Judging from President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s response to the letter of 2nd December, 2013, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo (OBJ), it was obvious that the allegations he considered to be most worrisome were those in the areas of corruption and security. The President, in his letter, sought to dismiss each of OBJ’s allegations as either wholly untrue or malicious or politically motivated. I think he was, to a large extent, successful in doing this. At any rate, he pushed the onus of proof on OBJ. “If you are sure of your allegations, show Nigerians the evidence.”
Reading through most of the allegations raised in OBJ’s letter, it was, perhaps, unnecessary for the president to have responded, as the issues did not even arise in the first place. Such, for instance, was the reference to the letter by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, alleging that “the sum of $49.8 billion was unremitted by the NNPC to the CBN” and, therefore, that the funds were missing. Within days of OBJ’s letter, a Technical Committee, earlier set up to reconcile the accounts of NNPC, came out with the finding that no funds were missing, compelling Sanusi to apologise before the Senate Committee on Finance, and to admit openly that he made an error.What character and what manner of persons would trump up such baseless allegations and yet feel no emotional twitch or embarrassment? OBJ is no ordinary person as, indeed, he said himself in the same letter: “I have passed the stage of being flattered, intimidated, threatened, frightened, induced or bribed.” Certainly, the man no longer has the capacity to entertain any sense of guilt, embarrassment and such cognate human feelings.
Only a character like OBJ can put in black and white an unfounded charge such as President Jonathan “keeping over 1,000 people on a political watch list … and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons” for the assassination of Nigerians. Is he referring to the same Jonathan that we all know, the soft, humane and amiable Jonathan who declared before the Nigerian electorate in 2010 that: “My election is not worth spilling the blood of any Nigerian”, as against OBJ’s perception of election as a “do-or-die” affair?
President Jonathan has, of course, strongly denied the existence of a watch list and the training of a killer squad. Beyond that, he has also, through the Attorney-General of the Federation, directed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate OBJ’s alleged human rights violations, as contained in his letter. Even then, would it matter to OBJ, if at the end of all the investigations, it is found that the allegations are nothing but baseless rumours?
It would be an error to think that OBJ is alone in this character mode of people inclined to paint Jonathan in the portrait of a violent and repressive leader, who would harass and victimise political opponents. Since OBJ’s letter, a number of opposition politicians have latched on to his so-called watch list in explaining their anxiety and declining political fortunes. Already, there is a long list of them on the imaginary list, each claiming to be either on top or close to the top of the list, as if their ranking is a measure of their political weight.
Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who recently defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Party (APC), gleefully announced while addressing a huge crowed in Port Harcourt, that he was number one on the Jonathan “hit list”. “They want to kill me,” he said. Malam Nasir el-Rufai, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and now a leader in the APC, claims that he is number seven. Others on the list, according to him, include former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and former Osun State Governor and Interim Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande.
If the Jonathan watch list were authentic, it raises the puzzle as to how, in a list containing heavy political weights such as Buhari, Tinubu, Akande and other APC leaders, Amaechi’s name could possibly be number one. On what criteria? Certainly, both Governor Amaechi and Malam el-Rufai may need to reassess their own valuation in terms of political importance.
The only reason why someone like Malam el-Rufai would indulge in self-inflation of any sort, as a psychologist would explain, is that it is a natural tendency of diminutive persons to always inflate their own ego. But, as for Amaechi, his is a more pathetic situation that calls for the assistance, not of a psychologist but of a psychiatrist who is familiar with the ailment called paranoia. Any patient with this affliction fears almost everything and every person. He would conjure any object of fear, whether or not it is real. Otherwise, how can a State Governor, surrounded and protected by over 120 policemen, wherever he goes, complain that his life is threatened? Does this not explain why Amaechi believes that he is number one on a hit list that does not exist?
West-Greene sent this piece via Tamunowg@yahoo.com