By: Olufemi Lawson
The recent comments by the founder of Stanbic IBTC, Mr Atedo Peterside during a television interview, where, he, without any reliable data, described the popularity and acceptance rating of former Nigeria’s President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as being at an extremely low level of about five percent, has shown, that Mr Atedo Peterside, is truly unlearned about politics and very outdated about recent happenings.
Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, even before leaving office, that is since 2011 has become a household name and for as long as he remains a living being will continue to be a household name when it comes to politics, leadership and governance, particularly in Nigeria.
It is disturbing, that an otherwise known intellectual of Mr Atedo Peterside status, is caught in this manner of campaign of calumny, where only characters, whom we understand, have persistent become intimidated by the unending rising profile of Goodluck Jonathan, are found.
While it remains a verifiable reality, that not only has the popularity and acceptance rating of the former President, remain constantly high, particularly among the younger generation of Nigerians, who constitutes the mass of Nigeria’s voting population and digital analytical community, available records, since he left office as the President of Nigeria in 2015, clearly contradicts, Mr Atedo’s assumption, tagged approval rating, of Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
For the purpose of enlightening Mr Atedo Peterside and his co-travelers, below are few records, of how much the rising profile of Goodluck Jonathan, have continued to endear him, to the local and international community. It is on record, that in 2019, Dr Goodluck Jonathan was appointed as the Honorary Special Adviser to the Bayelsa Education Trust Fund Board. In June 2019, Goodluck Jonathan emerged as chairperson of the newly inaugurated International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP).
In July 2020, Dr Jonathan was appointed Special Envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to lead mediation talks during the 2020 Malian protests.
These and many more are who Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is with or without politics, a feat that will forever be a dream for Peterside and his cohort.
The persistent rush to attack the personality of Goodluck Jonathan makes it too obvious that Mr Peterside has an agenda, that is beyond his false statistics, and one is not unaware, that it is about the politics of 2023 Presidential election in Nigeria, a race that even the former President, has not even committed himself to, up to this present moment, despite the jittery among these unlearned politicians, running all over the space.
Taking a look at the “ridiculous” statistics that Peterside played with on Channels TV, the question of authenticity comes to play, how can Mr Atedo prove to Nigerians that the figure he claimed to have in 2011 and figure he has now which remains unproven is true?
For a person of Mr Peterside’s status in Nigeria, one would expect, that he is able, to separate himself from the trouble and restlessness, that the politics of 2023, has brought on emergency activists and unlearned politicians, while he should devote more time, to building a political fortune, with his new political vehicle, found in the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
It is even appalling and very disrespectful for Mr Peterside who is an emergency politician to attempt to shade Dr Goodluck Jonathan who is a former President, former Vice President, Former Governor, former Deputy Governor and at the time, a man widely accepted in the international community as an ambassador of true democracy.
It is understandable that Atedo Peterside wants to be popular as a brand-new politician which in any case is very late for him but as a Bank CEO, he has to be schooled about politics and I hope Dr Goodluck Jonathan will be willing to teach him the art of politics if he is willing to learn.
In any case, Goodluck Jonathan has not told anyone that he is contesting the 2023 election, not to think of him contesting for Presidency, so Peterside has to be questioned on where he got his information from.
Nigerians should disregard Peterside and treat him as a distributor of false statistics because his data on issues of public interests, is not worth being trusted.
Olufemi Lawson is the Executive Director, Centre for Public Accountability, Lagos.