Where Did It Go Wrong For The Jonathan Administration?

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan's administration comes to an end in a few days time.It has been a topsy-turvy ride for the gentleman from Otuoke,whom providence helped rise from the position of a Deputy governor, to that of the President of this great country.For Jonathan,it has been a very eventful sixteen years. What has remained a constant in his life over the past sixteen years is history's penchant for somehow attaching itself to the man.Today,interesting parts of Nigeria's history cannot be recounted without his name mentioned especially that famous phone call to General Buhari to concede defeat in the March 28 Presidential elections.

But where did President Jonathan get it wrong?Here is a man who literally waltzed to victory in the 2010 Presidential elections,riding as he did on the back of national goodwill and love.At that moment,he symbolized the hope of a new Nigeria.So again,what went wrong?

Many people refer to the subsidy removal of January 1st 2012 as the point when President Jonathan lost the people's goodwill.This is to a large extent true.But was that action a wrong step by the President?I argue that in taking that decision,Jonathan was motivated solely by the desire to make Nigeria better.

The problem was that most of the people who took to the streets to demonstrate against it did not fully understand the importance of the action taken by the government.Today,most of them are calling for subsidy removal.So why then did they fight against it then? Amara Nwankpa has pointed out that people kicked against it mainly because of lack of adequate information.

The government did not fully educate people on what subsidy removal was about,before doing it.So ignorance played a huge part.Even highly educated people who should know better were ignorant of the real motive behind subsidy removal.Today famed social critics who fought against it,are championing it.Some try as hard as possible to hide the shame of their earlier ignorance by claiming they did not support it because they did not trust the Jonathan administration to use the money gained from subsidy removal well.That is just a lame excuse since prior to that act,Jonathan was still largely popular.

The second reason why that action was kicked against is that there is also the possibility that many people who felt threatened by Jonathan used the subsidy removal incident as a means of building up disaffection for him and from then onwards,whatever he did was criticized as they sought to ensure he does not continue as president.To do this,they had to misrepresent the issues through the media.

Suffice it to say then that the media people recruited then continued to be agents who ultimately continued in their anti-Jonathan campaign.The attempt here is not to criticize anybody(I do not believe in criticizing people for pursing their beliefs even if such beliefs were motivated by financial gains),but rather to look at how the subsidy removal action contributed to the downfall of Jonathan.

Personally,I maintain that Jonathan did no wrong in removing subsidy.He probably should have been advised to educate people more on the reason for it,before taking that step.Where I really believe he took a plunge all on his own was with the handling of the abduction of the Chibok girls.

The truth is,I do not believe that till date Jonathan believes that the girls were abducted.To me,he has always seen the Chibok girls story as a solid political strategy by his detractors.I believe also that after all the successes recorded by the Army at Sambisa forest,more and more people are beginning to have little doubts about the Chibok girls abduction story.So many of us are now quietly asking ourselves if our earlier wholehearted support of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign was not misplaced."Where are these girls for real?"

I caught myself asking this morning after I read that the Borno state governor said they are now in bunkers.All these people who have so much 'good' information about these girls,why can't they help us find them?Why have so many other girls been seen and rescued,and not the Chibok girls?These are the questions that are beginning to worry some of us now.

I could ask those questions privately,but I am not the President.President Jonathan had no right doubting for once that the girls were missing.Immediately he heard the news,he should have shown appropriate concern,and initiated actions to ensure that the search for them began immediately.One more thing that Jonathan should have done would have been to constitute a task force to oversee all actions about the rescue of the girls,and made Obiageli Ezekwesili the head of it.

This task force would have been given all the powers necessary to ensure that they work unimpeded.That way,even if it was a political ploy,Jonathan would have done his part and checked the negative media crusade that followed.Showing the world that he did not believe that the abduction was real was the point at which he personally shot fatally at his administration.

Indeed to me, Jonathan's handling of the abduction of the Chibok girls was the point at which he lost it. Of course there are the issues of corruption by people in his administration which he did not handle well,but the handling of the Chibok girls' abduction trumps them all.

Several factors come into play in leading a country as diverse as Nigeria.While a leader should always be alert to the political maneuverings of his political enemies,he should also at all times be conscious of the need to manipulate public opinion.It is his inability to effectively manipulate public opinion that ultimately led to President Jonathan's "downfall".

Despite all his shortcomings as a leader, an in-depth analysis of his character will reveal a man who is perhaps too honest,free,weak,and patriotic to rule a country full of desperate power seekers,and corrupt industrialists who will take all routes possible to have things their way.

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Articles by Nnaemeka Oruh