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Four more years of Jonathan? Good luck, Nigeria! 0

Six years of the Jonathan presidency have pushed the country to the precipice. The way it looks, Nigeria might take a dangerous plunge if Jonathan remains in office beyond May 29, 2015. Another four years under the present dispensation is an open invitation to chaos.

Strange and interesting times are here! A crucial decision to postpone national elections was taken and the President and Commander In Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces has just confessed that he was taking a nap! President Goodluck Jonathan claimed, in his last ‘media chat’ that he was neither consulted nor was he privy to the decision. There has been several instances of abdication of responsibility by the president but, hell!, this one takes the Oscar.

This is hardly surprising anyway. Since he effectively took over in 2010, President Jonathan has consistently displayed the dangerous trait of abdication of responsibility in favour of allowing discredited cronies, including members of his family, to run the show. He displayed this dangerous trait just before he got a six-week respite. He showed that he was neither consulted on, nor privy to the insurgency in the north east when he went campaigning in Maiduguri, epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency. While assuring Nigerians that Boko Haram would become a thing of the past if he was returned into office, President Jonathan was reported to have said: ‘Vote for me and I assure you we shall flush out Boko Haram.’ Did the insurgency begin yesterday? And, by the way, when did wishes become horses?

While we wait for answers, the president, not surprisingly, countered himself when he told Nigerians that no government can fix the economy in four years! Those were the words of the president while campaigning in Ilorin. What, then, did the president mean when, four years ago, he promised to deliver heaven and earth to Nigerians at the end of his self-proclaimed one-term tenure in 2015? Alarmed party members must have noticed the damage President Jonathan is doing to his own campaign to have appropriately requested Namadi Sambo, the equally dour and colourless vice president, to step forward. Sambo’s first salvo, to the effect that troops have invaded the dreaded Sambisa Forest was followed by even more daring attacks by the terror group.

Leadership is a trust; a burden. Leadership is as tasking as it is taxing. Sadly, nearly five and half decades after independence, Nigerians are still to see quality leadership. All Nigerians have been saddled with are, at best, leaders who craved power, got power but were soon overwhelmed by the demands of office the moment they found themselves on the hot seat. This crass absence of quality leadership is not because the nation is in short supply of conscientious and far sighted people: problem is, for reasons best known to the average Nigerian, credited, competent and incorruptible people capable of making the difference do not often get the chance to lead!

Of course, the country President Jonathan inherited in 2010, after the brief spell of late Umaru Musa Yar’adua, cut the image of a land under occupation: a country with decayed and decaying infrastructure, a privatization policy that was programmed to fail, a country held by its jugular by insurgents and criminal kidnapping gangs and a nation steeped in corruption. Coupled with this was the general apathy among the populace. These were some of the challenges President Jonathan – often described by his fans as shoeless, unassuming, patriotic and gentleman (mind you, he saw nothing wrong in reneging on his unsolicited pledge to quit in 2015) – promised to tackle.

Six years of the Jonathan presidency has pushed the country to the precipice. The way it looks, the country might take a dangerous plunge if President Jonathan remains in office beyond May 29, 2015 – the deadline for swearing in a new head of state. And the reason for this unacceptable level of rot, despair and despondency is that merit and competence were never on the shopping list of those who voted for the president in 2011. So far, the Jonathan presidency has fumbled from one crisis to the other and appears to have run out of ideas. The government has failed to address the fears of those who voted for the president on compassionate ground just as it disappointed those who thought the president would learn fast on the job. So far, the president’s campaigns have continued to confirm valid fears among Nigerians that another four years under the present dispensation is an open invitation to chaos.

Government got its priorities wrong from the onset. Rather than work the economy, the president and his handlers spent a disproportionate amount of time promoting divisive ethno-religious tendencies. Nigerians only got to hear twisted policy statement whenever the president mounted the pulpit. What is more, Nigerians quickly learnt from the utterances of their president that there was no sincerity in the nation’s anti-corruption war when, early in his administration, the president extended a presidential pardon to a cross-dressing ex-convict who spent time for stealing public funds. As if this did not send wrong signals, President Jonathan, as the Commander in Chief of the nation’s war on graft told the world while campaigning in Lagos that stealing, the criminal art of looting the treasury, is not corruption!

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By Abdulrazaq Magaji

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Direttore Responsabile Giuseppe Frangi