How Will History Remember Jonathan?


Amidst the cloud of uncertainties, the carnage of terror and the myriad of plagues currently confronting our nation, one will hardly envy or inordinately covet the position to be the number one man in the country. That Mr. President has not done enough in the war against the insurgents is one subject in the overall discourse. However, whether he would have taken us to the Promised Land without the heavy distraction of Boko Haram, is entirely another bone of contention. Whichever side of the divide you decide to pitch your tent, it goes without saying that the incessant scourge of Boko Haram has been the greatest misery bestowed on our nation since the 30 months Nigeria Civil War. However, while we can say that the modus operandi of the insurgents is alien to us, we can’t deny that this was a trouble brewing for the past two decades. That the monster has eventually snowballed into this evil is a sad reality. When you have millions of unemployed youths for decades, perennial inept leaders, a misnomer political class and a vicious culture of ‘dog eat dog’ for years, this is what you get: An untamed monster.


It must be a hard time being President Goodluck Jonathan at the moment. The lucky man of Nigerian politics has seen days he might not have anticipated. His itineraries have become clogged with writing statements of condemnations. If it is not a statement at the wake of a bomb blast, it is a press release on the NIS recruitment exercise or a marathon meeting with Security Chiefs. Will he dare to still contest for president in 2015? Believe it or not, this answer might not entirely be dependent on him. There are power mongers in Aso Rock who care less on whether we all eat ourselves, as long as their daily bread does not seize coming from the national coffers. Late president Umaru Yar’Adua and Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba state, are vivid examples of men who despite their positions, were puns in the hands of the power mongers. However, the only difference between the pair and President Jonathan is that while the former were sick, the later is hale and hearty. It will require some confidence for President Jonathan to seek another term in office. However, over the last few days, his statements and body language suggest he might be coming to the weighty decision that the trouble might afterall not be worth it. If Jonathan resigns today, or steps down in 2015, or is disposed from office soon, how will posterity etch his name in the annals of our history? Some will say, and not without reason that if president Jonathan steps down, it will mean that he gave up at the peak of the carnage; that he succumbed to the vicious opposition, the harsh realities and to men who Reuben Abati once described as ‘Shoe-Givers.’ However, if Jonathan decides to step down in 2015, will it be a resignation of defeat? An admittance that he has reached a dead end? A confirmation of cluelessness? Or a brave step to let another man, with fresh eyes and a different gusto, steer the wheel? These are questions that will continue to polarize opinions.


Having said that, let us not gloss over the fact that President Jonathan still has in his hands, at least one year to make history. Franklin Roosevelt seized the moment after the dreadful World War 2, to become one of America’s greatest leaders. Despite the rigours of the times, he was still able to mastermind the New Deal that navigated America out of the Great Depression. Winston Churchill is forever remembered in UK’s folklore for the immense role he played in steering Britain through the Second World War. Fidel Castro equally became a Cuban legend for the tough choices and decisive steps he took in the Cuban revolution of 1959. President Goodluck Jonathan might not have anticipated such fate while he was opting to be president, but these are telling moments that defines leadership. He might not have created the monster called Boko Haram, but he must realize he was elected for such times like this for a purpose. He can still be a hero. However, the choice is entirely his. Tough choices, hard decisions, a break from the norm, unconventional steps, concerted efforts, honest and sincere actions are steps that will easily put the name of President Goodluck Jonathan upon the sands of time. Thus, it is left to Goodluck Jonathan to decide how Goodluck Jonathan will be remembered!

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