Essays / Satiric / The Pontifical Papers


Goodluck Jonathan does not want to be Nigeria’s next President. In fact, he did not aspire to become its current President. Instead, he has been pushed and shoved, pleaded with and threatened, harried and harassed into holding and contesting for a seat in one katzenjammer whirl of a circus show. However, in the midst of all this, Jonathan, silently and subtly has been trying to communicate that he doesn’t want to be president! I started out as one of his supporters until I realised that I gave him support he didn’t want and doesn’t appreciate. Having seen my error and in as penance for my misguided campaigns, I will now make an anti-campaign case on his behalf.


Good luck shined on Jonathan when he was nominated as Vice President in 2007, but that was as far as the Bayelsan Governor aspired. After a stint of 8 years as Mr. Yar Adua’s vice, GEJ’s hope was to retire to his village and live the life of a contented elder statesman. Sadly, on November 23, 2009, Mr Umaru Yar’Adua, the silent President, took a one way trip to Saudi Arabia and scattered Jo’s plans. But hang on a second, Yar’ Adua did not die ASAP as any decent person should. Instead, he lingered on somewhat, disappeared, then gave a radio interview, and disappeared again, then showed up in the middle of the night in a coma, then disappeared, then he died.

Now in the middle of this suspense filled hide-and-seek game, a court hurriedly conferred Jonathan powers to act on the President’s behalf. This was on January 13, 2010. What should any right thinking African Vice President do? If you say: declare a feast, have a thanksgiving service and start living the lavish life of a de-facto President, you’ll be right. But not Jonathan, he kept on a bewildering act of “my boss is right in the next office” when the poor man lay in a coma on a middle east hospital bed. Courts like to be obeyed, so the Supreme Court then gave him a phone call on January 22 and said, “Look man, get your act right and shape up—we give you 14 days”. Or we’ll kick your ass, they might have added.

Human nature abhors a vacuum, especially when it comes to political power, and people would rather have a reluctant president than no president. So, before the Supreme Court could kick Jonathan to jail, the legislature tried to save GEJ from himself and on February 9, 2010, passed a motion virtually locking Jonathan into the President’s seat. This was greeted with mixed reactions by the cabinet members. But the louder the voice of the nay-sayers, the more popular Jo became. He became so popular, he had to silence the nay-sayers. So he sacked the Attorney General, number one nay-sayer.

Suddenly, on February 24, just as GEJ as President was beginning to look okay to we the people, Yar’ Adua’s lifeless body was rushed into Aso Rock by Turai and some armed forces dudes. Obviously, they planned to take the phrase “puppet president” very literally. This seemed a god-sent opportunity for Jonathan to resign, and he went into hiding without fuss. Unfortunately for both GEJ and Turai, the enchantments and prayers of the blessed imams, bishops and witchdoctors could not resurrect Yar’ Adua into a zombie president. On May 5, Turai admitted defeat and called off the hide-and-seek game. On May 6, Jonathan was sworn as President under duress. On May 7, Jonathan started goofing.

Good ol’ Jo has refined the art of doublespeak to new levels. Just as animals adapt to their surroundings for survival, GEJ has picked up doubletalk to protect himself from those who force him to hold power. “Mr Jonathan, are you running for President?”, “Well, not really, its too early to decide, but I would bow to the wishes of the people”. Can you make sense of that? I cannot either. I thought it was uncertainty until I realised it was a hidden cry for help. This man doesn’t want to be President! In a country where Buhari was declaring his intention before the current term had even started, and IBB could declare with a tarnished record, and Atiku could announce his intention, even without a political party…

The trend continued with Jonathan rushing around to deny his statements or undo his actions. Jonathan said, Jonathan did not say. Jonathan did, Jonathan did not do, a continuous dance reminiscent of Yar’ Adua’s “now-you-see-me-now-you don’t” game, complete with drums and dance. Jonathan has “yes” and “no” on several things: banning Nigerian soccer, Wikileaks, voting four times in 2007, militants bombing Abuja, everything, anything. Jo is just fooling around with us.


Jonathan was being manoeuvred, chess-like, by the Ota Farmer and several others against whom he had no will to protest, but good luck threw in a zoning formula obstacle in Jo’s way. GEJ was smart, and he knew the best way to rile up the North and guarantee opposition was to deny the zoning formula in the PDP constitution. He denied zoning. Well, zoning or no zoning, Nigerians didn’t care. However, northern leaders did: and a move began to unite the North and stop Jonathan in his tracks. The strategy worked like a charm, that is, until the North goofed in a ridiculous way by selecting a blundering Atiku as its “consensus” candidate. A dead Jonathan would defeat an incumbent Atiku in a PDP primary. You would defeat Atiku in a PDP primary. Like a distressed scholar, Jonathan’s plans to get a strong opponent from the north failed.

If you plan to ridicule a segement of society, grab its attention, dazzle it, then spit in its face. Hence Jonathan’s facebook friendships. He wanted the youths to focus attention on him because he was planning to screw with them. In a big way. His hope was that the backlash would be just enough to guarantee he lost the votes of Nigerian youths. So what did he do? Once Jonathan was certain he had gathered enough attention on facebook and had even launched a book version of his chats (environmentalists, take note), he proceeded to insult the youths by appointing, unsolicited, two comedians as their politically-savvy representatives. Obviously, youthful employment cuts across a wide range of activity from advanced fee fraud to the medical profession: IT, journalism, legal practice, politics, the civil services, charity and NGOs, banks and financial institutions, audits and accounts, you name it… But Jonathan desperately wanted to be disliked, so he picked a Big Brother Africa (yuck!) winner and a self-proclaimed entertainer as the wise leaders of all of the above. There is such a phrase as “going too far”, even when you want to be disliked, but this was enough, in fact, it soon became time for Jonathan to unleash his secret anti-president weapon…


If there is any single reason why Goodluck Jonathan should lose the coming election, Patience it is. Her actions are being guided step-by-step by her husband’s instructions. She emerged from nowhere and sentence by sentence began to undo her husband’s campaign. She antagonises governors and senators, alienates market women, workers, students, children and just about anybody who has heard the chance to see her in action The best thing is this, wait for it: she’s so smart about it, her actions look convincing! But its obvious to anyone with a thought to spare that she’s faking it all, while GEJ pretends to stand by watching helplessly. “You know women,” he says with a shrug to his advisers, “You just can’t control them”. Meanwhile, Patience loses him more votes in another state. Some campaign manager is going to take his job extremely seriously and have her taken care of…


Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan does not want your vote. He did not plan to be President. He does not want to be your President. He will do (or undo) anything to lose your vote. Do him a favour and please do not vote for him, there are more power hungry politicians out there who would appreciate your vote more. However, being the obstinate Nigerian that you are, you probably would vote for the unwilling candidate and bestow on a good man another 4 years of misery.

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3 thoughts on “THE RELUCTANT CANDIDATE: A CASE FOR JONATHAN | An Anti-Campaign Speech by Ayo Sogunro

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