Revisionism, history and defence of Jonathan
First, let me make one thing very clear here. I did not support GEJ during the last election, not because he was not better than his Daura-born opponent, Muhammadu Buhari, but because despite his very good record as a democrat and a gentleman president plus his excellent economic achievements, I still considered him too weak and not competent enough to deserve my vote especially after the insensitive manner he treated the immigration job tragedy. I was at the national stadium. I saw my friend die in the stampede. When Jonathan refused to sack anybody for the job scam and the avoidable deaths that followed, I immediately knew the gods and the spirit of my dead friend would not forgive me if I gave this man my vote as insignificant as it was.
I never made any post or comments in support of GEJ during the electioneering. But in all these, I never lost sight of the fact that mentioning the name GEJ and Buhari in the same sentence with a view to comparing them remained a moral tragedy. This article is borne out of a sincere desire not to sit back and watch morally bankrupt men twist history and destroy an innocent man with devilish lies. Having said these, let me come to the reason why I’m here. Undiluted, unadulterated, crude hate for Jonathan as a person and the desire to ensure his name is never associated with anything good is one thing every APC member and Buhari supporters have in common. This common characteristic is so strong…too strong, even! Matter of fact, it is stronger than the feeling of kinship that binds marijuana smokers together. If you are ‘a ganja man’, you will understand my drift here. Whether they belong to the Saraki faction, Tinubu faction, Buhari faction or even the latter day wailer-wanna-be faction, this common trait is the power house of all their activities the exact way the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell.
When you hear the APC tells you that the 16 years of PDP government is the cause of all our woes today, it is not the PDP they want you to blame, it is not even Obasanjo who ruled for eight solid years and is not the APC navigator-in-chief, it is Jonathan who was in power just for five years they want to incite you against. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how come over 70% of all those holding public offices under APC today are ex-members of the PDP? Check all the ministers, governors, NASS members etc, over 70% of them left the PDP and were welcomed into the APC with an open arm and a baptism which washed away their sins and turned them to saints.
If the APC strongly believes the PDP destroyed Nigeria, why welcome the same people into their party? Does this make any sense? Or is it just the acronym “PDP” that is the problem? Their target is GEJ. If not hate, why would anyone claim that Jonathan ran the most corrupt government in Nigeria history? Do these guys think we all have amnesia? So if we keep quite so as not to be accused of being paid by Jonathan or the PDP, these children of #broom will just alter history before our very eyes. So we have suddenly forgotten Abacha? Have we forgotten that all the money Dasuki is accused of sharing is not up to half of the very first set of stolen money recovered as Abacha loot, the same Abacha-thieving-government, their mini-god Buhari not only served under but vehemently defended and even swore by the seven gods that he didn’t steal a dime. This is even as billions of dollars (not naira) of the loot have continued to be returned to Nigeria.
Have we suddenly forgotten the OBJs, the IBBs, the Abdulsalamis, the Buharis, the Gowons, etc who ran under the military system of government where there is no form of transparency? Or, they just selected only Jonathan’s government for probe and concluded it was the most corrupt? Which one did they compare it with or has it not occurred to them that for a thing to be adjudged the worst, it must have
been compared with other things?
These other men including the late Sani Abacha ruled the country with decrees and looted as they wanted but is it Jonathan who was in power for just five years that is the biggest thief in Nigeria history? Chai! Little wonder, these soulless liars were able to twist history and sold the political disaster called Muhammadu Buhari to Nigerians. First, they lied that Jonathan bought no single weapon for the military to prosecute the war on terror.
When this lie could no longer stick, they amended it and claimed he actually bought some weapons but that they were substandard and were all backfiring and killing soldiers who were supposed to use them to fight Boko Haram. When Nigerians queried which weapons the APC government used to achieve ‘technical victory’ over Boko Haram since the ones acquired by Jonathan were all fake, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed contradicted himself again by admitting the Jonathan government bought some good military hardware but that the prices were hugely exaggerated.
Meanwhile, we all saw the newly acquired military hardware the GEJ administration secured from Russia after the U.S. and her allies refused selling us weapons as a result of a petition written to them in which El-Rufai, Murtala Nyako (ex-Adamawa State governor) and some Northern/APC leaders accused GEJ of using the military to reduce the population of the North under the guise of fighting Boko Haram. And we all witnessed as our soldiers used those weapons to liberate all our territories held by Boko Haram and sent the terrorists disguising as females to escape their superior firepower. Nigerians were all hash-tagging #NeverAgain as the military were combing the Sambisa forest in search of the Boko Haram boys. All these happened a little over a year ago. We could not have forgotten, could we?
We have also not forgotten that the Boko boys were able to regroup immediately President Buhari came to power because he (Buhari) dismantled all military roadblocks set up purposely to checkmate their activities. We are not unaware of the fact that the same people hell-bent on blaming Jonathan even for the 1914 amalgamation hailed that ill-advised move.
Another lie they’ve come up with is that GEJ caused our current economic woes by allowing those who served under him loot the treasury. This is a very big lie and here is why: Corruption alone doesn’t kill an economy. Else, our economy would have died a long time ago because there has always been corruption in the system right from the very first post-independence government of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa. Leaders of every military coup have always cited corruption as the reason for their intervention. There was systemic corruption during GEJ’s era just as there has always been systemic corruption but the big question is: How come the only two times Nigeria has gone into recession was in 1984 when Buhari was in power and 2016 when the same Buhari is in power again? Despite all the looting in Abacha government, Nigeria didn’t go into recession. Despite all the looting by all the other military rulers, we didn’t go into recession. The only two times was three decades ago and now…..all under the same Buhari. Haba! Even if you are incapable of any sort of intelligent reasoning, you should be able to figure this one out at least
Let’s even look at the two reasons advanced by IMF as the reasons for the recession:
1) Plunging oil revenue as a result of the crises in the Niger Delta which is the location of the oil the economy is heavily dependent on. 2) Weakened investors’ confidence in the country/economy. It is on record that barely two weeks after being sworn in as president, Buhari resurrected the Niger Delta crises by bombing the region, cutting the amnesty budget drastically and terminating the oil pipeline surveillance contract given to the ex-militants. The rush with which those actions were taken tends to suggest that public interest was the last thing on the president’s mind. In addition, Buhari went to America and made it clear he would discriminate against those who didn’t give him 97% of their vote. Whatever lies we chose to believe, we must not forget that these reckless ill-conceived actions of Buhari were hugely responsible for the current crisis in the Niger Delta which has led to plunging oil revenue blamed as one of the reasons for the recession. Weakened investors’ confidence: When Buhari took over from GEJ, rather than hit the ground running, he abandoned not just the economy but the entire country. He left the whole country on autopilot. No government in place, no minister, no economic direction. For over six months. Now tell me, if you were an investor looking for where to invest your money, would you invest in such an economy? After every election, investors always wait for the new government to reel out her economic policy to enable them to consider their chances of getting favourable return should they invest in such an economy. These guys are businessmen, not some bunch of “money miss road”. Buhari single-handedly weakened their confidence by leaving the entire country and the economy on autopilot for over six months. Is this even debatable? How exactly did Jonathan cause our current economic woes?
Buhari complained he met a treasury that was almost empty which is a lie because a man who met a virtually empty treasury would not start building a helipad in his hometown in Daura. Such a man would not start traveling all over the world in company of governors from his APC party. Jonathan had one of the best economic teams. What Buhari has as an economic team is a bunch of sycophants who are mostly lawyers like the VP, the national planning minister, the president’s chief of staff who are all lawyers by profession and the trade and investment minister who is a medical doctor. The economists in the so-called economic advisory team are not up to four. Please don’t take my word for it. Do your own research. The over six months Buhari wasted before forming his government, the fact that he doesn’t have a competent economic team and his reckless action in bombing the Niger Delta, the reckless manner he terminated the oil pipeline contract which was part of the amnesty deal with the militants and slashing the amnesty budget were the main reasons why our economy went south.
Jonathan didn’t cause all these, did he? Now, let us even assume that Jonathan looted everything, did he loot Buhari’s brain and his economic management abilities? Isn’t it 18 months already? Is 18 months not long enough for citizens to start feeling the impact of a government headed by a man who spent 12 solid years begging for the job and promising that he had studied all our problems and was ready to solve them all if only we would elect him president? Jonathan is human. He is no saint. He has his faults but he was a democrat. As president, he was a perfect gentleman. When he was stoned in Bauchi, he ran and was whisked away by his security details. None of those Bauchi-stone throwing boys were even arrested. But under Buhari, an ordinary army chief killed hundreds of people for blocking his convoy. Jonathan conceded defeat to Buhari in the 2015 election but in 2011 when he ran under a little known newly formed CPC, Buhari rejected the election result and incited his followers into killing hundreds of innocent Nigerians including youth corps members. Jonathan had plans. He was slow but he did have plans, some of which we are already seeing. The worst enemy Jonathan had was his media team. They were completely useless. These incompetent people failed to bring most of GEJ achievements in the open. But those achievements are still the President Buhari must be made to understand that at the end of his tenure, he would be judged not by what his predecessor did or didn’t do but by how he (Buhari) was able to manipulate economic and social-political indices he met on ground to get Nigerians to a better living condition than he met them.
Enough of the puerile rhetoric from the presidency, please! This is the time to get to work. Let me just end this with this free piece of advice to my APC brethren: The best way to defend a government that is 18 months old in office is by reeling out its achievements, not by blaming the government before it. Buhari was not voted in as president just so he could spend the whole tenure telling us
who and who caused our problem. We already know those who caused our problems and Buhari is one of them. He was voted in because he promised he had the solutions. Enough of the blame game and Jonathan’s bashing. Even if you must be against him, it is morally reprehensible.
Ogbu, a social analyst, writes from Port Harcourt.