Goodluck, Jonathan!

Jonathan

Jonathan

THE comma in the middle of my headline converts it from a name to a remark or a sentence. As in prison sentence.

For I predict that by this time next year, the best-known bearer of that name, Nigeria’s former leader Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, will be serving one.

In the closing weeks of 2015, what was sometimes conveniently dismissed by his supporters as heavy criticism of Mr. Jonathan has proved to be fair. That tragedy is that he did not run a government; he ran a-no-rules and no-responsibility bazaar to ennoble, and enable, the shameless privatisation of Nigeria’s resources.

A case in point (and the only envelope to be opened so far): what some people now call Dasukigate: an arms-purchase scandal anchored by the National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki through which federal funds meant for arms for the military were being distributed to the well-connected.

It is unclear when and how it became the business of the NSA to purchase military armament. Nigeria’s appropriation laws and practices do not reflect that.

Scandalous, but Mr. Jonathan superintended it.

To worsen the scandal, the star of Jonathan’s cabinet, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, confirmed early in December that she had also transferred into the hands of Dasuki previously-undisclosed “new Abacha funds of about $322 million” for “urgent security operations.” It is unclear where those funds came from.

Remember: In June 2014, Liechtenstein returned $227m to Nigeria, to which Jonathan responded with a committee of cabinet to determine how it was be used. Nothing was heard of the Liechtenstein funds thereafter, but Nigerians at least knew how much was involved, where it had come from, and when it arrived.

Three months earlier in March 2014, Switzerland repatriated $380 million, bringing that country’s total Abacha loot return to over $1billion.

The point here is that until circumstances this month compelled Okonjo-Iweala’s confession, nobody had ever declared the return of “about $322 million…with another $700 million still expected.”

In various commentaries over the years, I have argued that contrary to the tale being told by government officials—especially Okonjo-Iweala—Nigeria has recouped billions of Sani Abacha dollars, with no evidence they have been used for Nigeria. The casual, and illegal, transfer to NSA Dasuki of $322 million by the tag team of Jonathan and Okonjo-Iweala demonstrates the point.

With no legal authorisation of any kind, in a democracy supposedly governed by specific structures and laws, the Finance Minister gave $322m to the NSA Minister. Read her statement closely and observe how she carefully tried to steer attention away from the quality of the crime with the promise of future riches: a forthcoming $700m that would presumably not be distributed among politicians, but “applied for development programmes as originally conceived.”

But these are not the things that Mr. Jonathan was saying in the United States a week or two earlier as he marketed his “Goodluck Jonathan Foundation” at the Presidential Precinct in Virginia.

The Precinct has the potential to do a lot of good work. Managing Director Neal Piper writes: “The Precinct offers an interactive and engaging learning experience that connects leaders – allowing them to share their expertise, collaborate, and build on ideas and lessons learned here and around the globe. Our goal is for participants to learn skills that they can apply in their home countries thereby helping them reach their goals and aspirations while transforming the economies and governance where they live. The Presidential Precinct allows them to make connections that will help build their personal futures.”

You read that convoluted construction carefully, and it is clear that the mission of the Precinct is muddled up between its obligations to former leaders such as Mr. Jonathan, from whom it obtains its limelight; and its nod to future leaders, for whom it seeks its political legitimacy.

Mr. Jonathan was the wrong client, and although The Precinct said it was helping him to hone the message of the GEJ Foundation, that plan is undermined by Mr. Jonathan’s political record.

The former Nigerian leader did not tell his audience about that first envelope: Dasukigate, let alone such forthcoming envelopes as the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Transformation Agenda, Sure-P, or the broad daylight rigging back into office in Ekiti State of Governor Ayo Fayose.

Instead, and here is the video of one of the public events, he told the curious story of how, when he was young, Africa was “considered the dark continent,” a misunderstood concept he wants to change through his foundation to make it “a light, a very bright continent.”

He tells the story of his economic triumphs and how he transformed Nigeria into the biggest economy in Africa within five years on account of his reforms. “We reformed the private sector. So many sectors. We reformed our power sector. We reformed the agricultural sector. We reformed our oil and gas sector. Our industrial sector…

Watch the video: “We involved young men and women in the private sector. We mentored them, encouraged them to set up small businesses, macro and small and medium scale enterprises in terms of light manufacturing, processing…food items, and also the service sector and it worked wonderfully well…”

“[Mentoring]…Our philosophy was that every young person that is keying to our programme in five years should be able to employ two to five others but when we started that programme under two years some of them could employ up to ten, even more…”

It is true that in April 2014, Nigeria’s economy became Africa’s largest when it was rebased to include in her GDP industries such as telecoms, airlines, film production, information technology, and online sales. None of them had anything to do with Jonathan or his policies.

On the contrary, his government’s “reform” initiatives were often betrayed by his government. Unemployment soared; power supply worsened. Stealing received Mr. Jonathan’s official stamp of approval; merit declined as a currency; his government shared out money meant for combating the insurgency in the North. His was Nigeria’s most incoherent government since 1960.

When did Mr. Jonathan implement the policies he speaks about in the video? Where are the figures to back up his claims?

In what year or in what local council area did he encourage young graduates to go into farming—a programme he claims has been so successful that doctors, engineers and lawyers have switched into it?

In his mix of misinformation and disinformation, the former Nigeria probably imagined he was in Nollywood, where fiction has no consequences.

But this is the same mindset that ruined his years in the presidency, and for which he was rejected at the polls last March.

The envelopes, please. And oh, Goodluck, Mr. Jonathan.



28 Comments
  • Iskacountryman

    dreamer…

  • Isaac

    Let Jonathan be.

    • remm ieet

      Exactly, is he saying he does not know that this is a global conspiracy which only happened to make Jonathan a scapegoat? And he lives in America!

  • Tayo Akin

    He wasted wonderful opportunities to write his name in gold……

    • amador kester

      Its a puzzle beyond its enigmatic ramifications. This was the first president with a doctorate degree

      • Kola Koleola

        What you forget to add is that GEJ was the first President in a social media era, that is why it appears he was the worst President. Let me assure you one thing, history will be fair to his Presidency. Mainwhile it is Buhari now, not GEJ, let him be.

      • kris

        GBAM! Thank you very much for this observation: A Ph.D with no commensurate achievements in terms of policy and implementation direction. And he was president for 6 yrs of which 5 of those yrs. saw Nigeria sell oil at an average of $100 per barrel with production levels at record 2.3 million barrels per day.

        Amador Kester, to paraphrase you …”Its a puzzle beyond its enigmatic ramifications. This was the first president with a doctorate degree” Thank you once more for this.

  • tozilla

    There are 419 graduates in Reuben Abati’s local council that went into farming … Abati is the custodian of records.

  • Floyd

    It is like Nigerians have forgotten YouWin.

  • Mr. Sonala Olumhensem GEJ is no longer in power. Your man is now the President.
    GEJ lost the election and has since handed over to PMB. You should be talking about PMB and his government and what he has done and achieved.
    Please beam the light to PMB and his polarizing presidency and tell us what you man has done in the last 7 Months and not what GEJ has done wrong in six Year in the saddle. Government is a continuum. GEJ doesn’t matter anymore.

  • BENOTI

    Sonala, no excuses please. Jonathan should not be the reason for the failure being encountered by SAINT BUHARI and HOLY APC. The saint came to right all the wrongs so let him hit the ground running. Enough of these blame games and complains.

  • Damilola

    Wow, can’t imagine someone of this pedigree could ridicule the truth so much as this. Even quoting those words he said at the reception, makes one reflect on those days. The reality I think is very glaring. How could you say the ATA sojourn was a waste? What then is this present govt building on? How did we reach the top in cassava production? You know how many entrepreneurs flourished in this era? The young bloggers, online marketers; Kaymu and d likes… ? What of the Youwin programme? Or are you also of the opinion that the increased power supply in the early days of Mr. Gandalf was truly a reflection of his Body Language? I believe u must av read Fashola’s speech on the power sector reforms. That of Ogbeh is there on Agriculture. Ameachi can’t hide this feeling also, he only resulted to denying knowing such things existed, now he had d opportunity to commission the result of one of the many expedient polices. But you saying this now is confusing, a mere show of obsession. True, his administration was corrupt, but one thing we all know and certain, it wasn’t the most corrupt govt. Better in two steps, on the ladder of most corrupt countries in the world according to TI, compared to the very previous administration. Far better than the Abacha regime of 1st,2nd&3rd positions in the world. In vast variance with the Buhari/Idiagbo regime itself. So what are we talking about? If this same GEJ had chosen to probe the heinous acts of his predecessor, this wud have been a baby case. You were so adamant on destroying the man that you even ignored his electoral reforms, that allowed an election which brought “Change” without rancour or thirst.

    I can’t remember the holders of that Ekiti tape still claiming authenticity of that recording, it is from here i’m hearing it again. Elections were conducted in Osun and some other states at this same period, such things were not orchestrated, not even in the Osun province that more show of desperation was seen by the aspirants, but Ekiti? Common. I still insist even in jail the little GEJ cud accomplish and vanguard during his tenure are there to speak for him generations to come, I tell you. No amount of hypocrisy wud refrain objective knowledge of this administration. Students of Governance wud study, history students in coming ages wud visit and draw up something tangible and not this cynical rhetoric. Mind you, juries don’t make waves on Social media, their jurisdiction is the law court, hence, all these media castigations where a certain segment of the society is pronounced guilty until proven otherwise, while others are innocent until proven guilty, worse still on similar crimes and scenario, are fake fragrance that soon lost in aroma.

    • zacchaeus Akinleye

      If GEJ did not have the balls to unearth criminality while in office and punish it, then his administration was a wasted opportunity. Leadership is not only about opening spaces fro development, it is about correcting injustices of the past. To be silent onlooker at evil is to become a co-conspirator. A magistrate who fails to wield the sword of justice is a misfit for that post. You should jettision your bigoted defence of a man who had a rare chance to shine but failed woefully, as the nation is still licking the wounds of a PDP/Jonathan travesty.

      • Damilola

        Well said sir, but “parochially” delivered. Just going through Guardian headlines today and found something like Adesina being included in the merit list of most influential Africans in 2015, for what? For his achievements in the Agricultural sector, by curbing fertiliser manoeuvring and corruption in that sector, thereby aiding the growth and bringing vanguard innovations to our food production and her multiplier effect on the economy. Maybe you can Google how much was saved during this period from importation of foods. Will you tell me Adesina succeeded in doing this, with the opposition of his Boss? Will you tell me those eating fat from that conspiracy that existed in the sector from the past were dead or not powerful ones in the society, who could fight back?
        The same way they did in the Agricultural sector, they tot they could do in the oil sector, but were faced outrightly with kin protests from yourself and myself. Someone blamed the GEJ regime as the cause of subsidy scam, I asked: when was GEJ elected president? When was the first move made to scrap subsidy? Just some months to his presidency. Cos ure bent in condemning this man, even with the facts saying otherwise. You might then go as far as saying; “but he’s being there since his Boss passed on”- 2009. But the question I will ask u is this? Did his Boss had that template or intention? A move to go against his Boss template, vision and target for the country will receive vast criticism from those who never wanted him to step into that shoe in the first place. He was meant to “merely” complete the man’s tenure and aim, the same way he did after Alams crisis, prolly cos of principle and loyalty. I believe this cos, barely 7months to his own elected tenure, he came up to dare the powers that be in this scam, but we all kicked against it, despite the rhetorics in support of the move. Now we’re the same people calling Subsidy a scam, what a confused specie of human we are.
        Some cases exposed his govt as corrupt, no doubt, but does that mean that the whole administration in the past have been better than his in this respect? The staggering amount of dollars Sanusi claimed was missing from the NNPC remittance, which he later put at $20b, has not been concluded nor considered to be opened till date, even with the new sheriff in town. We’re probing $2.1b, while we’re silent about $20b, which a man said he’s sure was diverted, especially now that we need money. Or are we forgetting that so soon? With mere accusations of that administration, we dance to the array, and stone em in our imaginations, but with mere accusations of this same Sanusi, even taken to court on #2.6 billion or there about scam as CBN Gov, we ignore and expect the “never to be concluded” court pronouncement to stone him. Even with a Judicial panel which indicted Ameachi in Rivers State, he’s deemed innocent until proven otherwise, hence, his over qualifications to dine with the “Angel” in Abuja. El’Rufai was a mere tenant without a special hope b4 he occupied FCT, go look at his asset declaration now, even with the truth edited in there. He was accused of diverting several Billions of Naira as FCT minister, till date the case is still in court, one of the “Never to be concluded cases”, yet we see him innocent till the court says otherwise. As PTF chairman, Nigeria became the 2nd most corrupt country in the world in 1996, 1st in 1997 and 3rd in 1998 according to TI( the records are there, Google it), while Abacha, the PTF chairman’s right hand man was the Head of State. Yet we see no foul play in this. I wonder if Nigeria had other sources of wealth aside that sector Buhari headed where he accounted for the sales and spending of our oil. The man is not new to contradictory statements. In the past he always claimed Abacha never looted but was an honest friend of his, but now we heard somti like ” Abacha loots have been relooted”. What a man, what a Seraphic being. The #2.7b or so said to have been diverted again under his watch as PTF chairman to his in law’s firm is still not answered to, the allegations of his stewardship as pet. Minister is still nothing, still this man is deemed innocent until proven otherwise…

      • Damilola

        Should one go to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Jagaban of Borgu? Or to Kwankwanso, Ogbe, Fashola, Yakubu( Inec chairman) Sylva… how many of them will one count? But all these ones are deemed innocent until proven otherwise by the court. I guess this rule of law is only meant for em, cos they used their loots to support the election of the Seraphic in Aso Rock.

        In 7months we heard noti aside media statements on this level of corruption you’re talking about, especially from the oil sector, the $20b allegation of Sanusi is not yet probed in the law court, but Security vote of that administration, which I’m sure they know what the result wud be in court, hence, the continued incarceration of those guys without a single attempt to make this a debate in the court, or have u heard the accused or prosecutors debating this in court? “One EFCC Source” will continue to feed us what the govt want us to here, for media purposes, effect of which is not related at all to the court pronouncements. Why the delay on Dasugate when there are bulky ones to attend to? My respect for GEJ will diminish the moment he’s docked for “tangible” accusations that goes without vendetta. Even at then, his several reforms in the power, Agricultural, infrastructural, economic sectors, etal… will all be there to speak for him. I don’t have anyti to loose or gain in his failure. I’m just an individual who is a sick of rumours, & blind followership, attempting to know and standing by the truth. listening to both sides in this regard has been my motivation and objectivity in doing this av drove me to the truth. Even when it means being alone in dis I will keep saying it. For one ti is true, lies don’t exist forever, the truth will prevail one day. I can’t afford to be a mediocre then.

        Already the truth is fast coming out. You remember El’Rufai claiming GEJ alone spent #60b on independence celebration in 5yrs? Now in case you missed the news, Google OSGF response to El’Rufai’s. You will be surprised the level of doom this people have subjected our collective intelligence.

  • Anthony Akinola

    I watched the video.As Jonathan reeled out his achievements no one seemed to believe him.There were hardly any applauses interrupting his self-proclaimed historical achievements.

  • Afeez

    For Okonjo-Iweala, whatever decision she took was for the benefit of the citizens, but many of such decision were not pleasant and favourable to some politicians who have now taken it upon themselves to pull Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala down.

  • Afeez

    The facts and figures are there for anyone who cares to see that Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is as clean and free of corrupt practices. She has every document to prove her innocence in any of the financial cases under investigation, at least it shows how dedicated and transparent she is.

  • Afeez

    This write-up is yet another attack from Madam Okonjo-Iweala’s enemies, but this woman is capable of proving her innocence to Nigerians.

  • Afeez

    At least, the writer admits Madam Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at every point in time, gave an account of what money was approved and how it was spent. But she is not in the position to monitor how these monies were spent especially not in the case of funds for arms which was misappropriated.

  • Michael

    Yes, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala admitted transferring some money for urgent security funds, but she didn’t do this illegally. She remains a woman of integrity and has proved transparency at least by stating the roles she played as the Coordinating Minister of the economy; showing documentation plus fact and figures as to who did what and how these funds were spent.

  • Michael

    It is only normal that countless financial deals would be carried out under a finance minister’s watch, it does not mean or
    connote that the minister is privy to corruption, it only reveals how sensitive such portfolio is and how people should judge a cause except it is proven.

  • Michael

    Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has always distinguished her pedigree as a corrupt free leader both locally and internationally, and so it is not surprising that no anti-graft agency has been able to pin any offence to her name and office as the former finance minister.

  • Michael

    There is nothing casual or illegal about the NSA transfers, they were purely based for a good cause.

  • Mr. A

    If I knew this fellow authored this article I wouldn’t have bothered reading it.

  • Ikechukwu Benneth

    Dr Okonjo-Iweala remains an outstanding Nigerian who cannot be rubbished by any below the average person like this writer.

  • Ikechukwu Benneth

    The truth is that this writer does not know what he is taking about. He should take his time to research into the numerous achievements recorded by Dr Okonjo-Iweala.

  • Ikechukwu Benneth

    This write-up is capable of misleading Nigerians. The truth of the matter is that Okonjo-Iweala is a leading example that everyone should follow.

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