On President Goodluck Jonathan: How The Gods Fought For A Man

By Ikenga Chronicles May 24, 2019

On President Goodluck Jonathan: How The Gods Fought For A Man

— Austin Tam-George,

Growing up as a young man in Port Harcourt, I knew the brutal earnestness of life very quickly. So I am not exactly an emotional guy.

But meeting former President Goodluck Jonathan at a leadership conference in Yenegoa yesterday almost moved me to tears. I met a man completely at peace with himself, despite the betrayals and vicious propaganda spread by the very beneficiaries of his generous spirit.

I had been invited to give the keynote address at the meeting convened by the elders and political leaders of Bayelsa State, to build a new leadership consensus for the State where political violence would have no place. 

But as I shook hands and exchanged banters with President Jonathan, I found no hint of bitterness in him. Instead, I sensed the sort of cosmic relief that only vindication could bring. 

Over the past four years, nearly every day has brought news that vindicates Jonathan. 

The young Almajiris, denizens of the streets in the North, were learning skills in new schools built for them by Jonathan four years ago. Today, they are an implacable army of ‘bandits’ terrorizing the North. 

Jonathan’s courageous electoral reform four years ago led famously to his own defeat at the polls; today, elections are an exercise in competitive rigging during which the notion of ‘democracy’ is publicly mocked.  

Africa’s most buoyant economy has since given way to  a ‘suicide economy’ where young men and women drink poison as the only escape from their dark prisons of hopelessness.

In Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, the narrator says something about how ‘no man can win judgement against his clan’. But Jonathan seems to have won a moral victory against a political clan that maligned and rejected him.

As I drove out of Yenegoa, I thought of Jonathan, I thought of the incredible simplicity of his home in Yenegoa; and I thought of the quiet terror of the Igbo word: Chinualumogu.