What’s In A Name?


“What’s in a name that arose by any other name still smells as rose?” (Williams Shakespeare).

By now, the name Goodluck Jonathan must have become a household name on the lips of every Nigerian. When this name made its first entry into Bayelsa State government house in Yenagoa in 1999, not much was known, heard or spoken about it. But as time went by and some events started unfolding, the name started resonating and gaining prominence. Today, the name has come full blown – courtesy of the bearer i.e. the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Several of the steps which President Goodluck Jonathan had been taken, which had eventually brought him to where he is today, confirm the saying that the name one bears definitely has a bearing on what he becomes in life.

For instance, what several others are dying to possess had always been coming to Jonathan on a platter of gold. Many had died in their bid to become governor of their states, but when he became the governor of Bayelsa State in 2005, he didn’t drop a single sweat of his. A lot of powerful and very influential candidates are now having sleepless nights, doing the unspeakable just to become the president of this nation, but before he became the president in 2010, Jonathan did not develop high blood pressure. These are made possible, according to our belief, just because he bears the name Goodluck. But does this really have to do with his name, his person or both?

There are two issues that need be resolved here: What effect has this name on Jonathan and what effect has the name on the people he worked under?

To resolve the first issue, we need to ponder on these questions: If another person bears the name Goodluck Jonathan, will the name perform the same magic for him?

If Goodluck Jonathan goes by any other name, will the same luck smile or not smile on him?  Is it the name that really matters or the attitude of the bearer of the name or the two together? If we call Goodluck Jonathan by an other name, will he still not perform as Jonathan?

While we ponder on this, let me quickly go to the second issue:

What effect has this name on the people he worked under? Let us consider some happenings that suddenly brought this name to limelight in the history of Nigeria. During his tenure as the elected governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha became the first public victim of the mystery that lies behind Jonathan’s name. In a circumstance that made him to become an unpardonable victim of disgrace, Alamieyeseigha fell from the governor’s seat and landed into the prison yard. It was a fall from grace to grass. No matter the kind of euphoria that greeted his release from prison custody, where is Alamieyeseigha today? In the cooler. And Jonathan was Alamieyeseigha’s deputy.

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After the fall, Jonathan became the substantive governor of Bayelsa State having acted for some time. He completed Diepreye’s tenure and while he was warming up to be elected as the governor of Bayelsa State, luck smiled on him and he was elected alongside President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (now deceased) as the Vice President in 2007.

Yar’Adua, the president, with chequered history of unfavourable health conditions, fell into another abyss of health crisis, was rushed out of the country in November last year to Saudi Arabia, brought back in February 2010 under the cover of darkness, and today, he is no more. He never survived the crisis. Today, Yar’Adua is in the cooler. Jonathan had since become the president. And Jonathan was Yar’Adua’s deputy.

Sweet memories to some, bitter experiences to others. And you start wondering: what is in this name, Goodluck Jonathan. If it is good luck to Jonathan, what is it to his boss?

Does it then mean that anybody that the type of Jonathan deputises for must become a victim of tragic occurrence? Whosoever “Jonathan” follows, must surely stumble.

While it is good luck to Jonathan, it is bad luck to his bosses, but our craving for the positive has made us to lose our sense of sympathy for the tragic victims. While we keep on applauding the lucky one, we fail to see the mystery that lurks behind the person of the bearer of the name.

I am not in any way running down the person of President Goodluck Jonathan, neither am I trying to drag his name in the mud nor crack jokes with the name. I am only trying to focus on some factors bordering on spiritual observations. The question is, if you are the Managing Director of your company, the governor of your state or the president of this country, would you choose “Goodluck Jonathan” to be your deputy?

As you are giving the name Goodluck Jonathan to your baby boy (or girl) also think of those who will not want Goodluck Jonathan to become their undoing.

•Olagunju is a teacher at Unity High School (Junior), Ijoko, Ogun State, Nigeria. Tel.08027717246

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