When Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as President of the Nigerian nation on May 29th 2015, Nigerians had come to terms with the fact that Goodluck Jonathan was now history, or so we thought. Admirers and critics of former President Jonathan had embraced a new reality where Buhari and his ruling All peoples Congress (APC) became the new dominant powers of the federation. For most Buhari supporters, it was a surreal experience, “Change had finally come” and all of Nigeria’s problems since 1914 were set to bow down on mere mention of Buhari’s name.
|Goodluck Jonathan with cross-section of Oxford University students|
President Muhammadu Buhari and his ruling APC kicked off their Presidency by heaping blames on Nigeria’s previous administrations for all existing problems they met on ground. The core of blames went to former President Goodluck Jonathan who was blamed for everything from the mundane to the ridiculous. Most supporters of Buhari’s administration initially enjoyed this Blame game; they cheered Buhari on, ignoring the fact that in those early months, Nigeria’s economy was on auto-pilot, showing signs of an impending crash. President Buhari spiced up his blame game by arresting key figures from Jonathan’s administration and building an entertaining media circus around it. Looted funds in hard currency were reportedly recovered from pit latrines, swimming pools, farms and savings accounts of domestic servants. Nigerians (especially Buhari supporters) kept on enjoying this show as months went by without Buhari appointing ministers or initiating an economic blueprint.
Fast-forward to this day, Nigeria is now on her knees economically and in almost every other aspect of national life. The federal cabinet President Buhari eventually assembled has turned out to be the most incompetent in our history as a nation. We are in a recession, poverty levels have spiked, national budget padded, inflation at an all time high, industries closing shop, overwhelming job losses, meanwhile massive corruption continues to thrive among cronies and family members of our infallible President.
Boko Haram crisis is no longer at the front burner, thanks in part to the Nigerian media which now sees concealing reports of Boko Haram activities as a patriotic duty, many thanks also to Nigeria’s compromised intellectuals and activists that no longer see the need to mourn and rub ashes on their foreheads whenever news of gruesome Boko Haram attacks manage to filter in.
The case of Internally Displaced People from erstwhile Boko Haram territories is in fact a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions, largely ignored by the Nigerian state and the international community. Nigerians in North Eastern IDP camps are dying of malnutrition and starvation daily, women and children have been converted into sex slaves by Government Security operatives in exchange for a loaf of bread or less. Corruption has in fact been taken to new heights where truck loads of relief materials meant for IDPs vanish into the thin air, only for its content to resurface in major markets around Nigeria’s North East and neighboring Cameroon. We’ve heard stories about a close ally of President Buhari spending N270million on cutting grass at IDP camps, and we’ve also heard of IDP inmates being fed boiled grass. Any connection?
The massacre of our Shia’ brothers and sisters, and the mauling of IPOB protesters by Buhari’s Armed forces are still fresh in our memories.
As at the time Buhari’s Government adopted ‘Blame-Goodluck Jonathan’ as an economic policy, a lot of us had expected the former president or at least his Party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to respond aggressively against these allegations early on, but that didn’t happen. The PDP had instead set itself on fire by going into Satan’s home in search of solutions to its electoral woes, eventually and expectedly creating more problems for itself.
For the most part of Buhari’s first year in office, Jonathan adopted a low key persona and ignored embarrassing allegations leveled against him. These allegations made by Buhari and his cronies in APC became a recurring decimal meant (for the most part) to distract disillusioned Nigerians away from the clear and present ineptitude of the incumbent. However in recent weeks, something has changed, Goodluck Jonathan has started speaking up, ‘small small.’
Former President Jonathan since his exit from office has enjoyed fame and goodwill mainly in the international arena but locally too. Jonathan has been bestowed with several awards and honors including international assignments on behalf of global organizations. At some point, it seemed Jonathan was no longer interested in Nigeria’s affairs but would rather concentrate on being a global citizen, but again, something has changed. In two recent Public speaking engagements at the United States of America, one with the Oxford Union and the other with Nigerian Lawyers practicing in the USA, Jonathan dropped very soft bombshells against Buhari’s government. Goodluck Jonathan’s bombshell did not include direct criticisms or name calling; rather, all he did was highlight several milestones achieved by his administration. Fortunately or unfortunately, these milestones are such that cannot be disputed by Jonathan’s harshest critics; ranging from total freedom of expression, youth empowerment and Nigeria’s overall emergence as Africa’s largest economy.
At a time when Buhari’s popularity is at an all time low and critics have come closer to home (and bedroom) than expected, there could not have been a better time for Jonathan to hit back at all those months of defamation and character assassination he endured from Buhari and his cronies, online and offline. A lot of diehard Buhari admirers have become outraged by Jonathan’s recent soft bullets fired at Buhari’s failing administration; many have asked him to keep quiet, as a matter of fact, a delusional nonentity actually announced on Social media that he had blocked Goodluck Jonathan’s popular Twitter handle.
Some of us would like to encourage Dr Goodluck Jonathan to be more daring in criticizing Buhari’s failures and actually name names. Nigerians have many more questions that Jonathan needs to answer in order for us to completely move on. Questions on Jonathan’s five-year stewardship must be asked and answered, his scandals too. Jonathan owes us answers on his handling of the Chibok girls’ saga. For instance, why did (Jonathan’s) Presidency refuse to acknowledge the Chibok Kidnap early on? Is it true that the Borno state Governor waited for over ten days before formally informing and briefing President Jonathan about the Chibok kidnap? Jonathan needs to tell us why western nations placed an unfair Arms embargo on his government when Boko Haram’s insurgency was at its peak. Jonathan should reveal to Nigerians how he and former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki bypassed Western Arms embargo and procured effective weapons which Buhari’s government still relies on till this day.
On Sambo Dasuki, Jonathan owes us a clear explanation on all he knows about the alleged $2.2billion Arms fraud.
Jonathan’s 2015 Presidential election loss also provides several unanswered questions; is it true that Sambo Dasuki obtained video evidence of former INEC Chairman Attahiru Jega in a Dubai meeting with APC chieftains, where plans were concluded to compromise 2015 election results? Is it true that during the March 28th 2015 polls in several Northern booths, INEC unilaterally adopted Option A4 system asking Buhari voters and Jonathan voters to form separate queues, thereby intimidating the latter? How the hell did Kano state’s 1.9million ‘perfect’ votes emerge?
Even though we accept that Goodluck Jonathan is now history and ‘is not coming back,’ Nigeria’s current symphony of problems and Buhari’s government insistence on pointing accusing fingers at Goodluck Jonathan regularly, demands that we expose all the ‘exposables’ and lay all the cards on the table. Hopefully, Nigeria can then move forward, eventually.