Jonathan and His Stone Casters

Mike Akpan

|  Mike Akpan  |

PROBABLY, he expected it and probably he did not. But when Nigerians in far away South Africa had an opportunity to interact with President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan during his state visit to the southern African country on May 7, they wanted him tell them what he was doing to tame the monster called corruption in Nigeria. According to reports, the president tactically played down their concern by assuring them that his government’s war against corruption was on course and that media reports of cases of corruption in Nigeria were exaggerated. In other words, they did not reflect the realities on the ground. The president did not stop there. He added a clincher: “Those who accuse me and my government of corruption are themselves the most corrupt.” Unfortunately, he did not name them.

Jonathan said he was speaking from a vantage position having been privileged to serve Nigeria in various capacities as deputy governor, governor, vice-president and now president. There is no doubt whatsoever that in those capacities, he was and is still privileged to read the security reports on many corrupt Nigerians who are now pounding our streets projecting themselves as anti-corruption crusaders. Their hypocrisy reminds me of the biblical story recorded in chapter 8:1-11 in the holy gospel according to John. According to the story, the Scribes and the Pharisees (who were themselves fornicators and adulterers) caught a woman in the very act of adultery and brought her to Jesus who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. They said to him: “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. So, what do you say?”

John recorded in verse six of the same chapter that “they said this to test him so that they could have some charge to bring against him.” But Jesus outsmarted them. Instead of giving a yes or no answer, the story said: “Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them: Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her. Again, he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one beginning with the elders.” That was a strategy Jesus employed to silence the hypocrites. Although it was not expressly stated by John in the gospel what Jesus was writing on the ground with his fingers, some bible commentators have tried to hazard a guess. Some infer that probably, Jesus was drawing up a list of  some of the sins including adultery and fornication the accusers of the woman had committed secretly thinking that nobody saw them in the acts. It was really a big shock to the Scribes and Pharisees that the sins they thought nobody saw them commit or knew about them were really very open to Jesus.

According to some commentators, why the elders were the first to leave the scene was that Jesus started his list with a catalogue of their sins. This strategy worked for him because Jesus was able to show the woman’s accusers that they also qualified to be stoned for their sins. That was why the hypocrites silently left the scene with guilty consciences. Eventually, the woman was left alone with Jesus. At this stage, John said, Jesus again straightened up and asked: “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No sir.” Then Jesus said, “neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on, do not sin anymore.” President Jonathan should study this biblical passage meticulously in order to understand how Jesus was able to outsmart and disarm his enemies. He should understand the politics here. If the Scribes and the Pharisees really wanted to kill the woman for committing adultery, they would have done so without necessarily bringing her before Jesus. But that was not their intention. The real intention was for Jesus to contradict the law of Moses so that they could find something to charge him with as a non-conformist. Like Jesus, President Jonathan must learn how to devise effective strategies to outsmart and disarm his accusers. He must realize that those who bring up the charge of corruption against him and his government do not wish him well. They are looking for ways to bring him and his government down. They will not spare anything to achieve that goal.

In far away South Africa, he told a community of Nigerians on May 7, that most of those accusing him and his government of corruption are themselves the most corrupt. Was he sure of his facts? If that is the case, why was he afraid to tell Nigerians who they are? Keeping their names secret is not helping his government’s war on corruption. Besides, Nigerians are entitled to know them so that they do not make the same mistake of voting such people again into public offices in 2015. More so, if such corrupt politicians are publicly disarmed, it will bring down the political temperature in the country because such pretenders are the greatest noisemakers. The so-called anti-corruption crusaders now dominating the political space must be shown their true nakedness.


— May 27, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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