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Why Jonathan Shouldn’t be Blamed ― By Amir Abdulazeez

Despite his periodic and latest efforts, there are two things on which former President, Olusegun Obasanjo may never convince the majority of Nigerians from now to only God knows when. 

One is his claim that, he was actually ignorant of Late President Umaru Yaradua’s state of health before anointing him for the presidency in 2007. 

Two is that he never knew how unpresidential Jonathan was before making him the Vice president in 2007 and supporting him to re-emerge president in 2011. 

The best Chief Obasanjo could have done over these years was not denial, but rather focus on rationalizing why he imposed a sick man on the nation and paired him with an inexperienced one.

Listen to Obasanjo’s most recent comments on Jonathan as quoted from Olusegun Adeniyi’s new book on the 2015 Elections:

“From his first days as President, he showed that he was too small for the office… There were certain decisions taken by Jonathan early in his administration that pointed to the fact that the office was bigger than him.” 

The first question we must ask is: when Obasanjo made Jonathan Vice President of an ailing President, which of the latter’s experience, expertise or track record did he relied upon to make him think he was fit for the office?

Obasanjo is trying very hard to absolve himself from blame of what Nigeria went through after his rule, the worst part of which is Jonathan’s time as President, which is one of Nigeria’s worst eras of mismanagement and incompetence in leadership. 

The truth however is, most if not all of the blame is on him as Nigeria wouldn’t have known anything close to a Jonathan-like Presidency without his help. 

The hypothesis of many Nigerians is that, the careful engineering of Jonathan’s emergence was a deliberate way to punish Nigerians for denying Obasanjo a third term in office; though he might not have intended the punishment to be this severe. 

Whether this and other related hypotheses are true is subject to another debate entirely.

Now, despite all these assumptions, we cannot blame all of the Jonathan disaster on Obasanjo. 

One, it may be possible that Obasanjo brought him with good intentions as he said himself: “I saw the emergence of Jonathan as an opportunity to solve the problem of minority agitation. 

“The three majority ethnic groups in Nigeria can always sort themselves out but not so for the minority… 

“So it was in the context of that, I had to plead with prominent people in the north to allow Jonathan run for a term.” 

Two, Obasanjo only facilitated the emergence of Jonathan, but he was not the one who ruled for him. 

Goodluck had the time and opportunity to learn enough on the job to avert the reign of impunity, mismanagement, incompetence and cluelessness that characterized his government. Why did he fail to do so?

The Peoples’ Democratic Party establishment saw in Jonathan a very good opportunity to feather their nest. 

While the PDP elites should have guided and helped Jonathan to success, they simply cashed on his inexperience, weakness and ambition to lead him and his government astray to their own benefit. 

While Obasanjo was uncontrollable by these PDP elites and the ‘Yaradua cabal were difficult to break; they penetrated Jonathan and made rubbish out of his presidency. The few one among them that actually foresaw the danger were relegated to the minority and were never carried along.

Did Jonathan’s cabinet worked to avert the disaster of his misrule? No! They aided and abetted it.

 If Jonathan’s cabinet had loved him the way he loved and protected them, perhaps the government would have performed better or its misdeeds be more reasonable to accommodate. 

Jonathan appeared to be generous to his cabinet members and gave them opportunity to perform but only a negligible number of them did averagely to above average. 

In fact, many of them are currently standing trials in different courts for high level corruption and every indictment of one of them is an indictment on the principal. 

It may be possible that the former president himself didn’t have the true picture of the level of corruption under him until after he left. 

Jonathan’s kinsmen and supporters were virtually never after the success of his government. It is unfortunate that his people from the South South region who were opportune to be close to him only used him just like the PDP elites. 

The worst part of it is that, they couldn’t even make him to develop the Niger Delta and solve its problems. 

Rather, they kept projecting him as their ethnic hero, causing unnecessary trouble for him with other Nigerians and making him dangerously more and more ambitious, until he fell into a deep pit.

Where was the National Assembly, throughout Jonathan’s 5 year reign of misadventure? How much did the Senate and the House of Representatives do to checkmate his excesses? 

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