Mummy G.O and Jonathan’s rumoured return, by Reuben Abati

“Is it true that your boss is going back to Aso Villa? I read that some of his aides, I don’t know whether you are one of them, are advising him not to come back because you don’t trust President Muhammadu Buhari who seems to be his chief promoter?”

“Do you have any concrete evidence that President Goodluck Jonathan wants to be President again? I thought in 2015, you people argued that he had done two terms and allowing him again would amount to a violation of the 1999 Constitution. I am surprised that the same people who did not want him in 2015, are the same ones now saying he is the best man for the job?”

“I didn’t say so. I asked you a question”

“I have nothing to say to you.”

“But you must know something”

“I don’t know anything”

“But you must have an opinion”

“I don’t have any opinion. What I can say to you is that in a recent interview President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that he really has no interest in who succeeds him in 2023, and he then contradicted himself when he said that even if he has a preferred candidate, he would rather not name him, so that the person would not be eliminated before the election.”

“But we all know he and President Jonathan have been holding meetings. Your boss is a regular guest in the Villa.”

“How regular, if I may ask?”

“We see the photos in the media. They seem to be very close, these days. Don’t you think there is something to it, the same President Jonathan that the Buhari administration used to blame for everything that went wrong with Nigeria, now he and his successor are always seen together.”

“And you have a problem with that? Is it not a good thing that the predecessor and his successor are seen to be working together? Both of them are members of the Council of State. They are both statesmen. They have a bigger stake in this country than you and I put together.”

“Forget about stake, please. We are all entitled to just one vote. What we are saying is that President Buhari wants President Jonathan to succeed him to complete the remaining four years of a maximum of two terms that he can legitimately lay claim to.”

“God, you are wonderful!”

“What has God got to do with this?”

“Our God lives. Jehovah, you are the Lord, you are the most wonderful Lord..”

“Are you okay?”

“Can’t you see it? I never knew a day would come when the same people who demonized President Jonathan, the same people who called him clueless, the same persons who abused and harassed his aides would turn around to praise him, and seek his return to the Presidential Villa. So it is true what our leaders say, that the mouth that the snail uses to abuse the ancestral spirit, it is the same mouth it would use to scrub the floor at the shrine.”

“Who is discussing snails with you? I am drawing your attention to practical politics. I understand President Buhari does not want some of the names being thrown up from the South West. I hear he does not want a South West President because that would mean that the South West would have been in power for eight years of Obasanjo, 8 years of Osinbajo as Vice President and then another 8 years. Someone told me he does not want the North either. And because of IPOB and the Biafra secessionist agitation, the East is completely ruled out. If he can get a candidate from the South South, preferably President Jonathan, then that would just be 4 years of a Jonathan Presidency. The only condition I hear is that President Jonathan has to defect to the APC.”

“You should join them in Nollywood. You will make a good writer of fiction.”

“I know what I am talking about”

“You certainly don’t. What would it look like, if President Jonathan were to suddenly abandon, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the party through which he made history as the first Nigerian ever to be a Deputy Governor, Acting Governor, Governor, Vice President, Acting President and President. No other Nigerian alive today has had the privilege of such distinction. He is the main historical symbol of the PDP. He should walk away from all that?”

“The PDP has not been nice to him. The members betrayed him in 2015. They have also not treated him nicely since he left office. Even if he is interested in returning to office, the forces in the PDP will not give him the ticket. And I don’t even see President Buhari supporting a PDP candidate.”

“So, you want him to join APC, the Special Purpose, hate-driven vehicle which they used to push him out of power in 2015? You mean President Jonathan and Alhaji Lai Mohammed can possibly be in the same party? Imagine that. How? And what tells you he will get the APC Presidential ticket? You want him to go and hustle against all the entrenched interests in the APC? Asiwaju Tinubu. The Vice President and all the other worms, that will still crawl out of the woods!”

“This is Nigeria. Anything is possible. If the owners of Nigeria decide on what the future of Nigeria should be and they take a decision, that is exactly what will happen.”

“Nobody owns Nigeria. We all own this country together. I am nobody’s slave.”

“Keep deceiving yourself, Oga the owner”

“Besides, the people of the Niger Delta will not accept the insult that their man will be given four years, to satisfy the narrow interests of the Fulani hegemony. You think people like Rotimi Amaechi or Timipre Sylva will be happy, when they can do eight years if the whole idea is about the South South coming to power?”

“Dey there. If the Jonathan project works, you’d be surprised Amaechi and Sylva will be glad to be given a role to paste posters on every wall from Port Harcourt to Lake Chad.”

“But all of you that are talking about the likely return of President Jonathan, what do you want him to return to?”

“He knows Nigeria. He can fix it. He has had seven years of reflection. Even if he made any mistakes in the past, he won’t repeat the same mistakes. He is strong, energetic, and healthy. He already has a team that he can call up, back to service, and hence, hit the ground running”.

“You people and your conspiracy theories are just looking for a sacrificial lamb. When President Jonathan left office in 2015, Naira-Dollar exchange rate was N150 per dollar, today it is N413 per dollar. Everything else has gone up. Inflation rate is 15.9%. Unemployment is over 30%. If the fuel subsidy is removed, the pump price of petrol would be about N340 per litre. Herders-farmers conflict is now so bad that a cow that we used to buy at N70, 000 is now N300, 000 per cow. After turning the country upside down, you people want President Jonathan to come and take the blame. Una try well, well.”

“But do you know what he wants? Or what his wife, Mama Peace wants? Nigerians miss Dame Jonathan. They want her back too.”

“I don’t know. I have no clue. But I thought some people said what Nigeria needs right now is a Josef Stalin or Hitler or a combination of both.”    

“No. We don’t need a Hitler. We need a man who is a bridge builder. A peace-maker”

“But I thought some of you argued that President Jonathan was too gentle. He has suddenly become the stone that the builder rejected which has now become the cornerstone of the building”

“Who is talking about stones? My friend, learn to talk straight. Stop twisting everything. What do you think? Should we go and consult Mummy G. O.?”

“Who is so called?”

“Mummy G. O. of the Rapture Proclaimer Evangelical Church of God (RAPEC), in Ota, Ogun State.”

“I only know of one Mummy G.O and Daddy G. O, the original G.Os and they are not in Ota.”

“Ha. There is a new Mummy G. O. in town and this one is a celebrity of the pulpit. Have you not seen her videos? She is the self-appointed Gatekeeper of the Road to Hell. The female preacher who says you will go to Hell if you play football, wear make-up, or jewelry, seductive clothes, beads, eyelashes, miniskirts, or worldly hairstyle. She has been featured on BBC, and she is all over the social media. End-time preachers are all over the place. That was how one of them came up many years ago to say that to watch television is a sin. Today, all members of the church now watch television. They wear jewelry and the owner of the church has built a big auditorium. ”

“I hear people are trooping to her church in large numbers in search of the route to Heaven. I guess in their kind of business, you have to say something dramatic to attract the congregation. Mummy G.O. of Ota has carved a niche for herself in the Church of Nigeria with her unique style of saving people from going to Hell.”

“There is never a short supply of gullible people in this country. I am sure if you ask her, she would probably tell you every Nigerian politician will end up in Hell. The question is: has she been to Hell before?”

“She actually said she spent 990 years there before she came back to the world.”

“Please can we discuss something serious? Nigerians are so distracted, so disoriented they will follow any tale bearer.”   

“Well, we don’t need to consult Mummy G. O. I can tell you for free that her verdict would be that people like you, who know one or two things and who refuse to say the truth, will definitely go to Hell and rot there.”

“And I can tell you nobody is scared. Mummy G. O. of Ota provides good entertainment. Some people have even taken over her narrative to create many memes in her name. That was how I ran into one pretty young lady the other day and paid her compliments. She asked if I was aware that any married man who looks lustfully at any pretty woman would go to Hell, according to Mummy G.O!”

“I think I have an idea of the people who should go to Hell.”

“Like who and who?”

“Since you have refused to tell me what you know about the politics of the race to 2023, I don’t have to tell you what I know too.”

“Look, the politics of the 2023 Presidency in Nigeria is one of the foggiest items on the calendar. Nobody is sure of anything. One year to the 2015 general election, we had an idea who the main candidates were and all the games being played. In 2019, it was clear that the APC was not willing to relinquish power. The 2023 election is just about a year away, nobody can put a finger on anything.”

“I can”

“I am listening”

“INEC says even if the Heavens fall, the elections will hold. I can put my finger on that. I can also put my finger on the fact that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Governor of Lagos State and Chieftain of the ruling APC has informed President Buhari formally that he is in the race. He made it very clear yesterday that it is his life ambition to be President of Nigeria and that he has the capacity. I can also put my finger on the fact that Aare Dele Momodu, the publisher of Ovation magazine and ThisDay newspaper back-page columnist, also wants to be President. Others who have shown interest include former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, by proxy, in his own case, Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, Dr Doyin Okupe, Kingsley Moghalu..” 

“You don’t get it. People don’t become President of Nigeria by just printing posters or through social media announcements. It is far more complex. What is the emerging consensus? Nobody knows. Will the President come from the North or the South, or the North Central? Nobody knows. What are the key issues on the table? All I hear is aspirants saying they can do the job. And now you claim some people are pushing for the return of President Jonathan. I just hope some people are not trying to play southerners against one another to achieve a hidden agenda.”

“One year is a long time in politics. You never know.”

“We should know. Nigeria cannot afford to end up with an accidental President. That would be disastrous, especially as the two major political parties do not appear to be ready. We don’t even have an electoral framework in place yet.” 

“That is not a problem. The President says he would sign it as soon as the National Assembly removes the portion dealing with direct primaries.”      

 “But the security situation in the country is getting worse, and there are radical groups threatening to prevent any future election in any part of the country.”

“Don’t worry. Nigeria has a way of surviving. We are a country where the unexpected happens, the strangest of all things occur, and yet the people adjust and move on. The next elections would be no different.”