President Jonathan’s Failing Points And Likely Shape Of Next Federal Cabinet
HIS path to political limelight was paved with sheer goodluck. Never before had he sweated for a prominent position as in the 2015 presidential election. He waltzed across the six geopolitical zones with grit, strength, stamina and sentence of past achievements in the Office of President of Nigeria’s Federal Republic.
But his famed goodluck seemed to have run full course. By March 31, 2015, clear three days after Nigerians trooped to the polls, it was evident and obvious that the meteor from downtown Otuoke has lost its lustre.
What went wrong? Why did luck fail him? From whence came his ill luck? Blame it not on his stars because President Jonathan’s failing points could be easily seen: Communication: AT the inaugural ceremony of his first full term in the Presidency, Dr. Jonathan caught the pathos of many Nigerians, when he stated in his address that he once had no shoes as he trekked barefooted to and from primary school.
He ushered in hope to a many a Nigerian youth when he summarized his life story by saying that if he, a poor village boy from a fish farming community of Otuoke in Bayelsa State could make it in life despite a history of destitution, that anybody can. But barely six months into his presidency, Jonathan lost the tenor of public communication; he failed to stay on the message of hope.
Mr. President shunned the lowly path. He disconnected from the ubiquitous Nigerian common man, whose business is what he can eat for the day. The man who grew up without shoes became a friend of big men and lover of good taste. And as the wealthy in the society encircled him, he lost sight of the poor masses he swore to fight on their behalf.
He lost touch with simplicity and became inebriated with the trappings of opulence by seeking constant replenishing of the presidential fleet. When he changed his spokesman of many years, he brought another whose words were replete with flower but no petals or juice of public information.
As such, what he was doing received scant appreciation. In that vein he forgot his new calling as a politician and sought to appropriate his former vocation of academia by engaging in the semantics and legalese of the thin dividing line between stealing and corruption.
He forgot that in politics, perception is everything and seemed to compound his bourgeoning woe by emulating the Americans who give no damn easily about what the other guys down the streets feel about their personal conduct or style.
What does it take to declare one’s assets if not fear that the poor masses you earlier told that you were like one of them, may begin to go livid with pain that over the years politics must have raised your wealth base to be at par with the rich? Yet, in that damn he failed to give, the masses decided to give no damn to whatever he does or says.
Policy: DESPITE the desirability or otherwise of the removal of petroleum subsidy, the timing of that painful measure made the President’s former admirers to shun him. His rich fund of overflowing goodwill dried up that fateful January 2012, when the draconian policy statement was made.
Would it not have served his purpose if the President went after the fat cats that feed fat on nation’s treasury through the dubious regimen of fuel subsidy? Had he provided safety nets for the poor or enplaced token supporting gestures of understanding for the predicaments of the wretched masses, the removal of fuel subsidy would receive the hurray of the masses.
But whoever gave the advice, which he heeded without tact or contemplation must have paved the way for the amiable President’s fall from grace to grass. That policy read like a show of ingratitude to the poor masses that trooped to the streets of Abuja two years earlier to press that the constitution takes its course following the demise of his principal. The Jonathan administration reveled in committees and forgot that it was going to seek votes from the people.
However, the policy of one man, one vote became a positive one, which ultimately led to the administration’s failure to win a second term in office. His Politics: MOST observers decried President Jonathan’s politics of appeasement towards the North.
As president from a minority ethnic group, Jonathan behaved as if he was being accommodated in the presidency by the North, thereby, exposing a kind of victim mentality. He failed to learn history and forgot to build solid alliances with any of the geopolitical zones outside the South South and South East.
The mishandling of the zoning arrangement in the National Assembly provided his rivals the much-needed facility to vilify him. When the great betrayal happened during the mini convention of PDP, the President did not have immediate answers to the defection of the five governors and rather seemed to exult in their exit.
The interference in the governors’ forum election exposed the president’s vacuous political strategies. His decision to support the ouster of former National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, after the PDP governors had defected showed the president as a selfish politician.
Yet, instead of allowing the process take a free course in the election of Tukur’s successor, Mr. President threw his weight behind the former Bauchi State Governor, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, who from all indications had an axe to grind with both the Minister of Federal Capital Territory and incumbent Governor Isa Yuguda.
Some analysts express the view that the viable option open to the President was to meet with PDP stakeholders from North East, particularly the governors, with the simple charge to select a good party man to succeed Tukur. By so doing, it would have been hard for the governors to continue to view the president’s strategies with suspicion.
Instead of helping to solve the crisis in the party, the Game Changer started creating his own troubles. Signs that the President’s politics was failing emerged when none of the veteran politicians from the core North refused to serve as the Director of his re-election campaign.
Bringing Dr. Ahmadu Ali to head the campaign detracted instead of added value to the ambition. A golden of opportunity for the President to score a bull’s eye in the light of the stiff northern opposition to his second term in office was during the conclusion of the national conference.
Had the President political sagacity and knowledge of the tenuous socio-economic balance in the country, he would have after receiving the confab report held a national broadcast on the imperative of following through the restructuring of the country along the lines of the confab report? Asking for a two-year moratorium on elections for the presidency and National Assembly would not have been too much a request, provided the beneficiaries would not partake in the 2017 presidential and National Assembly election.
Better still; the conference report would have been subjected to a referendum to serve as bedrock for the strengthening of the Nigeria federation. By leaving the Nigerian State the way he met it, President Jonathan failed to make the best of the opportunity providence presented him to right the wrongs in the country. Economically unviable population continues to warrant political viability.
His cabinet: THE cabinet shake-up that saw to the sack of ministers nominated by the G7 governors did not have far reaching political dividends. For instance, the President would have used the opportunity to shore up his support in the South West, either by ceding the position of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) or Minister of Petroleum to the geopolitical zone.
Either of those positions would have defused the political mischief intended by the Action Congress of Nigeria through the party’s support for the Aminu Waziri Tambuwal speakership seat in the House of Representatives.
Most regrettably, the President had no stringent control on his ministers. The allegation of massive corruption being labeled on the Jonathan administration flows in the main from the public perception of the ostentatious lifestyle of most of the ministers.
Some of the ministers seemed to hold the President in contempt, thereby feeding the public perception of a weak and pliable president. Outline of incoming Federal Cabinet: THERE are indicators that the President-elect would fall back on the South West in the formation of his cabinet.
Apart from recognizing the place of the South West support, which propelled his victory at the polls, General Buhari is said to be impressed by the knack for excellence of some political actors from the zone and has given assurances that they would form the back bone of his administration.
If words making the rounds in the APC circle are anything to go by, Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola, may be the next Minister of Works. Being a property lawyer, GMB is said to be considering the Lagos governor for the position to address the corruption in the federal works ministry, especially in the award and delivery of construction contracts.
Would Senator Chris Ngige accept the proposition to replace Senator Anyim Pius Anyim or insist on recovering his mandate to represent Anambra Central Senatorial district or become the Minister of Health? How would Senator Mamora fare as the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly? Who would former President Olusegun Obasanjo recommend for the post of Minister of Power? Contrary to suggestions in certain quarters, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi is not being considered for the Petroleum Ministry.
He is being considered for a role in Abuja, the FCT precisely. The nature of GMB’s inner caucus and ministers would present the change drivers of the incoming administration!