What Does Joda Want? By Garba Shehu



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A week ago, an elder, a technocrat and a serious-minded old man, Alhaji Ahmed Joda took the national platform to launch a very radical initiative for the reform of Nigeria.

A national press seized by a trigger-happy mentality focused and dwelled on the least important of the subjects he discussed, which is that President Goodluck Jonathan should, in view of the crises in which the country is enmeshed, play the statesman role and stay away from the 2015 presidential race. As to be expected, the Presidency, which has just inaugurated an insult festival with the appointment into government of the man said to be an “attack dog” or “attack lion” as he likes to be called followed Joda with a hammering. Hired guns in politics and the law profession have been booming, still on his trail.

Joda knew that he was taking a risk by putting his seminal thoughts out there in an atmosphere fouled by intolerance and sycophancy but he dared it.

These attacks are to be expected from a ruling group with a primitive hold on political power, conducting themselves as if Nigerians have been committed to slavery having been conquered in a war. For the first time in Nigeria, you need to read the mind of an octogenarian tribal leader, the leader of the President’s tribal group to understand the direction of the state. I can’t think of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe speaking to Nigeria through Ohanaeze, if it had then existed or Gowon, IBB or even Shehu Shagari using Arewa or any tribal sounding boards to communicate with Nigeria. But that’s what you have.

For a man as old as he is – eighty-two in February, and 30 years since he left active government service, Dr. Joda has nothing to gain by putting himself in the firing line of the privileged men and women in positions of authority. It therefore, must have come from the love of the nation.

What did he say, for a recap? The former super permanent secretary holds the view that this country has survived several crises of serious magnitudes, including of course the 30-months civil war, all of which we have survived. He thinks it is risky for Nigeria to continue to rely on luck to survive. He then suggests that there is a need for a hybrid–type of a national conference incorporating the elements from the two sides advocating


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