After suffering a well- deserved devastating defeat 2 years ago, Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan seems to have found his voice again. Former Presidential spokesman, Olusegun Adeniyi’s book, “Against The Run Of Play” provided the medium for Jonathan’s latest outbursts. One would have expected that the circumstances that led to his defeat and the chilly revelations of vicious graft of top officials of his administration would have provided an avenue for deep introspection and remorse. Not vintage Jonathan! He revelled in a delusion of grandeur blaming both terrestrial, non-terrestial forces for his historic loss.
Everyone but himself was responsible for his electoral shellacking. If he wasn’t blaming America and France, it was the incorruptible umpire, Prof. Attahiru Jega who stood like a rock of Gibraltar against his well-oiled rigging machine. Leading lights of his party, the People’s Democratic Party ( PDP) were not spared as Jonathan accused its then chairman, Adamu Muazu of treachery and surreptitiously working against his interest in the North. He was not done, he tonguelashed the press and the civil society for highlighting the pervasive corruption that flourished under his watch.
This poorly crafted attempt to rewrite history has crashed like a pack of cards. Mr Jonathan was squarely the architect of his misfortune. As an “ineffectual Buffon”, apologies to the London Economist, the then President Jonathan literally turned Nigeria’s treasury into a bazaar feasted on by a band of locusts clutching to the reins of power. Everything that was anything was looted. From the $2.1b arms funds, to the N2.53 tr 2011 petrol subsidy fund that was largely frittered away; to the humongous billions covertly withdrawn from the CBN to prosecute his ill-fated campaign. The list is simply endless. The recently uncovered $50m, recovered from the upscale Ikoyi apartment that was claimed by the suspended National Intelligence Agency (NIA) DG were allegedly part of his campaign funds that was diverted.
Jonathan’s weak response to the menace of a hitherto rag-tag Boko haram extremists soon turned it into an army of occupation controlling 27 local governments across three States which was carved out of the Federation as its caliphate. Indeed, at a point, the Borno State Government house was almost overran, the Federal Capital Territory was under constant attacks and other parts of the country shivered almost in anticipation of the arrival of the dreaded terror group. Mr Jonathan’s peculiar cluelessless hampered the rescue of the 276 Chibok girls as he failed to act for almost three weeks. He held on to the warped belief that terrorism was a conspiracy against him.
Rather than take full charge, President Jonathan allowed his generals to turn the insurgency into a goldmine, an ATM for taking money from the treasury according to Ex- President Obasanjo. He turned a blind eye to reports of grand sleaze levelled against his Petroleum Minister, Diezanni Allison- Maduekwe. When the then CBN Governor raised an alarm that $20b was missing from oil proceeds, Jonathan sheepishly dismissed the claim on National TV stating that “if $20b was missing, America will know”. The whistleblower, now Emir Sanusi of Kano was forced out of office to pave way for an unmitigated plundering of our resources.
Instead of trying to impinge the integrity of Jega, Jonathan should have asserted he was stunned that an incorruptible man like him exist who turned a blind eye to filthy lucre and insisted on conducting a transparent election. Everything in the books was done to prevent the use of card readers – that made it impossible to record millions of “ghost votes” in Jonathan’s South-south and Southeast stronghold, but Jega stood his ground to Jonathan’s chagrin. While INEC allowed the millions of votes recorded in Rivers for PDP – a state where both local and international observers questioned the sanctity of the elections, where votes recorded were more than accredited voters, Jonathan questioned Kano votes where elections was peaceful, free and fair. It is on record that apart from being the second largest State in Nigeria, Kano electorate and the North in general were determined, and came out en masse to vote for All Progressives Congress ( APC)’s Muhammadu Buhari.
While attempting a postmortem of the 2015 elections, Jonathan failed to highlight that he inadvertently balkanised his own party that led to the defection of 5 PDP Governors to the then opposition party. Instead of leading the pacification of dissidents in the run-up to the elections, Jonathan called their bluff and must have thought the “magical” power of incumbency will see him through. He failed woefully! He failed not primarily because of the defections but because Nigerians were tired of his inept and clueless administration where impunity reigned supreme.
The influential Economist once declared that Jonathan ran the most corrupt and clueless Government in Nigeria’s history, we cannot but agree more. We remember Obasanjo once sensationally remarked that out of the 5 women ruling Nigeria during Jonathan’s administration, inclusive of him/she, he was the weakest! By now giving the scale of looting being revealed, which top functionaries of his adminstration admit has his imprimatur, Jonathan should be cooling his heels in Kuje or Kirikiri maximum prisons. Maybe a little tenancy at the dreaded reform chambers would have altered the lyrics of his recent “tales by moonlight”.
While we understand that the Buhari administration seems keen on abiding by the terms of the peace agreement that heralded a peaceful transfer of power after Jonathan conceded defeat, we ask that where he is needed to assist investigations, he should be invited for questioning. Past rulers that broke the law in other climes were put in the dock. Peru, Brazil, France, Gambia, Italy are examples. If it happens here, heavens will not fall.
For now, we urge Mr Jonathan to bury his head in shame and apologise to Nigerians for squandering their goodwill and bequeathing a legacy of the most inept and corrupt administration in Nigeria’s history.
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