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What did GEJ forget at the Villa?

by Ahmed Yahaya Joe
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Ahmed Yahaya-Joe

“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.” – Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, 1871-1890

I am not unaware that GEJ’s purported 2023 candidacy has neither been emphatically confirmed nor vehemently denied.

But ours is a nation where it could so easily be claimed that “over three million National Identity Numbers of Nigerians have been stolen after a hacker known only as Sam broke into the server of the National Identity Management Commission” in one breath yet the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) claiming, “its servers were not breached but are fully optimized at the highest international security levels as the custodian of the most important national database for Nigeria” in another breath.

Lest we forget that it is only in Nigeria that Matthew Hassan Kukah would be invited yet the inviter and invitee would both claim non-invitation.

Describing GEJ post-Villa, John Dramani Mahama, former President of Republic of Ghana, from 2012 to 2017 stated – “There was no bitterness in him after he left power. He did not look back. He did not look down. Instead, he looked up and after looking up, he looked forward and went on pressing ahead.”

Why would anybody pressing ahead suddenly shift into reverse gear?

What more leadership benefits can GEJ offer Nigeria again?

Why would such an educated and accomplished individual sacrifice the certain good of political retirement for an uncertain better of return to the office?

These are just an iota from a plethora of mind-boggling questions bothering me.

I do not have anything personal against GEJ. I voted for him at the Ajisafe/Isaac John polling unit of Ikeja back in 2011. I did not in 2015. I will not in 2023 because “once is happenstance. Twice is a coincidence. The third time is enemy action.” – Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908-1964)

If former President Jonathan does not suffer from selective amnesia, he should find the attached photograph politically instructive. Back then many Nigerians were embarrassed on his behalf in as much as his then Kwankwasiyya host has since received his comeuppance.

As they say, “what goes around comes around.”

According to Niccolo Machiavelli, “It is a necessity that impels men to action.”

If so, what is impelling the son of a fisherman who in office declared, “I am the most abused and insulted president in the world, but when I leave office, you will all remember me for the total freedom you enjoyed under my government” to take over power from the scion of cattle herders?

In 1933, Malam Abubakar Imam (1911-1971) at the age of 22 wrote, “Ruwan Bagaja”

It is a Hausa novel about an odyssey based on the flimsical search of the mythical, “Water of Cure” not unlike the quest of, El Dorado – the fabled city of gold in Latin America.

 Perhaps, it is so unbearable to be on the outside after you have been on the inside despite perhaps claiming, “my ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian.”

I am not too sure Nigeria’s erstwhile First Lady as known as, Mama Peace declared, “We should have a love for our fellow Nigerians irrespective of their nationality” or, “I would rather kill myself instead of committing suicide” or addressed a group of women as, “My fellow widows” or even said, “Ojukwu is a great man, he died but his manhood lives on”

One thing is however obvious she ahead of 2015 polls described her spouse’s main rival as a “bus conductor”, but now that PMB is speculatively offering GEJ a golden political handshake has Madam Faka forgotten when she declared, “Buhari is a child crawling at 72, he has nothing to offer”?

Back then she offhandedly asked, “Wetin him (Buhari) dey find again?” adding with magisterial disdain, “Him dey drag with him pickin mate. Old man wey no get brain” concluding, “Him brain don die pata-pata.”

Back to sender: Mama Peace, wetin in your husband dey find again?

With the benefit of hindsight, the man formerly known as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi admonished Nigerians over recycled presidential material.

In the Daily Trust newspaper edition of August 20, 2002, the then general manager of Credit and Risk Management in a major commercial bank asked, “Do I support Buhari’s decision to contest for the presidency of Nigeria?” Answering himself Sanusi affirmed, “My answer is no.”

He then went on to explain his position;

 “First, I believe Buhari played a creditable role in a particular historical epoch but like Tolstoy and Marx, I do not believe he can re-enact that role at will. Men do not make history exactly as they please but, as Marx wrote in the 18th Brumaire, “in circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.” Muhammadu Buhari as a military general had more room for maneuver than he can ever hope for in Nigerian politics.

Second, my view is that Nigeria needs people like Buhari in politics but not to contest elections. Buhari should be in politics to develop civil society and strengthen the conscience of the nation.”

I, therefore, oppose GEJ’s envisaged 2023 candidacy on similar grounds. While the former president played a historical role in Nigeria’s development, it cannot be re-enacted at will, he now needs to strengthen civil society instead of further dividing the polity by a renewed power grab.

“Good luck is more dangerous than bad luck. Bad luck teaches valuable lessons about patience, timing, and the need to be prepared for the worst; good luck deludes you into the opposite lesson, making you think your brilliance will carry you through. Your fortune will inevitably turn, and when it does you will be completely unprepared.”

 – page 415 of, 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

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