Home Focus Jonathan: Vilified, vindicated by the North

Jonathan: Vilified, vindicated by the North

by News Echo
6 minutes read

On the eve of the 2015 general election, former president Goodluck Jonathan made a prophetic statement. He told Nigerians that he is the most vilified president Nigeria has ever had and that when he leaves of office the nation will remember him as the best tolerant president they had ever had. Jonathan was specifically referring to the Nigerian press that dubbed him many names. Put together, he was referred as ‘The best of luck, the worst of luck.’ This was not altogether unexpected given Jonathan manner of ascendancy to power.

The former president was dubbed the ‘accidental President’ when, in February 2010, he became acting head of state after his boss Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was incapacitated by kidney disease. A lot of intrigues and power play ensued on whether Jonathan should succeed his boss. Even those who proposed the doctrine of necessity to allow him take full control of the presidency could not have their way. But as nature would have it, four months later, he became substantive president when Yar’Adua died.

Jonathan won a lot of kudos for his democratic credentials, telling his compatriots that fighting over power was not worth the blood of any Nigerian. He became first sitting president in Nigeria to accept defeat in an election. He has also earned ridicule and suspicion in his retirement for having presided over a government that allowed billions of dollars to be siphoned out of the country in suspicious phony contracts and oil deals.

The North, unfortunately led the assault, but aided by some southern lackeys. One of the strident critics of former president Jonathan was Junaid Muhammed. From 2013 to the 2015 election he led the Jonathan bashing. He stoutly stood against anything Jonathan, even the former president’s participation in the 2015 election.

In December, 2013, the Nigeria’s secret police, the State Security Service, interrogated Mohammed over inciting comments credited to him.

The politician was reportedly summoned to the SSS headquarters in Abuja, where he was quizzed for several hours over comments credited to him suggesting there would be violence should President Jonathan stands for re-election.

In March 28, 2012, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain and former governor of old Kaduna State, was quoted as saying that a Northerner must become president in 2015 or Nigeria would divide. He also stoutly stood against Jonathan contesting in the 2015 election, saying that the North would reevaluate their relationship with the rest of the country if one of their own did not emerge as the president.

On May 14, 2012, President Muhammed Buhari, who succeeded Jonathan and now appear to be heading fragmented nation, had said that while addressing members of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) from Niger State who paid him a visit said that the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood if the 2015 election were rigged.

Even former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, campaigning for the APC presidential ticket and later contested the 2019 election under PDP, had said that a vote for PDP in 2015 General Elections would amount to a vote for continuation of insurgency.

Professor Ango Abdullahi, Secretary of the Northern Elders Forum, had also said that those who would vote for Jonathan and the PDP in 2015 would be considered an enemy of the North. Of course these northerners were aided by their lackeys in the South. The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, APC leader, Bola Tinubu keyed into the Jonathan bashing.

The Jonathan lashing became loudest during the infamous Chibok School Girls’ abduction. This was exacerbated by a former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who accused the former of being the reason the kidnapped Chibok School Girls were not rescued in 2014. A lot of arsenals were hauled at Jonathan, but he held all those criticism with stoicism.

Today, however true to this prophetic saying, today Nigerians are eating their words, and wishing that they still had Jonathan as the president.

All indices have helped to buttress this fact. In the fight against insecurity, Jonathan was tagged a weakling, a sitting president and commander-in-chief, who could not command even a fly. Just few days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari got the Jonathan treatment when hundreds of students were abducted from the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.

Reported accounts indicate that the Kankara incident occurred near the Buhari’s home, 2km away, at a time he arrived to observe a 7-day rest period. Sadly, the president was accused of showing no concern and instead preferred to visit his cattle ranch rather than commiserate with the people.

Jonathan paid more attention developing the north than the south where he comes from. While this attracted curses from his kinsmen the same beneficiaries of his generosity were also against him hauling missiles and invectives.

The PDP governor’s forum led by Rotimi Amaechi never gave him a breathing space. They battled him every inch of the way. In tow were Kwakwanso, Lamido, Fatai, as arrow heads among others.

Today, the North is now seeing through another prism. They are now realising that not only Jonathan was a misunderstood president, he should be persuaded to contest the 2023 presidential election. Just last month, while celebrating his 63rd birthday, the crème de la crème in the North visited the former president. The same Northern leaders who told their Almajaris to throw stones and sachet waters at Jonathan are now seeing him as a Messiah.

Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, and Chairman All Progressives Congress who led the governors on the visit to Jonathan were; Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who recently defected to the APC from the PDP; Kebbi State Governor, Atiku Bagudu and Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru and a former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, were said to be urging the former president to contest the 2023 election.

But the greatest reversal was made by Governor Ibrahim Ganduje of Kano state when he openly confessed that former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Muhammadu Sanusi, was made the Emir of Kano to spite Jonathan. Speaking while launching a book on Jonathan penultimate Tuesday, said he dethroned the former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi because he was not best man for the throne, saying he was appointed to spite the former president.

He also praised Jonathan for establishing the Almajiri schools, saying that Boko Haram would have larger followership if majority of those kids were not taken off the streets. Before he was sacked as the CBN governor, Sanusi had accused Jonathan of embezzling $49 billion from the public coffers.

Sanusi was applauded for it and made a hero of the Jonathan bashing. But today the table has turned. Though Jonathan has not given a tacit agreement, but the pressure on him is becoming too much that he may bulge. But it is not however clear if he would bulge. But given Jonathan status as an elder statesman, it is highly improbable that he will make another come back.

After all the humiliations, surprisingly Jonathan has turned to become the beautiful bride.

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