Birthday Greetings to Nigeria’s Father of Democracy

On Sunday, November 20, the immediate past president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, clocked 59 years of existence on earth. His friends and all those who appreciated his enormous sacrifice for the survival of the country’s democracy all felicitated with him. Like many Nigerians and those from outside who saluted the courage of Jonathan, we join in celebrating with him and wishing him a hearty birthday greetings. It is easy to forget people once they lose a position of relevance. This is especially the case here. When those people are in office, bootlickers and hangers on sing their praise and place advertorials in national and international dailies. But once they leave office, they are forgotten. But it is encouraging to note that a lot of people still remember Jonathan and what he stands for in our democracy. We also remember too. But for the singular act of patriotism displayed by Jonathan in accepting electoral defeat and going ahead to congratulate the winner, Nigeria today would have been in a terrible shape. Jonathan threw in the towel despite wielding tremendous powers as the incumbent president. He did it to stop the shedding of innocent blood as threatened by the incumbent president long before then if the result did not go his way. The truth is that Jonathan represents the new face of Nigeria. His action could not have come at a better time as it was when the country’s image was at its lowest. He thus deserves all the accolades from all those who love the Nigerian project and are desirous of its success. We add that we should not just celebrate Jonathan but should be learning from his action and replicating same in our national life, for, indeed, if a few Nigerian politicians should act like Jonathan, we would be talking about a country reborn. Under the Jonathan administration, despite its many shortfalls, the country was not as divided along ethnic lines as it is today, a development that merits much praise. Elections became fairer and freer under his administration, such that opposition parties who won elections were quickly congratulated by Jonathan, with Anambra State being one of the examples. Jonathan saw the entire country as one despite coming from the south. He did a lot to pacify the north. His government did not witness lopsided appointments and people felt free to express themselves. Indeed, Nigerians felt free to talk without fear of victimisation. Jonathan was simply a good, simple man. That is not the case today. As our amiable, easy going, good natured former president marks his birthday, we join thousands of good Nigerians in wishing him a happy birthday and many happy returns. May God continue to bless him.

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