The Oasis Reporters
November 23, 2018
The good luck that brought former president Ebele Jonathan to the position of the first citizen of Nigeria did not end with his reign; it has also made him the author of a bestseller, My Transition Hours. Luck has never left President Jonathan alone for once. He is presently hot, and his book is hotter.
First, Mr Jonathan’s book is hot because it is the talk of the town in the moment, for good or bad. It has succeeded in taking up attention such that the important election contests of the moment are presently taking breeze in the rear balcony. Thus, Jonathan and his book have supplanted Atiku and the PDP and the war of word has been between the presidency and Mr. Jonathan in the past three days or thereabout, which means a good one for former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who can very well take advantage of this political holiday to re-energize and cook grand new propaganda.
But this is not all the magic the book can do. No one would think that the rank and file of Nigeria’s political elite could have representatives converge at the instance of a former president who goes by the name Ebele Jonathan, who, it was mostly agreed, ran Nigeria aground in what is called years of impunity and grand corruption. The shameful and humiliating manner in which he was booted out of office in 2015 did not portend a future of prominence for the gentle Otuoke man. It was therefore only a shock that those who arranged his trashing-in-the-dustbin in 2015 were the same personalities who gathered at the book launch of My Transition Hours, ably chaired by Olusegun Obasanjo, the man that single-handedly tore apart the Jonathan Kingdom.
Does it mean that President Jonathan is still very important and relevant to the development of Nigeria?
Yes and no.
No, because none of those who gathered in the venue of the book launch sees Jonathan in a good light. None thinks he made any contribution to the growth of the GDP, to the development of education or science and technology. The only achievement notable of Ebele Jonathan is that his tenure prepared a work for the succeeding administration of the APC to do—it bred corruption for Buhari to fight, and created mess for the APC to clear. It is so sorry a thing that the only legacy left behind by Jonathan, in the understanding of the Nigerian political elite, is the acceptance of a clear electoral defeat.
It is such a sorry thing that Jonathan’s only notable contribution to Nigeria is the acceptance of political humiliation—this humiliation resounds in whimpering tones in Jonathan’s book. It is more a sorry thing that the same man that was only valuable for accepting defeat in what is called democracy became the rallying point of grandiose speech making among Nigeria’s foremost rogues. It is in this sense that President Jonathan is still very important and relevant in the politics of Nigeria.
As any observer is bound to understand, the book launch was the second convergence, at the instance of Ebele Jonathan, to scramble for the soul of Nigeria and plunder it. The first convergence was his tenure when office holders perched heavy like vultures and looted the treasury well enough. The book launch was a political capital for any serious politician who doesn’t desire to be left behind in the struggle for the patrimony of Nigeria. All those who had participated directly in making Nigeria what it is today were all present at the event. Those who helped to flog Jonathan to defeat for the same reason (selfish reason) were represented. Even the chairman of the anti-corruption squad, Adams Oshiomhole, was present. The Jonathan’s book launch, therefore, was a reenactment of rogues who plundered Nigeria.
For serious minds, therefore, it was not My Transition Hours that was launched in that convergence. What was launched was another season of plundering. The political leadership of Nigeria, irrespective of party divide, is a cult of the same demonic intentions. In this cult, everyone is a rogue, only that there are traditions of rogues according to the public climate of the time. A tradition thinks that the money should be shared and stolen once and for all, while another wants it shared without suspicion.
Examples of the former are those who ruled up to 2015, while the present corruption fighters exemplify the latter. There is therefore a regular unification of the rogues through elite occasions like the book launch. This evil found opportunity in the launch of the feeble book by Jonathan.
My Transition Hours is an indispensable book. The mood of the book embodies an explanation of the personality and inner workings of Jonathan when he was president of Nigeria and up till now. In politics, the truth of a book is not so much important as the passion the book can evoke. Excerpts from Jonathan’s book (which sounds more like a casual gist between friends than a book) blame the defeat of Jonathan on international forces such as Barack Obama, the US and others, and hanged some elite for the same. Such claims were made in whimpering, pathetic tones that could make a reader drop some tears from the eye.
One therefore gets the impression of a victim of elite conspiracy and international oppression in the person of Jonathan. The pitiable manner in which the book recounts those things confirms what we have said before: Mr Jonathan was a weak president.
Available excepts do not see Jonathan explore citizen’s dissatisfaction with his government. Jonathan really thinks that Obama told Nigerians who to vote for. He assumed those who voted in 2015 knew that Obama even made a statement concerning election. If nothing counters this in the length and breadth of the book, then Jonathan was only a pathetic occupant of the Aso-Rock whose main problem was the elite and the super-powers.
But yet in that, we get a full impression of the condition of an African leader. The African leader, as Jonathan account reveals is only strong in the imagination of his followers; he is actually buffeted by the whims and caprices of the western powers. That may explain why they have not done well and may never do well as long as they are so subject.
My Transition Hours is therefore an account of a victim of political circumstances, not of governance, not of success. It is a story of how the writer was humiliated. The climax was how he chickened out by accepting defeat before polls result. Such a sad book!
Anyhow, we await the coming of a blockbuster, My Slow Motion.