perhaps winning the Presidency in 2023 for you, will deprive the entire south of the gentlemanly agreed 8-year rotation of power.
So, my dear Dr. Jonathan, when they visit you, be the usual good host you have always been. Give them roasted plantain and fish which is abundant in Otuoke. If they care for pounded yam with fisherman’s soup, let them eat till they are filled to the brim. When they are done eating and perhaps drinking, tell them how you have moved on, how you want to contribute in making the continent better. Share your thought on human capacity development and politics without bitterness. When you are done, do not bother whether they understand or not, just bid them farewell.
Your excellency, you have survived several plots to diminish the glory bestowed on you from creation. You have achieved so much without hard work or any work at all. You had your path designed and prepared even without your knowing it. There is nothing more to achieve than remain the nationalist and statesman you have become.
Uzonna Ononye writes from Lagos