No matter your station in life, you should apologise for your egregious errors. Personally, I like apologies –especially if they are the meaningful, cleansing and profound types. And indeed, thoughtful and respectful apologies can add to one’s reputation and stature. So, if there is ever a need to apologise – go ahead, do so and do it without reservation!
An apology should be received with grace and humility. After all, we are all fallible and subject to all manner of infractions. If you accept an apology, you ought to be man enough to “let bygones be bygones.” After all, transgressions and contrition are part of the human experience. But if you keep malice, then, you are nothing but a vile human specimen who is unworthy of human compassion.
However, it is shameful and demeaning to take advantage of people who apologise; or to insist they remain on their knees and with their head bowed, even as they apologise. And this is precisely the problem I have with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan. The endless apologies and the arrogance!
Obasanjo has no respect for Jonathan. And that’s sad. It is indeed a very sad commentary on the manner of man Obasanjo is. It really is especially if one considers the number of times, and the pain and perseverance Jonathan has taken to appease Obasanjo. But of course, that’s one of the problems with people who see themselves as gods: you can never satisfy them.
When Jonathan became the Acting President – and more so since he became the substantive president – Obasanjo has not missed the chance to emasculate him. This has been an ongoing trend. In the first phase, he acted as if every major decision must pass through him because, well, he was the kingmaker and saw himself as the “baba and elder statesman” of his party and the country. And when things didn’t go as planned, he became recalcitrant and in the process planted seeds of disaffection within the party and around the Presidency.
No one I know knows how many demands Obasanjo has made on the President, and how many has been granted. However, it is safe to say that Jonathan granted most of them. In the second phase, seeing that Jonathan was becoming his own man, he has not passed up any opportunity to depict him as “weak, ungrateful and a danger” to the Republic and the interest of the people.
Through it all, the President has remained calm. He has genuflected. He has begged. He has sent emissaries. And he even got his wife involved. Religious leaders even got involved. Still – still – all supplications have come to naught.
As 2013 was coming to a close, the retired General fired a stinging and stinking salvo entitled, “BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.” It was a damning condemnation that was evocative of a 16th Century event. Martin Luther was a priest and a seminal figure of a religious and social movement known as the Protestant Reformation. His most celebrated work, The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences, sent Christendom into a spiral. It essentially railed against several clerical abuses. To the chagrin of Pope Leo X and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, Luther refused to denounce his 95 Theses. He was later excommunicated. In this instance, Obasanjo did not recount or renounce his letter. And Jonathan could not excommunicate him.
This singular act by Obasanjo – questioning the person and Presidency of Jonathan – would have earned him whipping if anybody but Jonathan was the President. But Jonathan did nothing; instead, weeks later, both men acted as if nothing was amiss. Several months after that, Jonathan was romancing and courting and kowtowing before Obasanjo. In the intervening months, Obasanjo has not missed any opportunity to slap Jonathan. Still Jonathan continues to beg and court his benefactor. And while the President is calling for peace and cooperation, the former president is hell-bent on doing his protégé in.
My question is this: What does Obasanjo want? Really, how many times must Jonathan beg and apologise before he is treated with respect? What is the matter with the former president? If you have the answer, please tell me: Why is Jonathan always apologising to Obasanjo?
Obasanjo abridged the rule of law and democratic sensibilities when he brought about the ascendancy of Jonathan. In the years since, Jonathan has “paid his dues” many times over. In other words, the sitting President has paid and repaid his benefactor for softening the ground he walks on and for crowning him. This has been done many times over. And whatever offence Jonathan may have committed, he has apologised more than a dozen times. And even when he was the one being offended, he was humble and humane enough to take the blame and apologise. You can’t get humbler than that!
But unfortunately, the more Jonathan apologises and calls for peace, the more ridiculous he looks. His endless apologies are beginning to make him look and sound like a political coward. He is the President of the Republic. He is the leader of his party. He is a man, the man! The time has come for him to tell Obasanjo to “stop or shove it!” Frankly, the time has come for him to tell the Obasanjo, in private or in public,” to “let it rain if it must rain and with thunder and lightning in attendance.” Damn it and damn the consequences! But really, what can Obasanjo do to a sitting Nigerian president?
My private and public criticisms of President Jonathan notwithstanding, I think he is, for the most part, a good fellow. In terms of his relationship with Obasanjo, I think he has done more than enough to appease the god of Ota. He has done all that is necessary for peace and mutual respect and cordiality between both men. He really has!
There is a simple life-lesson: In private or in public, you don’t want to remain on your knees for too long; you don’t want to remain in political bondage. Sadly, this is what Obasanjo wants. And it is what Jonathan must, from now on, resist.
To tell you how treacherous Obasanjo could be, he is coming out with a set of books that, amongst other things, dumps several buckets of excrements on Jonathan’s head. Wow! He is lucky that he is dealing with a Goodluck Jonathan – and not an Abacha, a Buhari, an Idiagbon or any other person.