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13 Jan Written by  Japheth Omojuwa

The Jonathan-Must-Go Army and the Rest of Us

I am not a fan of President Goodluck Jonathan. I think that as president he had a chance to use the people’s goodwill to advance a more egalitarian society and he abused that goodwill on the altar of cronyism, clannishness and general misunderstanding of the essence of leadership.

I think that were he to decidedly fight corruption for instance, he’d easily win many Nigerians to his side. As it is, he appears very much in consort with corruption. Even he subtly admitted that in one of his speeches when he said a particular world leader praised him for the conduct of the 2011 elections but in the president’s words, the said world leader then said “but corruption! Corruption! You must do something about that.”

It did not look like the president understood the full import of what even he was describing. Corruption is a major cog in the wheel of Nigeria’s progress and no matter how any Nigerian leader is intent on getting things right, you will always fail if you don’t fight corruption. To do that, you’d of course have to hurt even your own friends and allies. They are naturally likely to be the ones to dare steal from the national treasury. But while corruption may be an issue in our polity, I personally consider hypocrisy as Nigeria’s number one challenge.

Ours is a society that continues to suffer from hypocrisy. The loudest noise in our polity today is, “Jonathan Must Go!” and if you listen hard enough, that noise comes with a sub-text, “when he goes, Nigeria will be fine!” The point a non-observant onlooker would miss is that the noise has not offered anything in terms of a fact-based “why?”

Take the APC. In an ideal world, the APC would be the alternative government. They would be the ones telling us what they’d do differently from the government of the day. We have the 2014 Appropriation Bill at the National Assembly and this offers the alternative government a platform to tell the people not just what is wrong with the proposed budget but how it could be made right.

Now that the APC has more seats at the House of Representatives, what would its members do about the N150 billion yearly bazaar allocation to the National Assembly? It would never be enough to tell us what the PDP is not doing right if they cannot make right what the PDP used to do the wrong way.

Nigerians are not interested in the battle for political power among the elite; Nigerians just want to see a country that works. Saying the president should not run for a 2nd term will not work for those who want him out. It is not enough to be united in their obsession about sweeping away the Jonathan presidency; they need to show that they are about much more. They need to show Nigerians the alternative to the Jonathan presidency that is about growth, development and all the issues that have to do with building a country that works.

Let the political class not fool themselves. The ordinary Nigerian does not think one side is fundamentally different from the other. It is even more difficult to differentiate between them with the continued movement between both parties that now makes it look like an ideological adiabatic process between both parties, where the ideological difference between both entities is tending towards zero as elements move from one end to the other.

Of course 2015 will never be about ideologies. Our politics is very much far from that level. We are at the level of absolute transitional politics. A president wants to stay in power, he shares oil blocs and appointments; the people want food they give their votes, and the politicians want votes they give food.

We are stuck at the very foot of human desires. Living strictly based on what we can see, what we can feed on, and what we can get. The idea of beliefs, values and conscience where they exist quickly get relegated for this quest to feed the Neanderthal within most of us. Some of us can of course do better but what would you expect from the rest of us who cannot feed except they beg or exchange their dignity for bread?