Thursday, 12 November 2015



In attempting to answer the question as to whether Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is a scapegoat of PDP 16-year misrule or victim of the resolve of the people of Northern Nigeria to take power back, it is imperative and  appropriate to take a cursory  look at the meaning of scapegoat. After this, I shall  examine the last sixteen years of PDP rule in Nigeria, with emphasis on their inability to provide solutions to the myriads of challenges confronting Nigeria, as well as the loss of power by the North in 2010 as a result of the death of their son and kinsman, late Musa Yar'Adua, and how that uttered the balance of power in Nigerian politics in favour  of the South-South region of Nigeria, at the expense of the North.

Here are some of the definitions of scapegoat. Google defines scapegoat as ''A person or group that is made to bear the blame for others''.  Marriam Webster Dictionary defines scapegoat as ''A person who is unfairly blamed for something that others have done''.

As noted in part 1 of this article, the Peoples Democratic People (PDP), was the ruling party in Nigeria from 1999 to 2015. In 1999 when the PDP took over power in Nigeria, there were numerous social, economic and political challenges bedeviling Nigeria as a state. The essence of a government in a state is to harness and deploy state resources to bring about overall national growth and development, for the good and benefit of citizens of the state. Against this backdrop, at the return of democratic rule in 1999, there were huge expectations on the part of Nigerians from their government to solve most, if not all the challenges plaguing the country from independence through the military era, to the end of military rule in 1999.

The first beneficiary of power in Nigeria, at the return of democracy in Nigeria, was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He was in power under the umbrella of the PDP, for two consecutive tenures of four years each from 1999-2007, that was for a period of eight years. Many local and international analysts and commentators on Nigeria still differ on Obasanjo's achievements in eight years. However, amongst other things,  it was under him that the telicom sector was privatized and this saw the coming of private telicom companies like MTN, ECONET (now AIRTELL), GLO, and so on, into the Nigerian telecommunication market. Telecom services are now available to almost  70% of Nigerians and the rigours and difficulties associated with access to telecom services during the days of Nigerian Telecommunication  Limited (NITEL), a monopoly telecom company that was owned by the Nigerian government are no longer there. Chief Obasanjo was also said to have left about $45 billion in Nigeria's foreign reserves as at the time he was leaving power in 2007. However, at the end of his tenure in 2007, the challenges of unemployment, corruption in government, insecurity (especially in the Niger Delta), energy and refineries,  power sector failure (even after claiming to have spent over $16 billion on power generation) and impunity were still very much high in Nigeria.

Late President Yar' Adua, who succeeded Chief Obasanjo in May 2007, had a short-lived government of less than three years. He became incapacitated in November 2009 and  died in May 2010. He was however, able to reduce the price of petrol from 70 Naira to 65 Naira, set up amnesty programme for former fighters in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria; create the Ministry of Niger Delta to bring about economic and social development of the the oil producing region of Nigeria, amongst other things.

Dr Jonathan succeeded late Musa Yar'Adua in May 2010 following the former's death. The challenges of insecurity, corruption, power/energy  sectors failure,  weak and mono-product economy, and so on were very much alive at the time of Jonathan's ascension to power in 2010. He completed late Yar'Adua's first tenure and contested in 2011, emerging victorious. It would not amount to an exaggeration to say that there were high expectations from Nigerians for Jonathan to fix Nigeria in view of the numerous woes confronting the country and the circumstances surrounding his ascendancy to power. The Jonathan administration will come to and end on May 29, 2015. That Nigeria now faces more troubles in every area of her national life than she did in 2010 is a pointer  to the fact that Jonathan's government has not been able to fix the country in the last five years. As it were the challenges of insecurity (Boko Haram), corruption, power/energy crises, impunity in our national life, unemployment and so on, still display their ugly heads in Nigeria now, more than ever before. I now turn to the northern factor.

Some political experts have said that Dr Jonathan lost the 2015 Nigerian presidential election to General Buhari (rtd) because of the resolve of the core Muslim North of Nigeria to take power back having lost it in 2010 as a consequence of the death of their son and kinsman, Musa Yar'Adua. This created room for Dr Jonathan, a Southerner, to become the president of Nigeria. The rise of Jonathan to the office of the number one citizen of the federal republic of Nigeria did not go down well with the core Muslim North of Nigeria. The North had argued that another Northern be made to continue as president of Nigeria in fulfillment of the purported PDP's zoning agreement, which provided for power rotation between the Northern and the Southern parts of Nigeria. Unfortunately for the North, the Nigerian constitution, the supreme law of the country, stipulates that the vice president of Nigeria should be swore in as substantive president of the country in the event of the death of the president and commander-in-chief of armed forces of the country. The constitution held sway and saw  the emergence of Dr Jonathan
 as president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria. This did not go down well with Northerners, who felt short-changed and also saw Jonathan as an usurper and an illegitimate president enjoying a mandate 'SUPPOSEDLY' meant for the North. This the beginning of Jonathan's political problem as president of Nigeria.

In conclusion, the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party leadership to fix Nigeria in sixteen years and give better and quality life to Nigerians contributed immensely to their defeat in the last general election in Nigeria. From the definitions of scapegoat above, it would not be completely right and accurate to submit that Dr Jonathan is a scapegoat of PDP's misrule. This is because scapegoat suggests innocence and non involvement on the part of the person that is been blamed for what other have done. In the case of Nigeria, Jonathan was a president under the umbrella of PDP  like Obasanjo and late Yar'Adua. Altogether, the PDP spent sixteen years in power without been able to fix the woes facing Nigeria. It would be more sensible to talk about the collective failure  of PDP as a party than to talk about Jonathan as a scapegoat of PDP's misrule. The reality is that Nigerians were fed up and frustrated with the PDP and resorted to an alternative, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Now, on whether Dr Jonathan is a victim of North's resolve to take over power at the centre,  the reality as has been noted earlier, is that the North was not happy about Yar'Adua death because it made them lose power and ultimately saw the emergence of Jonathan as president of Nigeria. The North that had spent about forty years in power, since Nigeria's independence, fifty five years ago, only had access to it for a paltry three years (Yar'Adua's short-lived tenure) in the last sixteen years. It is imperative to note that the northern part of Nigeria has never joked with power since Nigeria's independence in1960, in view of the economic challenges faced by the region  as a consequence of natural factors. This is because power grants them unlimited and unfettered access to Nigeria's oil and other resources and northern politicians control about 85% of oil blocks ownership in the Nigeria. More so, Northerners believe that only 'ONE OF THEIR OWN' can and will protect their political and economic interests in Nigeria. This explains their hostile disposition towards Jonathan's government since 2010. It  is my candid opinion that the 2015 presidential election was a 'now or never' moment for the North. Therefore, I am constrained to conclude that the determination of northern political elite to take back power was a more decisive factor that led to the defeat of Dr Jonathan. Put succinctly, while I agree that inability of Jonathan to fix the catalog of woes  in the Nigerian social, economic and political sectors led to his defeat, I am of the strong opinion that North's resolve to take power back at all cost was the key factor behind his political fall.

Frank, Chukwuka Osimi is a Historian, HMO Officer/PRO, Blogger, Analyst and Commentator on national and international affairs. The views expressed in this article are exclusively mine. I take responsibility for any form of errors that may be found in the article.

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