Sharing my thoughts and putting my message accross
Nothing best symbolizes the confused state of mind of the average Nigerian today than the general perception of President Jonathan’s unexpected call for a National Conference. When Jonathan flagged off his presidency in acting capacity in 2010, he started on the wrong footing. Disillusioned by the poor performance of the national soccer team at the 2010 World Cup competition held in South Africa, he disbanded the Eagles without much ado suspending international soccer outings for 24 months. But he did not have the FIFA statutes in his radar. The rest unfolded as it was destined to. FIFA made some noise and Nigeria’s President chickened in at the speed of light.
Against the formidable backing he enjoyed from opinion leaders and ordinary people in the South as a fallout from the actions of the Yar’Adua mafia (popularly termed the “Cabal”), President Jonathan chose the surprising path of appeasing Northern power brokers at the start of his presidency when it was clear to everyone that the Boko Haram mission was a politically sponsored project. Everyone knew that his overtures would fail since he was fighting a solid rock with kid gloves against better judgment. He alone along with his handlers could not see deterioration coming his way. Today, the strength cultivated by Boko Haram with time is now history.
The first big test came with the scandalous exposure of unwholesome judicial activities involving the President of the Nigerian Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo-Salami. Swift presidential action suspending Justice Salami was soon followed by mixed signals from the President. Noises from self-imposed experts were brought to bear on the President regarding his powers and constitutional provisions and the story began to change. The President was suddenly declared neutral in the handling of Ayo Salami’s case. Then news came forth that the suspended judge was on the verge of being temporarily reinstated by the President. This was followed by the President unleashing his anger at the National Judicial Council (NJC) for fears that his constitutional powers were being usurped by the NJC. Latest at this point, Nigerians were sure that Goodluck Jonathan was by and large, a very clueless President who had no real idea what the presidency was truly about.
This was further compounded by one gaffe after the other in media interviews showing a President who was least comfortable talking in the gaze of cameras and millions of viewers with stage fright and a glaring shortage of self-confidence. It culminated in the infamous declaration of not giving a damn, what the constitution says on asset declaration. The highlight was however marked when in the midst of unfettered assault by a Boko Haram-gone-wild, the President declared the removal of fuel subsidy claiming there is “no going back” or “I am ready for a revolution” only to chicken in again when the Battle Royale approached a boiling point. It was clear that Nigerians were up against a President that was not fully prepared for the task ahead. He was designated the clueless President and confined to the stereotypical drawer as such.
Ever since however, a lot has changed. Having led the presidency through a popular trend of not being taken seriously in the face of the general perception of intellectual inferiority, the President has been fighting like a wounded lion, not the least, because he wants to keep the presidency for longer than envisaged. He launched a process of re-manning his team for a more aggressive onslaught on critics and a fundamental rebranding of his personal image.
In the interim, there is yet no tangible dividend of good governance to grab. There is however an abundance of destructive onslaught against critics and non-admirers. Taken aback by the ferocity of the President’s onslaught in his battle that has often successfully wrong-footed his opponents, a section of credible observers is now beginning to wonder if this President is truly clueless after all.
The President and his handlers have proven an outstanding skill in using or misusing the power of incumbency to disorganize the Nigerian Governors Forum and sowing discord in the Rivers State House of Assembly. On each occasion the President’s enemies lose out in the power equation with uneven interpretation of figures and adoption of commonsense. 16 are greater than 19 and 5 are greater than 26.
Today, corruption is one essential political commodity that is kept under exclusive presidential protection. Ribadu’s commission was rubbished by a strategically implanted Oronsaye and goodwill recommendations termed amateurish and unqualified. Wherever he can, the President does his best to protect the institution of corruption. Farida Waziri was dismissed for no publicly discernible misdeed except that she was slowly beginning to bite corrupt government officials and taking on Ribadu’s activism. In contrast, Diezani Allison-Madueke who presided over a regime of wanton corruption in the oil sector is left intact and strengthened as a senior Minister. The outcry for the removal of Stella Oduah today marks a major instance of the state of confusion that Nigerians have now been thrown into. So confused have Nigerians become today, that they fail to see the President’s lack of interest in dismissing any serving Minister on charges of corruption. Stella Oduah would have long been gone from her seat today, if she had been reported to the President by any oil marketer of fighting hard to dethrone corruption.
After all, the President doesn’t hesitate much when he is determined to kick out his subordinates. Farida Waziri knows this, Obasanjo’s party men know this and so do the ministerial appointees of the dissident G7 Governors.
Now, the President has opened another talking shop to keep Nigerians busy. The Presidential Advisory Committee on National Conference seeking national dialog on the continued marriage of the odd bedfellows constituting the Nigerian entity. This move is widely suspected to be a fraudulent electoral ploy. Many observers agree that the sudden birth and timing of the idea shows the lack of detailed examination of its conception and consequences. After all, aside the maintenance of a bargaining chip for the 2015 presidential candidature, it is doubtful that Jonathan truly wants the disintegration of Nigeria that powerful allied countries will not encourage in the first place. Yet a section of observers strongly believe that the entrenched position of Islamic militancy seeking overall Islamization and the widespread belief in a regional rulership birthright render the unholy alliance of differing regional interests undesirable. Since Jonathan may not have strongly factored in the resultant impact of the undesired consequences of this sudden and tactical call for national dialog, the President ought to be helped to realize what he is widely acclaimed not to have bargained for.
It is the peak of disillusionment that political observers are currently undergoing in Nigeria. While a loud section of Eastern Nigerians who have had a taste of failure in an erstwhile Biafra venture make no secret these days, of their wish to have a divorce of the 1914 colonial marriage, feelers from other regions of the country are not as clear-cut. The oil-producing Niger-Delta region is already known for its restiveness and clamor for independent resource control – an understandable psychological agitation. But the desire for secession with all its political and economic uncertainties does not seem to be top on their agenda, while the retention of the presidency under Goodluck Jonathan is paramount to the desires of the regional cabal benefitting from the system.
Still, a voluble section of intellectual observers is in doubt if this President is truly a clueless President. Competence and capability are viewed in this context through the prism of outmaneuvering political opponents – a virtue that every politician shares without having to be President. Now Nigerians have the messy bowl laid bare in central park. Friends and foes agree that the bowl oozes corruption while infrastructural advancement is largely seen on papers authored by spin doctors. Now, they say Nigeria is “cash-strapped” but not “broke” while the market price of our flagship product booms beyond all bounds. International organizations all hail Nigeria’s economic structure constructed by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. All the signs point to a booming economy. Yet we are cash-strapped? Day means night and war means peace? I’m lost indeed like many other Nigerians.
Knowing too well that the cosmetic dismissal of Stella Oduah for paying or partially pocketing inflated prices of armored cars will solve no problem, they still cry out loud for this window-dressing, piecemeal measure. More horrendous amounts stolen in the oil sector has failed to ruffle feathers and a considerable number of Nigerians are lost in confusion. Should Nigeria now be left to the leadership of any other person but Jonathan no matter where he/she comes from or should the resentment of the northern born-to-rule arrogance control our sentiments? While the people, to whom power belongs, are sorting out this psychological confusion in social media altercations, Jonathan remains the beneficiary hanging on to power and the entire nation the undisputed loser. With President Jonathan now stretching the limits beyond all bounds, the tragic end to resolve the impasse will be anyone’s guess since he is not poised to give up his ambition to continue this disastrous pattern of governance of his own free will.