By Charles Novia
In March 2015, a couple of days after then-President Jonathan conceded defeat to General Buhari in the Presidential election, my mother called me on the phone. She’s 86 now and was 82 then. She knew I was a steadfast supporter of Jonathan and she felt I was distressed at his loss at the polls.
I was. Millions of us who supported him were. There will be stories for another day of how many wept and were inconsolable for days. For me, I was sad. I knew a big mistake which would take Nigeria backwards had just been made and recent events since 2015 have proved my fears right. It was an election hard fought and it really was up to Jonathan to win and he could have decided not to concede but to declare irregularities in the electoral process and could have fought it till the Supreme Court and possibly won. It was that simple and he had the power of incumbency to do that.
But he chose the path of honour and decided that the country couldn’t slide to anarchy because of his ambition to continue as President. He would always be referred to as a President who served his time and left. In conceding, he rebranded himself and became a hero. He put people’s lives first.
I told all these to my mother when she called me that day. She listened and said something to me in Bini language.
‘Jonathan, Omo n’abiese nor. Omonabiese’ She said quietly.
That struck me. That comforted me and healed my hurt. Those words soothed me not because they were said to soothe me but because that phrase is not used lightly in Edo Culture. It’s the highest form of accolade and respect given to someone who does the right thing.
A Well Bred. A Well Brought Up Child.
Because only an Omonabiese would consider country and lives first and let power go rather than allow bloodshed become his footnote in history. Only one with a Godly heart could let it go. And he did.
He wasn’t perfect but he was better than some. Ruben Abati in his latest article writes that the primary reason Jonathan was removed was that he is of a minority tribe. He writes that some usurpers from the two major tribes (The Hausa/Fulanis and the Yorubas) ganged up against him in a power-sharing coup to replace the man from the creeks. While that is debatable in some aspects and believable in other aspects, it stands to reason that it was a North versus South fight for power in 2015.
Today, I saw a picture in the news which made me shake my head. Obasanjo went to Otuoke to see Jonathan. That is no ordinary visit. OBJ is fighting for his own life right now. The same Jonathan he ganged up with the feudalists and the political kleptos to remove in 2015 is the same person OBJ is running to now for help and strategy on how to save his honour and assets in 2019.
And Jonathan listened and forgave.
The APC National Secretary, Bolaji Abdullahi, was a Minister for Youth and Sports for two and a half years under Jonathan and a PDP stalwart from Kwara. Bolaji is Saraki’s protege and Saraki is his godfather. When Saraki moved to APC in 2014 to join Buhari and spite Jonathan, Bolaji was removed from Jonathan’s cabinet for political reasons. He was seen as Saraki’s lackey and could not remain with Jonathan. He went to APC.
A few months ago, this same Bolaji Abdullahi, wrote a horrible book about Jonathan whom he served. I think it’s titled ‘On a platter of gold’ or something. In the book, which the Jonathan team disputed and riposted as full of untruths, Bolaji wrote some horrible things about Jonathan whom he served. These things were written as part of a hatchet job as an APC member to destroy the character of Jonathan, whom they were scared of his constant rising profile amongst Nigerians. To me, Bolaji did a very despicable thing by writing that book. Even Buhari, who served under the worst tyrant and dictator Nigeria has ever produced, never says anything bad about Abacha whom he served.
But Bolaji Abdullahi did his job.
Before I go on, let me add here that an Omonabiese is the ultimate ‘Goodhead’ who is later vindicated by the heavens on account of his well-bred status. And that’s what is happening to Jonathan. All those who abused him, thinking they were spiting him by defecting to APC, are now running back to meet him in PDP and his house in Bayelsa, begging for forgiveness.
So, reports today say Oshiomhole and the APC apparatchiks are not comfortable with Bolaji Abdullahi remaining as APC National Publicity Secretary. He’s a Saraki Boy. And he will soon be sent packing out of APC as Saraki too has now defected to the PDP possibly.
Where Saraki goes, Bolaji eventually goes. He can’t be allowed to remain in APC as an official because they won’t trust him. So, it’s only a matter of time before Bolaji Abdullahi leaves APC and goes to PDP possibly to be with Saraki.
When that happens, Bolaji will meet Jonathan. The man whom he served under and afterwards wrote a book to discredit him.
You see how life can deal with people? You see how the heavens vindicate people with calm integrity?
Of course, Jonathan will forgive Bolaji if that happens. It will be Bolaji who will be on the floor in shame, pleading for forgiveness when this scenario happens.
My mum was right.
Jonathan is Omonabiese.