Jonathan’s book and litany of omissions
Nigeria’s immediate ex-president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan recently gathered the crème la crème of the society; within and beyond the shores of the nation for the launch of his book, My Transition Hours. Personalities including President Muhammadu Buhari answered roll calls either in person or represented. Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo alongside his Ghanaian, Benin Republic and Sierra Leone counterparts; John Mahama, Boni Yayi and Ernest Bai Koroma respectively personally graced the occasion as well as former heads of state, Generals Abdulsalami Abubakar and Yakubu Gowon. Buhari was however, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Mustapha Boss. As the event took place during campaign era, it was more or less a political gathering strategically set to score political points. Major political parties were ably represented by party chieftains.
The event was climaxed by overwhelming tributes on Jonathan, shockingly by the same group of dramatis personae that vehemently joined forces to kick him out from Aso Rock unprecedentedly. Jonathan was indeed tremendously decorated with indescribable words one speaker after another. People were shocked that the same dude that was tagged a millstone during 2015 election suddenly metamorphosed to an asset which pointed to lack of political ideologies in the system. Someone had jokingly asked, “is this the same Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan or a cloned one; maybe another strongman from Sudan”? Probably, on account of the perceived cloning that is trending in the society. Unfortunately, the delusion exposed and reduced the originators alongside news-peddlers to gross naivety and awkwardness to assume that an adult could be cloned. What a sarcastic innuendo!
Now, on the new book, Jonathan vehemently missed a golden opportunity to put down his one or two experiences while in office that could resourcefully add value in governance to those in government and future leaders as some other national ex-leaders from other clans would do. A critical look in the book showed that in substance, it was patterned after Obasanjo’s My Watch; thus a catalogue of flimsy excuses, fallacies and ad hominem. From apportioning blames to the former U.S. president, Barack Obama over defeat at the 2015 polls to why he conceded defeat and consequently handed over as if presidency is anyone’s birthright. Funnily, Obama wouldn’t have possibly influenced Nigeria’s election from Whitehouse.
From there, it proceeded to why the 2014 confab report wasn’t implemented until handover, claiming unwholesome relationship between the executive and legislature. Then, to why he failed to act idyllically on Chibok saga, Boko Haram insurgencies and many others. The simple truth is that Nigerians were fed up with PDP governments at the centre, and consequently revoked its certificate-of-occupancy; period. The confab from its conception was a kangaroo; politically-motivated merely as a tool for Jonathan’s reelection campaign as such task is legally a legislative function. No doubt, it advantageously presented great opportunity to rub minds on some fundamental issues. Ideally, Jonathan would have in the book articulated his calculated means to implement the outcomes instead of subtly, merely expecting it implemented by Buhari’s government.
However, Jonathan reasonably deserved fair judgment bearing in mind he never aspired to lead the nation if not the sudden demise of his boss, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. Ditto on his inauguration as Bayelsa State governor following his then boss, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha’s travails during Obasanjo’s administration. In other words, Jonathan mounted the podiums as governor and president by providence having been cajoled with assurances of backup-supports by Obasanjo expectedly as his puppet. Unfortunately, Jonathan later retreated and took charge. Thus, most people in his shoes may similarly have poor results due to unpreparedness, absence of ambition and ideas before coming to power which have important roles to play. To make it worse, his predecessors laid no foundation or left blueprints except to loot and squander national treasury, insensitively, Jonathan’s government followed suit.
Nonetheless, the book profusely displayed Obasanjo’s overbearingness which parted the duo after some mafias incidentally hijacked the party. Unbearably, Obasanjo tore his PDP’s membership card. It was deductively, obvious that Jonathan helplessly, merely buried PDP after Obasanjo arbitrarily killed the party by maladministration. Corruption inarguably reigned during the administration and as the commando at that time, most people in Jonathan’s administration; legislature and executive were inherited, selected from Obasanjo’s camp.
Hence, the trend triumphed until Buhari’s wind of change fiercely blew PDP away from power in 2015. Obviously, neither of the two ex-presidents’ books statesmanly showed resourceful tips towards improving on governance which is paramount.
In Obasanjo’s book for instance, the ex-president sumptuously ridiculed his vice, Atiku Abubakar with allegations of colossal corrupt practices albeit refused to clearly give clues on the illicit transactions for investigations. Possibly, doing so may open can of worms that will indict him too as Atiku, being his subordinate then wouldn’t have successfully concluded any illicit deals without his complicity and approval.
As for Jonathan’s prowess for conceding apparent defeat, democracy is a game of numbers. The electoral umpire as the referee having adopted card-readers wouldn’t have openly manipulated the results when the main opposition was determined to wrestle power. Again, if irregularities existed in an election but not challenged, it isn’t a worthy virtue for celebration. The system grows when citizens determinedly, collectively stand like watchmen against irregularities and injustices. From there, the legal system is strengthened alongside social justice. An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, Thurgood Marshall remarkably said: “Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on.”
Premised on that, I conclude with a quote by Martin Luther King Jr, “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.