By Paul Adepoju
#OccupyNigeria has really taught us a lot about Nigeria. In less than an hour after the PPRA’s announcement of the full withdrawal of the fuel subsidy was announced, almost every past utterance, gesticulation, frown, smile and history of the president has been twisted and used against. Though unfortunate, it gives us a better understanding of the man that the nation is fortunate or unfortunate, as the case might be, to have as the captain of its ship for the next four years. Ceteris paribus.
It’s clear that directly or indirectly, Nigeria’s president’s past utterances are laden with insights into the future no matter how twisted the interpretation might be. For instance, when he said he will needs almost 300 million naira to buy bullet-proof vehicles, many Nigerians thought he was being extravagant. But after reading the torrent of curses on his Facebook page, I tend to agree with the president that he needs to get an armored car right away since there is so much anger in the land.
When he also asked for one billion naira for feeding, we all felt he planned to feed the host of heavens. But with surge in the cost of foods in the market, we tend to agree that he will need more money to put good food on the table.
Although these instances present the president as having foresight and planning ahead, Nigerians are gradually realizing that the president cares more for himself, and people that are close to him, more than he’s interested in the common man he kept referring to in his last national broadcast.
He talked about Nigerians making sacrifices but you don’t need to be Sanusi Lamido to understand that the sacrifices are disproportionate. In simple words, Nigerians are paying more. Even with the overwhelming condemnation of the one billion naira food bill, the Garden of Eden tendering expense and his vice’s stupendous newspapers bill, Mr President can only part with 25 per cent of his basic salary which is just few thousands of Naira, leaving his millions intact. It’s therefore not out-of-place to say that this president is self-centred.
Misplaced priorities are also synonymous with the GEJ adminstration. He once said that he is learning slowly, but the swiftness of his steps when saving money is concerned tend to make us believe that he values money more than the safety and well being of Nigerians. For the fifth day in a row, Nigerian citizens are getting used to being domesticated and restricted although the constitution assures them of free movement. Yet Mr President is less perturbed. According to the media coverage of the protests, rallies and consultation meetings, the president distanced himself from the process until he heard that PENGASSAN is threatening to shut down oil activities which literally means that paucity of funds is just around the corner. That was when he finally showed interest. Not when Demola was shot in Lagos or the fifteen year old kid that died in Kano, but when he heard that oil export would be cut off.
Although he was democratically elected, the president could be described as having autocratic tendencies and exhibiting dictatorial traits. The foundation of democracy is the people. No matter how brilliant an idea or policy is, if the people dislike it, the democratic thing to do is to set it aside or convince them that the policy is in their best interest. President Obama had to go from one American city to another to sell his health policy to the people. But President Jonathan didn’t care about what Nigerians want. Within just six months of his administration, he has already abandoned the people he promised to carry along. Instead, he’s metamorphosing into a slavemaster that forces his slaves to obey his instructions. This is twenty first century, slave trade is over.
Furthermore, brandishing and bragging about foreign endorsements of his policy by UN, US, EU and other foreign governments further shows that President Goodluck Jonathan is not working for the people of Nigerians. Nigerians are in the dark over what he wants to achieve by aligning with foreigners to literally punish his people.
Now the question on every frustrated Nigerian lip is: Is he not the same man? Normally, I’ll blame Aso rock as responsible for the president’s metamorphosis (I’ve published an article some years ago on Aso rock effect on our leaders). But when I re-analyzed the president’s campaign train, certain incidences ought to have warned us about who he can be when elected.
We all remember when he called some people “rascals” and the number of those that died when he went to campaign in a stadium up north. But we overlooked these and several other incidences. We trusted him to do what’s best for us, now he’s doing what he and his cabal (madam Ngozi, aunty Denzani and malam Sanusi) want to do, even when the masses don’t want it.
However, it’s not an entirely sorry case and Nigerians still have reasons to be proud. For the first time since 1999, Nigerians are looking at the president straight in the eye and are telling him what they want, what he should do and how he should go about it. Even with several people dead and wounded, Nigerians are still trooping out en masse to make their opinions heard. They are no longer bewitched by IBB’s smiles or filled with trepidation at OBJ’s stares. It’s totally unbelievable; a dream come true, only if it ends well.
The leadership of the NLC, TUC and civil organizations that are involved in the negotiation should turn the table over. The people are the ones that elected Goodluck Jonathan as the president, he didn’t elect himself hence the wishes of the people must prevail. It’s not only the president that should mutate, Nigerians also need to change. They should develop more interest in governance and not wait until there is unprecedented hike in the price of groundnut, transport fares, maggi, tomatoes, cigarettes, Viagra and condoms, before taking to the streets.
I believe we now know a lot about Mr President. But can we say so of our resolve to take back our fatherland from the hands of those that seem poised to drive it into everlasting destruction?