I must confess that I was misled by the Nigerian media into believing what they wrongly portrayed former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) and even his wife, Mama Peace to be. Due to my (and our) gullibility and unsuspecting nature, most of us including myself fell for what the media sold and presented to us which I have now discovered to be very false and untrue narratives.
I owe GEJ, his wife and family a great deal of apologies for believing those media contrivances and misconceptions for so long. Indeed, I also owe my Principal and Benefactor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi (of blessed memory), the Governor of Oyo State between 29th May, 2011 and 28th May, 2019, and unarguably the father of the modern Oyo State apologies as well for ignoring his great foresight of seeing what I and others refused to see as far back as 2012.
When flood ravaged Oyo State and more particularly our Ibadan in 2012, GEJ as the sitting President came to Ibadan on an official visit to assess the situation himself. GEJ went round the affected areas in company of Senator Abiola Ajimobi, then the Governor of the state for a first hand assessment of the extent and impact of the floor. Helicopter was used to convey the President and the Governor to survey the locus of the flood.
The State Government later made a detailed presentation to the President . GEJ showed and exhibited compassion with the state, her citizens and residents. One could see and read the empathy on his face. Oyo State later benefited greatly from his milk of kindness when the Federal Government under his watch released some Ecological funds for us to tackle and confront the menace of the flood in the state. Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project which was one of the great initiatives of Senator Abiola Ajimobi but ably supported by the World Bank later came out of that effort.
After GEJ departed Ibadan for Abuja on completion of the 2 days working visit to the State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi used to tell those who cared to listen among us that beyond partisan politics, GEJ is a good man , a great man with a golden heart and a man who meant well for the country, contrary to the false impression the formal and the social media are throwing up about him. We never believed our Principal because we easily linked his newfound love for the President to the best bargain and result he got from the presidential visit to the state in the wake of the flood attack.
We continued to hold on to our imposed views about GEJ, his wife, family and government , all that were summed up as ” clueless”.
My joy knew no bounds when GEJ lost to GMB but later became known as the PMB in the 2015 presidential election. Notwithstanding the wobbling and fumbling performance of President Muhamadu Buhari(PMB) in office between 2015 to 2019, I and others still gave him a benefit of the doubt which we never gave GEJ in 2015 and we still voted to re-elect PMB in 2019.
It was shortly after the commencement of the PMB’s second term in the office that we realized that we had entered a ‘one chance’ government and really understand the true meaning of a clueless person and government as nothing could be more clueless than the lackluster government of PMB that was at the helm of affairs in our country between 29th May, 2015 to 28th May, 2023. It was a government of mere motions without movement at all.
The PMB government which failed in all spheres of human endeavors and all the critical sectors of the country was a government that is notorious for making nepotic /clannish appointments composed mainly of most incompetent hands and persons. PMB government clearly revealed to all and sundry that GEJ is indeed a good man , a great man , a detribalised Nigeria , a selfless personality and a great patriot who came ahead of his time or a man whose real and genuine worth was rubbished by the Nigerian media for reasons best known to them only, but which reasons were largely political.
I was able to see and witness the greatness in GEJ myself during the last GEJ Foundation 2023 Democracy Dialogue held in Yenagoa on Thursday, 28th September, 2023.
What struck me most was that GEJ had left government since 29th May, 2015, yet the GEJ Foundation’s Democracy Dialogue was well attended by his associates and well-wishers from all over the country beyond political parties affiliations. The mighties and the lowlies were the guests of GEJ, his wife and family and one could feel and see the genuine love that the people have for GEJ and also the real and sincere camaraderie between the hosts and their guests. Yours truly was one of the guests of the GEJ family at the occasion. It was very humbling for me to be personally attended to and served by a former President in this clime where we have a living former President who is not only a known bully but a ” Mr. know all” and a ” Holier Than Thou” personality.
GEJ is very unassuming, meek, mild and humility personified. His modest, beautiful but very functional house in Yenagoa , I was told, is always open to all and sundry. I was more humbled when Dr.( Mrs. ) Helen Adebakin took me to Mama Peace where she was supervising the caterers to introduce me to her. The former First Lady stood up from her seat in the kitchen to fully embrace me and greeted me very warmly, notwithstanding that she was meeting me for the first time that night.
The Jonathans are unique and special species of human beings. They can also be perfectly and fittingly addressed in a way that my Principal, Senator Abiola Ajimobi fondly called his wife and soul mate, Chief (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi , the Jonathans too are also deserving *” Masterpiece of nature”*
Nigerian media, both normal and the new media , really need to have a change of mindset and or attitudinal change . Majority of what our media churned out into public space are too far from the truth and realities. Our media space are too full of false innuendos, untruths, half-truths, hearsays, gossips, beer parlor, pepper soup joint talks, embellishments, exaggerations and distortions which are in most cases products of prejudices, biases, compromises, extraneous influence s, inducements , hired and sponsored features and writings. All those are not good for the healthy development of any nation.
Our media does more harm than good to the well-being and existence of our nation.
However, I doff my hat and pay great tributes to those media personalities in Nigeria who have remained very professional and adhere strictly to the fidelity of the ethics of their profession.
It would be unforgivable if I fail to recognise in this regard the first grade professional touch of Sunrise Daily crew of the Channels TV and indeed all the Channels TV Staff as a whole. Kudos to them for their professionalism and also to all others who are very professional in the discharge of their media roles and duties.
DATED at Ibadan, this Friday, 10th November, 2023
JCI Senator Mutalubi Ojo Adebayo, SAN
Asiwaju of Ita-Ege & Idi-Aro,
Ibadan South-East Local Government Area,
Agba-Ofin of Orile-Igbon Kingdom,