By Bonaventure Phillips Melah
Under normal circumstances, Chidi Amuta is considered a brilliant writer. But things are not normal in today’s Nigeria. With the 2023 general election about one year away, in addition to the hunger in the land, boys are desperately looking for how to reconnect with old kindred spirits.
Whether prompted by an ancient meal ticket of the west-end media block or the unrepentant Port Harcourt waterfront rebellion, it is obvious and therefore expected that, henceforth, the attack dogs, especially the so-called Lagos Public Relations Media outlets owners, who have literally been starving, would begin to hound anyone they suspect wants to contest the 2023 presidential election against their benefactors.
It is in the public domain that many Nigerians have been calling on former President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to get ready to lead the country again. Those calling on Jonathan to contest the 2023 presidential election include elder statesmen, prominent traditional and religious leaders, serving and former governors, top lawmakers, women and youth groups, among many others. In spite of their different underbelly motives, one unifying decimal among the pro-Jonathan campaigners is the need to reclaim and unify Nigeria and her people who are currently at war with one another. According to them, Nigeria cannot afford to wait for a new person who would be asking for time to study how to be a president as there is no time. Some of them have also said that Jonathan has garnered the requisite experience, especially for the period he has been out of government to identify things that need to be done differently, to quickly achieve expected results of rebuilding Nigeria. They therefore say, that Jonathan should not ‘siddon-de-look’ when the house is on fire.
Even though the former president has never said at any event that he will contest the president’s office again, Jonathan’s huge shadow is already hunting desperados, who, by all standards, are not supposed to be mentioned where and when quality leadership is a subject of discussion, because of the evil they have done on the nation and its people, have unleashed rehabilitation-needing PR agents on the political landscape.
And instead of concentrating attention on how to launder the battered image of their paymasters, who are alleged to be either fantastically corrupt (apologies to David Cameron) and not physically fit to run, as well as others, suspected of selling the nation to a foreign country to acquire unserviceable, smoking locomotives, the hirelings are rather grabbing tar, to deface imaginary enemies.
If it were not so, what is the motivating factor for Chidi Amuta’s negative deviation from all known ethics and norms of his trade, to insert a slanderous article he titled- The Staying Power of Mrs. Jonathan in a reputable newspaper like Thisday?
In the badly written piece, laced mainly with innuendos, and published on January 9, 2022, Amuta tried in vain to discredit Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, then decided to devote more than 90 percent of his time, mocking and insulting Dame Mrs. Patience Jonathan, wife of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan and former First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Hear him- “Mr. Jonathan’s (Mr. Jonathan’s?) and his handlers were content with him saying ordinary things in too many pedestrian words. His speeches read more like apprentice campus seminar papers than lofty presidential pronouncements. Power without rhetoric or memorable elocution is the tragedy of accidental leadership and unplanned ascendancy.”
How could any literate Nigerian, in this case, a university graduate and columnist, say that as president, Jonathan’s “speeches read more like apprentice campus seminar papers than lofty presidential pronouncements”? Is it the same president Jonathan that the whole world is still applauding for saying that his political ambition is not worth the blood of any citizen?
“I reassure all Nigerians and the international community of our firm commitment to free, fair and credible elections. My commitment to free elections and one man, one vote, remain unwavering.” Is it the same Jonathan that Chidi Amuta was writing about or another?
It was quite obvious that Chidi Amuta failed to find anything tangible to write against Jonathan and therefore, in order to at least have something to print out and to retire his claim, he decided to turn the keyboard of his laptop towards Jonathan’s wife.
Truth is, whether or not Dr. Goodluck Jonathan accepts to contest the 2023 presidential election (Of course, he has the right to pursue his destiny within the ambit of law), his outstanding record of landmark achievements has been etched as bold footprints on the sands of time.
It is no mean feat that. after serving as Nigeria’s president, Jonathan is currently the Chairperson of the International Summit Council for Peace, ISCP (Africa) and Special Envoy of the ECOWAS and other international bodies. He goes about, within and outside the continent, waging peace and reconciling countries and peoples in conflict.
As Nigeria’s president, it was Jonathan that signed the Freedom of Information Bill into law that has given the likes of Chidi Amuta the liberty to speak and write their minds, to demand and be provided information from government and private sector practitioners, on how citizens are government.
As president, Jonathan invested heavily on education, established 14 federal universities as well as polytechnics and colleges of education. His administration established 165 Almajiri schools across Northern states. He created the Treasury Single Account (TSA). It is because of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), created by his administration and made first-line charge in monthly expenditures that federal civil servants now receive their salaries and pensions, all in safe baskets, regularly, and as at when due, no matter the economic striation.
Jonathan’s administration was responsible for the huge investment and positive results on the nation’s railway system. It was Jonathan who approved the admission of female cadets into the Nigeria Defence Academy through which the nation now has many female combat helicopter pilots. There is no space here to list the numerous achievements of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
However, it would be an unforgiveable oversight not to recall Jonathan’s human rights records, as there was no political prisoner throughout his tenure as president as well as electoral process reforms, the conduct of the 2015 general election and peaceful handover of power. It is also worthy of note that the current government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari has adopted and has continued to consolidate on the gains made by Jonathan’s administration in some of the areas mentioned above as well as massive investment in the agriculture sector through the various interventions of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others.
Faced with these intimidating and undeniable facts, and therefore, the ill-fate of his mission, Chidi Amuta quickly abandoned his project of discrediting Jonathan and resorted, rather shamefully, to calling Dame Patience Jonathan all sorts of names, recasting her previous speeches and how she could not speak good English, as if speech eloquence or mastery of English language is a required attribute in leadership, especially for a president’s wife.
“Educated” Nigerians like Chidi Amuta are supposed know that in Tanzania, Kenya, Libya, Cuba and many other serious countries, government businesses are conducted mostly in Swahili and other local languages, in order for the people to truly understand what the leaders are saying. Maybe Amuta needs to be educated that rather than the application of a colonial necklace, like English language, real communication is speaking to the people in the simple language they can understand. That is why when Americans, French, Lebanese, Indians, Chinese and serious business people from other countries arrive Nigeria, they quickly earn how to speak local version of English and other languages in order to truly communicate with the people. Do I need to say that both the BBC, VOA and other international media outlets are embracing the use of BBC Pidgin and others to local interpretations of Chidi Amuta’s Queen’s English?
Much as they would, and are expected to try, in the coming days and months, it would be impossible for people like Chidi Amuta to justify their renumerations, because, there is no fake concoction they will boil afresh against Dr. Goodluck Jonathan that has not been served by their ‘lie-lie’ kindreds in the past. As they say- “Darkness cannot comprehend the LIGHT.”
Bonaventure Phillips Melah is an Abuja-based Journalist and author of many books. Responses to 08036062975. firstname.lastname@example.org