This is a sixteen-part serial of the authorized biography on President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
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Foreword By Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda
The destinies of nations throughout history have, more often than not, been directly tied to certain leaders whose visions, industry, achievements and trials directed the socio-political and economic circumstances of those nations. Quite a few examples readily come to mind. Julius Gaius Caesar (101-44 BC), Roman general, statesman and emperor, extended the Roman Empire westward into the British Isles and eastward into Asia Minor and thus laid the socio-philosophic foundations of the contemporary European Union.
Worthy of note among this category of leaders is the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-68), the African-American founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and leader of the non-violent movement for civil rights and racial equality, whose Dream seemed to have found fulfillment in the emergence, on 20th January, 2008, of African-American Senator Barack Obama, as the 44th President of the United States of America. Also in this category, is ninety-two year-old Madiba, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the prominent leader of the African National Congress, who spent 28 years in prison on Robben Island and emerged to become the first African President of a peaceful, post-apartheid South Africa. His predisposition towards peace and reconciliation amongst the various races helped greatly to preserve the peace and unify the country into a strong, multi-racial and prosperous Republic.
On the other hand, the inordinate ambitions, intransigence or other indiscretion on the part of some leaders have precipitated great misfortunes or unmitigated calamities in the lives of their people. Prominent in this category is Adolf Hitler, the Nazi German dictator, who, as Chancellor and Fuhrer of the Third Reich, established a totalitarian government in Germany. His invasion of Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland between 1936 and 1939, in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles and the Munich Agreement, precipitated the Second World War and the eventual break-up of Germany into West and East Germany, at the Treaty of Paris in 1947. His obduracy and unwarranted ambition inevitably wrought so much destruction, misery and death to millions of people across the world, including the German people.
The story you are about to encounter in the subsequent pages of this book, Wind of Hope, transcends the mere chronicle of the life of a remarkable young Nigerian, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, and his meteoric rise through the rungs of the political ladder to become the 14th Head of Government of the Nigerian Republic. It is, in my humble view, a metaphor for the reader’s voyage of discovery to the heart and soul of the most remarkable nation on the African continent – a complex nation of over 140 million people, comprising some 368 distinct ethnicities – a truly intriguing harmony of diverse religious faiths and cultures in a strife-strewn universe!
It is, indeed, the story of this complex African country, richly endowed with human and material resources at the 50th Anniversary of its existence as an independent nation, its triumphs and failures up to this historical juncture that it appears to be on the brink of a long-awaited political and socio-economic breakthrough. I first had the privilege of meeting Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2006, when I visited Yenagoa, the capital City of Bayelsa State. Dr. Jonathan, then as Governor of the State and Chief Host guided us through our itinerary and scheduled engagements within the State.
What initially struck me about the young Governor were his calmness, his self-effacing humility and the forthrightness with which he applied himself to the programme. I had, however, become more acutely aware, in the course of our interactions, of his vast and incisive knowledge, not only of the intractable socio-economic problems of the people of the State, but his resolute efforts to effect needed transformation. I had become even more impressed by his sharp intellect, as well as his clear understanding of the imperative of Africa’s leadership challenges.
Also, he had no illusions as to the implications of the challenges confronting the continent’s perennial search for peace as a pre-requisite for economic development and a successful campaign against the scourge of ignorance and disease. His love for the ordinary Bayelsans and his passion for a significant turn-around in the economic fortunes of the State were, for me, so palpable and engaging that, in many ways, Dr. Jonathan reminded me of Major Wezi Kaunda, the beloved son I lost to the maelstrom of Zambian politics. I could not, in the circumstance, but develop an altogether irrepressible urge to know more about this somewhat obscure but, nevertheless, intriguing personality.
In my vast experience in the trenches of the nationalist struggles to liberate Zambia and, indeed, African peoples from colonialist and ideological repression, I found Dr. Jonathan to be one of the most engaging personalities. Here was a young African intellectual of very humble background propelled within the last decade, by a combination of divine and other inscrutable forces, from the very relative obscurity to the exhilarating heights of national political prominence in a very complex political system such as exists in Nigeria.
Yet, he remained unchanged by it all. He struck me then, as he does now, as a man for whom the Almighty God had lifted the veil, however fleetingly, for a privileged peek into the Future! That impression probably accounts for my rather uncharacteristic behaviour at the point of my departure from Bayelsa State, wherein I had looked this remarkable young man full in the eye and prophesied that he would, one day, become the President of the country for which he had such a strong, loving passion.
The rest, as they say in that most hackneyed of expressions, is now history. On Thursday, 6th May, 2010, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to carry forth the vision of his late illustrious principal, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the ‘Angel of Peace’, towards its fullest realization. It is obvious, in my humble view, that within the few months since his inauguration, Dr. Jonathan has proved himself quite capable of running with the baton to the very end.
As Dr. Jonathan joins other equally well-endowed Nigerians as a candidate for the Presidency in the 2011 Nigerian Elections, it is my fervent hope and prayer that Nigeria will emerge from these elections a stronger, more united country, committed as ever to its pivotal role in the cause of rolling back the frontiers of underdevelopment, poverty, hunger, disease, international economic exploitation and military adventurism in Africa. I have no further option, in the circumstance, than to wish all the aspirants good luck – no pun intended!
Perhaps the real value of Wind of Hope is in its simple language and thus, its ability to inspire real hope in younger generations of African children, youths and leaders alike, as well as inculcate in them the ennobling virtues of hard work, honesty, patriotism, perseverance and tenacity of purpose. It is, therefore, a rare privilege for me to write the Foreword to this book, Wind of Hope, and an irresistible opportunity to hazard yet another prophecy, that Nigeria’s and indeed, Africa’s lot, is about to turn, for the better!
Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda
First President, Republic of Zambia