I am not one of those sycophants who latch on to the thin thread of praise left for President Jonathan as he leaves office. I do not believe he was a Strong and Capable leader for a country of 170m diverse people.
I am disappointed at the missed opportunities which presented themselves to him and his administration. But it is easy to see where they got it wrong and from Day 1.
Nigerians did not vote for President Jonathan in 2011. President Jonathan had no antecedents firstly as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, then Governor and then Vice President of Nigeria. There was NOTHING one could point at as a major plus of a Goodluck Jonathan HOWEVER Nigerians voted for Democracy and its preservation. Nigerians voted for the PDP and by extension its candidate who happened to be a man who had the sympathy of the ENTIRE NATION following the debacle over Late President Yar’ Adua.
If one recalls, that overwhelming vote included many who subsequently became painted as the enemy else how did President Jonathan muster such numbers? Without the SW and much of the North?
The overwhelming victory by President Jonathan in 2011 was grossly misread by the hawks around him. They called it a mandate for the man himself. A mandate for a Good Man and I disagree. Nigerians knew nothing about Dep. Gov./Gov./Vice-President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 but they wanted Democracy to survive and that is where THEY got it all twisted and it dictated their attitudes towards Nigerians and issues of their realities for the next 4 years.
SO, whether he did indeed say he felt like a prisoner for the last 16 years or not, President Jonathan does look like a man from whose shoulders a huge burden has been lifted. His smile is more relaxed and seemingly more genuine as is his general appearance.
Word on the Street was always that President Jonathan had a number of hawkish sycophants around him. He was dependent on them to know what was happening in the country he led and more often after the fact. He simply went through the motions thereafter.
Pandering to President Jonathan became a National Hobby. If you had a man who did not have his finger on the button, it was easier to ‘sell’ anything to President Jonathan and get away with it and also provide him with an explanation to put forward if the need arose.
This probably explains the frequent flip-flop and contradictory information and miscommunication which emerged from The Presidency dotting his tenure.
The last resolution of these hawkish sycophants was to say the President was a good man. I am certain he was and is but that does not take away from the notion that he was weak in the context of Leadership as required by a diverse and volatile Nigeria.
Nigeria needed a Strong and Decisive Leader in the face of her troubles and realities. Nigeria did not need a “Good Man”. A “Good Man” only opened the way for the characters behind the scenes who usually pulled the strings of discord and undermined the potential of the country. The Jonathan Years were a good period for such to thrive.
How else would anyone who understood his or her role or indeed took his or her job seriously explain the lazy approach to the daily realities of Nigerians during the Jonathan Years? The constant lack of acceptance of responsibility and prolific expertise at blaming everyone else for the shortcomings of the administration was a unique phenomenon.
By the time the Elections came round, Nigerians sought change from the Jonathan Administration in the main. They did not seek change in the form of President-elect Buhari. They asked the Jonathan Administration and the PDP, the ruling party, to change and improve.
The overbearing arrogance of the administration and the party and their supporters eventually rubbed the people the wrong way. The election to ignore the pulse of the nation and constant bid to ram falsehoods, blame and unseen achievements down the throats of Nigerians ensured that Nigerians were going to seek an alternative no matter how far-fetched.
Gen. Buhari became the only viable alternative due both to his capacity to draw large numbers and the efforts of the ruling party themselves. I repeat, they made Gen. Buhari a viable candidate and the desire of Nigerians for a change found a platform to hang on to.
In the months running up to the elections, this possibility of change became a reality while the President’s team continued in their misguided arrogance with the same campaigns of calumny and disregard for reality. The personalization of Gen. Buhari, the constant abuse of his family, his religious background, his tribe became so overbearing that Nigerians became immune to such lame attempts.
The President’s Men and Women and supporters just did not get it. There is a limit to personal abuse after which the abuser begins to look stupid or self-propagating. Maybe they did but since there was a lot of money being thrown around, who cared for truth and proof?
For the “Good Man” to claim innocence of all that was going on around him is nothing but absurd. If that were the case then he cannot qualify to run an under-5 football team at Church.
Whatever Nigeria achieved during the Jonathan Years lay more in the determination of Nigerians to survive. The necessity overrode the ability to challenge the claims of achievement by the Jonathan Administration though it had nothing to do with them.
For President Jonathan, the “Good Man”, to feign ignorance of Nigeria having reached a peak of divisiveness and intolerance under his watch is deceitful. Nigeria has never been this full of hatred between tribes and especially between the South and the North. The only people who seemed content with the happenings in the North East, to other Nigerians, were Southerners. The only people who did not seem to care about the nation plunging rapidly into darkness were southerners and particularly from the South-South geo-political zone.
The failure of President Jonathan to call to order those around him who found it easiest to push the country to the brink was his own personal undoing. I have no sympathies in that regard.
Post-elections, we witness the desire to deify President Jonathan. A complete nonsense and attempt to carry out a final praise-singing. I wonder how much money is the lure in these final days.
President Jonathan conceded defeat as he had no choice. Sending the country into ‘war’ is not a choice, it is a selfish desire borne of desperation and confusion. I believe he was more relieved to have done so and certainly was not concerned about the Mo Ibrahim Prize talk less of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. He simply was fed up and wanted to go home peacefully.
President Jonathan was let down by his own South-South ‘Brothers and Sisters’ more than the Foreign Countries, Opposition, Northern Elite, Born-to-Rule Campaigners, Sponsors of Boko Haram OR Nigerians who gave him overwhelming support and sympathy which brought him into office. A wonderful, once in a lifetime opportunity with great hope and expectations.
If President Jonathan had been surrounded by a majority of people who had good intentions for Nigeria as a whole, the “Good Man’ probably would have succeeded and for a long time. Much as he may have desired to be remembered as a successful President, he will be more remembered for the lapses and failures to take the opportunities which presented themselves.
But a United and Successful Nigeria was not their aim. It was simply an opportunity to rape the country blind while launching Power Projects with no provision of Electricity, dated Trains which couldn’t last beyond the photo opportunities, rampant corruption which push unprecedented limits, an insurgency which could only be fought six years later and six weeks to a Presidential Elections, ‘successes’ of the Nigerian Army lacked any evidentiary backing just pictures of soldiers and no conquests, poor health policies and non-provision of healthcare which meant soliciting for money to travel abroad for standard treatment, the falling Naira which made conducting business unbearable and extremely difficult in Africa’s Largest Economy, a worsening educational system producing half-baked unemployable graduates while inaugurating every piece of available wasteland as a Federal University which was only slightly better than chicken coops. It was “awa oyel” supported by “it must not go to them!” which blinded the administration and its supporters to the desires of the rest of the nation.
Talk was cheap during the Jonathan Administration. Substance however was at a premium as was Truth. Falsehoods and misinformation became a staple and particularly from and through those of dubious and suspect character. Only a self-deluding sycophant did not see with a year to go that President Jonathan was going to lose the elections WHOEVER the challenger was going to be.
They still think it was about Gen.Buhari….well, they still don’t get it.
If Mr. President could not see and deal with all of that around him then …Mr. President Sir, You are the weakest link…Goodbye!
PS. My Regards to the lovely Dame Patience.