By Olusola Fabiyi and Olamilekan Lartey
Abuja, September 27, 2011

Prominent Nigerians and groups on Monday, September 26 took a swipe at President Goodluck Jonathan over his defence of his style of governance.

An opposition party, the Congress for Progressive Change, and the Campaign for Democracy, said that the President should be assertive in handling the affairs of the country.

An expert in constitutional law, Prof Itsay Sagay, SAN, also said that Jonathan’s statement on Sunday had potrayed him as a weak President.

During an inter-denominational service to mark the country’s 51st independence anniversary at the National Christian Centre, Abuja, over the weekend, the President had chided critics of his style and government.

The President had said, “Some Nigerians still want the President of this country to be a lion or a tiger; somebody that has the kind of strength, force and agility to make things happen the way they think.” “I don’t need to be a lion, I don’t need to be Nebuchadnezzar, I don’t need to operate like the Pharaoh of Egypt, and I don’t need to be an army general. I can change this country without those traits.”

Jonathan had also said that there were forces that were bent on frustrating his administration. The forces, the President referred to as Goliaths.

But faulting Jonathan, the President of the CD, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said that “being assertive is different from being a Pharaoh or a lion.”

Okei-Odumakin said that the President must go beyond prayers and take actions that would move the country forward. She stated, “People are dying and our President is making reference to biblical allusion. I am disappointed and angry. He should sit up. People paid for this democracy with their blood.”

The CD president also criticised Jonathan for saying world leaders, including the United States President, Barak Obama, commended him.

Okei-Odumakin stated that what should matter to the President should be his assessment by Nigerians, adding that he (Jonathan) should understand that “leadership is not bread and butter.”

Sagay said Jonathan’s intention at the church service was to give the impression that he was not an oppressor or a dictator, but had conveyed the impression he was not decisive and strong enough to tackle the nation’s problems. He said, “He conveyed the impression that he is weak and does not have a sense of direction to take Nigeria forward. He could have said he was a David. David was close to God and very successful, but he did not claim to be that. He did not claim to be strong. What he conveyed was weakness and aimlessness. The late Obafemi Awolowo was not a dictator or an oppressor. He was an organised man who raised his region through careful planning to the leading position.” “What we saw in the President’s statement was the negative. He needs to change his position which indicated weakness and planlessness.”

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the CPC, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, described the President’s outburst as “unfortunate.” He said Jonathan had shown that he was not prepared to lead the nation and that his comment was an admittance of failure. He said, “One of the greatest tragedies that can befall a nation is to have an unprepared person as its leader. “Jonathan was never prepared to be Nigeria’s president. All he wanted to be was to be a university lecturer until someone brought him to come and assist him as a deputy governor. He again was brought out to be a Vice-President. He never aspired to be the arrow head of any group and that was why he never prepared to lead the nation. The death of his boss unfortunately catapulted him to the position of leadership instead of being a deputy leader. It is an unprepared leader who talks the way he spoke. He said he is not a general. Yet, he is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Which rank is higher than that in the military?”



Posted September 28, 2011 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

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