At a time when many years of painstaking efforts to reestablish the damaged brotherly love and cohesion between the Igbo and the rest of the Niger Delta is beginning to yield very positive outcomes, it is heartrending to read in the media, (Daily Sun of Monday June 26, 2017 precisely), statements credited to our brother and compatriot, Nnamdi Kanu of dismissing Former President Goodluck Jonathan as a “weak and incompetent President who did nothing for the South East, even though even though the Region claimed him as one of their own”, with an insulting suggestion that the Former President’s Wife, Dame Patience Jonathan would have been a better President than her husband.
The reasons offered for this damning conclusion include the failure by the Jonathan’s Administration to complete the East-West Road and the building of the Kaduna-Abuja Railway Line by the same Administration.
Still continuing, the verdict praised former Presidents Shagari and Yar’Adua for doing better in the East.
While I wait to verify that these outlandish assertions regarding President Jonathan truly emanated from the source claimed by Sun Newspaper, I make bold to say that as one, from the Igbo flank, who was directly involved in the deep subsurface pushing and pulling that attended the Presidency of Goodluck Jonathan, made ungovernable by malevolent forces from the upper fringes of Northern Nigeria, the assertions published by aforementioned Sun Newspaper, are far from the truth and are most unfortunate to have come from any Igbo man, if it indeed came from the source claimed. I have my doubts.
Therefore beyond the question of the source of the offensive Statement as published by Sun Newspaper, I will address the contents of the Statement.
The LNC takes a very strong exception to the denigration of the President as weak and incompetent, especially for the reasons offered with border on anti-Igbo sentiments.
If anything, President Jonathan leaned so heavily towards the Igbo that his traducers openly declared his Presidency an Igbo Presidency, for which reason the hatred aggression reserved by the aforementioned malevolent forces exclusively for the Igbo got transferred to President Jonathan, with venom.
The case those anti-Jonathan forces put forward to buttress their charges regarding over-accommodation of the Igbo include
(i) The creation of the Office of “Coordinating Minister for the Economy” (which was more like a Prime Ministerial position in a Parliamentary Democracy) to which he appointed Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (who already held the Finance Minister Portfolio) practically delegating to her, his superintending Powers over the Economy.
(ii) The appointment of Pius Anyim to the weighty office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
(iii) The appointment of Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika, the Chief of Army Staff, in what seemed to the Far North a sacrilege and an abomination.
(iv) The Grand State Burial Organized to send forth the “Biafra Warlord”, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, much feared, much loathed by the North but deeply loved and revered by the Igbo. (I led a 250-Man LNC Team that took part in the Burial Ceremonies for Ojukwu in Nnewi which the then President Jonathan personally Presided over and so I witnessed at close quarters the consternation it generated in the camp of the Igbophobics).
This, according to President Jonathan’s traducers, amounted to an official endorsement and resurrection of Biafra.
Mischievous as these Igbophobic charges are, the truth of the unprecedented accommodation of the Igbo in the place of Power in Nigeria under President Jonathan, since after the Biafra War in 1970 was self-evident and the psychological rehabilitation it wrought for the Igbo was clearly worth a lot more than what any physical infrastructural rehabilitation could have enacted.
The Igbo regained their group self-confidence which the same anti-Jonathan forces damaged strategically since 1970 and therefore Jonathan had to be punished severely for letting the genie out of the bottle.
In the course of my Tasks at the LNC, I had had very difficult face-to-face conversations relating to the jinxed Protocols of mutual coexistence in Nigeria with President Jonathan during his Presidency and my first hand assessment of him does not at all support a verdict of “weak and incompetent”.
If anything, President Jonathan proved a lot more brave and decisive than his generally meek mien presents from afar. He also has his ways and style that differ radically from the brash methods many Nigerians have become accustomed to under other Presidents.
He went to extraordinary lengths in trying to address the many institutionalized and other injustices against the Igbo and others including the watershed National Conference of 2014.
He never missed any opportunity to let the East have one more slot or Project if he was the one to decide. But there are three arms of Government and the Appropriation Power lay with the Legislative Arm where the East is hopelessly outnumbered.
He believed in the Lower Niger Paradigm and ideal which demolished the enemy-imposed walls of division between the Niger Delta and the Igbo, and so at times he incurs the wrath of his own Niger Delta People for refusing to draw the expected line with the Igbo. Some of them bitterly accused him of having been hijacked by the Igbo !!
Being human, he had his flaws of course but he is a lot more intelligent than many who never dealt closely with him would ever know but the powers and principalities that operate the criminal enterprise we call “Nigeria” decide many outcomes outside what any sitting President would have preferred.
I close by saying that the day the Peoples of the Eastern Half of Southern Nigeria will get to learn about the unknown, unspoken and therefore the unappreciated truth regarding the sojourn of the “Slaveboy” from Otuoke in the Abuja Throne-House of Uthman Dan Fodio, that day, torrents of tears and apologies will flow, but neither One-Nigeria nor its promoters will be there to moderate in that day.
Lower Niger Congress