People have been calling members of the Federal Executive Council dullards and dimwits for failing President Goodluck Jonathan’s rather simple aptitude test yesterday at the FEC meeting in Abuja. What he asked them they all didn’t know, but it turned out he even supplied an answer to the wrong question.
Jonathan had arrived at Aso Council Chambers, venue of the meeting with a decision to pull a fast one on council members. After The Pledge, he told the ministers in attendance that the usual prayer would not be said as someone in their midst was marking a birthday, and he’d like two members of council, a Christian and a Muslim, to offer prayers for the council member whose birthday it was before the meeting would begin.
“Today, we will not say the national prayer. Somebody is celebrating birthday, so we will offer special prayers for him. Two godly people will pray; Nebo and Yuguda. Do you know the person (celebrant)?”
None of the FEC members knew who in their midst had a birthday. Jonathan turned to Anyim Pius Anyim, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and asked if he knew whose birthday its was. No, he didn’t either.
The President then broke the news and saved the ministers any more headache by reminding them: “On May 6, 2010, exactly five years today, I was sworn in as substantive President.” Pleasantly relieved by the good news, the ministers cheered, clapped and chorused their congratulations to Jonathan who smiled and acknowledged their salutations.
Well, President Jonathan’s simple question was simply wrong. It was his anniversary in office, not his birthday. Yes, all birthdays are anniversaries, but sir, not anniversaries are birthdays, Mr. President.
Jonathan was sworn in on May 6, 2010 by the then Chief Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu to succeed President Umaru Yar’Adua, who had died the previous day after a protracted bout of ill health.