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Jonathan: Sinner or saint? - The Nation Newspaper

Jonathan: Sinner or saint?

10.10.2019

Jonathan : Sinner or saint?

That the Jonathan government “was decadently corrupt” I said when I wrote ‘ Jonathan : A Good Riddance’, “is not to be debated any longer. Nor s ...

….the ‘buck’ never stopped on one table under Jonathan. In fact the irony of it was that the ‘buck’ stopped on all ‘desks’ except President Jonathan’s. Jonathan was the only president we had who saw no evil, heard no evil and had virtually authorized no evil. He was a ‘saint’! Every evil done under Jonathan hadn’t his imprimatur: they stole from the arms vote, and he sang ‘it wasn’t me’; from the NNPC, ‘it wasn’t me’; from the CBN, ‘it wasn’t me’; Every humongous, mind-numbing heist pulled under the Jonathan PDP administration was by ‘others’ unbeknownst to President Jonathan himself. He did not approve money, yet money somehow was released; he did not authorize spending, yet money somehow was spent; he did not share money, yet ‘sharing’ of money somehow seemed about the only event that had taken place all through his six-year administration. But you dare not question ‘Saint Jonathan’! This week, as Jonathan appears to lock horns with former U.K. PM, Cameron, I revisit a piece titled ‘The Jonathan That We Created’, comparing him with a ‘sinner-saint’ from Russia’s pre-communist past, Rasputin.

They said that Rasputin embodied the simple peasant faith in the Russian monarchy –even at a time of uprising against it- and that the emperor saw this ‘faith’ as ‘chief support of his dynasty and the main justification of his role as autocrat and protector of his people’. Moreover Rasputin seemed ‘uniquely able to alleviate the incurable illness of the emperor’s heir-son, and on occasion they said had even ‘intervened ‘miraculously’ to end dangerous attacks of bleeding ’. Just as, in randy moments of eminent lust too, Rasputin was also uniquely able to take down –in addition to the empress herself- St. Petersburg’s high society ladies without the prying eye of the public. It was in this uncanny ability to effectively enchant the spiritual and the temporal or to beguile the sacred and the profane, that Rasputin earned himself the disreputable nickname ‘sinner-saint’ and the alias ‘the saint who sinned’. A two-faced Rasputin was able to hold his own by exuding the divine to con the spiritually gullible and by radiating the libidinous to sway the amorously flirtatious. The Seventies’ pop group, ‘Boney M’ did an allegorical number on him as ‘lover of the Russian Queen’ with a chorus describing him as teaching ‘the Bible like a preacher, full of ecstasy and fire’; but that he was also a kind of ‘wheeler-dealer many men reviled’.

But our Jonathan was a different kind of ‘peasant-divine’. Unlike Rasputin he did not seek power. He had it thrust on him by those who claimed his candidacy was ‘divine’. Jonathan did not have the mystic, let alone the cabalistic comportment of Rasputin. He did not possess Rasputin’s obtrusive surefootedness in the con-art of easily passing off as ‘holy’ or ‘divine’; but Jonathan’s self-effacing reticence, his near nervous introversion, garnished with a timorousness that can pass for the meekness of a lamb, all combined to give him a Rasputin aura even if without the street-wiseness of Rasputin. And all these were defended by his supporters as the leap of the ‘Jonathan innocence’ –a virtue which they said even he had no control over. In the days of his acting, up to the early period of his presidency, Jonathan was still an innocent tail wagged by this medley of uninspiring attributes; until the hawks and the hyenas of his party began to discover the silver lining in his style of profligate –should we say father Christmas?- attitude to governance.

Read more: The Nation Nigeria

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