Betrayal? By Donu Kogbara

Some fellow Niger Deltans have told me that they are very disappointed in me because I am supporting Buhari’s election bid, rather than Jonathan’s. And it may surprise you to hear that I know how they feel and regret my position!

In 2011, I was one of Jonathan’s biggest fans and could not understand how anyone from our geopolitical zone could fail to enthusiastically back him.

Buhari and Jonathan

He was the first-ever President from our backyard! He was also the first-ever Nigerian President to enter the Villa with a PhD! He had stoically triumphed over a tough, shoe-less childhood and seemed so caring and trustworthy! He was our One And Only, our Pride And Joy, our Heroic Son, our Beloved Brother!

Whenever I came across someone from Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo or Cross River who criticised Jonathan or expressed a preference for his opponents, I would conclude that he or she was misguided or treacherous…and thank God that most South-South natives were staunch Jonathan loyalists.

And I really enjoyed the esprit de corps…the feeling that one was part of a happy extended family. Some of us knew him personally. Some of us had never met him. But we were all equally dedicated to Jonathan’s political survival and progress; and it was so heart-warming to watch him on TV, doing sophisticated global statesmanly things like hob-nobbing with Obama in the United States. It was exciting to sit with other home boys and girls and cheer him on from afar.

Certain types of certainty provide a certain amount of psychological comfort; and I felt pretty buoyant in those early halcyon days because I didn’t have any major doubts about Dr Goodluck Jonathan. Or his wife, for that matter.

Dame Patience was the first-ever First Lady from my state; and most Riverians were determined to adore her; and I went through a long phase of feeling mightily miffed and flying to her defence whenever her malapropisms, mispronunciations and educational shortcomings in general were mocked.

“Don’t Diss The Dame!” I would say, reproachfully.

“She has never claimed to be a Professor of English!” I would add, defiantly.

“She’s good at mobilising women and much better-looking than her predecessors and Jonathan is damned lucky to have her!” was another favourite utterance.

But I gradually became extremely disillusioned and left the Jonathan camp for various reasons, including Jonathan’s abject failure to control his increasingly overbearing wife…and his selfish refusal to implement the United Nations’ recommendations for pollution-ravaged Ogoniland…and his cold insulting insistence on retaining and honouring Abba Moro – the Minister of Interior who presided over a botched recruitment exercise that led to many deaths.

And these sources of anger are just the tip of the iceberg. There are SO MANY other areas in which the Jonathans have messed up, in my opinion.

I still can’t quite believe that I have totally lost confidence in a couple I once embraced so warmly and once held in such high esteem. And I sometimes shed a tear or two when I remember the good old days.

I really miss that feeling of passionately believing in Jonathan. I wish I could still regard him as a great guy who can fulfil my dreams for Nigeria as a whole and adequately represent minority tribes from oil-producing areas.

I would have loved to stick with Dr and Mrs Jonathan to the bitter end…and to be there with them now, lobbying voters for another four-year term. But my conscience won’t allow me to go down this regionally biased path.

It’s about being rational rather than sentimental.

It’s about growing up to the point where you no longer regard it as a betrayal to make political choices that are not largely based on geography or ethnicity.

Anyway, dear Readers, Major-General Buhari and APC may not be perfect. But they give me a sense of hope and I am convinced that Nigeria needs a change.



  1. I truly admire your honesty and transparent sincerity about how and why you once support GEJ and Dame Patience and how today you had made the hard but correct decision to support change. You are a man who loves Nigeria and wish the best for her. If only many Nigerians will be like you and just do what is right what a great nation we would be.

    I am indescribably disappointed by what some Ijaw stakeholders who have sold their convictions for a morsel of porridge and would rather see Nigeria torn apart and balkanized , than admit the incompetence of their brother sadly who has impoverished those on whose trust he was made President.

    I join you to say there is peace and joy in doing the right thing. There is only one truth unlike those that lies and have to continue to lie to cover of previous lies. Keep the flag flying. Nigeria will dream again and Nigeria will be great again for the right reasons.

  2. I understand your feelings Donu, it’s quite unfortunate I find myself in your shoes.
    I was in Abuja to join the Save Nigeria Group in the march for Jonathan to be inaugurated as the next President when it was obvious Yar’adua couldn’t continue as the President of our dear nation.
    However, my hopes have been dashed by Jonathan’s style of administration, in which he can not instill discipline and address the obvious problems of our dear nation. I find it difficult to believe this is the same man I went extra mile for to become the President.
    What now baffles me the most is the statement uttered by Jonathan during his campaign in 2011 where he said if he cannot lead this country well in 4years, then there’s nothing he can do if he stays in power for 100years.
    How then does he expect people to vote for him to spend another 4years as the President?

  3. I stand corrected but I believe Donu is a woman. Very many of us, painfully, share her views. I not only voted for Jonathan in 2011, I campaigned for him. What some of us had against Buhari at the time remain largely unchanged but they pale when placed side by side with what we have now. Utter disappointment!

  4. Make no mistakes about this. Mr Jonathan is not qualified as a doctor of philosophy, because he didnt do a doctoral thesis. No one has been able to locate a copy of his thesis in Uniport talkless of the title.He is a charlatan. Period.

  5. One thing we must all never forget: Jonathan became president largely by an act of providence, and providence is not done with him yet.

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