By Tony Eluemunor
Dear Dr Goodluck Jonathan,
I have an urgent need to address you today. Thank you for your readiness to write about your administration; it helps when leaders write about the great and consequential decisions they made while in office. Last November you launched your book, MY TRANSITION HOURS, which principally explains why you willingly, and without being prompted by anybody, country or organisation, conceded defeat in the 2015 election.
Yes, you conceded defeat in an election in which you were already lagging behind candidate General Mohammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress party. The votes you polled in areas truly sympathetic to you had been announced. If you had misused your powers to stop the final results from being announced, you would have become a criminal and would have been treated as one.
We have the examples of what happened to Cote d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbagbo and The Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh. Today Gbabgo is behind bars while Jammeh is on exile. Moreover, if the news reports were true, there was an impressive line of past and serving Presidents to Aso Rock, within the two weeks preceding the day you conceded defeat. I must confess, Your Excellency that I do not know what they discussed with you. But from them, you must have heard a word or two about the need for peace in Nigeria. Sincerely, there is no denying the fact that some crazy fellow in your shoes could have decided to do the wrong thing. And he would have been punished. You passed that test. I also pray for Buhari to pass that same test if he is faced with such certain defeat.
Your Excellency, it has even been said that you were the first Nigerian to have conceded defeat. I hope you have learnt to disregard such sweet nonsense. Truly, you were the first Nigerian President or Prime Minister to lose an election! Nobody was voted out and refused to leave. Some may have rigged elections, but none had been publicly announced to have lost an election and he refused to vacate office.
Dear Doctor Jonathan, I have dwelt at length on this matter because even your supporters have made it appear that this admitting of defeat, as wholesome and exemplary as it may appear, was actually your greatest achievement. No, it should not be elegantly dressed up as such, for the very fact that you were voted out of office shows that the people who paid you a hefty salary and gave you the mighty powers of a Nigerian executive (as opposed to ceremonial) President showed how much you disappointed them by judging you unworthy to have a second term in Aso Rock.
Some, having surrendered to hyperbole no doubt, have called you the face of democracy in Africa, simply because you conceded defeat. They forgot that as far back as 1967, yes, 51 years ago, Somalia’s Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, became the first African President to concede defeat when he lost to Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, his former Prime Minister. Daar accepted the loss graciously.
Do you remember Kenneth David Kaunda of Zambia, the first President of Zambia, from 1964 to 1991? When Frederick Chiluba defeated him, he surprised the world by stepping down. Another sitting Zambian leader, Rupiah Bwezani Banda lost to Michael Sata and left office. Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade acknowledged on 27 February 2012 that he had failed to win a majority in the election and would have to face a run-off. He subsequently lost the second round of voting, held on 25 March 2012, to the opposition candidate Macky Sall. Wade conceded defeat and Sall succeeded Wade as President on 2 April 2012. So, dear former President Jonathan, in 2015, you simply joined the losers who did the right thing.
In an emotive article “My Transition Hours: A look at Goodluck Jonathan’s new book”, Reno Omokri presented you as a philosopher king; no, you are no such thing for he placed you on a pedestal higher than you ever climbed. But if he or anybody wishes, I’m ready for a lusty debate on the idea of a Philosopher King, and show why you do not fit that description in any way. He even spruced you up in borrowed plumes, writing about your “self-control and restraint” in the above mentioned article, though you had shown terrible lack of those wholesome features. But I will not dwell on such things today.
Dear, Dr Jonathan, here is the real reason why I’m addressing you today; you have been gallantly stating what you view as the truth. I applaud that. You may remember a man named Diepreye Solomon Peter Alamieyeseigha. No, I do not blame you for not talking about him – unlike a particular politician from Delta state who has been doing his utmost best to keep the man’s name alive, despite the flacks he may draw there from – for it is not your fault that dead men tell no tales. Alamieyeseigha must have told you how he returned to Nigeria, that the British authorities put him on a small aircraft and flew him to Cote d’Ivoire from where a private jet brought him to Nigeria. You must have also read the popular version that he returned to Nigeria dressed as a woman.
You and I know that nobody has mentioned the airline that flew him to Nigeria or told us the name he used in an obviously faked passport, or better still showed clips of the CCTV that captured his image as he was boarding that flight. In fact nobody has mentioned the airport he took off from while fleeing to Nigeria. But let us not belabour that point, you as President must have known the TRUTH. In fact, a Vice-President advised him to plead guilty and so save his life. Were you that V. P? If so, you have a story for us.
Pointedly, my question is this: did Alamieyeseigha lie when he said that the Chelsea Hotel, in Abuja, did not belong to him, as EFCC charged, but that he actually bought it for the Bayelsa state government? He claimed that payment for that hotel was budgeted for, and that under him Bayelsa state paid half of the price while the second half was paid during your watch as Governor. Could this be true? I am asking this question because it is thought-provoking that such a hotel could have belonged to Bayelsa State Government and you later arrived Abuja as Vice-President, Acting-President and President and yet Balyesa did not retrieved the hotel bought for the state with state money. This appears strange, very strange.