PRESIDENT Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan lost his bid to return to power on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for reasons attributed to his omissions and commissions. Though he’s now being eulogised for conceding defeat to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate and the winner of the keenly contested poll, General Muhummadu Buhari, ENCOMIUM Weekly Associate Editor, UCHE OLEHI chronicles his many unpardonable sins and how they conspired to fasten his exit from Aso Rock Villa.
1 RENEGING ON SINGLE TERM PACT WITH THE NORTH
President Goodluck Jonathan walked into big trouble when he contested and won the 2011 presidential elections. The North feeling short-changed since they were to complete the late President Yar’Adua’s tenure, vowed to make Nigeria ungovernable for him. And they really did.
But when Jonathan made up his mind he was taking yet another shot at the Presidency, the plot to flush him out at all cost thickened. Its execution was in the landslide victory General Buhari recorded in the region.
2 IGNORING THE SOUTH WEST
Jonathan also offended the South West. It was under his administration that the region didn’t occupy any major political office. Even the office of the Speaker zoned to them was lost to North East and nothing was done to pacify this major power cum economic bloc. 2015 was therefore pay back time, especially when the region was the seat of the opposition APC. Not even Jonathan’s last minute ‘invasion’ of the region to garner their support could win their hearts and votes.
3 NOT TAMING PATIENCE
Jonathan’s wife, Dame Patience really messed things up for him. Unfortunately, he was not able to control her. An unpardonable sin, given the fact that a man should be able to lead his household, we knew Patience will create more enemies for her husband when she unilaterally launched a parallel campaign that took her across the states. From calling Northern children ‘born throways’ to labelling Buhari ‘analogue’, ‘too old to rule’, ‘brain dead’… Mama Peace crossed the bounds of hate campaign. She was thus reported to the International Criminal Court (ICC) when she told PDP supporters to stone those canvassing for change.
4 UNDER PERFORMANCE
The unpardonable sin of under-performance also contributed to Jonathan’s ouster. The impression many had is that the Jonathan presidency is a total failure and perhaps the worst since the inception of democracy in 1999. His handlers laboured in vain to erase this unenviable tag.
5 RUINING THE ECONOMY
The out-going Nigerian President would also be remembered for causing more damage to the economy than his predecessors. From inflicting on his country men and women the highest exchange rate in history, inflation, depletion of the foreign reserves, unemployment to the crash of stock market, the economy was in grave condition under his watch.
6 CONDONING CORRUPTION
Jonathan appears to be comfortable with corruption. In fact, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) didn’t secure conviction of corrupt high profile political figure throughout his tenure. There are also multiple cases of stealing swept under the carpet under his regime. Some of them included the pensions and NNPC missing funds. Allegations of graft are also said to dwell in the presidency and juicy ministries and parastatals.
GEJ took Nigeria to a higher step in global corruption perception index. And he made little or no effort to fight corruption which he annoyingly said is better than stealing.
7 HE’S WEAK AND CLUELESS
Jonathan is gentle and meek in nature. He is however, portrayed by his critics as weak and clueless. These negative attributes really worked against him.
8 JONATHAN COWED BY INSURGENTS
President Jonathan met Boko Haram when he assumed office first as Vice President and later as President. But he couldn’t effectively tame the bloody insurgents who have killed over 30, 000 Nigerians and rendered some four million people homeless. This was one of the biggest sins of the out-going president.
9 NOT FINDING CHIBOK GIRLS
When over 200 school girls were abducted by Boko Haram in Chibok, Borno state almost year ago, global attention was beamed on Nigeria even as local and international groups campaigned and pleaded for their release. Surprisingly, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was and is still clueless as how to rescue the innocent girls. This ‘gross irresponsibility’ probably cost Jonathan his ‘return ticket’ to Aso Rock.
10 TAKING NIGERIANS FOR GRANTED
Jonathan was also going about governance as if Nigerians were stupid. And taking them for granted, he made promises he never cared to fulfill. And where he did, it was mere window dressing.
11 HIRING THE WRONG HANDS
Another deadly sin of Jonathan was hiring sycophants who never told him the truth. There were so many incompetent officials in highly sensitive offices. Like This Day columnist, Mr. Segun Adeniyi wrote in last week’s This Day Live, Jonathan was surrounded by aides who assured him the ship won’t sink only to be told when it was too late the truth. Also in the article, Goodbye Ebele Jonathan, Adeniyi equally observed that Jonathan didn’t discover himself in time. Before he woke up, his army of aides and campaign managers have rocked the boat with their unguarded utterances, actions and inactions.
12 JONATHAN AND THE SUBSIDY PROTEST
Jonathan also alienated himself from his most reliable support base (and that’s the masses) when he started moving against them through partial removal of fuel subsidy which triggered off protests in some parts of the country. Nigerians never forgave the man without shoes, who said he was one of them when he was campaigning in 2011.
13 INTERFERING IN NGF AFFAIR/THE PDP CRISIS
The role President Jonathan played in the crisis that rocked the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) will not stop hurting him because it actually led to his defeat at the March 28, 2015 presidential election. It was actually the split of the NGF that prompted the implosion of the ruling PDP.
Consequently, aggrieved members of the party defected to the opposition party. Efforts to reconcile with some of them, especially the PDP governors hit the rocks. When the Jigawa and Niger Governors returned, the president wasn’t ready to reconcile with the Rivers State Governor and NGF Chairman, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi. More PDP members including members of the National Assembly would later defect to APC. This accounted for the block votes Jonathan lost to his former party members and power brokers.
14 BITTING THE FINGERS THAT FED HIM
Jonathan also offended many power brokers including the man who brought him to power, General Olusegun Obasanjo. No matter his problem with the two-term former president, many reason that losing Obasanjo to the opposition was one major way GEJ mismanaged his relationships and thus eroded his political support base.
15 ENCOURAGING VOTES FOR SALE
In his desperation to win the 2015 presidential election, Jonathan allegedly resorted to massively bribing of voters with dollars and material gifts. In the last few weeks to the election, GEJ practically relocated to Lagos from where he reached out to South West leaders.
His critics accused him of doling out millions of dollars to traditional rulers, religious groups, corporative societies, traders, artisans and even ethnic militia groups. This unfortunately worked against the incumbent president who was condemned for inducing voters with cash and gifts.
16 INSENSITIVE TO MEDIA PERCEPTION
It is obvious that Jonathan was not aware of the influence of both mainstream and social media. Before he could come to terms with their enormous role in shaping public opinion and perception it was already too late.
17 SIDELINING AMERICA AND THE UK
Jonathan’s relationship with the West had a couple of issues that were not beyond his control. By not sticking to the mantra of good governance in all ramifications, he lost Nigeria’s hitherto robust relations with America and the UK. President Obama never visited Nigeria during Jonathan’s reign. He chose our neighbouring Ghana and South Africa. The US also denied Nigeria arms to fight Boko Haram sensing it could be misused should crisis erupt after the polls.
They would launch anti-Jonathan campaign when Abuja started romancing Russia for arms. And this commission literally marked the end of Goodluck Jonathan administration with the West voting out regime.