Ok, Just Refund Our Money, President, By Ali M. Ali



Goodluck JonathanOrdinarily, I wouldn’t lose sleep over this. But this is not an ordinary matter. It involves our president. And that gives me goose pimples. In his mortal hands resides the fate of over 150 million citizens. And that is a conservative estimate. All Nigerians should worry. Each time I ponder this, my skin crawls with soldier ants. Not so much for the brazen act but for the excuse advanced to explain our leader’s admirable lack of shame. Certain acts of commission or omission can be forgiven but not when it involves the embodiment of the country as the president. Time and again, our president has come across as a complete stranger to the demands of his office.
Most times, he seems to operate on a different clock from the rest of humanity. At times like these, it is impossible not to lampoon the “transformative” president, Goodluck Jonathan. For a man desirous of “transforming” his country, he has demonstrated an admirable penchant for frolic. On Saturday, at the 50th anniversary of the formation of the African Union, our president, in far away Ethiopia, made a complete mess of eating boiled egg. He transformed into a ghost and disappeared at the precise hour he was billed to address the Special Assembly.
I wrote this piece at 6pm yesterday. Up till this time, there has been no official explanation. Most Nigerians are used to the regime’s lethargy or, more appropriately, contempt, for accountability. To expect an account of the president’s movement while spending tax payers’ money is to expect Jonathan to forget 2015. Not to worry. The rumor mill is awash with details. One explanation for the president’s disappearing act was that he was in the toilet at the time he was called to give his speech.
Answering nature’s call is inevitable. Leaders are, after all, human. Ordinary folks asked to do the extraordinary. A few deliver that but most falter. I, therefore, can understand why the president didn’t turn up. What I am mystified about is how long the Jonathan spent in the rest room as to miss his moment on the podium.
I, like most tax paying Nigerians, would want to know what the president ate that gave him stomach upset. Spending that long period of time in the loo can only mean one thing- diarrhea. Dame Patience must be livid with rage. How come her husband is not well taken care of in a foreign land? Is it that the funds earmarked for the trip had been mismanaged and the president fed on junk food? I recommend that Aso Rock chef be fired. Embarrassing the President like that in continental public is a sin that calls for an instant sack.
I find the second explanation a bit more plausible. It was rumored that at the precise moment our president was to inspire the rest of Africa, he was holding bilateral talks with another head of state. Don’t ask me which country and the name of its president. Undoubtedly, Nigeria is an important country in Africa. Her president is equally prestigious. Two solid reasons why smaller countries should wait for our president to finish his speech at the AU. But nay, for some inexplicable reasons, Jonathan decided to have those bilateral talks at the time all of Africa’s leaders, past and present, were seated waiting for an awe inspiring and transformative speech.
The third and final reason sits well with me. The rumor mill reported that the president had frolicked till the wee hour. Those who know our leader know this penchant only too well. I have no quarrel with a president who unwinds every now and then. Were the president a ‘She’, letting his hair down every free moment is not negotiable. I repeat, for a healthy president and, therefore, a healthy nation, kicking up his heels is imperative. In the course of his long night, he and his strategists, according to this rumor, had labored in vain how to stop Amaechi’s re-election as chair of the Nigerian Governors Forum. Frolic and subterfuge in a foreign land are a dangerous mix.
Tired and possibly inebriated, the president went to the “toilet” and remained there till his time to deliver his speech had elapsed. It won’t be the first time our leader played “ghost president”. In October 2011, at The Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting in Australia, Jonathan played the “disappearing act” trick for the first time. He amazed participants at the Presidential Country Roundtable by simply not showing up as if he was attending a PDP caucus meeting. He was supposed to use the occasion to outline Nigeria’s mining potentials and thereby lure investors. Australia is reaping a bounty from mining. It is considered a world leader in that department. But our president, leading the biggest delegation of 120 people, acted true to type – he failed to appear to give a scheduled speech.
I am pretty certain, that our president has routinely missed listed meetings, botched appointments, ruined schedules, confirming what most informed citizens have known – that he talks big but delivers at the height of a pygmy. Eating a boiled egg, for example, has proved too much of a task. Our president has routinely betrayed an admirable lack of insight that the knowledgeable waste away in envy. All taxpaying Nigerians should insist, demand, in fact, a refund on the president’s latest junket in Ethiopia.
[email protected]

No tags for this post.