“The circumstances in which I find myself assuming office today as acting president of our country are uncommon, sober and reflective” – Goodluck Jonathan, 9/02/2010.
These were the words of Ebele Jonathan after the Nigerian Senate invoked the doctrine of necessity to empower him as acting president of the country because the one that was elected as president had gone in search of a better health system without doing the needful.
What the Senate did was not on a platter of gold as a lot of bickering, power play and name calling had preceded the decision. Nigeria and Nigerians were not prepared for that situation yet we agreed that it’s occurrence and management would take us a step further as a democratic nation. It was an event that has had a long term effect on many other activities. 5 years on, we won’t forget how it all started.
Fast forward to May 17th of this year at a farewell service organised in honour of the president at the Aso Villa chapel. GEJ said “we (his government) have done certain things that probably we shouldn’t have done but we didn’t do them deliberately. So, for those that we have offended, it was not deliberate; it was as a result of the exigencies of the office”.
Just like he is reputed to be, GEJ in his characteristic manner alluded to his becoming president accidentally. How come as a leader of over 170 million people, GEJ took decisions that affected our lives- today and tomorrow in an uncalculated manner. This is not the way of leaders.
In our clarion call for his appointment as acting president, Nigerians- home and abroad showed Jonathan a new level of love that had never been shown a public office holder in this country. We stood by him, supported him with all we had and encouraged him to look beyond being a selected servant but an elected leader.
On September 15 2010, he declared his intention to contest the April 18th election after so many weeks of hide and seek. Glory to God, he won the election with a promise of transformation on the heels of his shoelessness story. We were moved, the touching story of a young boy without shoes yet reaching for the stars despite his limitations was too emotional to handle. We have found for ourselves a hero. The story was well crafted that if acted out, it will do well at the Cannes film Festival. But the shoelessness was not enough criterion for the office of the president.
Just like the February 9th event, his 4 years in office was another great step towards cementing our democracy. We learnt about who shouldn’t be our president.
Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan was Deputy Governor of his state until the governor was impeached on corruption charges in 2005 and a year later, he was selected to run as vice presidential candidate of the PDP. These cases of accidental appointments (selection) that brought Jonathan to the highest political office in Nigeria did not stop us from electing him president. He was educated, a former University teacher and had experienced governance at the state level. It proved also that these things were not enough to pick a president.
We are learning and getting better. We have shown Jonathan that in all ramifications that we loved him, in return, he showed us how not to love in return but we are certain God loves us the most. Or how do you explain the things we would suffer if Jonathan was to lead us for the next four years judging by what we are going through now?
How would you explain the economy that was rebased, yet we can’t cater for ourselves? How big is that economy?
For the first time since 1999 power generation is at it’s lowest yet they lied to us. They told us there is a cabal strangling the economy and four years later no member of the cabal has been arrested for prosecution.
Our worse security situation as a country was witnessed under this administration which classified those hunting down our families and friends as our brothers rather than calling them the killer they are.
In return for ineptness, we have repaid the good work of our president by voting him out.
Just like he told us some of the things he did were not deliberate, it is beyond doubt that his Presidency was a mishap and not planned for.
We have learnt so many lessons from these series of activities and I am certain we won’t forget them in a hurry. Chief amongst them however, is the lesson of who not to make a president.
GEJ is doing is best to ensure we do not forget him and his era, this is the only explanation for the crisis threatening to shut down the country just days away from the inauguration of a new government.
But what comes may, Nigeria would survive this and we will overcome dooms day.
Drop your comments and tell us one thing you won’t forget about Jonathan’s Presidency.