By Usama Dandare
“We don’t become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up … discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt (You Learn by Living)
Throughout time, heroes have always set the standard of what real people should strive to be, but can never seem to grasp. A hero is he who can show courage when faced with a problem, he who is able to help another in various ways. A hero is also someone who is there to help others and gives them strength to go on through life’s difficulties, a hero can also be someone who gives up his or her life so another could live.
Generally, heroes distinguished themselves in various aspects of human and social endeavor and they are usually noticed at earlier stages going by what impacts they make on the lives of others. Although there are heroes within our immediate environments that are overlooked everyday and don’t get the recognition they deserve until later in the future before or after their demise.
In Nigerian today, the word “hero” has been so severely abused and miniaturized to someone who concedes defeat rather than he who defeated the so-called hero despite the power of incumbency. Ironically, a hero is not necessarily someone who conceded defeat, or who happens to be victorious in an election. We call the former a looser and the latter a winner. There’s nothing impavid in this.
I beg to disagree with that school of thought where a hero is made overnight without pursuing any particular cause nor goal but just for accepting a defeat that must inevitably be accepted no matter how hard you try to dodge. If an elected president can become a hero simply for accepting the outcome of an election, what can you call a football coach who concedes defeat in a football match in which his team looses? A hero too i guess.
Following the outcome of March 28 presidential election in which President Jonathan hurriedly conceded defeat and rang to congratulate the winner, General Muhammadu Buhari, even before results were officially declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians with their little understanding of “heroism” were quick to labeled President Jonathan a hero for ordinarily conceding defeat while some even went to the extent of seeking a Nobel Peace prize for the President. The questions here are: Does Goodluck Jonathan has any other choice than to concede? Can we call Dr. Kayode Fayemi a hero for conceding defeat to Governor Ayo Fayose in the last June 2014 gubernatorial in Ekiti state? Can we call Jonathan a hero because he allowed a ‘free and fair’ election after failing in all attempt to scuttle the whole electioneering process? Of course not!
To me Jonathan is not a hero nor an elder statesman, he is only somebody who had to accept the will of the masses and vacate the seat of power either in peace or in pieces. Gone are the days when any vagabond will refuse to hand over power after loosing in an election; the case of Laurent Gbagbo is a living lesson for whomever wish to learn. In fact, I dont even think Jonathan has the mind to gbagbo Nigerians.
By taking a review of Jonathan’s reign of terror for six years and upon realizing how much damage his ineptitude and desperation caused Nigeria, one must wonder where the heroism in him came from. You need no clairvoyant to agree that President Jonathan doesn’t want to leave office and even went extra-mile to scuttle the whole election just to remain in control, he did all he can to rig and retain his seat against all decorum but luckily for him, all his undemocratic settings and satanic intentions were muted with the help of card reader and PVC.
Although President Jonathan did remarkably well for conceding defeat which undoubtedly prevented bloodbath in some sections of the country but his action wasn’t extraordinary; indeed it’s very normal and natural in the face of democracy.
However, making Jonathan heroic simply because he conceded a defeat that must be accepted is not only a mockery to our collective intelligence but also to the memory of all the victims of Jonathan’s six years of mismanagement. It is misplaced, parochial and out of point; it is like making a hero out of a villain and a genius out of a mediocre! How can you call a president that presided over the most corrupt regime in world history a hero?
Are we quick to forget all the misdemeanors of President Jonathan and his reign of impunity? This is the most divisive president Nigeria has ever produced, he’s the first president to legalized stealing public funds (stealing is not corruption) and criminalized whistleblowers (as in the case of fmr CBN governor). In short, a victory over Jonathan is a victory over impunity, corruption and ethno-religious division. Jonathan’s concession cannot erase the pains and miseries inflicted on Nigerians in the past six years resulting from his insensitivity, corruption, impunity and overall maladministration.
The so-called hero planned to form an Interim National Government and submerge the whole democracy having realized an imminent defeat so that power will not return to the opposition. After the plan of Interim National Government failed woefully, Jonathan again moved the idea of sacking Jega to appoint somebody that would be more persuadable to rig himself back to power, he also failed. The same Jonathan also went spending our nation’s savings rampantly to traditional/religious leaders and every tom, dick and harry including terrorist groups (OPC and Militants) just to sway their followers to vote him again. Must i have to remind you of all the hate speeches and inciting remarks by Jonathan’s attack dogs and the so-called first-lady all in an attempt to garner votes for the president? Jonathan publicly engaged in campaign of calumny and sponsored physical attacks on the opposition and hate-documentaries to blackmail certain big shots within the opposition party. But yet, some misinformed Nigerians are calling him a hero just for accepting defeat. In fact, President Jonathan is not a hero; he is just the outgoing president of Nigeria. Simple!
Looking at Jonathan’s body language before and during the election, one must second to the fact that the president wasn’t willing to leave power, until some cabals close to the presidency that were looking for a soft landing persuaded him to concede defeat in order for them to leave with their heads held high which may in return save them from further retributions for their sinful activities. Findings by Premium Times also confirmed that President Jonathan was forced to concede defeat by the Minister of Aviation Mr. Osita Chidoka, Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, Special Assistant to the President on Domestic Matters, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa and the Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala against his wish, the four of them pleaded with the president to accept defeat to an extent of kneeling down before he (President Jonathan) agreed to call and congratulate General Buhari. In fact, the controversial telephone call was even placed by Waripamo-Owei Dudafa while kneeling before the president.
Finally, history will remember Goodluck Jonathan not as a hero but a failed president under whose watch $20bn crude oil funds and several billions were unaccounted for, a president whose insensitivity consumed the lives of over 100,000 innocent citizens and made millions refugees in their own land while the whereabouts of several hundreds is still a subject of concern. Jonathan’s administration will go down memory lane as a regime symbolize by corruption and impunity, a regime of irresponsibility and rascalities, a regime of bloodbath and fiascos, a regime beneficial to only condemned criminals and some co-devils. Whether you like it or not, Jonathan as a president is the worst calamity to have ever befall Nigeria and he alone, is the architecture of his own failure. I rest my case!