(By Abubakar Evuti)
“I felt pained each time I looked at the papers and instead of the issue of the strike, the President is after governors who then, were threatening to leave his party, the PDP. Here Jonathan showed that he was more of a politician than a leader and was more concerned for his 2015 ambition than the destiny of millions of young Nigerians.“
The readers I had in mind when I set out to write this article are not those who like to think that it is enough that a Christian or a man from the South of Nigeria remains President whether or not he is incompetent and corrupt. Those who enjoy thinking that even if Nigeria will not make any progress, it is enough that power stays away from the North. No. Those I had in mind are people who see that whether or not the President is from their part of the country or of the same faith as them does not matter if he is insensitive, incompetent and corrupt and encourages the culture of impunity. Those people who know that the actions and inactions of a leader will cause us all joy or pain wheather he’s of the same region as us or of the same faith as us.
So as 2015 draws near, below I have highlighted the things to consider before voting for President Jonathan (again).
Eagle Square Bomb Blast
On 1st of October, 2010 a bomb exploded at Eagle Square Abuja. When I heard of it, I knew, in spite of my ignorance of politics, that the tragic attack will boost President Jonathan’s popularity because, as the attackers made it appear, an attempt was made on the President’s life. I wondered why the political opponents of the President, despite all their experience and intelligence, will make such a woeful mistake? I knew even then that they can’t be that stupid.
The second blast came not from another bomb but from President Jonathan himself when he denied that, even though they admitted responsibility, MEND was not responsible because he grew up in the Niger Delta!
I am not here accusing the President of terrorism but we can’t but agree that that attack and his attempt to exonorate MEND from the equation even when investigations had scarcely started was raw politics at play and indeed it demonized his political opponents and helped him win more votes. Here is something from Wikipedia about Henry Okah; the bomb attack of Oct 1st and President Jonathan:
During his South African magistrate court trial on 2 May 2012, MEND’s (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) former leader Henry Okah came out and insisted that President Jonathan masterminded the 1 October 2010 independence day bomb attacks. He told the court that President Jonathan and his aides organised the attacks in Abuja in a desperate political strategy to demonise political opponents, including the former military President General Ibrahim Babangida, and to win popular sympathy ahead of the 2011 elections.
Of course the presidency has since denied the charge. But it was Claud Cockburn who said: “Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.” So next time President Jonathan says his politics is not worth the life of a Nigerian…
Politicians enjoy thinking that because it is said that politics is a dirty game, they can lie as they please; making promises and refuse to fulfill them, enter agreements and go against it, spit out words and eat them later. That should not be so. Promises, when made, should be fulfilled. Agreements too. The issue of PDP zoning is dead and buried so I won’t go into that. (Attempts have been made,successfully perhaps, to explain away the fact that a zoning agreement was made and was breached.) But to predict the future, we must look at the past. History repeats itself. It is true. A liar today is usually a liar tomorrow. A dishonest man today is usually a dishonest man tomorrow. Men of honor are known by their words; these are people who when they make a promise, they fulfill it.
On February 1, 2011 Vanguard reported that, while he was interacting with Nigerians mainly diplomats working in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, and the African Union, AU, in Addis-Ababa, Jonathan said if elected, the issue of power will be a thing of the past, that he has no ambition of staying on as President beyond 2015 because, in his own words:
Four years is enough for anyone in power to make significant improvement and if I can’t improve on power within this period, it then means I cannot do anything even if I am there for the next four years.
Has any ‘significant improvement’ been made on power? The answer may be debatable so if yours, like mine, is a resounding NO then by all means do not vote for Jonathan because, as he said himself, he won’t be able to make any improvement even if given another four years
Education: Between ASUU and ASUP
Let it be known that ASUP is still on strike and for almost a year now, Polytechnics all over Nigeria have been closed. Let it also be noted that one Mr. Wike is the current Minister for Education!
Of all the President’s incompetence and inactions and blunt refusal to take responsibility, young Nigerians have been most affected by the ASUU strike.
Between the period of June and November 2013, Nigerian Universities nationwide went on strike. Their demands are still unclear to me. This is due to many reasons including that the government, instead of devising means of seeing to the demands of ASUU, went all out sponsoring protests and propagandas against the Union —including, I was told, an absurd tale that the only reason ASUU went on strike was because Dr. Fagge, the Chairman of ASUU, who is a northerner and a Muslim is trying to discredit the government of Goodluck Jonathan!
I felt pained each time I looked at the papers and instead of the issue of the strike, the President is after governors who then, were threatening to leave his party, the PDP. Here Jonathan showed that he was more of a politician than a leader and was more concerned for his 2015 ambition than the destiny of millions of young Nigerians.
The President showed little concern but he did occasionally say some things during those painful six months of the strike. The one I still remember is him asking Nigerians to ‘beg’ ASUU to go back to class.
It was sometime in November, about 5 months into the strike, that the government grew wise enough to realize that begging, threats of sack,sponsoring protests and propagandas alone will not cause ASUU to go back to class. That was when the President called ASUU to parlay and spent 13 hours negotiating. Dr. Doyin Okupe, Senior Special Adviser to the President later recalled that meeting when he remembered Nelson Mandela. Okupe said:
Nelson Mandela was a great leader. He lived his life for the people of South Africa. I check through the history of Nigeria, among our past and present leaders, the only one we can call our Mandela is President Jonathan. There is no President in Nigeria that has sacrificed 13hours to discuss with ASUU.
This almost comical quote of Dr. Okupe, I think, shows one thing: the standards of what good leadership is by this administration are low. For a Senior Special Adviser of the President to think that because the President ‘sacrificed’ 13hours to do what he (I.e the President) should have done five months ago qualifies the President for the award of Nigeria’s Nelson Mandela is a clear pointer to this fact.
When Nigerians in early January, 2012 took to the streets to protest, we had no idea that what we were protesting against was more than the removal of fuel subsidy or, as some people said, the outrageous increment of the price of fuel. It was when the famous #OccupyNigeria protest grew hot and the government realized that this young Nigerians were not docile that some truths started to surface: incomprehensible stories of cabals siphoning money for petroleum subsidy. money running into trillions of naira. Along came Hon. Farauk Lawan to head a committee to reveal who were doing the stealing, how and how much had been stolen. We all relaxed and awaited the outcome of the findings of Hon. Lawan’s committee and for criminals to be tried and hauled into jail. Something else happened. Hon. Lawan was said to have accepted bribe from Femi Otedola.
Now that I look back, I wonder why Hon. Lawan never went to jail for receiving bribe and Otedola for giving bribe and for impeding investigation to reveal thieves who were milking the nation dry. And too, why did President Jonathan not act on the findings of Hon. Lawan’s committee even though he, the President, assured Nigerians that he will do so? This says a lot about the President.
Several cases of corruption have been made to noiselessly slide out of the News:
There was the Oduahgate where the former Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, bought bulletproof cars causing the nation to lose some N255m.
There was the case where the Minister of Petroleum, Ms. Alison-Madueke, was accused by federal lawmakers of squandering N10 billion to charter and maintain private jets for her personal use.
There was the case where a former Minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, stated that $45b in foreign reserve account and $22b in Excess Crude Account was squandered between two regimes: Yar’adua’s and Jonathan’s. Here the government of Jonathan did not deny. They only responded to the effect that: you, Dr. Oby, have squandered some money some time ago too.
There was the case of $20b that the Emir of Kano, HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, when he was Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said was not remitted. Whether he was telling the truth or not may never be proved —at least not by the Emir who is now bestowed with the amawali, a token of prestige, and the royal cambu, a muzzle for the cessation of all unnecessary talk so can bring him to dabble into the debate no more. But during his last media chat, President Jonathan did say if $20b was missing ‘America will know’. Now I like to assume that Americans run Wikipedia. Here they explained, with certainty, why the Emir of Kano was suspended as Governor of the CBN:
He (SLS) was appointed on 3 June 2009 for a five-year term, but was suspended from office by President Goodluck Jonathan on 20 February 2014 after exposing a $20 billion fraud committed by the president’s associates in the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) by the president’s regime
There are several other cases of corruption but President Jonathan said some of those cases critics are calling corruption are only people stealing!
The tragic reign of this government—its inaction, pussy footing,blame game, incompentence,vindictiveness,senseless propaganda, etc—can be comperessed into the story of the abducted Chibuk girls.
Sins like dancing away in Kano some few hours after people were killed in Nyaya, Abuja may be atonable. But not insensitivity and the vain attempt to wish away the souls of more than 200 girls.
We will all remember that it was 18 days after the girls were abducted that the government took any anction —and it was to set up a comittee not to rescue the girls but to find out if indeed girls were abducted and how many girls were abducted! 18 days after the abduction!
I worry whenever someone says that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was uncalled for. That protests should not be directed at the government. This is not the first time people have been abducted in the country and the government didn’t flinch. We can not deny that, not for the protests, the government will not have done a thing.
Dr. Oby Ezekwesili has had mud thrown at her by people who are like characters from that cave in Ngugi Wa Thiong’o’s Devil On the Cross. The sin of Dr. Oby was this: she asked the government to do its job —rescue abducted girls.
Strong propagandas have continue to be resounded that no girls were abducted by friends of the President —like Asari Dokubo. Police have harrassed Nigerians of goodwill who come out daily to sit outside to remember the girls.
Even if, somehow, those girls are returned, the government failed them and failed Nigeria generally; for not preventing the abduction even though the government was forewarned of the impending attack; for failing to act until 18 days after the abduction; for attacking people of goodwill who kept the fire of #BringBackOurGirls burning.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”