A home always begets its Diaspora. To account for certain pathologies and behavioural traits; to understand why a given Diaspora ticks in a certain way, you must dig and trace their routes all the way back to their roots. More than three hundred years after separation, after the middle passage, after Massa, after the plantations of the Deep South, after the Civil Rights movement, after this and after that, there are still African American ticks you encounter and you say: hello Africa, na your face be dis? Long time! No matter the encrustations of time and new acquisitions of culture and experience, a Diaspora is always a mirror of the home which begat it. The source-culture always survives.
Career Jonathanism has its own Diaspora. The career Jonathanian abroad is a mirror image of the career Jonathanian at home who begat him. Hence, we face a reproduction of behaviours, of pathologies, of attitudes which cover the entire spectrum of ugly realities that have come to define project nationhood in Nigeria. Today, in London, a fragment of Diaspora career Jonathanism was on duty at Chatham House, ostensibly to disrupt General Mohammadu Buhari’s scheduled engagement in that space of global intellection and voice support for the incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan. In actual fact, they were responding to the call of stomach infrastructure.
There is now ample video evidence of the fact that these Diaspora career Jonathanians were there on the strength of financial inducement. They were there for their own crumbs of the national cake that their principal has been dumping inside every available pocket in Nigeria and abroad like a mad fisherman sailor. However, what I do like about the organizers of the London stomach infrastructural spectacle is their devastating honesty – and even modesty! They requested stomach infrastructure of only $20,000 and wrote a memo to that effect.
That these London career Jonathanians requested money and even insisted on a paper trail which went public is a testimony to their sound knowledge of how things work in President Jonathan’s world. They understand only too clearly that there is no chance in this world that the FFKs, the Fayoses, the Kasahmus of this world and other corrupt lunatics running the show for the President at home would send twenty thousand dollars to their London Diaspora outpost and actually invoice just twenty thousand dollars! If those at home woke up on a good day, I wager they’d send twenty thousand dollars to those poor souls in London and invoice anywhere between five to ten million dollars. On a bad day, the invoiced figure could be considerably higher. In due course, predictable fights among them over the loot will lead to more leakages and we shall hopefully learn how much was invoiced at home for the twenty thousand requested by the Diaspora. Whenever this over-invoicing goes public in a messy intra-Jonathanian fight as it is guaranteed to happen eventually, the lonely Londoners now have a public memo to back up denials: hey, we asked for only twenty thousand dollars o! So these people at home claimed to have sent us ten million dollars? Chai!
I said that these diaspora career Jonathanians were being cautious and honest by issuing a memo in which it is made clear that they are in this Jonathan business to eat. I have more sympathy for them than many career Jonathanians caterwauling all over social media from home. Not long ago, some of them gathered in Port Harcourt – ostensibly for a “retreat” – as if one does not know that where one or two Nigerians are gathered in President Jonathan’s name, trailer loads of looted naira are there in the midst of them. One of the assembled is a member of my generation who had even nursed the ambition of being Governor of Lagos state and had gone ahead to run a fairly above-mediocre Facebook campaign for that office and had started to earn my admiration as a compatriot doing things for altruistic purposes and not for the money. While the back-patting for a successful Port Harcourt retreat for President Jonathan raged on his Wall, one honest citizen advised them and the Jonathan campaign to let the money trickle down to the grass root. The fellow also complained that civil society groups were being left out of the financial windfall. My take from that intervention is that there isn’t too much honour among thieves in the sharing of the Jonathan campaign loot by those working for him.
In essence, even in that hermetic circuit of Presidential campaign slush fund eating, these characters cannot ensure democracy, equity, justice, and fairness. It is each to himself, trying to carve as much of the loot as possible into his own selfish pocket, not allowing it to trickle down as we continuously hear from disgruntled career Jonathanians, cheated out of the big pie.
Many have expressed disgust over the behaviour of the London career Jonathanians today. We are informed that many of them were rented for as little as a hundred pounds, some for two hundred pounds, etc. That is plausible. Twenty thousand dollars is roughly ten thousand pounds. Mirroring the behaviour of the home crew, the London organizer would first have to pocket nearly half of whatever amount received in London before distributing the remaining crumbs to the poor souls who went to expose themselves to winter elements in front of Chatham House today.
But my question to those who are condemning diaspora career Jonathanians for the self-demeaning act of allowing themselves to be rented and exposed to the elements in London is this: why would you expect the diaspora career Jonathanian to be different from the home career Jonathanian who begat him? Don’t you think that it would be illogical for this particular diaspora not to be a mirror of its home and source-culture? At home, career Jonathanians are raking it in left, right, and centre. Why would the Diaspora they have spawned not be infected by the Ebola virus of stomach infrastructure?
In fact, given the fact that those on the Jonathan campaign train at home are eating the campaign slush funds selfishly, unfairly, and undemocratically, allowing very little to trickle down, as evidenced by revelations whenever they inevitably fight over the loot, I hazard to say that career Jonathanians in the Diaspora are now using the philosophy of President Jonathan to get their own share of the loot. Yams grow in yam mounds until they are dug out at harvest. Since yams have learnt to grow without leaving the mound, Diaspora goats have learnt to dig mounds without ceasing.