By Dimeji Daniels
Jonathan in the Bible, the son of King Saul, was a man who pitched his tent with his father’s supposed greatest enemy, David, because he knew his father’s cause was a wrong one. He neither feared nor avoided his father’s wrath in the pursuit of what was right. Years later after he had passed on, his only surviving relation, Mephibosheth, was honoured and tended by royalty.
As its common in most Christian homes in Nigeria to bear biblical names, our president’s family name is Jonathan. However, unlike the biblical Jonathan, our president seems to support the cause of his inner circle (some members of which have been or are being linked to one scam or the other) at the expense of Nigerians.
Like the biblical Jonathan who promised to stand by David through thick and thin, our president declared with a promissory tone at his inauguration on May 29, 2011: “I will continue to fight, for your future, because I am one of you.” As it turns out, he has been fighting for the Alisons, Otehs, Mainas, Otedolas while Nigerians languish in pains. To add verve to the fight, he even employed attack dogs.
From the inception of the Jonathan presidency, so many sickening revelations, sometimes disgustingly funny, have come to light and have fast become the signature of the presidency. Initially, the question was: “Can we trust Jonathan?” Now it is: “Can’t Jonathan be truthful?”
The latest in the series of the administration’s lies broke out a few days ago. Patience and Goodluck Jonathan’s spokespersons, Ayo Osinlu and Reuben Abati, had insisted during her absence from the country that she was taking a “moment’s rest” and that reports of her illness “was a rumour and there is nothing like that.” The bubble, however, burst on Sunday (17th February, 2013) when Patience Jonathan at a thanksgiving service told Nigerians that she passed out for seven days: “it is the Lord’s doing that I returned alive. When God says yes, nobody can say no. People are always afraid of operation (surgery), but in my own case, while my travail lasted, I was begging for it after the third operation because I was going to the theatre everyday. It was God who saw me through. I did eight or nine operations within one month.”
One would have thought Ayo and Reuben would be honourable enough to quietly resign after this revelation, but then, how could they when Jonathan who must have given them the say-so to issue the false statement is still very much our president? I believe strongly that the lie came from the president; Ayo and Reuben just helped to voice it as spokespersons.
For a few months now, there have been claims and counter-claims on whether the president did promise to not run in 2005. His spin doctors, as it is, would do everything and anything to prove that their principal never made such promise. On the other hand, the likes of Niger State Governor Aliyu Babangida are saying there is a signed agreement. Although they are yet to make the signed document public, I think the records clearly show who is lying. At an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Monday, 31 January, 2011, Jonathan declared in response to the clamour by Nigerians in the Diaspora to participate in elections in the country: “This year, Nigerians in the Diaspora will not vote inside Nigeria, but I will work towards 2015, even though I will not be running for office.” I think this is plain English and it is clear enough, except the president and his men have their separate self-published English dictionary.
The sickening thing about most of the lies that have been churned out by this administration so far is that the spin doctors lie as occasion demands, never bothering to look up their previous lies to at least churn out consistent lies.
In the paragraph 17 of jonathan’s inaugural address, he declared: “In the days ahead, those of us that you have elected to serve must show that we are men and women with the patriotism and passion, to match the hopes and aspirations of you, the great people of this country. We must demonstrate the leadership, statesmanship, vision, capacity and sacrifice to transform our nation. We must strengthen common grounds, develop new areas of understanding and collaboration, and seek fresh ideas that will enrich our national consensus.”
Reading the foregoing lines alone, can one say the president has kept faith with his promise? Can we say he has been truthful? As a patriotic Nigerian, the only common grounds I have seen strengthened are with the likes of Maina. The theatrics that have so far dogged the Maina case clearly suggests that the fraud goes all the way up. How up is what we are yet to know.
Another season in the Aso Rock Lie Series transpired on Christiane Amanpour’s programme on CNN. In the full glare of the world, President Jonathan said Nigerians are happy with his administration’s achievements in the power sector: “I would have loved that you ask the ordinary Nigerian on the streets of Lagos, Abuja or any other city this question about power. That is one area Nigerians are quite pleased with the government…” he said. Funny thing was that while the show was on, millions of Nigerians did not have light as usual.
President Jonathan should be told that while his government boasts about 4,400 megawatts, Sun City in South Africa generates 3,000 megawatts. The two Holy Mosques (Al-Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina) in Saudi Arabia consume 3,000 megawatts. 117 years (1896) after electricity was first generated in Nigeria, it is saddening to know that only 40% of the population is served by the national grid and the average percentage of time the 40% doesn’t have power is 60%.
Usually, transmission losses should not exceed 7%. In Nigeria, it is 35%, making it the highest in the world. What this simply means is that if 100,000 megawatts is generated, only 7,000 megawatts should be lost while 65,000 should get to the people. I think we can do the math to know how much of the 4,400 megawatts generated in Nigeria gets to the people. Despite this appalling situation, our president tells the world we are happy.
Only last Saturday ( 16th February, 2013), Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi disagreed with Information Minister Labaran Maku over the latter’s claim that the Federal Government doled out computers to ten secondary schools in his state. Rather than shamefacedly drop the lie, Maku told the governor he “can’t know everything” happening in his state, especially on a matter as this. Well, Mr. Labaran Maku, where are the ones meant for my state, Ekiti?
I am sure if the lies that have been told by the Jonathan administration were catalogued in a book, the book would make a good read on ineffective lies and propaganda.
I advise President Jonathan and his men to end the Lie Series; it is actually becoming boring.
•Daniels writes from Ado, Ekiti State