Ebuka Obi- Uchendu: Goodluck, good promises and good lies

I need to state how much I hate myself right now for even discussing an election that is 3 full years away. Nothing can be more distracting and in Nigeria, it is something we love to do very well; distract any and everyone distractible.

“I will not contest the 2015 elections… If I’m voted in within the next four years, the issue of power will be a thing of the past. Four years in power is enough time for anyone to make significant improvements and if I can’t improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for another four years… Presently, the law does not allow voting outside Nigeria and so this year, Nigerians in the Diaspora will not vote but I will work towards it by 2015 even though I will not be running for election then.”

That was President Goodluck Jonathan speaking with Nigerians, mainly diplomats working in the UN Economic Commission for Africa as well as the African Union in Addis Ababa on the 31st of January 2011. Before writing this article, I sent the above quote published in the Vanguard on February 1, 2011, to my 11-year-old nephew in JSS 1 who is home for the mid-term break, asking him to tell me what he understood from it. He stated in clear terms that; “Goodluck will not contest for President again.” I needed to do that just to be sure I was seeing clearly how emphatic and categorical my President had been just a year ago about 2015.

Before I go any further, I need to state how much I hate myself right now for even discussing an election that is 3 full years away. Nothing can be more distracting and in Nigeria, it is something we love to do very well; distract any and everyone distractible. But I had to do this mostly because of how deafening the 2015 issue has become regarding the debate as to whether President Jonathan would run or not.

I, like many others, see no reason why President Jonathan should be stopped from running if he wants to, mostly because he has a right to seek a second term in office. Zoning has never been a part of my political dictionary and I do not believe he should get out of the 2015 race because it’s someone else’s turn. But the fact is that, he stated clearly without any form of inducement or duress (to my knowledge at least) that he would not run in 2015.

But Chief Edwin Clarke, elder statesman and the ‘officially recognized unofficial ear and mouth of Mr. President’, is having none of it. He stated just last week that; ”President Jonathan will run in 2015.” When asked if Mr. President’s personal commitment in 2011 not to run doesn’t apply anymore, he said; “I am not aware whether he made any commitment to contest for only one term to Nigerians which is irrelevant at the moment. Personal promises cannot override the Constitution of Nigeria.”

I thought that was really interesting seeing that the constitution did not say all presidents MUST run for two terms. Then again, the statement by Chief Clarke, put a lot of things in context for me about the many promises Mr. President made in the past and how quickly he seems to have forgotten them. At his inauguration on May 29th 2011, he stated; “I shall always place the common good before all else. The bane of corruption shall be met with the overwhelming force of our collective determination to rid our nation of this scourge.” I read that again and wondered if the shocking report by the House of Representatives on the mismanagement of fuel subsidy funds is not disturbing enough to be met with “overwhelming force” by Mr. President. There’s probably a constitutional provision according to Chief Clarke that equally renders that ‘personal promise’ null and void and unenforceable.

I watched Mr. President’s broadcast on the first anniversary of his first official term and it was once again filled with promises of what will be instead of what is. Seeing that those around him have told us to treat his promises as irrelevant, I start to wonder if my President spent an entire hour on the morning of Tuesday May 29th 2012, lying to Nigerians. After all, at his swearing in, he told Nigerians that he would serve “to the best of my ability so help me God.” So who are we to say that he has not worked to the best of his abilities whether or not his target promises are met?

Yet, I refuse to give up hope. I refuse to believe my President speaks before thinking, especially on such sensitive issues. I refuse to be distracted by all this 2015 talk and I believe my President isn’t distracted either. Most importantly, I refuse to believe that Mr. President lied on the 31st of January 2011 and has been lying ever since. The only thing that worries me is that majority of the people who read this article, will call me delusional. That’s how bad the trust issue has become.

Editor’s note: Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Comments (18)

  1. For some weeks now, I have taken time to read every single piece by you I have found online. I must confess you have become one of my favorite writer, Every time I read any of your piece it is always like you were in my head when you were writing the article. With objective humor and sarcasm to aid and make the reading even more interesting. I must confess you are a gifted writer. Consciously relevant, and yet so fun to always read…. I only wish and hope our leaders take time to read some of this thing and it will help their sense of objectivity. I wish I could lose hope on this country, but which country will I run to. This one that Ghana has even started to request that Nigerians must go from their country. How pathetic. My Generation still has hope thank God for guys like you. My God continue to bless you..Oluseyi.

  2. I wonder why its a suprise to most nigerians about trust or not trusting the president at this stage when it was written black and white on the wall but nigerians still choose to vote him, a case of 'suffering and smilling'. People don't 'change' into something else they only change into who they really are. From day 1 he never showed trust.

    Point 1 – without zonning he'll have never become a V.P (meaning he acknowledged zonning)

    Point 2 – If zonning brought you to power, why deny zonning(publicly)

    Point 3 – you get the PDP ticket, now in a comfort zone, you now come out to acknowledge zonning (publicly) thru obj's announcement.

    I.E my points either right or wrong its clear he had no record of 'trust'. Believe it or not that's where he started getting it wrong. The foundation was faulty.

    I don't expect a different outcome from what we have now.

  3. THERE are two things which can unite men: common ideals and common criminality. We have chosen common ideals and for this we will strive to excel. We have come to realize that from the decay in Government, from the tired politicians, nothing can come to save Nigeria.

    We know that two things alone will save us: first, the end of selective democracy, the cleansing of all those who owe their existence simply to god fathers and the eradication of corruption.

    The misery of our people is horrible to behold! Millions of the working class is unemployed and starving; the whole of the middle class and the small artisans have been impoverished. When this collapse finally reaches the peasants, we will be faced with an immeasurable disaster. For then not only shall a nation collapse, but the labor of our heroes past shall be in vain.

    In our quest for liberation, we must have one will and one will only – to be free- at this time we will then be armed to regain our freedom and liberate our country. Our weapon remains our votes, with these votes only we shall go to war, weather we accept this now or not, if they gain us our freedom, they are justified before our conscience and before our God. When the eyes of our children look questioning into ours out of hunger, when we see the suffering and distress of millions of our fellow-countrymen who without any fault of theirs have fallen into this frightful misfortune, when we hear the cry of a dying young woman in labor for lack of good medical care, when we see our colleges paraded on television for robbery out of the frustration of attending numerous interviews without success, when we hear of government official embezzling 100 of billions of state money when there is no school in his domain then we will require no other motivation to arm ourselves with our weapon of liberation, our votes.

    Our Movement was not formed with any election in view, this Movement is the last hope of the people, this Movement has come at the weakest and lowest point of our Country. The task of our Movement is not to prepare ourselves for any coming election but to prepare for the coming collapse of the clique that has continually deprived we all of all that is good, of jobs, of health care, of security, basic education. This clique has continually planted the seed of religious intolerance to their benefit; they have consistently destroyed the fabric of patriotism and we now run a monarchy, heir apparent are now ordained, they have succeeded in splitting up of the nation into groups with irreconcilable views, ultimately we are approaching monarchy.

    Nigeria can be saved only through collective action, our votes; through the advocacy of this Movement, the bandage will fall from the eyes of the last of the befooled. It is from our Movement that redemption will come – that today is the feeling of millions.

    Armed with only our votes, we must go to war.

  4. THERE are two things which can unite men: common ideals and common criminality. We have chosen common ideals and for this we will strive to excel. We have come to realize that from the decay in Government, from the tired politicians, nothing can come to save Nigeria.

    We know that two things alone will save us: first, the end of selective democracy, the cleansing of all those who owe their existence simply to god fathers and the eradication of corruption.
    The misery of our people is horrible to behold! Millions of the working class is unemployed and starving; the whole of the middle class and the small artisans have been impoverished. When this collapse finally reaches the peasants, we will be faced with an immeasurable disaster. For then not only shall a nation collapse, but the labor of our heroes past shall be in vain.

    In our quest for liberation, we must have one will and one will only – to be free- at this time we will then be armed to regain our freedom and liberate our country. Our weapon remains our votes, with these votes only we shall go to war, weather we accept this now or not, if they gain us our freedom, they are justified before our conscience and before our God. When the eyes of our children look questioning into ours out of hunger, when we see the suffering and distress of millions of our fellow-countrymen who without any fault of theirs have fallen into this frightful misfortune, when we hear the cry of a dying young woman in labor for lack of good medical care, when we see our colleges paraded on television for robbery out of the frustration of attending numerous interviews without success, when we hear of government official embezzling 100 of billions of state money when there is no school in his domain then we will require no other motivation to arm ourselves with our weapon of liberation, our votes.

    Our Movement was not formed with any election in view, this Movement is the last hope of the people, this Movement has come at the weakest and lowest point of our Country. The task of our Movement is not to prepare ourselves for any coming election but to prepare for the coming collapse of the clique that has continually deprived we all of all that is good, of jobs, of health care, of security, basic education. This clique has continually planted the seed of religious intolerance to their benefit; they have consistently destroyed the fabric of patriotism and we now run a monarchy, heir apparent are now ordained, they have succeeded in splitting up of the nation into groups with irreconcilable views, ultimately we are approaching monarchy.

    Nigeria can be saved only through collective action, our votes; through the advocacy of this Movement, the bandage will fall from the eyes of the last of the befooled. It is from our Movement that redemption will come – that today is the feeling of millions.

    Armed with only our votes, we must go to war.

  5. Michael, let me just say loosely that u're a daft…if u want references, research or critiques, feel free to use google as your friend. Try, if it is possible, to understand the article's train of thought and maybe you might be able to understand the writer's musing.

    Anon, let me say that the issue of trust is one every well meaning Nigerian is lookin out for, what with the deplorable state of our polity so far, whether we know the individuals seekin position personally or not…so, to state categorically, YES, empty unfulfilled promises CAN and MUST BE A REASON for trust and the lack of it in a polity like Nigeria…we just need a man or woman to either do the walking that has been highlighted by the talkin…

  6. 1. The article is clearly about the possibility the President is misleading the electorate.

    2. Its boring blaming the woes of Nigeria on previous leaders, the Presidency was a voluntary job the last time I checked. Not sure this has changed.

  7. Its not so much a trust issue but a consistent breach of trust issue. If I may ask what is the basis for your Trust. You outlined in a couple of paragraphs before the last one ended abruptly many reasons for your distrust but never a reason for this Trust. Empty unfulfilled promises can never be a reason for Trust. #my 2cents

  8. If by constitution he has a right to contest pls let it be… Non of our leaders and the young ones striving to be leader tomorrow can say a word and stand by it.Honestly our system is shrewed into lies and political tribalism. When are we going to have a President that is not tribalistic? Is obvious late MKO Abiola remain a President elect that would have erased the tribalistic leadership sentiments from our system and country but a northern president as at that time in person of IBB allow himself to be used as an agent of backwarding our NATION by annulling JUNE 12 and and dragging our future far behind and establishing a new ethnic difference that would be very hard for any president to come after to get solution to the IBB tag mess. Blame IBB for Nigeria woes and falls not GEJ,OBJ, BUHARI and co.

  9. Ebuka if you are delusional, then the Pope just married Miss World! Since that is another lie, then what lies ahead of us?

  10. I remember growing up and watching how Channels TV would show the then "big men" in politics changing/retracting/denying/contradicting statements they had earlier made. If I remember well, there was one that stood by by Chief Babatope. I remember how my parents told me to watch and see how Nigerians politicians could not be trusted.
    Back then it might be argued that some of those statements were made/changed under duress, but now in the "democratic" era, the story remains the same, people say something today, and then say the complete opposite tomorrow. We are so quick to forget and take it all on the chin or "gba kamu" as Yoruba people would put it.
    Its time to start holding people accountable from their words, actions to their responsibilities. We cannot be known as the "gba kamu" generation part 2.0. I have stopped taking anything these politicians say about running or not, they would say "I don't repeat class" today and "my people need me to complete my work" tomorrow. I hope that would change soon where I can actually believe the words that come out of a Nigerians mouth…not just the politicians but especially them. I am tired of being part of gba kamu 2.0.

  11. Buhari, El-Rufai, Gej and Fashola, have all at some point said they won't run for president in 2015

  12. The President will surely not disappoint us

  13. Oh, he earlier sd he won't run in the 2015? Didn't know

  14. What an empty and uncreative writeup ,no research or reference or critique on those things that have actually been done by Jonathan,we have seen enough of these unhelpful follow-follow writeups Ynaija should give us something new and objective

    1. Dear Miachael, I'm sure I would have TRIED to list Mr. Presidents achievements if this article was about what he has done in office; instead of 2015 and his promise not to run. Thought that was obvious…

    2. Sycophants and apologists are abound every where. Lets be objective here sir, the issue should be about what Ebuka wrote, are they true or false? I also know that in audit you report exceptions only.

    3. Now how is this write-up 'empty and uncreative' ??? If you do not understand the writer's musing or line of thoughts won't it be better to just ignore???

      When will we stop this habits of trolling and writing negative comments online???

      Only cowards hide behind an electronic device and type negative words….. Mcheew!!!

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail