Home / Column / Editorial / GEJ: Deconstructing Nigeria’s recent History

GEJ: Deconstructing Nigeria’s recent History


An Editorial culled from The Authority

 “Not even God can change his­tory.”– Nadeem Aslam


For the past one week, fol­lowing the publication of a book by Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, a prominent journalist, former Presidential spokesman and writer, of what he claimed was the result of his encounters with some prominent actors of the last administration, includ­ing former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, regarding the whys and wherefores of his loss and that of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 presidential election, there have been massive efforts at de­constructing an aspect of the re­cent history of Nigeria – the his­tory that is still very fresh in our minds and as many of its princi­pal actors are still active in their different areas of endeavour.

Olusegun Adeniyi’s new book, ‘Against the Run of Play’ has provided the ammunition for this grand effort at rewrit­ing the recent history that took place before our very eyes. From the author’s narrative, President Jonathan had tried to explain if not justify – why he became, perhaps, the first African leader to lose an election as an incumbent to an opposition lead­er. The first impression that was creat­ed, through the comments and interpre­tations of many commentators has been that Jonathan was looking for easy excus­es to explain off his loss.

According to the book, Jonathan had claimed that one of the things that had contributed to his electoral loss was the hostile roles that the US and the West had played against his administration, as well as the yet-to-be explained, but obvious in­clination of the Obama administration to­wards the Muslim North and its leaders. Furthermore, he was said to have allud­ed to the perfidy of some of the top mem­bers of his party, especially those from the Northern part of the country. In short, he was allegedly betrayed by his party men as well as by government officials in fa­vour of the opposition leader at a time it had mattered most.

For many analysts, including a major newspaper that had penned an editori­al, President Jonathan was blaming eve­rybody else but himself. Surprisingly, in their haste to bash President Jonathan who has inexplicably become a whipping boy for the hardened deconstructors of histo­ry, at a time the outside world is hailing and decorating him as a rare hero of de­mocracy in Africa, not many of those nay­sayer analysts have cared to examine the merits and otherwise of the reasons which were said to have been adduced by the for­mer president.

For instance, was it a lie that for what­ever reasons, the Obama administration had harboured an unusual level of hostil­ity towards the Jonathan administration? For, while The AUTHORITY has no way of attesting to the veracity of the said claim by Jonathan that US warships were patrol­ling off our coasts just prior to the election, as a way of intimidating the government of the day, it was undeniably clear that the US had gone to unusual lengths to put the ad­ministration of President Jonathan, as well as members of his party, under a heavy physical and psychological disadvantage.

For instance, the moment the US State Department under Obama’s minion, Hi­lary Clinton, refused to classify the Boko Haram as a terrorist organisation, the gov­ernment’s resolve was very much weak­ened in its fight against the terrorists, while affording the group a great psycho­logical advantage over the government that was fighting it.

Such an advantage would be fur­ther boosted when it started enjoying the overt and tacit support of many promi­nent members of the opposition from its immediate geopolitical environment. No less a person than Muhammadu Buhari had even declared that the “fight against Boko Haram is a fight against the North”.

The Jonathan administration and its fight against Boko Haram were fur­ther weakened by the refusal of the Oba­ma administration to sell arms and spare parts to Nigeria to enable it tune-up its fight against the Boko Haram. Not only did it refuse to sell arms to Nigeria, the US further went ahead to pressurize and con­vince its allies among the NATO countries not to sell either. Even though the Jona­than administration was forced to start sourcing for the military wherewithal from the black market and sundry un­derground sources at cut-throat condi­tions, and even had to resort to the use of mercenaries, its efforts were definitely not good enough to completely rout the ter­rorists, who, as some credible intelligence sources had claimed, were even benefit­ting from back-channel support from the Obama administration.

When Boko Haram abducted the Chi­bok Girls from their hostels three years ago, the US, with its ultra-modern tech­nology could have easily helped identi­fy the whereabouts of the hapless girls as well as help in their rescue; that did not happen. The Chibok Girls’ saga, as a heavy albatross round the neck of Jona­than’s administration, became one of the longest and deadliest nails that was driv­en into the coffin of Jonathan’s electoral prospects in 2015.

The Obama administration in US did not even mask its sup­port for the opposition and the North at the expense of the Jonathan administration. Not only once did the State Depart­ment invite Northern state governors, at the unexplained exclusion of their south­ern counterparts to the United States, where they were allegedly schooled in the art and modalities of dethroning the Jon­athan administration. Significantly, one of the Northern governors on the entourage of the State Department, ex-Governor Ba­bangida Aliyu of Niger State is alleged to have recently let the cat out of the bag, as to the mission of the invited governor to the United States.

President Jonathan was recently quot­ed as having stated that there were some distortions in the content of the Segun Ad­eniyi book. That claim, to our mind, does not have much substance, for as should be noted, that apart from the Bible and the Koran, there is hardly any other account in an article or a book that is deemed perfect.

However, The AUTHORITY, just as many observers are enthused that President Jonathan said that he might write his own accounts of what had really transpired, because when he does, he would be in a better position to put matters in their truer perspectives, better than any hear-say accounts can, even as he is most likely to rake up more controversies, as many are still unhappy that he, by act of commission or omission, had allowed Nigeria to inherit the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

No matter the current efforts at deconstructing President Jonathan’s roles in distant and recent history, one fact stands immutably out. No matter what was said or is yet to be said, the hard fact remains, as The AUTHORITY is abundantly aware, that President Jonathan had accepted the loss at the election and had congratulated his opponent, in spite of the advice and urging of many of his lieutenants not to do so.

This newspaper urges the public to discountenance those now crawling out of the wood cracks to claim that they had convinced him to act the way he did. We insist that is not only the author of the recent book who was privy to what hap­pened during the period. We put it to all that Jonathan had taken the decision on his own without any promptings, and in spite of the advice of his close associates.

The AUTHORITY insists that nobody should be so uncharitable as to rob Presi­dent Jonathan of his humanity or his place in history. He might not have been as astute as a leader as many would have expected him to be. He might not have act­ed as many people would have wanted but then all that now belongs to history, and it is for the benefit of those coming after him to learn from his mistakes. But as a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus opined, “a man’s character is his fate”, Jonathan’s humanity, his refusal to shed blood to protect his ambition, were the reasons for what many would see, from hindsight, as his political undoing.

Finally, we invite all those who are busy deconstructing our recent history in the belief that they are hurting Presi­dent Jonathan and his administration, to note that while it is possible to discolour aspects of our recent history or even distort it in its entirety in order to conform to the whims and caprices of individuals and interest groups, the fact remains that the solid basis of history will always remain immutable. For if the immutable words of Nadeem Aslam, to the effect that “not even God can change history”, is anything to go by, it would be a great folly for ordi­nary mortals to attempt to change history.


An Editorial culled from The Authority

The opinions and views expressed in this article are solely those of the writer/author, and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Headline News Nigeria.