The traveling salesman By Ose Oyamendan

I will never understand Nigerians and their love of commentary on everything President Goodluck Jonathan. One week it’s the tale about the dishonor among the rich and powerful and how the president might be the conductor behind the scene in this macabre show.

Another week it’s about the mud slinging between the executive and the legislative arms and how the president may have kept the constitution under a pile of magazines in his bathroom. You would think people would be glad the man is actually reading. In America, we almost had a vice president whose best asset was her make up. In Nigeria, we have a president who has reading materials everywhere and people are still bellyaching! Wow 

Now that they can’t find anything to hang on his Excellency, God’s special gift to Nigeria, they are singing songs of jealousy about the President’s triumphant trip to Brazil.

Seriously, people! You are accusing a man of traveling to Brazil! Have you ever been there this time of the year? The beaches of Rio and Sao Paolo are packed with beauties wearing nothing but strips of rope. The food is good, the booze never stops flowing, no one sleeps and the party never stops bumping. If there is something close to heaven on earth, Rio’s gotta be close.

You are begrudging a man from packing a plane with a few dozen people and going there to discuss the earth? What was he supposed to be going there to discuss? Heaven? Just so anyone who cares to stay out of jail know, mentioning his excellency and heaven in the same sentence may be considered a treason. You see, heaven implies a thought of death.  And, if you lived under the military then you know that may invite a dinner with hot pellets.

For those screaming that most of the important world’s leaders stayed away, some sending their ministers or, if their vice president was free, they sent him/her and a camera so he/she can bring back images from beautiful Brazil, I say they should all lose the bad belle.

A little lesson in presidential tasks for all those people jealous that they can’t even get a visa to Congo-Brazzaville and here is our president going to Brazil. The president is a salesman and if he has to travel to sell Nigeria, he should and will. Heck, if it means him staying out of the country to make the country work, he will. And, don’t say Amen because I know mischief when I hear one.

Just so, you know, he did sign a power contract on this trip. I know what people are thinking. They’re saying we’ve seen and heard that before and Nigeria is still an environmental disaster at work when night comes, power goes and the generators come alive.  Well, folks, the man is a president. Not a magician. It’s not his fault that when he signs something, light doesn’t appear automatically inside light bulbs. Maybe when he appoints a minister for magic, you can all start complaining. 

People need to realize the presidential jet has to be taken for a spin every now and then. It wasn’t bought for an Abuja-Yenegoa-Abuja round trip. And, there’s no better place to stretch it than to Brazil. Where would you take the plane? Togo? Or, would you rather these jets that could build a few hospitals or schools suffer the fate of those Nigerian airways planes you see in the bushes when you fly into Lagos? Talk about eco-tourism 

I will give you three reasons why the president was right in traveling. One, did you realize that leaders like Barrack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and David Cameron were absent. Whenever these leaders are at a summit, they hog the headlines. I’m sure as soon as the President’s men realize these leaders won’t be there, they fueled the presidential jet at a record speed 

This was the summit for the president to shine, to be splashed all over the media, especially since the G-20 had just wrapped and no one thought of inviting our dear leader even for the usual photo-op and a picture that would hang in the presidential palace. This was another political masterstroke

Two, the summit was to discuss poverty, pollution and sustainable Development Goals to replace the UN Millennium Development Goals from 2015. The president probably realizes poverty wasn’t going nowhere in Nigeria so talking about it may be the best thing to do.  He probably wanted a laugh listening to foreign experts discuss pollution. If there is no pollution that means they would be no diesel billionaires and no subsidy-gate. That probably confuses the president a little. If there are no diesel billionaires, how can Nigeria meet the millennium goals? The man probably thinks the more millionaires you have, the closer you get to the goals.  

Finally, not to make slight of a tragic situation but has anyone stopped to remember that the president is an academic doctor and works with logic. He knew the nation was rollicking but he also realized it wasn’t burning. He knew he was leaving a river of blood behind and he knew it wasn’t going away soon. So, why not relax a little and recharge the batteries in Rio?




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