As well as being a lucky man Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, is truly an incredible character! Here’s a man whose political profile received a boost after he caught the attention of his estranged benefactor and former president, Olusegun Obasanjo. That was after Mr. Jonathan inherited the seat of his larcenous boss, DSP Alameiseigha.
In a matter of months, ‘lucky’ Jonathan moved from being deputy governor to substantive governor then vice president before he picked the big prize upon the passage of Mallam Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. His luck deserted him when it mattered most! Like most humans are wont to do, Jonathan saw his own hands, not the hands of God in his exceptional luck!
If he was that lucky as he and his clappers claim, it would not have been necessary for Mr. Jonathan to empty the treasury in his failed re-election bid in 2015. It was desperation that pushed Jonathan into saying that stealing is not corruption. It was this mindset of Jonathan that opened the floodgate to the worst looting spree in Nigeria’s history.
Now, to the issue of luck in the affairs of men! It is sad and, indeed an irony of fate that people who flaunt luck as their main qualification but who never prepared for leadership have serially found themselves occupying the most powerful office in the land. This, unfortunately, has been the metaphor as well as the tragedy of Nigeria! Add Jonathan to the mix and the picture you get is the political carcasses of clueless, unprepared and ill-prepared people who were foisted on Nigerians.
Until the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Nigerians are yet to have the luck of being led by leaders who adequately prepared themselves for the tasking and taxing job of leadership! This has been at the heart of the many problems with Nigeria and that is why people of goodwill see a lot of promise in the Buhari/Osinbajo administration.
At independence in October, 1960, the man who should have been prime minister and head of government, the late Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardaunan Sokoto, opted to govern the north and ceded the throne to the late Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. Give this to Sir Ahmadu Bello: the obvious sign that he prepared himself for leadership role manifested in the indelible and enduring achievements he posted as premier of the defunct Northern Region. The trend continued with the return to civilian rule in October, 1979 after 13 years of military interregnum.
In his own words, Shehu Usman Shagari, the man who became the dovish executive president in succession to Obasanjo was prevailed upon to drop his senatorial ambition for the presidency by hawkish colleagues in the defunct National Party of Nigeria. Though Nigerians were denied the opportunity to bid farewell to poverty in 1993, it is a secret of the market-place that till the end of 1992 and, especially until the death of Hajiya Simbiat Abiola, her husband, the late Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the unannounced winner of the election of June 12, 1993 had forsaken the presidency and could not have prepared himself for the office he was later denied.
But, General Obasanjo who paired late Yar’Adua with Jonathan had different ideas. After tolerating Jonathan for six drab years, during which the treasury was virtually emptied, Nigerians began to appreciate the need to throw out incompetent incumbents. The story will be told for a long time to come as to how Jonathan who did not deserve a place in the first 11 of the Niger Delta made it to the Nigerian presidency!
The way he looked the other way as his cronies looted the treasury, it was either Jonathan knew next to nothing about governance or lacked the capacity to learn on the job. Many Nigerians were rightly scandalised that their president, who should know better, appeared to have been carried away by the fairy tales of his handlers who claimed the president’s ‘luck’, and not his competence, could transform Nigeria!
We cannot tire from holding Jonathan to account for the mess the country has been thrown into. After he wasted millions in public funds to oil the most expensive campaign in the history of Nigeria and handed a bankrupt economy to his successor, commonsense demands that Jonathan should be made to answer some questions! Jonathan and his handlers should know it makes scant sense to abuse the magnanimity of the Buhari/Osinbajo administration for resisting calls to call the former to account.
By the way, what pleasure does Jonathan derive from gloating over berthing the ship of state at Golgotha?
Magaji is based in Abuja.