My Transition Hours: The Jonathan Misdemeanor
By Mubarack Umar
I have, with great respect followed the recent book written by His Excellency, former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, from first to the last page. The book, My Transition Hours was aimed to highlight facts-happening prior to the 2015 general elections and aftermath.
The Ijaw born lecturer of Zoology dedicated his time to pen a make-believe on what happened in his favour. This, has also shown considering the people he invited at the book launch held last week in Abuja.
From my point of view, these types of books should not be penned by an ex-President who led a country of more than 180 million people with religious and cultural differences; it should have come from someone championing ethnicity.
Goodluck Jonathan seems to be a pseudo-democratic leader who has no respect to other regions. He favoured his people, land and religion. He wrote long chapters blaming northerners for his defeat. But could not outline the reasons behind why northern youth despised him then. It is astonishing that Mr Jonathan forgot the supports he has been getting despite his government inability to tackle many national challenges.
For the record, let me remind Mr ex-President that northern Nigeria will not allow anything that tempers with peace and religious activities, just like his own region, which has large followership of Christians. The north, which Goodluck portrayed as an ocean of blood in his book where he stated that, “northern Muslims disagreed fiercely. They claimed that it was their turn to fill the vacancy in the presidency.” and “many were torn between supporting me and standing up for their region and religion,” and “The north is a totally different ball game. There has always been an order of violence which became useful at several moment of decision.
This assertion is untrue and it is a big punch at the faces of people like Adamu Mu’azu, Ibrahim Shema, Ibrahim Shekaru, Sule Lamido, Tanko Yakasai, Ahmad Makarfi, Namadi Sambo, Mu’azu Babangida, Bala Mohammed, Professor Rufa’i Alkali, Alhaji Aminu Wali and many other northern elites. There were all practicing Muslims and they stood firmly to GEJ’s reelection bid.
He forgot to mentioned tension in Rivers where reports of election malpractices occurred under the watch of his kinsman, governor Nyesom Wike. I will leave this to Ameachi for further explanation.
I’m surprised that Goodluck Jonathan believes so much in conspiracy theories. For someone who has been a president of heterogeneous nation for six years to call other side of the country these names has clearly depicted himself as undemocratic leader who lacks regional understanding. Who gave the order? He should have specified it.
Goodluck Jonathan has no one to blame but himself. He surrounded his conference room with people who only gist on what pleases him/them. They don’t tell him the clear picture on what was happening. Had it been GEJ sees and hears, he would not have visited Kano and be dancing just to receive a decamped APC members at a time where Boko Haram were busy bombing innocent lives at Nyanya and Kuje in Abuja.
If I could remember, his kitchen cabinet within the PDP has severally cautioned him on how to handle north when it comes to election. Even his boss Mr Obasanjo who brought him to national political limelight accused him of failing to deal with the many problems facing Nigeria – including insurgency in the north-east, corruption, piracy, kidnapping and oil theft. But power-broking played its role. Mr President was deaf and dumb. His wife has, in multiple occasions insulted north and its people.
Mr Goodluck lost votes probably because of the crisis sparked by the party’s presidential campaign organisation’s and First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan’s attacks on some of the Northern prominent politicians.
The hate campaign has fuelled a row between President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
Mu’azu and other Northern leaders in the PDP have kicked against the unguarded vulgar language First Lady Patience and Jonathan’s spokesman Femi-Fani Kayode used to attack the then All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari who has large followers in the north. I don’t know any northern presidential candidate who authorize insulting southerners, calling names to get votes. Would Mr President say he was unaware? His wife called Gen. Buhari a “brain dead” without a word of caution from the President. The First Lady’s position was echoed and confirmed by Fani-Kayode, who re stated that “yes, truly, Buhari is brain dead”.
Not only that, Mrs. Jonathan’s reference to “people in the North who breed more children than they can cater for” during one of her campaign in Calabar, Cross River State, has also caused disquiet within the PDP leadership.
Mrs. Jonathan had said: “Our people do not give birth to uncountable children. Our men don’t give birth to children and dump them in the streets. We are not like people from that part of the country (North)”. How do you expect Aisha Buhari calling one of the southern state center of prostitution, human trafficking, cultism, oil theft, car snatching or any other existential misbehaviors in the south?
Mr Jonathan, the north did not hate you, but hate your way of handling national issues especially security. People were being killed in thousand everyday in Mosques and Churches. But GEJ seems not believe. He sees that as an opposition motive. I wonder if he was dreaming and later wake up at the verge of elections period where through consultation, INEC postponed elections to six month so that security apparatus would chase out Boko Haram members to the border. Did Boko Harama started in 2015?
Former head of state, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida said Goodluck Jonathan lost the presidential election to Buhari of the APC, because he failed to meet the yearnings and aspiration of Nigeria’s citizens. Buhari deserves this victory. The country had witnessed a downward trend and wanted a leader who would salvage it.
At that time, it was not about Buhari or Goodluck, but about incompetence, cluelessness, corruption and integrity, expected competence. People were tired with PDP misrule. Nigeria is one of the easiest country to govern. Its people do not need much from government, that is why we still remain as one nation. The least we demand are power supply, security, infrastructure, education and social welfare. But nothing would work if people are living in fear. To least, security is the priority.
Goodluck Jonathan wrote that northern youth were ever ready to attack PDP members, which I found childish. Who authorized and order that? His wife, Patience has authorized stoning APC members, but he could not mentioned that. Her words: “Anybody that come and tell you change, stone that person.” Anybody that tell you change, tell that person, carry your change and get away.” Set politics aside, Mr President, these words could trigger a war.
The Chibok saga is another Jonathan’s weakness in handling security issues. He was oblivious when the reports were circulating. He was unsure and even reiterated it in his book that, “my mind was ravaged by a torrent of questions.” A sitting president doubting this kind of security threats should have instantaneously be removed.
Max Siollun a Nigerian historian said, “When Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok in northern Nigeria, Jonathan failed to realise how much this would capture the public’s attention, both locally and internationally. His failure to speak about the kidnap for several weeks made him appear uncaring. These shortcomings were exacerbated by the behaviour of his wife, Patience, when she met the mothers of the kidnapped girls. Her ostentatious display and emotions were mercilessly parodied.
Jonathan’s perceived casual indifference to the suffering of his people was compounded when he was photographed celebrating his niece’s lavish wedding just a few days after Boko Haram had killed 2,000 people in the town of Baga.”
Under Jonathan’s watch many militant leaders from Niger-Delta suddenly become rich from his administration negotiations of contracts. Some of them have been awarded security contracts to guard the oil pipelines they once attacked. He has also pardoned some of his allied accused of fraud and money laundering. This increased the cloud of suspicion over his government.
These events caused deep resentment in other parts of Nigeria and created the impression that Jonathan ran a government that benefits those from his region, the south.
Goodluck even entered into an open feud with the then governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. Around February 2014 Sanusi alleged that $20bn of Nigerian oil revenue was missing. Instead of investigating the claims, President Jonathan suspended Sanusi for his outburst in by exposing government fraud.
During his time, people refer to the country’s resources as the “national cake” which they were sharing to some selected individuals. There was a perception that Jonathan gave it largely to members of his community. Many powerful members of GEJ’s government were from his region in the southern parts of the country. This, was not accepted even by his some party members. His tendency to fall out with colleagues weakened PDP and strengthened the opposition APC. His incessant fight with them one after another; led several of them, including five serving powerful governors to leave the party in frustration and joined the opposition. The alliance between new-PDP and the opposition brought an end to his administrative recklessness.
This coalition unmistakably converges the power of small
parties to match against the giant party, PDP. The former governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu (a.k.a Jagaban) was at the forefront campaigning against Jonathan and after Jonathan administration fall, Tinubu enrolled his in his enemy list. Unfortunately, Goodluck did not mentioned Southwest as part of those voted against him.
I will not delve much in his assertion about international community intervention particularly that of Barack Obama. Not only US President, almost all the humanists around the globe were against Jonathan, not because of his religion or tribe, but due to his political miscalculation, incompetence, recklessness and maladministration.
Goodluck Jonathan narrations were far from political realities. In the Nigeria’s post-independence power struggle, Goodluck used his pen and shielded his southern brothers from first coup and killing top northern leaders.
Jonathan should, as a matter of national peace, order vendors to return all the copies in circulation back to his library, because he is further exposing himself. I doubt if this book was authored by an ex-president.
Mubarack Umar could be reach at [email protected]