The Problem with Mr. Goodluck Jonathan

The much hidden and carefully protected desire of President Goodluck Jonathan to seek a second full term that will give him an unprecedented 10 years uninterrupted leadership of the jungle called Nigeria is now out of the bag with the comedic adoption by his party (or rather, private puppeteers). After much prevarication, the coronation is now set to take place on December 6, 2014 when members of the largest mafia party will come together to adopt their puppet.

It is true that his administration have finally completed the power sector reforms started by President Obasanjo and presided over the railway reforms imagined and flagged off by Y’Aradua, what it lacks are achievements that goes beyond finishing what others started. 

Indeed progressing the Benin- Ore road, or the cosmetic efforts to fix Lagos- Ibadan pales in comparison to his larger failings. Those achievements his aping followers point to would have been suitable for a Governor but do not match up to the lofty dreams a nation invests in presidents. Simply put, the President is small! 

I know it is hard to get into discussions with the lot without getting a lecture or two about airport refurbishments (those that use it as often as I do, knows better; or better still visit Port Harcourt “unInternational” Air tents!)

The real failure of this administration is an inability to dream big; to tackle the nation's big three problems of corruption, security and infrastructure deficit with any fresh new ideas that wows. All we get is the same tired old ideas from the same recycled empty brains that are now stuffed full in its corridors of powers. 

Lets talk about leadership. It is clear the president enjoys politicking far more than he enjoys governing. This is why he outsourced the governing of the petroleum industry to his mistress and more recently he got the banking industry to run itself. Try use an ATM in any major city in Nigeria and you will wish again for the days of SL Sanusi when some sanity was restored to the parasitic sector. ATMs are broken, when they work the lines are long and banks now have the luxury of charging you ridiculous fees for not deploying enough ATMs to service their customers. 

But it may not be the Presidential politicking prowess that will return him to office in 2015. Thanks to his elevation of "settlement" politics to another level, we may not have the luxury of seeing a real contest within the PDP itself. But even if PDP cannot deliver, what is preventing the opposition from providing an alternative?

From all indicators, the President's true political support base is in 4 states of the South-South (exclude Edo and Rivers), 5 states in the Southeast, and 6 states of the North Central. Pray tell why the opposition is finding it hard to organize the rest of the 21 even while the three largest states of the union in Lagos, Rivers and Kano are in their kitty! 

The problem with whatever is left of the opposition lies in ego and greed. Here are few political facts (all political; stop reading here if you want to preserve your sanity): 

1. Neither Buhari nor Tinubu nor Atiku nor any of yesterday’s “yes men” have any business contesting elections against an establishment (but from an ethnically marginalized group) candidate like Goodluck Jonathan. Their participation only muddies the sphere, creates cynicism and their wardrobe of skeletons negates the discussion. These men of yesterday are better in the background- pulling the strings, connecting a new leader that has proven capable of taking on the mess created by Goodluck Jonathan and his sycophantic lot.

2. Regardless of the fervor in the core Northern 8-9 states for power to return there, it defies every logic of fairness or equity to the Niger Delta region that has produced the greater share of the nation's resources but had very little say on how it is spent. While this is not ideal, it is a political reality. Fact is the Southern and Middle Belt elites look at Northern tantrums at the current President as just an attitude of entitlement rather than substantive criticism. Many remember years when these same northern leaders pillaged Nigeria and told the rest of us to just take it. Payback as such galvanizes the southern progressive element to shun knee jerk GEJ opposition or at best just offer pendant criticism with no follow up action.

3. Flowing from point number one and two above is the need for the opposition to present an acceptable candidate that looks more closely to the current in origin than not to placate the marginalized and peel away from his political base. Comrade Oshiomole and Governor Amaechi fit the bill. The later can particularly be effective in breaking the President's alliance and gaining the confidence of the North. Having been a thorn in GEJ's side he can proceed to eliminate him politically while ushering in four years of rapid reforms. Let us hope he can keep a gentleman agreement.

While APC keeps bumbling, it is clear that a President that started his reelection campaign from the very moment he was sworn in does not deserve to be reelected, but their indecision and lack of clear message may as well hand him the victory. What a pity! 

 


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