By Mfon Offiong
One of the paragrahs in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s defense reads, “In fact, meetings were held at the Obama White House and at the Portcullis House in Parliament UK, with the then Nigerian opposition to disparage me, after I had signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law.”
Is President Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ) saying that the then opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) was part of the gang up to disparage him for signing the same-sex prohibition bill? That’s illogical and therefore untrue. Africans oppose same sex marriage. No Muslim will support same sex marriage. Same sex marriage is not supported by the Bible which Christians use . I am very sorry for those who wrote such nonsense for GEJ because I don’t believe he wrote that.
It is the same concoctions that Simon Kolawole, Reuben Abati and other misguided commentators came up with when they tried unsuccessfully to blame the Buhari administration’s refusal to pay $850million in settlement fees that the GEJ administration entered with Proceeds and Industrial Development (P&ID), as the reason the case got to this point. They mischievously refused to address why the administration of GEJ did not cancel the contract if they couldn’t execute it; or execute the contract to avoid the arbitration. Why should Nigeria pay a briefcase company $850million for a job not done?
Those who wrote the Jonathan defense to former UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s allegations are not clever. Hear them, “As such, on Monday, January 13, 2014, I signed the Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Bill into law after the Bill had been passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Nigeria’s parliament, in line with the wishes of the Nigerian people. This happened shortly after a study of 39 nations around the world by the U.S. Pew Research Center came up with a finding which indicated that 98 percent of Nigerians were opposed to the idea of Gay Marriage”.
If 98% of Nigerians opposed same sex marriage and the bill was passed in their own words with “an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Nigeria’s parliament in line with the wishes of Nigerian people”, on what basis then did the opposition conspire with Cameron and former President Obama in the White House to disparage Jonathan for signing the same sex prohibition bill? Is it that the writers of GEJ’s defense don’t know the meaning of bi-partisanship which simply means the cooperation and agreement of the ruling party and the opposition party?
Nigerian Christians oppose same sex marriage. Nigerian Muslims oppose same sex marriage. Infact same sex marriage is one issue where almost all Nigerians, despite their political and religious leanings speak with one voice. How then could some people be so unintelligent to claim that the Nigerian opposition conspired with the West against GEJ’s administration for rejecting same sex marriage? Can those who wrote that denial for GEJ point to a single opposition statement or press release condemning GEJ for his position on same sex marriage then?
GEJ’s handlers should find a better defense. If I were one of his handlers, I would rather ask Cameron to provide a record of such official conversation with the Nigerian government under GEJ. Was it by phone call? The records should be provided just as part of the transcript of US President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine President has been released. If it was by letter, where is the copy of the letter requesting that GEJ allow Britain to move in and rescue the Chibok girls? That’s what GEJ handlers should have focused on instead of pushing out barefaced lies against the then Nigerian opposition as their defense for GEJ.
Besides, Cameron is correct in his observation that Jonathan “seemed to be asleep at the wheel”. Facts abound that GEJ was actually sleeping at the wheel and that was why Nigerians voted him out in 2015.
If Jonathan was not sleeping at the wheel, the P&ID contract signed on January 11, 2010 would have been canceled after GEJ became acting President on February 9, 2010 or after April 6, 2010 when he removed Rilwan Lukman and appointed Diezani Allison-Madueke as Petroleum Minister. Or immediately after 6th May 2010 when GEJ was sworn as the substantive President after the death of Yar’Adua on 5th May 2010. GEJ just sat in office and did nothing about the less than 6-months old contract he inherited- till August 2012 when P&ID went for arbitration and got $6.6billion award against Nigeria on March 20, 2013. That’s a classic definition of a sleeping government.
If Jonathan was not sleeping at the wheel, Nigeria, a country of more than 180million people couldn’t have sold OPL 245 for $1.3billion and got $230million out of it while Dan Etete and a few individuals not numbering up to 10 shared about $1.1billion. GEJ violated his oath of office by transferring over $1billion Niger Delta and Nigeria’s oil wealth to private individuals. That’s a typical example of sleeping at the wheel.
If GEJ was not sleeping at the wheel, he could have connected Bayelsa and Rivers States with a dualized thoroughfare and built at least three standard and solid bridges to connect some Bayelsa communities and three world class jetties to ease transportation in the oil rich state where he comes from during his over five years presidency.
If GEJ was not sleeping at the wheel, he could have done the Second Niger bridge which he swore to do in his 2011 campaign. For good measure, he added that he will go on exile if he didn’t do the bridge. After four years in office, the project remained a drawing on paper till PMB started it.
If GEJ was not sleeping at the wheel, he would have reconstructed the Calabar – Itu road where our people were dying under his administration. The only road that connect the port city of Calabar to the oil producing state of Akwa Ibom. The only road that connects the south south to Cross River state. GEJ came to Akwa Ibom during his 2015 campaign and apologized to the state for not doing any infrastructure in the state for over 5years. Eventually, PMB is the one who awarded a N56 billion contract for the dualization and reconstruction of that road. A major road our brother from the south south did not consider for reconstruction. That could only happen because he was sleeping at the wheel.
You can add your own example of the GEJ administration sleeping at the wheel or awake at the wheel if you think otherwise but facts abound in different zones of the country that he was sleeping at the wheel when he was president.
In conclusion, the attempt by GEJ’s handlers to portray his failure at the polls as the result of a conspiracy between the West and the opposition is not only mendacious, it is illogical, unconvincing and unintelligent. Those who are only concerned about same sex marriage can’t support President Buhari who is a commited Muslim to be Nigeria’s President. The West knows that no Muslim will support same sex marriage. Fact is, GEJ lost in 2015 simply because he was asleep at the wheel.
–Mfon, a management consultant wrote in from Abuja