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.