Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Jonathan Nomination of Obanikoro: an affront on Justice and Democratic Ideals

For me, justice is the first condition of humanity” - Wole Soyinka, Africa’s Nobel laureate 

President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is often given to shooting himself in the foot.  When you expect him to act as a sage he will often behave like Abacha, whom Professor Wole Soyinka once called a cretin. The 6 years GEJ has been in power in Nigeria is littered with miscues and lost opportunity. His luck often ran out when he is on the verge of making monumental and transformative decisions that could impact Nigeria for good. This is why many doubt his ability to lead Africa’s most populous nation south of the Sahara.

Let’s go through some monumental decisions where he chose to side with the enemies of the country and corrupt politicians instead of making a tough call. Take the sacking of Barth Nnaji, his erstwhile power minister. The world renowned engineer was begged to serve in GEJ cabinet with the promise that he will be given power to turn around the power and electricity sector of our economy. Within his first few months he put a lot of efforts and intellectual acumen into the sector and prepare the sector for a monumental revolution only for him to be sacked unceremoniously at the time the government needed him, on a trumped up charge that he has an interest in one of the power generating company. Even though the government knew all along and he even disclosed it during his screening at the National Assembly. A full and frank disclosure of interest and refrain from making decision on any issue that impact your interest is all that is required. This was conscientiously abide with by the minister and yet he got sacked and Nigeria is today with electricity. We lost his talents due to spurious allegation from the office of the Vice president. It gets better, the same vice president is also rumored to have interest in several power generating companies. All the companies awarded the concessions had little or no experienced personnel in power generation in Africa so Nigeria ended up on the losing end while politicians made out like bandits selling NEPA’s resources.

Similar disastrous decisions were made with the sacking of former National Security Adviser, General Owoye Azazi. He was not perfect but he took Boko Haram seriously and brought the full force of the international community focus on their nefarious act. Jonathan sacked him upon complaint from the office of his vice president. The same way he sacked the CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, when he dared complain about corruption in the office of the Petroleum minister.
Perhaps the saddest of Jonathan’s inglorious decision is the sacking of Festus Odumegwu on a trumped up allegation from the office of the Vice president that he was anti-North. Odumegwu, a former CEO of Nigeria’s blue chip company is as cosmopolitan and Nigerian as anyone could be. His plans on the conduct of the Nigerian census were on the cusp of breakthrough when the silent campaign started. His headship of the Nigerian Population Commission would have brought a breakthrough to our economy planning.

The saddest part is that it is when you expect him to sack corrupt minister and advisers that Jonathan will dig trenches and protect them. Take the case of the former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, for several weeks after he corrupt car gate scandal, Jonathan kept her on as minister until the outcry became too much, even then the administration gave a soft landing and she is now running as a senator on the platform of PDP. Similar protections were afforded a Southwest chieftain of the party, Buruji Kashamu. For more than 2 years, long before the presidential election campaign party chieftains in the Southwest had been urging the president to sideline Kashamu and put a new face on the party in the Southwest but the president did not listen. As one former PDP Representative, Dave Salako put it, “ the activities of Kashamu were inimical to the interests of the party in the South West geopolitical zone‎ and especially, Ogun State”. The president ignored all entreaties and now it has led to the departure of former president Olusegun Obasanjo and other PDP leaders in the southwest.

And now the president has nominated Musiliu Obanikoro, a former minister of defense who has a cloud of impropriety around him based on the inglorious rigging at Ekiti guber election exposed recently by Saharareporters! Even if Obanikoro had not voluntarily resign to contest election how can any sane president re-nominate him given what we know now? How can he listen to the audio of Captain Koli and still proceed to insult Nigerian with the nomination he made this morning to the National Assembly?

When a president surrounds himself with people who care less if he wins or not, he is bound to lose. When he surrounds himself with people who love corruption more than they love Nigeria the stench in Aso rock will surely stink to high heavens. And now the chicken is coming home to roost.

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