I like President Goodluck Jonathan for a couple of things, his traditional garb does not look like a parachute or some costume for a Kabuki performance. The Ijaw might have adapted stuff from the Portuguese in defining their blouse and bowler hat as national costume but at least it looks smart. I can never understand how anyone wearing an Agbada to work every day can expect to be productive in any way, the energy needed to fold the voluminous sleeves alone is enough to power the national grid.
Alain tells me that in Paris, they (of African descent) did not know much of the politics in Nigeria at the time but they liked the ring of the name Olusegun Obasanjo (pronounced to dramatic effect…he was president then) and were particularly proud that he wore full ceremonial Agbada on those (several) foreign trips and stood out as an African. Puh-lea-se! I would have been a bit more impressed if he wore full Yoruba military regalia, like the charms and amulet-strewn vests we saw displayed at the National Museum, Onikan, like the African Generalissimo that he truly is. If the world wants drama, then that’s the way to do it and not by wearing the flamboyant wedding dress Agbada to a war council…abi? Is the President not meant to be fighting for our wellbeing all the time? You can’t fight effectively in an Agbada, just look at that world famous brawl they had at the National Assembly not too long ago…nuff said on that already.
Goodluck Jonathan dresses smart without wearing a suit, he’s not exactly a movie star, but he’s a couple of notches above Obasanjo (okay, he’ll get off the hook after this) who inspired many a cartoonist with animal themed caricatures, and above his immediate predecessor, the late Yaradua who unfortunately had his skin mottled from the different illnesses he battled with before he joined the ancestors. Why am I going on about Jonathan? Well, his ascension to the Nigerian ‘throne’ was very much like an exceptionally well made Nollywood movie (yeah, all that stuff about his name being Goodluck and his wife’s name being Patience, and the thriller that ensued when we lost radio contact – save for that BBC interview I guess – with Yaradua in Saudi Arabia, I couldn’t have scripted it better!) I was in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state for National Service for one year while he was deputy governor of the state and his boss Alamieseigha was being worshiped like a god. Jonathan calmly waited till the Alamieseigha storm cleared and stepped up the ladder, from governor to vice-president and then he waited for the Yaradua storm to pass and became president. He’s my kind of man, he takes his time, doesn’t put on too much drama and just does his thing.
But that’s not the main reason why I love this guy. He had the guts to ban Nigeria from International football competitions for the next two years after a dismal outing at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. You might not understand why I love the guy for this but if you’ve read my periodic rants on facebook about this senseless love for watching people kick a round leather object across a field, you will understand why I totally dig this dude who’s had the balls (did you get that pun?) to say, look guys, let’s backtrack a little, clean out the rut in our football administration and prepare better so we don’t keep embarrassing ourselves in public. I’m going to wait before booking that shuttle to Mars where hopefully there’ll be no football crazed life forms, I’m going to wait to see if Goodluck Jonathan will go the whole hog and ban the entire world from playing football, at least for the next twenty years while we solve the issues in Sudan, Afghanistan and Iran, then, at least I’ll get a respite from this degenerate behaviour exhibited by ordinarily intelligent life forms who choose to stare with jaws dropped and spittle dribbling down their chins before erupting in the crazed shout of GOOOOOOOAAAAL, just because……..sigh, you know what I’m talking about……
I’m in Alain’s room at the Sofitel, Bolaji is perched at the edge of the bed, flipping through the TV channels, Alain is on the internet with his laptop and I’m likewise engaged with mine. It’s a pit stop on our pilgrimage. We are copying video material we’ve gathered today from one laptop to the other before setting out to watch the match for the day with Muhthar Bakare and Simi Dosekun of Farafina (yes, alas, they’ve got me watching football…or pretending to watch football if you may). We are both paying homage at the shrine that facebook has become: I’ve found Alain on facebook and just before he acquiesces to my add request, I spot a facebook page for Goodluck Jonathan which some of my friends ‘like. I join the bandwagon and go ahead to ‘like’ Mr. President as well, noting that he had about 16,000 ‘likers’ at that moment. Of course the page is riddled with propaganda type stuff, you know, together we can make Nigeria great again and all that kind of crap, but when you are smitten like me, you don’t give a shit, you just go on and ‘like’ anyway, after all, this is facebook, the universal temple for mixing the profound with the mundane.