Ex-president Goodluck Ebere Jonathan’s book, My Transition Hours, is one of the most revealing and uniquely confessional autobiographical narratives written by an important African politician.
The publication gains its relevance and impact from addressing a well-known historic event in Nigeria’s recent past. Jonathan’s conceding to defeat before INEC’s release of official results of the 2015 presidential elections is the central foundation of the narrative.
Recounting the event and the rationale behind his yielding to defeat without sentiment or sense of regret, the author details the consequences of his actions, providing comprehensive argument in defense of that decision based on the nation’s political antecedents. However, with further reading, one is left without doubt that his decision was based on moral expediency than empirical evidence of his actual defeat.
The quality of narrative provides an odyssey-like reporting, replete with thrills of unusual political happenstances underscored by the trauma of political betrayal. As a result, the text doubles as an inspirational and political history literature. The publication also relates the familiar tale of the author’s rise to political prominence placing key elements of his narrative in a historical and global context that lends it a universal relevance.
In the book, Jonathan insists the central tenet of his intervention in public life has been to build bridges of unity and peaceful co-existence in national discourse, only to quickly discover, once he became the recipient of the fallout of unexpected fortune (or misfortune) of President Yar’adua’s death, these worthy sentiments were easily dispensed with by a substantial proportion of his political associates.
His relationship with some of the most important members of his own party took on new forms of being in which the expression of irreverent disenchantment on their part became prominent feature. Although, the author’s narration of the experience is devoid of bitterness, his sense of moral disappointment is palpable, enhancing the tragic veracity of the recount.
Published on November 5, 2018 by Ezekiel Press, the political autobiography, My Transition Hours, has stirred arguments from dissenting ex-and-existing incumbents, and witnessed pirated circulation.
The book is bound to become a classic of African political documentation, unique not because of its provenance as the testament of a former president, rather as a record of justification for an event that changed the course of Nigeria’s history.
Its accessibility by the Nigerian public and the world would enhance Jonathan’s already weighty reputation as a statesman, established with his initial graceful concession in the 2015 general elections.