by Hauwa Gambo
We have a president who, in the same year, declared that he is “not a lion” and has no need to be, only for him to turn round and declare that he “does not give a damn”.
That statement still rankles me now as it did last year. I find it disrespectful, ill-informed and, frankly, more than a little hare-brained. But that is not a problem – a President cannot please me all the time. More than once, even the best of them will rankle you.
What disturbs me is that the President is that we seem to have a president who does not know who he is – so, does he give a damn or not? Does he know who is he, what he stands for, and where he is going?
Last week provided another opportunity to show President Jonathan’s lack of character and disinterest in developing one – the pardon of disgraced former governor of Bayelsa, Dipreye SP Alamieyeseigha.
Now, here’s the deal, as far as political pardons go (and they are usually a dirty deal), it is entire plausible to defend this pardon – as an understandable political trade-off for a man still respected amongst the Ijaw elite. And a Presidency that had men of character who were acting based on conviction could have made that case.
Unfortunately, what did we get? A band of petty, lying men.
First, the media confirmed that members of the Council of State did not receive the agenda for the meeting leading to the absence of many of them in a way that suggested the Presidency’s lack of confidence. Then there was a slew of hurriedly-put-together pardons (Abdulkareem Adisa, Oladipo Diya etc) that suggested duplicity.
But even worse, after the deed was done, the Presidency sent Babangida Aliyu, a governor no less, to come out and lie to the public about the pardon that was given to the President’s former boss. Then the Presidency tried to blame the decision on the entire Council of State
Mehn, it was just a mess.
So you mean you guys can’t come together, decide you want to do something, get it done no matter how unpleasant and defend it with conviction? Did we really need all that distasteful, lowly hide and seek that speaks to the dearth of integrity in that zone?
You guys couldn’t come together, marshal a depth of understanding and conviction for why this was done, or at least intelligently cobble together a cohesive defense that would be launched broadly to at least assure Nigerians that this was a pardon that came out of thought and deliberation? The president and his men couldn’t rise up to the occasion just for once?
We are burdened with a president whose skin is only thinner than his actual accomplishments. He endlessly seeks validation from others, and constantly sports a victimhood complex that shows a man with no apparent self-confidence.
He blames political enemies, foreign emissaries, social media “children of anger”, officials from yesterday’s government, and every other enemy real and imagined for the problems and failures of his government.
But here is the bitter truth.
It is not because of the ACN or the CPC or any of the plenty APCs, that no one has takes you seriously, Mr. President. It is not because of Nasir el-Rufai or Obiageli Ezekwesili that we are convinced that you are a President who doesn’t appear to deserve his position.
It is because we, your citizens, take a look at you time and again, assess your words and your actions and we find nothing worthy of our regard.
Last week was not really about Alamieyeseigha, or for that matter about presidential pardons. The disappointment across the land is much deeper than that. It’s about the how and the why. It’s about what it says about you and your character and your motivations; your sense of what is proper or not.
We are disgusted, because at times like this, when the stakes are high, passions are deep and the country looks up for leadership, you again manage to prove unfailingly that, you sir, are simply not a man who deserves our respect.
You are a disappointment as a president. By God, you are a disappointment as a man.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.