Zik Ziglar did not have former President Goodluck Jonathan in mind when he made this popular quote “Failure is not a person, it is an Event”. This is to say that people fail, but that does not mean that they are failures, that is, of course if they don’t give in to the pressure and frustration of failure by declaring themselves failures, or by giving up on the situations that seem to be causing them a lot of setbacks and disappointment. This quote in essence is valid to describe Former President Jonathan’ ordeal as the first president in the history of democratic rule in Nigeria that was topped out of power by an opposition. It was obviously an unprecedented event that for one, validated the resolve of the people to embrace something new and promising, thereby rejecting a government propelled by the People’s Democratic Party for about sixteen years. The reasons for this if your ask Nigerians at that time is that Nigeria had become a failed state under him, drowned by corruption and mismanagement, above all the leader of the Continent’s Biggest nation was, himself, “clueless” and a failure. However, was he?
Former President Goodluck Jonathan Journey pointed to the obvious that he had good fortune behind him, he came to limelight politically when he was picked by the late Former Governor of Balyasa, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha as the Deputy Governor of the state during the 1999 General Election. On 9th of December 2005, he was sworn in as the Governor of Bayalsa State, After his boss was impeached for money laundering charges in the United Kingdom. Years after, he was handpicked as the Vice President under President Yar’Adua. In no time, his good name pushed him up the top of the ladder of power, he became the Acting President. When his Boss was indisposed as a result of his Medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. At the wake of the death of the Seven Agenda Policy oriented President, President Umaru Yar’Adua on 5th May, 2010, Vice-President Jonathan was sworn in as the president Nigerian. His Emergence as the president of the country was seen as divine, his name was viewed as racket that brought him that far. In fact he was seem by all as the savior of the country, that was grappling with so many internal problems, ranging from the insurgency in the North-east, the Militancy in the South-south, Corruption in all levels of Government, Kidnapping, Economic woes to name a few. This National Problems gave credent to his words “I prefer to see the silver lining in the dark cloud rather than the dark cloud in the silver lining.”
To state that former president Goodluck Jonathan was an accidental Politician is obviously justified, he scaled through all these levels of power subconsciously. It would be recalled that before he “mistakenly” venturing into politics in 1998, he worked as a lecturer and an Environmental Protection Officer. He was obviously not a failure at that time, to some extent, his nomination as the deputy Governor to the Late Alamieyeseigha was due to his successes in his profession. As a Deputy Governor, he was not impeached alongside his boss not just because he was adjudged clean of corruption, but also because he did his job perfectly. The good names he had didn’t get him the positions he occupied, but his successes did. You will agree with me that if he had misbehaved while was the Governor of his state, his boss, President Umaru Yar’Adua would not agree to him been his running mate even if he is forced to accept him. Jonathan was not a failure as the president of this country for about six years, until he could no longer pull out the country from the abyss of failure the country had been in right from time.
Goodluck Jonathan admitted he was far from being prefect when he said. “I make no pretense that I have a magic wand that solve all of Nigerian’s Problems or that I am the most intelligent person”. Just like all human beings he had his own shortcomings. But he was definitely not a failure, neither was he clueless. He was basically unprepared to serve. He was gullible to some extent, and he had selfish individual as advisers. He made numerous mistakes, but when we look beyond his obvious flaws, we will notice that he was actually divinely sent to set the country on a trial of survival, stability, success and sustainability. This, the then Opposition and now ruling Party cannot deny.
The Government of President Goodluck Jonathan was criticized for being corrupt and inefficient, this was evident to the public, he was accused of shielding and protecting corrupt Ministers, he was lambasted for being insensitive to the cry of concerned Nigerians about the country being corruptly ridden and for other reason, he was seen as dull, but contrary to the claims of many, his Government had the lowest incident of corruption compared to the previous administrations, this is in according to the Transparency International. The Government of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was Jonathan arch nightmare had the highest Corruption Incident since the PDP Government took over in 1999. Despite the cancerous corruption in his government, President Olusegun was not voted out of power, neither was the PDP unseated at that time.
President Goodluck did not fail Nigerian when he promised to conduct credible elections in 2015, devoid of manipulation of violence, he advocated on many occasions that “Our votes must count!, one man, one vote! one woman, one vote! One youth one vote!” even though he was a candidate in the election, he didn’t allow his desperation to drive him into indulging election malpractice. He warned that the election should not be manipulated by anybody in his account because he believed and insisted that voice Nigerian Nigerians must be heard this time without coercion or any undue influence or violence. According to him, “nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian”. He delivered on this promise. The best election ever conducted in the history of Nigerian was conducted under his watch, though, he had the power and resources to turn things around for his favour. It is important to recognize the fact that his instinct worked for Nigeria when he appointed an incorruptible University Professor, Attahiru Jega to make the landmark election possible.
Goodluck Jonathan was also gender conscious, for the first time his cabinet reflected a good number of women, 38% of those in his cabinet were women. Unlike the present administration, women were given the opportunity to contribute their quota to the nation’s development. He was the president of all Nigerians not only the south-south were he came from.
One thing Nigerian has gain and learnt from the Former President, (if no other lesson is learnt for him), is sacrifice. Unlike most African Leader, who had held strongly to the seat of power by all means, he deferred by conceding to defeat. He did not let phobia of loss of power instigate him into acting irrationally and illegally, (like one of our past President try to do) he accepted defeat and congratulated the victor of the election, even before the outcome of the election was fully known. His attitude averted a lot of unpalatable event that would have occurred, if he had not act like a gentle man. With the premonition by most world leaders that the country might breakup in 2015, Goodluck Jonathan Demonstrated the attitude that Nigerian should have, especially politicians; an attitude that let things go to engender peace, an attitude that accept defeat when it is obvious that one lost. An attitude that shows loyalty not to one’s ambition, but to the good of one’s country. Former president Goodluck Jonathan taught us how to be true a Nigerian.
To say that Former President Goodluck Jonathan is a national Hero is an understatement, he is a State man that should be praised and acknowledge. He taught us how to be calm in the face of travails. He is a loyal Citizen of a Country that obviously does not recognize is sacrifices. Even with him being disfavored by the votes of Nigerians he believes that “being a Nigerian is a blessing and a great responsibility”.
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