The Oasis Reporters
December 24, 2019
Power without control in the hands of an untrustworthy person is a dangerous thing.
Having largely toured the Niger Delta region in the last couple of months, one could not help but appreciate Nigeria’s former president, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan the more. This December that is fast winding down, there have been a lot of festivities in the region.
There are reasons for concentrating festivities towards the end of the year. Niger Delta is swampy and waterlogged. Therefore it is nightmarish to visit it in the rainy season.
Most communities are usually evacuated due to the floods, made worse with global warming, melting glaciers, rising water levels, etc.
Consequently, the people who cannot live with excess water or live on it, evacuate to stay with in-laws, distant cousins, friends etc in upland areas. As soon as the floods recede, they go back to their homes, drain the water out, dry their rooms and generally get on with their lives.
With flooded lands, the dead are preserved in mortuaries until the dry season and practically, no weekend passes by without the painful festivities of burials and other ceremonies.
At this time of the year, hotels in villages, and they can be quite posh, get overbooked and economic activities pick up dramatically, until the next rainy season when businesses ebb to low levels.
Jonathan’s Izon (Ijaw) people are amongst the worst hit, yet he never sought to dramatically seize other people’s lands, call if Federal land and impose Ijaw (Izon) people on them.
Just imagine what would have happened had he attempted to seize the size of a local government each in at least two-thirds of the drier parts of Nigeria to resettle his tribesmen because of the devastating effects of flooding and climate change. He never sought to use his awesome powers as president to achieve that, because he knows the consequences that may explode in future.
Come to think of it, Jonathan established brand new universities, about 12 of them, I believe, yet he made it a point of duty not to appoint a single Izon man as Vice Chancellor, just because Izon land had one well deserved new university in Otuoke, Bayelsa, a State that was hosting a federal university for the very first time, despite being the land that ushered Nigeria into crude oil production in 1956 at Oloibiri.
That is how modest, Jonathan is. He thinks of the general good, for the collective cohesion of all of the people of Nigeria.
And by the way, you need to visit the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier citadel of learning to understand that Izon people are highly capable of producing intellectual giants who can be Vice Chancellors. The administrative building has been renamed Prof. Tekena Tamuno building. Thats Jonathan’s kinsman, and he was an earlier Vice Chancellor of that prestigious institution.
You’ll also hear names of people like Prof. J.P. Clark, Prof. Tam David West etc, and a couple of others.
Therefore Izons go to school, yet Jonathan told his people to be content with the new university they now have, and forget the dream of heading one.
If anything, that’s modesty. Let other tribes that failed to get one, produce Vice Chancellors. Nepotism was far from him.
Jonathan did not appropriate the resources of all of Nigeria’s cash cows so that wealth can be amassed to buy sand from the Sahara desert and sand fill his region so that his region can have more land to the detriment of other needs in other regions.
Jonathan wanted prosperity in Nigeria to spread round, not to be concentrated in only one tribe. Neither did he envision Nigeria being politically led by just one tribe. Nigeria should be owned by all Nigerians, not just a few tribes.
I see Jonathan as a true Nigerian hero. Detribalized, unselfish and ultimately committed to a true Nigerian utopia with a people bound together in love, unity, democratic ethos and freedom.
Some people feel that I have met him. No I haven’t, but I hope to, one day if the opportunity presents itself.
Compliments of the season, Dr. Jonathan. And to all Nigerians, very best wishes.
Written by Greg Abolo.