Jonathan’s first school teacher hints on “a Goodluck Jonathan” she knew in Primary One! – Tola Adenle

March 15, 2015


In the unlikeliest of places and time, I met an Ondo State retiree a week ago in Nigeria who wonders if the little boy she taught at Ijebu-Jesa in 1962 is not Nigeria’s current president and would like to know.

She was a new teacher in one of the mission schools, “St. Matthew’s A”, and there was a little boy, actually the oldest in her class who went by the name Goodluck Jonathan.  As my face was apparently lit up in surprise, she announced she would go into her bedroom to produce a photograph before she would reminisce about the kid she knew very well.

On her return with an old black and white which my sister and I were anxious to look at, she told us she had taught Jonathan in Primary One but by the following year, he had been promoted to Primary Two and she no longer taught Jonathan’s class but their relationship would not end as teacher and pupil, though.

She and her husband who taught at Ijebu-Jesa Grammar School had their first child and having no child child carer, she had to take the baby along to school daily. During recesses, she narrated how Jonathan would rush to her class as well as during every break to carry the baby and cuddle him like a grown-up sister, with tenderness and love.

“I just wonder whether the Goodluck Jonathan that I taught and that took tender loving care of my baby son is the same Goodluck Jonathan that is Nigeria’s president because the Goodluck Jonathan I knew was a very tender-hearted and kind little boy …

From the photograph below which I have her permission to use,”Goodluck Jonathan is seated second left from the teacher”.

The little guy, as well as his Ijebu-Jesa classmates like thousands before and during his elementary school days all over Nigeria, really had no shoes as he’s told Nigerians over and over again!


SUNDAY, MARCH 15, 2015. 6:37 p.m. [GMT]



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4 Comments on “Jonathan’s first school teacher hints on “a Goodluck Jonathan” she knew in Primary One! – Tola Adenle”

  1. ADETOYE Says:

    Wha-oh! This is vintage you, knowing the iconic importance of obtaining records as at when due and giving such the necessary treatments accordingly.

    If it’s Jonathan the Nigerian president, does he have this picture? If not, it is surely a museum document. Anyone can follow up by finding if Jonathan has any traces of Ijebu-Jesa in his autobiography. Does he? If so, then, pundits would realize that Jonathan might be a better Yorubaman than many of us and particularly some of our children. If so again, it would not be out of reasoning to link his penchant for pursuing the ‘national conference’ agenda as one of the MOST needed ailments for tackling the Nigerian Question. He might have been swimming in Yoruba’s cosmopolitan/liberal ideologies dating back the 50s and 60s.

    Nigerians, at least the majority, have been shying away from facing the reality of the bases for our co-existence, togetherness and futuristic survival. For instance, I was born and partly raised in Ilorin, Kwara State before we relocated to Osogbo, Osun State where I grew to adulthood. But on record, I’m an Ekiti man! Since birth, I’ve never spent a stretch of one month in Ekiti land. The reality of my lifestyle(s), thoughts, choices, friends, family values, etc. are fashioned after Osogbo metropolitan genres!

    We have continued to do ourselves lots and lots of disservice by laying emphasis on races, states of origin and religion. These elements are the oils that continue to add energy to the fires stoking corruption and nepotism that plague good political landscape and economic progress. We all know these facts but refused to agree on best and quick solution.

    Sadly, the most popular candidate, the rave of the moment poised to win upcoming election has refused to consider nationality discussion as part of his agenda. Is therefore any hope for light at the end of Nigeria’s tunnel? I doubt!

    Adetoye, Boston, USA



    • emotanglobal Says:

      emotanglobal Says:
      March 16, 2015 at 8:17 am e
      Dear Yemi,

      Thanks for this.

      First of all, to the point of your Nigerian origin: I was so certain that you and Daramola were Ọṣun, specifically Oṣogbo, the way you were gong-oh on the matter of the sad situation in the state’s educational policy a couple of years ago until Dele Daramola clarified his own state of origin as Ondo, and I also learnt that you are Ekiti. It is very sad that the conditioning we receive from childhood brings about these skewed thinking. We do not see a person for who he/she is once we know where we know the area of Nigeria. It is the reason that it would be difficult to find ‘Nigeria’ paired with the word ‘Nation” in my writings, especially since rGO’s (Obasanjo) civilian presidency which has led to the big mess in Nigeria. We cannot arrive at nationhood until we shed petty sectionalism.

      As for Jonathan’s picture, I got it through happenstance or through what my Significant Other always jokingly describes in me as the “editor” who’s always out for a good story. At least before this “moment” when most in Yorubaland were of the opinion that Yoruba ko le di’bo fun Gambari as someone actually told me in 2011 when I came out publicly for Buhari – pardon the dredging of an old (but still festering) wound but it is along your line of thought – people always have known what I stand for.

      That principle, though tempered by the Nigerian situation and my own upbringing and – yeah, Ondo & Ekiti blood where people generally (though things are changing to the Nigerian reality) – basically wants a country that my descendants do not have to turn their backs on, and hence, my support of Buhari is centered around fighting the corruption mess although my doubts do exist (not about his integrity). As my manicurist/pedicurist told me during our last encounter a week ago: Ṣe ẹ ro pe nwọn ma jẹ ki Buhari le ṣe nkankan, Grandma … ati ‘pe ṣe – here we go again – ṣe awọn Hausa ko tun ti pada lati ma ko gbogbo wa l’ẹru? For my non-Yoruba speakers, the not-that-educated but very smart young woman wondered (beyond the words stated here) if those surrounding Buhari would let him fight the corruption that earns him my support because, in her words, again, Grandma, ole ni gbogbo nwọn! [They are all thieves! Would Hausas, i.e. Muslim Northerners, not take all other Nigerians as second class citizens as in the past?] I asked what we should do because there really is no choice, she said she was not sure but she would not likely leave her home to vote. I told her – at least she knows who Nobel Laureate Soyinka is – that Soyinka is asking that we all take a leap of faith and go with Buhari. Our further discussion is not for here.

      Like that young hard-working woman who plies her trade going from house to house in scorching sun, dusty harmattan or pouring rain for her little business from which she supports her family, I’ve spoken to – perhaps – hundreds of people in Yorubaland since end of January, and sadly, MOST say they will sit out the voting because they do believe there really is no choice; paradoxically, most also support Buhari. Where does that leave Nigeria?

      The “editor” in me led to my raising the issue of the moment when one of my sisters and I visited the Mommy/retired teacher last week in Ondo State. Then, the bombshell that she taught “a Goodluck Jonathan”. I’ve shown the picture to one of her kids who not only had never seen the photograph but was never aware that his mother taught “any Goodluck Jonathan”; neither does any of his siblings, including the older brother who was sort of baby-sat by the president!

      It is a story which sort of fell into my laps and it needs to be told, and I appreciate your seeing the importance of not just sharing the reminiscences with the Mommy and forgetting the story there. The original picture is now in the hands of the Mommy’s 47-year old son in the USA. It must be preserved as you wrote because the man may not even have it, and Goodluck Jonathan’s story has become part of Nigeria’s story and history.




  2. adejokeiyabadan Says:

    Reblogged this on Adejokeiyabadan's Blog and commented:
    I just wonder whether the Goodluck Jonathan that I taught and that took tender loving care of my baby son is the same Goodluck Jonathan that is Nigeria’s president because the Goodluck Jonathan I knew was a very tender-hearted and kind little boy …



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