President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is Africa’s most eligible war criminal. There are twenty thousand reasons why he merits the dubious honor.
And those twenty thousand reasons represent the twenty thousand human deaths he caused as a sanguinary Commander-in-Chief.
The Nigerian media casts Jonathan’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, as the linchpin of the plunder of $ 2.1 billion meant to fund Nigeria’s battle against Boko Haram, the cruelest terror group in the world.
They call the story of the bloody fraud, “Dasukigate’’, because Dasuki is the apparent central character. Dasuki is the omnipresent factor and actor in all the narratives of beneficiaries of the loot. They reference him as the one who handed them their share.
But if we insist that we know no indigenous way of characterizing a scandal other than append an exotic ‘’gate’’ to the name of its local author, then we might as well give precision to the naming, and reflect the unvarnished truth reality unfurling before us. I mean, if we have bound ourselves to a `taxonomic code that says that every made-in-Nigeria scam must bear the suffix of the surname of the protagonist, then ’Dasukigate’ is an error. It is ’Jonathangate’.
Dasuki’s fabled culpability in the arms scam does not extend beyond a compliant errand boy’s service to his master. Dasuki was a puppet of his principal, Jonathan. All Dasuki did, he did on behalf of Jonathan. Dasuki is the face of the scam because Jonathan was just too restrained by the strictures of his position to personally distribute the blood money among his partymen.
Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, would even admit that President Jonathan, at some point of desperation, went out of his way to bribe him, hand to hand.
Leading Nigerian newspapers had reported that, in the build up to the 2015 general elections, Jonathan during his tour of the South West of Nigeria, distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars cash to traditional rulers to buy their support.
These monies, we now know, came a from a defense budget Jonathan converted to his pocket money.
The ”gate” ascribed to Dasuki is Jonathan’s. The closest Dasuki came to owning to the fabled ‘’gate’’ was manning it. Dasuki was the no more than the gatekeeper. Dasuki passed people through the ‘’gate’’. He vetted and screened the old men and party chieftains who must partake of the spoils.
Dasuki appears to be the owner of the ‘’gate’’ because Jonathan, the real proprietor, had trusted him, positioned him, and vested him with the carte blanche to loot on Jonathan’s behalf and share in Jonathan’s name.
We know this. We know this for sure that neither Dasuki nor any person in government could have undertaken to make sports of raping the national treasury and stealing the money earmarked from rescuing Nigerian from existential threat without the say-so and support of the head of state. We know this. The facts assail us and overwhelm us.
But there is some kind of conspiracy to exempt Jonathan from a story that is distinctly his and transfer his culpability to Dasuki, a less significant character. Those who believe Jonathan’s dignity must be preserved seek to make Dasuki the chief villain.
To achieve this, they are subliminally projecting Dasuki as the overseer of the fraud that begat 20,000 deaths and Jonathan as the aloof bystander, located on the outermost fringe of the scam.
Their mention of Jonathan in this saga tends to slip through the cracks of hesitation. And when it escapes, a tone of reverence is sent after the embarrassing audacity. A tone of respect that apologizes for not bowing too low to the presumptively iconic Jonathan.
The NGO, Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP), the other day, sent Jonathan an open letter that hewed to this tenor of adoration. The letter, in summary, was a list of rhetorical questions. It was a fawning appeal to Jonathan to deny ever having the faintest idea that Nigeria’s defense budget was being diverted to his political campaign. It was a suggestion that he pleads that he was physically absent from his own presidency.
I imagine that Abubakar Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram, also deserve the same level of courtesy. Shekau, after all, derived his powers from Jonathan. Jonathan stripped Nigerian troops and Shekau preyed on their nakedness.
Jonathan and Shekau collaborated as if the Commander-in-Chief and the Terrorist-in-Chief were subscribed to a mutually-agreed, joint agenda. They complemented each other. Jonathan disarmed Nigerian soldiers and Shekau killed them.
The media and the commentariat are overly solicitous to Jonathan. That’s why they flinch from according Jonathan the place of place in the arms scam. They do not want to expose him to disgrace by highlighting his role. They believe that he deserves to be excused from his mess.
Most of them reckon that Jonathan has earned pardon for all his transgressions he may have committed as President. Jonathan conceded defeat in the last general elections and handed over power to his rival, Muhammadu Buhari.
Jonathan saved Nigeria, their thinking goes, from a civil war, by exiting Aso rock quietly. They deem him to have qualified for eternal respect because he did not resist the electorate’s sack.
This faux obligation to honor Jonathan explains why many Nigerian newspapers named him MAN OF THE YEAR 2015. The presumed peaceable man saved his country and its people from bloodshed.
But the trophy they carved for Jonathan, however, happened to sit, rather awkwardly, besides the growing preponderance of evidence that Jonathan had actually shed the blood of no less than 20,000 human beings to win re-election.
The stream of confessions that has been flowing since the arrest of Dasuki has established that Jonathan is nowhere as qualified to be a Nobel Prize Winner for Peace –like his most imaginative supporters propose –as he is due for a trial for crime against humanity at The Hague.
It is now beyond doubt that Jonathan betrayed Nigeria he had the responsibility of governing. He violated the oath he swore to protect the lives and property of the Nigerian people. Jonathan authorized the stealing of Nigerian’s defense budget. He reduced his own country’s military to a mockery in wartime.
Jonathan was a charlatan. He personified the very abuse of the word, ‘leader’. Worse, he was a misanthrope.
While he actively disarmed Nigerian troops and diverted the resources covenanted to the prosecution of the war on terror, he played the hypocrite. He affected to be saddened by reports of new death tolls and loss of territory Boko Haram was scoring against the Nigerian state.
At the occurrence of every new terror attack, he had his spokesman, Reuben Abati, issue a vacuous press statement that expressed President Jonathan’s profound grief on learning of the latest ‘’cowardly’’ act of the murders. Those statements ended with Jonathan vowing ‘’to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to book’.
We know now that Jonathan advantaged the terrorists against Nigerian troops. We now know that the guardian of the Nigerian state sided with killers of Nigerian people. We know now that Jonathan backed the terrorists to kill Nigerians to their heart’s content.
Jonathan did not see the war as a humanitarian tragedy that should be abbreviated. He saw the war as a business opportunity that should be prolonged. He saw the war as an opportunity to make and share blood money.
This Commander-in-Chief had famished Nigerian soldiers deployed to the front lines with a ration of 30 bullets! The soldiers faced a better armed band of insurgents. They faced the threat of certain death when they ran out of bullets.
While some soldiers died, others took flight –and got death sentence for ‘’mutiny’’. And the unchallenged terrorists overran scores of villages, annihilating women and children, and leaving a scorched earth behind.
The lucky survivors are the 2 million internally displaced persons scattered in many camps around Nigeria.
Even if Nigerian laws legitimize aiding and abetting mass murder, Jonathan’s own words condemn him.
Apart from quotes like ‘’I had no shoes’’, ‘’Stealing is not corruption’’, ‘’I don’t give a damn’’…about assets declaration, his most celebrated public statement is, ‘’My ambition is not worth the blood of any Nigerian’’.
Jonathan poured the blood of 20,000 Nigerians as libation to his second term ambition. He failed his own standards. And he must be held to account.
The words of Jonathan’s wife also condemn him.
Days after Boko Haram invaded a school in Chibok and abducted 200 girls, Patience Jonathan (the self-styled Mama Peace) wept as she admonished the terrorists, “All this blood you are sharing…There is God o!’’.
What we have learned so far that Goodluck, his husband, was as malevolent as the terrorists. He ‘’shared’’ innocent blood in concert with Boko Haram.
With 20, 000 human deaths to his credit, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has a pair of blood-soaked hands that will turn any river red. That’s why he should be shipped off to International Criminal Court.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu engages the issues of the day with honest audacity. He writes with an intense passion that is tempered by prudence. He tweets via @emmaugwutheman