There are some Nigerians, especially those I will call the Professional Political Class(PPC) and more especially those I will describe as the Perennial Presidential Personalities (PPP) who find it just too hard to reconcile themselves to the fact that Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is today President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. They cannot understand how or why is it that it is Jonathan and not they who are today presiding over the destiny of Nigeria.
And who can blame them for habouring such feeling? So dominant have some of them been on the national political scene in the past thirty or more years that they have grown to have a certain sense of entitlement to national leadership. It is therefore understandable that they cannot easily come to terms with the fact that this Goodluck Jonathan, who less than twelve years ago was a virtual political nobody in Nigeria, has today become the main issue in the politics of the country. Quite mysteriously, he has today become the politician with the foremost political diadem in the land. Anyone who wants the presidency of Nigeria in 2011 must have to reckon with him.
His story is indeed most amazing. To start with, this Jonathan is not from a likely region where presidents are supposed to come from in our country Nigeria. Like the Biblical king of Israel, Saul, he is from one of the smallest of the smallest tribes of Nigeria. His village Otueke cannot be located on the map of Nigeria. Otueke is again like the Biblical Bethlehem Ephrathah of which Prophet Micah says ’’though you are small among the tribes of Judah (Nigeria), out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel (Nigeria)’’.
Who could ever possibly have thought that in the normal run of things in Nigeria that a man will emerge from such a place to lead Nigeria? Yet, like the Bible put it in describing Melchizedek, the shadowy priestly and political figure who is mentioned only three times in the Bible yet is of great significance, this man (Goodluck Jonathan)without known famous fathers and mothers; without genealogy, without history; without any major political antecedents; without a known political godfather and fixer-in-chief; without a great political strategist and calculator; without adept manipulators, schemers and election riggers backing him and not being a manipulator, a schemer and an election rigger himself, the man has mysteriously managed to attain a political height that some professional politicians have laboured for for decades but are yet to attain.
It is with this mindset, this sense of bewilderment mixed with a certain amount of resentment that many cannot bear to see Jonathan run for the office of President next year. They believe his run of “good luck” should end with completing the remaining tenure of the Yar’Adua-Jonathan partnership after which he should return to his former anonymity at a relatively young age of about 54, never again to be heard of in the politics of Nigeria. None of them seems to reckon with the fact that it will be a great disservice to our attempt to grow our politics if the man is not only allowed to succeed the dead president but is given a chance to seek for a second term in his own right as is the reasonable practice in other countries we are seeking to emulate. What is more no one seems to think that this Goodluck Jonathan has a legitimate desire to make a name for himself as president hence his decision to run in 2011 so that he can have enough time to execute his programmes. No, they want him to just act as pretender to the throne, a lucky man who just found his way to a place not meant for his likes.
How fair is it to think like this of Jonathan? Who told some people that the presidency of Nigeria is reserved for certain special persons from the right parts of Nigeria? As far as I am concerned and reading the amazing story of the rise of Jonathan from near obscurity as a university lecturer barely twelve years ago I think that there is a hand of God in the amazing run of Goodluck Jonathan. Earlier, I had written in another forum advising him not to run in 2011 because I thought that his being in the contest will not guarantee free and fair election. From some of the actions he has so far taken and having regard to his amazing story, I have now changed my mind.
I am now of the conviction that it is God who is the behind-the- scene orchestrator of the fairy tale story of Goodluck Jonathan. I think that God has, in Goodluck Jonathan, used one stone to kill many birds. By bringing Jonathan on board, God has sought to pacify and satisfy the people of the Niger Delta that though they may be small and not much to reckon with in Nigerian politics, they too have a legitimate right to govern Nigeria. Two, God has brought Jonathan to satisfy the yearning of many Nigerians for a change in the type of persons who get to lead us as president. I would like to describe Jonathan as the product of a divine velvet revolution undertaken to liberate Nigeria from the hands of political marauders who have for long been masquerading as messiahs. We have been having manipulators, schemers, riggers and looters as presidents. The time has come for us to get a breath of fresh air from a relative novice who is not known to be associated with the kind of dirty politics we have sadly gotten used to.
The third reason I think God exalted Jonathan above his peers is to confirm his word that He uses the foolish things of the world to confound those who think they are smart, wise and unbeatable. Jonathan’s story is also meant to show us another of God’s declaration that ‘’by strength shall no man prevail’’. God has decided to use Jonathan to teach us that you do not need to bless yourself by using wuru-wuru and mago-mago (politricks) to get to power but that He can give power to any one He likes at any time in any way and in any place in a manner that defies human knowledge or understanding. That is the lesson of the Jonathan story. The man who is derided by fellow competitors as the man who has never won any election in his life is today president in a democracy! His story is truly humbling as it reveals the wondrous ways of God.
Some have voiced out what I regard as genuine concern that given his relative inexperience he is not qualified to lead a vast and complex country like Nigeria. Now that my eyes have been opened to the phenomenon called Jonathan, my answer to that genuine worry is that the God who has brought Jonathan this far will qualify him.
I do not think that this country is searching for men and women of great human strengths and wisdom. I think who we need most desperately are men and women in whom the spirit of God resides or His hands rest upon. Perhaps, there is something in Jonathan that we are yet to see.