Dear GEJ, Are You a Last Minute Dot Com President?
I hope this letter meets you well.
My President, please permit me to start this discussion with a small story. You see, when I was younger, I had a strange habit. I loved to keep everything waiting until the last minute. This included studying during the school term. No amounts of pleas, cajoling or force could get me to study during the school term. However, once the examination timetables are published, a new me would automatically emerge, suddenly seriously studious, trying to make up for lost time.
I would begin to read in a frenzied manner and try to cover up lost ground. I would deprive myself of sleep to play catch up. It is at these times that my parents would laugh at me and say ‘iwoyi aaro, arugbo n’sere oge’. Loosely translated, this could mean ‘it’s a bit late in the day for the old maiden to begin to do shakara’. I passed many of those exams, but, not as well as I would have if I had put in as much effort from day one of the term. This is a lesson I learnt the hard way, much later in life.
Sir, I find that this Yoruba Proverb, Iwoyi Aaro… is the one that has been ringing in my head in recent times. You see, in spite of the reasons given for the postponement of the elections, many of us still believe that the postponement was done because the ruling party needed some time to cover up for lost grounds. Prior to this time, the PDP had never faced any form of strong opposition in the Presidential Polls. In the past, once you emerge as the Presidential Candidate of the PDP, you could go to bed knowing that your victory is certain.
To be fair to you sir, these few weeks of Grace that were secured have been put to good use. In the weeks since the postponement of elections, we have begun to see an Ultra-Modern Goodluck Jonathan. We have seen you emerge from the shadows of ‘cluelessness’ and step into the light of true leadership. Sir, we have suddenly begun to see a Nigeria that we never expected would emerge under your leadership. Suddenly is the operational word here. This postponement is the best thing that has worked in your favour as Presidential Candidate of the PDP. I wonder if it is the military chiefs that you have to thank for that or if it is your strategists. The team deserve a little ‘something’ for helping you out.
My President, in these past weeks, you have taken your campaigning to new heights. You have campaigned to such an extent that many have wondered if you have abandoned the job of being President. Unlike them, I understand that fervent need. It is the last minute rush. Some have called it the last minute dot com syndrome. It is the rush that awakens when you suddenly realise you should have achieved so much more in your allotted time. Unfortunately, one cannot turn back the hands of time, hence the frantic rush. You have gone from city to city in search of endorsements – you have traipsed from the Churches to the Monarchs to the common man. I even hear that the Witches and Wizards have endorsed you too. I applaud your temerity in this regard; I would not dare to go to such lengths. These endorsements would have come naturally if you had simply done the job you had been voted into office for. Now, you are down to the last minute rush…Iwoyi aaro.
My President, besides seeking for endorsements, you have done a lot more. You have gone to the war zones in the North East. You have sent the men of the Nigerian Army to fight the insurgency that has raged for years. In these few weeks, they have made so much progress that they have recaptured our lost territories; bringing life to those hitherto lost towns again. Our valiant soldiers have begun to show pride in the Army again. We have heard them chant ‘Never Again’ and we believe it. The Nigerian Spirit has, through these variant solders, been rekindled. To realise that this leap was achieved in only a few weeks is amazing. One wonders what would have happened if we had taken this stance from the inception, about four years ago. One wonders if the threat of the IS would be hanging over our heads.
Sir, in recent times, you have suddenly rememebered the families affected by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Recruitment Tragedy. You have given them N5million and jobs for their family members. It is good that you did this, considering the fact that these young people lost their lives out of desperation to get jobs. You have also finally reached out to the families of the boys who were unfortunate victims of the Buni Yadi Massacre. It took you a year to do this too. This is in spite of the fact that those boys died as a result of the insurgency and lack of adequate security cover. Sir, your lack of action when it comes to the loss of Nigerian Lives is the main reason why you have found yourself in this dire position. It manifests itself in these two examples above. One whole year is too long a time for your sudden niceness not to be misinterpreted. Iwoyi aaro.
My President, when it comes to the corruption that has eaten this nation to ruins, it seems that there is no quick fix approach to that, so you have left it out of your last minute efforst. Well, except you would say that granting Senator Musiliu Obanikoro a seat on your cabinet is a quick fix. I think that in all the work you have done so far, that is one of the most counter-productive decisions made. This is due to the #EkitiGate Scandal hanging over his head. You should have steered clear. Also counter-productive, are the various allegations that you have been doling out money to people in support of your bid to win. Sir, I understand that desperation, but wonder if it would be worth it for Nigeria if or when you come back to preside over an empty treasury.
Sir, the truth of the matter is this, and this is from one last minute dot com person to another, some lost ground cannot be gained in a few weeks. You needed to have taken action earlier. For instance, matters pertaining to life should never have been pushed aside. You should have taken the loss of those lives more seriously when they happened. They should have been dealt with a long time ago because the human memory is a funny thing. Families who have lost loved ones will always remember their departed. They appreciate the war being fought but wish that action had been taken earlier to save their wives, husbands and children. To canvass for those people’s votes should be hard for even you to do. I applaud your drive but then again, it would have been easier if you had done the right thing at the right time. Sir, again, I say iwoyi aaro.
My President, many regard your current efforts as being done for campaign purposes only. Very few think that you embarked on this sudden re-awakening because you have the interests of the Nigerian people at heart. We know it is only because of the elections.
Sir, playing catch up is a nice game when it is only your own life at risk. When it comes to 160 million other lives, one has to be extremely careful. It is because of these ‘games’ that many are uncertain of a future with you as President. If you win the elections, which many hope you do, which of the Goodluck Jonathans would we have to contend with? Would it be ‘Jonathan the Clueless’ or ‘Jonathan the Last Minute Warrior’?
As you can see, I do not trust the President’s motives for his sudden remembrance of our situation. However, he has worked and must be praised for doing so. I wonder if this is enough to swing APC Votes in his favour. Would the work done in the past weeks convince you to vote for President Jonathan?
Over to you, the verdict is yours…