In recent times, there have been talks about Goodluck Jonathan being wooed by the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and some chieftains of the party to come fly the flag of the party in 2023.
It is now being bandied in the APC circle that Jonathan is the next thing that can happen to Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari.
These rumours and permutations appear to be gaining ground as Jonathan himself has not come out strongly to either clear the air or put a disclaimer on them.
Jonathan was prior to 2015 presidential election hounded like a common criminal by the APC elements, even though he was a sitting president.
He was disgraced, ridiculed and all manner of negative sobriquets and innuendoes were employed to demean him by the then budding party.
Lies were being churned out per second and all manner of propaganda were manufactured to discredit him.
The high point was a week-long carnival at Ojota, Lagos, mounted by the opposition, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and members of the civil society organisations. They said it was against subsidy removal.
They sang, danced and abused the daylight out of a sitting president and no one went to jail for it.
Jonathan went into the election already a defeated man. His frantic efforts and deft moves to woo the traditional institution in the South West were not potent enough to save him, all because “what had been written, had been written,” despite the huge resources that went into the jamboree.
When it became clear that he was sinking, he relocated to Lagos, thinking that proximity advantage could help him impress those around the Jagaban. They collected his money and gave him a bloodied nose at the polls.
Jonathan’s philosophy of taking care of outsiders first, as against the aphorism, that ‘charity begins at home,” also failed him. He was busy developing the North; building special Almajiri schools in Kano and other states of the North. He was also busy doing other infrastructural projects up North in total neglect of the entire South, including his community in Bayelsa State.
It was gathered that his thinking was that his second term would favour the south. But it never came!
When the election eventually held and he saw he was distantly trailing behind his archrival, the candidate of the brains behind the dancing party at Ojota, he knew his time in Aso Rock was up.
He quickly threw in the towel. And before the Attahiru Jega-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could announce the result of the election, he had called Buhari to congratulate him.
Something told Jonathan that if he attempted to manipulate the result by any means, or delved into any “monkey” plot to sit-tight like many other African presidents do, in the “I no go gree” way, he would have set a stage for “the dog and baboon to soak in their own blood.”
At that time, it was not even public knowledge that some armed mercenaries had been brought in from other African countries to begin a war if Jonathan refused to leave office.
Today, six years after, those who screamed “away with Jonathan” are regretting their action, and are beckoning on him to come redeem the country.
Today, the country has so deeply descended into the mire of hopelessness that all indices of human development have gone south.
Today, Jonathan is desperately being called upon to come clean the Augean Stable. That looks like acceptance of failure. Does that mean it’s only Jonathan that Nigeria, a country of over 200 million people, has got to take her out of the wood?
But was Jonathan really a messiah of sorts when he happened on Nigeria as president? Many Nigerians would say, no. This is because there were many things that went wrong under his watch that were not supposed to be so.
But the consensus opinion is that in the land of the blind, a man with one eye is always the king. This seems to be the reason for the clamour, in the APC camp, for Jonathan’s return. Would that be good for Jonathan’s image? By no means! It would paint him as a fickle-minded man who could sacrifice anything and everything for the allure of power.
The thinking of many is that it would be in his greatest interest to continue carrying himself as a statesman and let those who fouled the air that is inconveniencing everyone, apply the needed deodorant.
The belief is that Jonathan runs the risk of tainting his hard-won superlative record, and falling from the Olympian height, if he caves in to the sweet talks of those who had brutally pierced him.
He must heed the sincere advice by well-meaning Nigerians to resist the temptation.
Salihu Lukman, director-general of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), warned that Jonathan would diminish his stature if he accepts to be the party’s presidential candidate.
“Negotiating to bring him into APC should not be based on aspiring for any office. It must be recognised that former President Jonathan, and indeed, every former President, is beyond holding any office in the land. Bringing former Presidents to that level will amount to diminishing their political stature. Already, President Buhari is doing excellently well by delegating some high-profile diplomatic responsibilities to former President Jonathan,” the APC Chieftain said.
Okwesilieze Nwodo, a former national chairman of the PDP, said: “Personally, my advice to President Goodluck Jonathan is that no matter how much he’s being wooed to join APC, whatever is left of his integrity as a former president of Nigeria will disappear the day he joins APC. That’s my personal advice, because no group of people has been so virulent in destroying him as a person and president as the APC. So, what is he looking for there? Does he think he can reverse the pit that Nigeria has fallen with APC by joining the APC? I don’t think so.”
By the same token, Etim Etim, a former journalist and banker, and now a chieftain of the APC in Akwa Ibom State, said: “I have been quite distressed to learn that former President Goodluck Jonathan is considering defecting to APC. I don’t know how credible this story is, but the persistence of the rumour and Dr. Jonathan’s unwillingness to issue a categorical denial have fueled further speculations of his intention to join the governing party.”
Wondering if the defection of some of his former minister could be serving as “advance party”, Etim said: “The recent defection of Senator Stella Oduah, from Anambra State, who was his Minister of Aviation to APC and the recent flirtatious activities of Femi Fani-Kayode with APC have created the impressions that they are the advance party of the former president in APC.
“I concede that many Nigerian politicians are fair weather folks who indulge in bread and butter politics. They lack ideological DNA, but only flock to whatever government is in power. For this reason, I will like to advise former President Jonathan to stay put in PDP, no matter the pressure on him to defect.”
Oghenejabor Ikimi, executive director of the Centre for the Vulnerable and the Underprivileged (CENTREP), in an interview also advised the former president against the move.
Ikimi said: “I’ll advise him not to join the APC or contest for the presidency at all. It’ll damage his personality because he has a good name. He’s an international figure. He’s recognised all over the world as a man in power who conducted an election, lost and handed over to the winner. So, he has a good name that I’ll not want him to rubbish. He should remain in PDP and build it.”