If there is one thing that hasn’t worked well for President Goodluck Jonathan, it is the caliber of men and women whom he has appointed in various positions. Mahmud Jega lists out 12 personalities that have further dented president’s personal image and the image of his administration.
– Obasanjo’s devastating attacks against Jonathan, sometimes through letters, at other times through public lectures have taken a heavy toll.
– Sambo has nothing of the political drive and ambition of, say, Atiku Abubakar.
– The president contributed to his party’s current predicament in three ways.
1. Alhaji Bamanga Tukur
His disastrous tenure as PDP’s national chairman was the biggest game changer for the PDP from which it might never recover. Bamanga’s tenure also coincided with the period when three major opposition parties were consolidating into one mega opposition party, but the chairman failed to recognise the emerging threat. Instead, he encouraged the Party Leader to settle personal scores within the party. It was a cover for Bamanga to also settle personal scores of his own. He suspended a state governor for refusing to answer his phone call; he watched askance as seven governors formed a faction called ‘the new PDP’ (nPDP), and he didn’t care a hoot when 5 governors jumped ship and joined the APC.
2. Chief Edwin Clark
As soon as Dr. Goodluck Jonathan rose to the presidency, this Gowon-era Information Minister created for himself a position hitherto unknown in Nigerian politics, that of the president’s ethnic godfather. No Yoruba potentate occupied this post during Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s eight year rule and even the feeble President Umaru Yarádua had no such godfather. Rather than use his extra-constitutional position to steady the president’s position, Clark used it to create numerous enemies for Jonathan through his use of intemperate language and regular assaults at dissenting folks.
3. Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke
No one gets to sit atop Nigeria’s oil industry without making many enemies. Mrs Allison Madueke’s beauty, fluent English and polished manners gained for her a lot of mileage, but the sleaze in the oil industry ultimately caught up with her. Most damaging have been the scandalous rip offs in subsidy payments, the botched attempt to remove the oil subsidy in 2012, Sanusi’s allegation of the missing $20 billion and the reported N10 billion spent to hire private jets, not to mention the failure to pass the PIB bill.
4. Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
The first ever Coordinating Minister of the Economy fancies herself as an economic wunderkind at par with the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer or the Japanese Prime Minister Sato. While most Nigerians thought economic conditions were harsh, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala bandied figures and said it is among the best-managed in the world. This sharp discrepancy between the official claims and people’s feelings did much damage to the administration’s credibility. Nor was there any preparation of the public mind for the steep fall in oil prices, the sharp drop in external reserves and the precipitous decline of the naira.
5. Dame Patience Jonathan
In the last five decades Nigerian First Ladies have often been mired in one controversy or another. Mrs Patience Jonathan however stands in a class of her own by making many gaffes and ill-advised actions that badly affected the public image of her husband’s regime. Worst of them all was her intervention in the Chibok girls’ saga and her futile attempts to prove that her husband’s political enemies orchestrated the whole affair. Her quarrel with Rotimi Amaechi, the governor of her home state, also resulted in PDP’s most impactful loss of a political figure.
6. Mujaheed Dokubo Asari
This ex-militant’s coarse manner, intemperate language and his open threats against whole regions of the country supposedly in Jonathan’s service did much political damage. Asari was later joined by more ex-militant leaders to threaten war against the country should Jonathan lose the election. Their joint threat greatly antagonised non-partisan opinion all over the country.
7. Governor Godswill Akpabio
The ambitious Akwa Ibom State governor rapidly moved very close to President Jonathan and soon installed himself as the president’s top gubernatorial enforcer. At one point he went about the task wisely, such as when he talked Bamanga into reversing Governor Aliyu Wamakko’s suspension. Other times he handled matters with very damaging crudity, such as the 16 is greater than 19 affair, which effectively destroyed the Nigeria Governors Forum.
8. Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu
When he replaced Bamanga Tukur as PDP’s chairman, the former Bauchi State governor was proclaimed by his partymen as the game changer. It turned out that he underestimated the fall in PDP’s esteem and total political stature. Even though Mu’azu toured the country trying to lure back members who defected and though he refrained from creating more problems by not trying to settle personal scores, the damage had been done and he was unable to reverse it.
9. Vice President Mohamed Namadi Sambo
Many of Jonathan’s kitchen cabinet members would sit back and say that the Vice President is to blame for failing to stem the tide when the country’s single largest voting bloc, the far North, turned completely against the Jonathan regime. Some northern PDP governors encouraged this belief in the hope of replacing Sambo on the ticket. Sambo has nothing of the political drive and ambition of, say, Atiku Abubakar. His affable and non-controversial nature did not add to the regime’s problems but it did not stave off the decline either.
10. NSA and Military Service Chiefs
The top security chiefs have contributed to President Jonathan and PDP’s problems in only three ways. One was their failure to tame Boko Haram despite repeated claims that they will do so. Second was their timing the operation to end Boko Haram once and for all with the date set for presidential election. The third, final damage inflicted by the service chiefs was their asking for the election to be postponed while they attack Boko Haram.
11. Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
The President contributed to his party’s current predicament in only three ways that I can think of. They are his lack of adequate knowledge about Nigeria, lack of adequate preparation before becoming the president of Nigeria and lack of rapid catching up study when he became the president of Nigeria.
His mistake in choosing Bamanga Tukur; his overreliance on Ngozi, Diezani and Akpabio; his initial misreading of Boko Haram as a political plot; his inability to manage Obasanjo, Edwin Clark, Aminu Tambuwal, nPDP and ex-militants can all be attributed to those three inadequacies.