DR GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN: SCAPEGOAT OF PDP 16-YEAR MISRULE OR VICTIM OF NORTH'S REVOLVE TO TAKE POWER BACK? PART 1.
Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the first sitting president in
Nigeria to be voted out from office since the country's independence in
1960. Mixed reactions trailed the outcome of Nigeria's 2015
presidential election as expected. For some, it was unthinkable for a
sitting or incumbent president to lose an election to the opposition.
For, others, the loss of the election by Dr Jonathan was not a surprise.
To persons in this school of thought, the failure or inability
ofJonathan's government to fix the plethora of social, economic and
political woes and challenges bedeviling Nigeria is more than enough
reason to be voted out of office.
Government has many
functions and responsibilities. These functions and responsibilities can
be reduced to two: protection of lives and property of citizens of
state and ensuring of their welfare. Everything a
government does comes under these two functions and responsibilities.
Any government that fails to live up to expectations as far as these two
things are concerned does not deserves to remain in office. This is the
thrust of Social Contract, between persons in government and citizens of
Many local and foreign political analysts and
commentators have advanced various reasons behind the defeat of Dr
Jonathan by General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) in the Nigeria 2015
presidential election. As to be expected, many of these analysts and
commentators are of the view that the inability of Dr Jonathan to
provide solutions to the myriad of problems plaguing Nigeria was the
chief reason for his political fall. To some of them, the determination
of the North to take back power, having lost it , following President
Yar'Adua's death in May 2010 is the cardinal factor behind his defeat at
the polls. There is no argument that the two reasons provided above
contributed in no small measure to the political demise of President
Jonathan. In the remaining part of this article, I take a critical look
at these two factors that have been advanced by political experts as
reasons for Jonathan's defeat and conclude with my own view as to why he
lost the election.
It has been noted earlier in this piece, that
the essence of government in a state is to ensure the security and
welfare of citizens of the state. The Theory of Social Contract as
propounded by Thomas Hobbs, a British political philosopher, has it that
persons in government, are in a social contract with citizens of the
state. According to Hobbs, government officials hold power in trust on
behalf of citizens of the state. This implies that the consent to govern
a state comes from the citizens and state officials should use power to
harness and deploy state resources for the welfare and benefit of every
citizen. Hobbs further opines that any government that fails to take
care of the security and welfare of its citizens does not deserve to
remain in power and should be dismantled or uprooted from power by
citizens of the state.
To start my analysis, the problems and
challenges bedeviling Nigeria are almost as old as the country herself.
At the return of democracy in 1999, Nigerians were full of hope and
expectations that all the countries woes under the military would soon
be a thing of the past and that the country would be a better place for every
Nigerian. General Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), who was the first
democratically elected president of Nigeria, spent eight whooping years
in power (1999-2007). H e was the first president to govern Nigeria
under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Opinions differ regarding the
achievements of Obasanjo as president of Nigeria for eight years.
However, at the end of his tenure in 2007, the major challenges facing
Nigeria: unemployment, insecurity (especially in the Niger Delta then),
corruption, weak economy, energy and power sector challenge and so on,
were still there.
General Obasanjo was succeeded by late President
Yar'Adua, another leader produced by the PDP. Yar' Adua's government
was short-lived as the wicked hand of death took him from mother earth.
Before his death however, late President Yar'Adua had the Seven Points
Agenda as the cardinal state policy and road map for the development of
Nigeria. During his short stay of about three years in power, Yar'Adua
succeeded in instituting an electoral reform committee to reform and
overhaul Nigeria's electoral system in order to bring about the conduct
of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria. He also reduced the
pump price of petrol from N70 to N65 and created the Niger Delta
Ministry and initiated an amnesty program for former fighters in the
Niger Delta region, with a view to bringing an end to the crisis in the
Niger Delta and as well as bring development to the region, while also
ensuring that there is lasting peace in the region for conducive
atmosphere for oil production upon which Nigeria's economy depends, to
take place uninterrupted and undisturbed.
Dr Goodluck Jonathan
formally became the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on May 6th, 2010, following the
formal announcement of the the death of his boss, Alhaji Musa Yar'Adua.
circumstances behind the emergence of Jonathan as the president of
Nigeria and the consideration that he was from an humble background made
the expectations of Nigerians from him to be very high. As it were, he
came to power at a time Nigeria was facing numerous challenges in every
facet of the country's national life and many Nigerians had expected him
to proffer solutions to most, if not all the daunting challenges facing
Amongst the monstrous challenges plaguing
Nigeria then (and even now) were/are insecurity (especially the menace
of Boko Haram), unemployment, poor state of economy, corruption on the
part of state officials, challenges in power and energy sectors and so
on. It is no longer news that president Jonathan has not been able, in
the last five years to fix all these aforementioned challenges facing
Dr Jonathan's actions and in-actions regarding various
national issues contributed to the failure of his administration. Chief
amongst these were his inability to defeat Boko Haram, the kidnap of
Chibok school girls, the Nigeria Immigration saga that led to the death
of about twenty Nigerian job seekers and so on. To be fair to Jonathan,
he put in efforts at fixing some of these challenges, but, his inability
to fix them did not go down well with Nigerians and made many to vote
against him in the last presidential election. I shall turn to the
second factor, the resolve of Northerners to take power back.
is not arguable that the North was instrumental to the emergence of
General Olusegun Obasanjo as the president of Nigeria in 1999. As stated
above, Obasanjo spent eight years in power. Under the zoning formula of
the Peoples Democratic Party, a Northerner was supposed to spend eight
years as president of Nigeria to balance the dynamics of ethnic and
regional politics in Nigeria. It has also been noted above that President
Yar'Adua, the Northerner who succeeded Obasanjo in 2007, died in 2010
in office. As required by the constitution of the federal republic of
Nigeria, Yar'Adua was succeed by his then vice president, Dr Jonathan, a
Southerner. The emergence of Jonathan as the president of Nigeria, as a
consequence of Yar'Adua's death did not go augur well with the North. I
do not intend to undertake a chronicle of the political drama that
played out in the Nigerian power arena during Yar'Adua illness and even
after his death as that is known to even a casual observer of Nigerian
politics. However, it is well known that the North felt short-challenged
by the non adherence to PDP zoning arrangement, following the death of
their kinsman and the the rise of Jonathan to the office of the number
citizen of Nigeria. This was the beginning of Jonathan's political
problem which largely culminated in his defeat in the last presidential
election in Nigeria.
To buttress the point above, some northern
leaders did everything possible to undermine Jonathan's person as
president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal
republic of Nigeria. This can be found in the hostile and unfriendly
attitude and posture of some of them towards him. Most notable act of
aggression from the North was the threat by some northern leaders to
make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan. It is believed also that the
memo released by the impeached governor of Adamawa, Murtala Nyako, was a
handiwork of the entire North and that it was an indication of the non
acceptance of Jonathan's government and show of hostility by the North to him.
add salt to injury, Dr Jonathan, whom the core North sees as a USURPER,
enjoying a mandate supposedly meant for the North, indicated his
interest to contest in the 2015 presidential election with a view to be
re-elected as president by Nigerians. This decision by Jonathan, was to
the North, the last straw that broke the camel's back.
presidential election had come and gone. The election saw the defeat of
Jonathan and the emergence of Buhari as the president elect of Nigeria.
The question now is: Was Jonathan a scapegoat of PDP's 16-year misrule
or victim of North's resolve to take power back?
Watch out for an answer to this question in part 2 of this article.
I wrote this article on 22, May 2015 and published it on my Google Plus account.