Sunday, 16 December 2012

Jonathan, His Governors and the Step-Aside Anointing By Mayokun Akpoterabor

While Nigerians were thrown into another traumatic experience on Saturday the 15th of December, of the Navy helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa, former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi, and in no less pain, Dauda Tsoho, Warrant Officer Mohammed Kamal and pilots, Commander Muritala Daba and Lt. Adeyemi O. Sowole, one cannot help but ponder on likely physical, metaphysical, spiritual, political and socio-economic forces that caused four crashes in the 2012 calendar year (Police Helicopter - March 14; Dana Airplane - June 3; Danbaba's Cessna - October 25; Military Helicopter - December 15).

One cause that flashed through my thoughts are, in the words of journalists, UNCONFIRMED; sounds jejune but permit me to express it anyway.

That the different political capacities Mr President has served, was made possible by the goodluck factor on his part but bad news in the camp of those he happened to have been next in command to, is no news, at least to the religious, sarcastic and permutative in Nigeria.

A refresher may be necessary here. Jonathan’s political career which started in the late 1990s, as a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), saw him elected deputy governor of Bayelsa state in 1999. The incumbent, Diepreye Alamiesiegha 'stepped aside' in 2005, having been charged for corruption and consequently impeached. Jonathan automatically was elevated; he became the governor.

Some two years after, the then President Umaru Musa Yar Adua selected Jonathan, the helmsman of Bayelsa state at the time to be the vice presidential running mate under the PDP banner. The duo won, although through an election Yar Adua himself confessed was rigged. He and Yar’Adua were elected in April and inaugurated in May of 2007.

Again, the 'step-aside' anointing, (or better called 'die-and-go' for this particular instance) became reactivated.

Early 2010, Yar’Adua’s extended absence from the country for medical treatment made many Nigerians anxious and generated calls for Yar’Adua to formally transfer power to Jonathan. The potency of the anointing under review here was put to test as members of Nigeria’s National Assembly on February 9, 2010 voted to have Jonathan assume full power and serve as acting president, at least until Yar’Adua was able to resume his duties. Sadly, he never did!

Although, President Yar’Adua returned to Nigeria on the 24th of February, 2010 (Jonathan still acting), death ultimately proved the goodluck factor was still in place. Yar’Adua passed on May 5, 2010, and Jonathan was sworn in as president the following day.

Periods preceeding President Jonathan's political career, especially one showcasing his leadership capacities since college days through tertiary education are not well known, at least to this author; not likely I have stumbled on credible facts/figures in this regard. Being one not given to hearsays, I choose not to validate claims circulated few years ago by some that the trend of 'step-aside' (interchangeably used with 'die-and-go') has been same for His Excellency even before his political start-up in the late 90s.

Now, news from Enugu, Cross River, Taraba and now Kaduna seem to confirm that the deputies are dancing to the throne while the original office holders are either crashed, sick or on prolonged 'leave'.

Enugu State Governor, Sullivan Chime is reportedly ill and undergoing treatment in India while the United States of America has been home to Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River who is equally said to be ill.

Governor Dambaba Suntai of Taraba state had a crash while flying his private jet on October 25 this year and has since been in Germany.

Also, Governor Yakowa who was to grace the burial of the father of one of the president's men, Oronto Douglas in Bayelsa state on December 15th, 2012, died in a helicopter crash that claimed the lives of former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi.

In three quarters of these states, the deputies are standing in for their incumbent. However, Yakowa's deputy got sworn in Sunday December 16 even before burial arrangements were announced for the late Kaduna governor.

The train of my thoughts casts a flash back at the percentage of Nigerian state governors that have been overtaken by the 'step-aside', 'die-and-go' syndrome, under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan and one couldn't help but ponder.

Don't Africans believe the fish spoils and smells from the head? Indeed, one cannot underestimate the control the head (as a metaphor for the brain) has over the other part of the body!

Is the 'step-aside', or what you may call "die-and-go" syndrome rubbing off on the lower wrung of the political ladder in Nigeria? What spiritual message are we yet to decode?

Much as panic of any kind is not my intention here, this exposure of my thoughts is for the wise and discerning to help a Nigerian like me look beyond the physical. Afterall even serving Honourable Ministers are of the believe that happenings in Nigeria is more than meets the eye.

Mayokun Akpoterabor (@lafta4dlonely) writes from Lagos