Archive for the ‘Goodluck Jonathan’ Tag

JONATHAN, LEARN FROM MAHAMA!   Leave a comment

“One man’s good example has such an influence that the good men strive to imitate him.” –Niccolo Machiavelli

Ghana’s President, John Mahama, and Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, have a few things in common. Jonathan was born on November 20, 1957, and almost exactly a year later, Mahama was born on November 29, 1958. Jonathan was Nigeria’s Vice-President for three years, from 2007 to 2010 and constitutionally replaced his boss, Umaru Yar’Adua, as President, when the latter died in May 2010. Similarly, Mahama was Ghana’s Vice President for three years, from 2009 to 2012, and assumed office as President, following the death of his predecessor, President John Atta Mills.

In addition, and more significantly, both Jonathan and Mahama won their countries’ respective presidential elections after a few months on the saddle to complete their predecessors’ terms. Jonathan won Nigeria’s 2011 presidential elections and thus earned a 4-year term to 2015 whilst Mahama won Ghana’s 2012 presidential polls and will equally serve a 4-year term to 2016.

Furthermore, Jonathan and Mahama also have a gentle and meek disposition which may, in fact, have been a decisive factor in their being picked as running mates by their now departed predecessors.

By and large, that is where the similarities between Jonathan and Mahama end. In terms of their approach to governance, which is the all-important thing, considering the stakes involved in their respective offices, Jonathan and Mahama are worlds apart!

Whereas Mahama is a no-nonsense leader who is conscious of the need to tackle, head-on, the bane of corruption in his country, Jonathan, since taking office, has aided and abetted corruption and even given flimsy excuses to justify his administration’s feeble anti-corruption efforts. A case in point was when Mahama sacked his ex-deputy minister of communications, Victoria Hammah, on November 8 simply for suggesting that she could be corrupt. In fact, the difference couldn’t be starker as, at the same time, Jonathan has been indecisive on and cowardly defensive of Stella Oduah, his aviation minister, whose recent authorisation of an extra-budgetary and exhorbitant purchase of two bulletproof cars has, unsurprisingly, drawn the ire of many Nigerians with calls for her immediate sacking!

Again, whereas Mahama, in his first budget, in 2014, after being elected president, is careful to reduce his government’s recurrent expenditure so as to allow more funds to go into programmes that would benefit the masses, Jonathan has been very reckless in his spending of state funds. In fact, in the 2012 budget, which was likewise his first as an elected president, Jonathan infamously and outrageously allocated ₦1bn to feed himself and his family, at the same time that he was asking Nigerians to make sacrifices and bear with the [partial] removal of the fuel subsidy and also spending an annual ₦9.08bn to service the 10 aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet which instead ought to be cut down. On November 21, Ghana’s cabinet spokesman announced that, to “demonstrate leadership,” President Mahama, his Vice-President and all ministers have agreed to a voluntary 10% pay cut in their 2014 budget and that the money realised from the pay cut would be committed to a special fund to cater for community maternal and neonatal health.

It has been rightly said that there will never be a second chance to make a good first impression and, going by their attitudes to their first budgets as elected presidents, Jonathan and Mahama have demonstrated opposing priorities with the former pursuing a cowardly and profligate path and the latter, opting for a more sensible and conscientious course.

Indeed, shortly after his election in December 2012, Mahama visited Jonathan and requested him to facilitate the prompt repair of the broken West African Gas Pipeline which supplies Nigerian gas to power Ghana’s electricity even though, without the pipeline, as findings by Ghana’s Energy Ministry show, Ghana still enjoyed an uninterrupted power supply to over 72% of its population. “I discussed with President Jonathan the issue of the West Africa Gas Pipeline… I want him to use his influence to get the pipeline back into operation as soon as possible so that Ghana can continue to receive Nigerian gas to power our electricity generation,” Mahama said. It won’t be impossible to think that, as he has done on most other concerns of governance, even those involving critical sectors and issues, if Jonathan was in Mahama’s shoes, rather than take direct and pragmatic steps to remedy the broken pipeline, he would have preferred to create a committee to investigate why the pipeline wasn’t functioning and then proceeded to ignore the matter!

Of course, this is not to say that Mahama is an apotheosis of effective governance, especially after less than one year in office but, overall, going by his prompt response to sack Hammah following her ill-advised and shameful statement disclosing an intention to be corrupt as well as his leading his cabinet to consent to a voluntary 10% pay cut in their 2014 budget, one can safely say that he is clearly on a different trajectory than the corrupt, inept and mostly unproductive one undertaken by Jonathan, since 2010.

Governance is not rocket science as some Jonathan apologists want us to think, in an often unconvincing attempt to defend his profligacy and abetting of corruption. Mahama is demonstrating the kind of good leadership that Jonathan has proven incapable of matching. If Jonathan will only take a look at some of the bold moves being made by President Mahama in next door Ghana, he would learn a lot.

Posted November 30, 2013 by Raymond Eyo in Politics

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JONATHAN, BEWARE OF BLAIR!   1 comment

“Tony Blair is not known to do principle but deals which give him money. This is not a man any Nigerian leader who wants to solve Nigeria’s problems should take advice from… Jonathan, [beware] of Blair.” –E. O. Eke

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is too close to President Goodluck Jonathan for my liking. I fear there is something weird or shady going on. Blair has met with Jonathan at least six times since he became Acting President in February 2010. Blair and Jonathan have had four meetings in Abuja (February 20, 2010, November 17, 2010, June 17, 2011 and July 31, 2012), one meeting on the sidelines of the 2012 UN General Assembly in New York at a sponsored event (September 26, 2012) and most recently, in Lagos, on April 20, 2013. The frequency of these Blair–Jonathan meetings can only suggest there is more to it than meets the eye.

Fair enough, Blair has visited Nigeria, under Jonathan, for some humane causes. His faith foundation, for example, has the stated intention of seeking to entrench tolerance between Nigeria’s two main religions. What gets me, and I would assume, other discerning Nigerians, worried, though, is that Blair is ostensibly taking advantage of Jonathan’s gullibility to secure lucrative deals for his business partners and cronies. A case in point is the deal Blair brokered for the US bank, JP Morgan, which led to an upgrade of its representative office in Nigeria to a full branch. Blair is a JP Morgan adviser and is said to also have oil and gas interests. Make no mistake about it: Nigeria’s financial services sector is about the fastest growing in Africa and any investor is assured of good returns from it.

In 2010, former President Olusegun Obasanjo said “Blair [supported Nigeria] in the area of health but more importantly in the area of debt relief. Blair led G7 to get us debt relief.” But, interestingly, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also said that it was her former colleagues and contacts in the World Bank and the IMF that played a leading role in persuading Western powers to grant Nigeria debt relief. Either way, if Blair indeed played a significant role in helping Nigeria to clear off her debts, it is likely that he is now leveraging on that to secure juicy deals as part of his ‘payback’ package.

Blair is often full of praises for Jonathan whereas he always veils his criticisms of the man. Whilst one may excuse Blair’s veiled criticism of Jonathan as a given for diplomatic etiquette, how can one justify the unrestrained praises Blair often heaps on him, with his obvious ineptitude and failings?

On November 17, 2010, for instance, a few months to the 2011 elections, Blair made an indirect endorsement for Jonathan’s presidential bid during an audience with Jonathan and the CEO of JP Morgan. Blair said it was the confidence the international community had in Jonathan that attracted JP Morgan to do business in Nigeria. As Vanguard Newspaper reported, “According to Blair, there was a huge amount of goodwill in the international community towards supporting President Jonathan’s efforts to achieve rapid socio-economic development in Nigeria.”

Similarly, in June 2011, at an audience with Jonathan, Blair described him as a “focused leader”. In fact, after he emerged from the closed door discussion with Jonathan, Blair told reporters that Jonathan would do well as President in the term he had just won. Blair said, “I think the President is absolutely focused on the right areas… that he is making the changes that are necessary.”

However, on July 31, 2012, apparently perturbed by the spate of violence in the country, especially as, I would think, they threaten the investment climate needed to facilitate his business interests, Blair again held talks with Jonathan, in the company of some British officials. It was reported that that meeting was to seek ways to end the menace.

Most recently, in Lagos, on April 20, Blair said “There is need for safety and security of the people…” He added that “For total and stable national transformation to take place in any country there is need for the government to provide adequate power supply, construct new roads, eradicate polio, ensure job creation and do other things that make life meaningful.” For a visit that came only a few weeks after the widely condemned Alamieyeseigha pardon, if Blair truly means well for Nigeria, he would have capitalised on that to strongly speak up against corruption. Corruption is, unquestionably, the main reason why Nigeria lacks adequate power and infrastructure.

Jonathan is fleeceable and easily impressed by the company and compliments of, especially, Western leaders. Blair, an Oxford-trained barrister, expert in the art of persuasion, is just cashing in on that and surely having a field day with his unsuspecting prey. Jonathan would be better advised to be more cautious in his dealings with Blair. An attribute of good leadership is the maverick ability to decipher the motives of powerbrokers that often employ beguiling means in the pursuit of their selfish interests, especially when the national good is at stake.

In a recent opinion piece urging Blair to hands off Nigeria and Jonathan to be wary of his friendship with him, E. O. Eke, a Nigerian medical practitioner who lives in England and keenly followed Blair’s premiership, wrote, inter alia, “Goodluck Jonathan should study closely what happens to Blair’s friends. At the peak of Gadhafi’s dictatorship, Blair was his best friend. He reintroduced him to the West and claimed that he was a changed man. His role in helping Gadhafi’s son (Saif) obtain his degree at the London School of Economics has not been investigated. Blair is still resisting the call to declare how much Gadhafi paid him for that PR job. We know what happened to Gadhafi a few years later. Jonathan should tell Nigerians how much Nigeria paid Blair to attend a breakfast meeting with him in New York (in September 2012). We know that Tony Bair does not do such things on charity.”

Also, in a November 2012 opinion piece, captioned “We shouldn’t be welcoming Tony Blair in Nigeria,” analyst, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, argues that “Blair comes into Nigeria so regularly that most people seem to have forgotten that he does not even command respect in his home country anymore and is unable to walk around in London, with same spring in his step that we see during his regular, and obviously lucrative, Nigerian visits. Blair is reviled around the world for his role in the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. He told lies about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, as justification for the invasion… Blair should no longer be welcome in Nigeria. His regular visits here assault our human decency!”

In August last year, Nobel Laureate and anti-apartheid icon, Desmond Tutu, said it was “morally indefensible” to share a platform with Blair and withdrew from a leadership summit that Blair was to attend. Tutu later called for Blair and Bush to face trial for the “physical and moral devastation caused by [their] war in Iraq.”

Concurring with Tutu’s stance, a commentator, George Monbiot, writing in The London Guardian of September 3, 2012, said “That Blair and his ministers still saunter among us, gathering money wherever they go, is a withering indictment of a one-sided system of international justice: a system whose hypocrisy Tutu has exposed.” In fact, Monbiot founded an organisation calling for Blair’s arrest.

Blair is not only notorious for having been Bush’s right-hand man in the illegal war in Iraq. Blair has also been noted for his involvement in shady deals in Libya, Kazakhstan, etc. He ought to be on trial for his horrid role in Iraq; not globetrotting to expand his business empire. Jonathan, beware!

GEJ’s 5-DAY ₦161BN CONSPIRACY   7 comments

Since its inception, the Goodluck Jonathan administration has treated Nigerians to very intriguing, sometimes laughable, events featuring dramatic twists and the sort of conspiracies that can only be the stuff of grand corruption! The most dramatic of such events, of course, remains the cowardly and botched attempt to remove the fuel subsidy in January 2012.

In the first weeks of December 2012, however, the Jonathan administration presented Nigerians with another very dramatic twist to the bigger fuel subsidy narrative. It was a conspiracy by fuel barons, who enjoy the regime’s subservience, to forcefully draw out more funds from the national till after facing what appeared to be some resistance to that devilish plan from the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI). What followed was equally devilish – the kidnapping of NOI’s mum to compel her to play along with the plan and release the requested funds!

What GEJ’s administration effectively staged was a drama, literally, that incidentally, perfectly suits German playwright Gustav Freytag’s 5-act dramatic structure which consists of five parts: An exposition, a rising action, a climax, a falling action and a revelation – or dénouement.

On December 15, Steve Ade (Twitter: @steve_ade) lucidly presented GEJ’s 5-day, 5-act fuel subsidy conspiracy as follows:
– Exposition: “Sunday (December 9): The Minister’s mum was kidnapped (rather adultnapped).”
– Rising action: “Monday (December 10): Kidnappers asked for a $1bn (₦161bn) ransom.”
– Climax: “Tuesday (December 11): GEJ sent a supplementary budget of ₦161bn ($1bn) to the [NASS].”
– Falling action: “Thursday (December 13): The Senate passed the supplementary budget of ₦161bn ($1bn).”
– Dénouement: “Friday (December 14): The Minister’s mum was released.”

On December 17, at a press conference three days after her mother’s release, NOI said: “[Her mother’s kidnappers] told her that I must get on the radio and television and announce my resignation. When she asked why, they told her it was because I did not pay oil subsidy money.” To foreclose any further details related to her mum’s kidnap and the said conspiracy, NOI deliberately refused to take questions from pressmen at the news conference.

For an administration that was battle-ready to remove the fuel subsidy without any qualms earlier this year, it is evident that their motive for insisting on a supplementary subsidy allocation for three weeks, at the cost of ₦161bn, was certainly not in the masses’ interest. By the way, to further lend credibility to the above claim, if indeed the ₦161bn was needed to service the provision of more subsidised fuel, what explains the fuel scarcity that has remained the norm in many parts of the country since it was approved?

Nigeria’s present ruling class is not at all sophisticated in their whims and caprices. They are only able to cash in on the people’s subdued deportment. Expressing this view, political commentator, Dada Olusegun, remarked that “It must be so frustrating for the federal government that we know their every game.” Not saluting their chicanery but, elsewhere, the bad guys operate using usually complex methods. It often takes a lot of peering to unearth massive corruption in other countries. The Rupert Murdoch scandal in the British press and the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme in the US demonstrate how well doctored-up corruption can be in, especially Western countries. In Nigeria, the corrupt [oil] cabal have a rather very clear and direct way of operating – pillaging state funds by simply compelling their puppets in government to play along in their unholy acts.

It’s not me alone who thinks that Jonathan’s governance is more fiction than reality. Adenike Adebayo recently tweeted: “Blockbuster action movie showing at your nearest cinema called CORRUPTION, starring Goodluck E. J., PhD.” In May, Adebowale Adejugbe established very striking parallels between Jonathan and Charles Logan, a cowardly and reluctant US president in the blockbuster movie, ‘24’. Jonathan’s record on leadership is so shambolic and far from reality that, at best, it fits only fictional examples and images.

Twice this year, on January 1 and December 25, Jonathan publicly said he is slow in order to avoid making mistakes. Truth is, Jonathan is actually very slow and timid to take bold and decisive steps that guarantee good governance for the masses but very swift and daring to act in favour of the corrupt elements and vested interests that have defined the most part of his administration. For example, Jonathan swiftly pursued the fuel subsidy removal, speedily approved a very controversial recommendation for Justice Ayo Salami’s retirement and quickly set this latest ₦161bn conspiracy in motion whereas he has remained very slow on tackling corruption, insecurity, health, infrastructure, environmental degradation and pollution in the Niger Delta and other challenges facing the nation. In fact, more often than not, when confronted by very important issues, Jonathan has resorted to his habitual and lazy approach of creating committees and more committees.

In all, like the above ₦161bn conspiracy demonstrates, Jonathan’s administration is manifestly a blockbuster tragicomedy. It is up to Nigerians to make sure this movie ends in 2015! What Nigeria desperately needs at the pinnacle of its political leadership is a reality show on good governance – not a tragicomedy on corruption!

NB:
If you are still one of those finding it hard to ascertain the background to this latest fuel-subsidy conspiracy, some detailed facts and figures on the subsidy, courtesy of Ogunyemi Bukola’s “The Jonathan Metrics of Fuel Subsidy Scam” will do you good: http://omojuwa.com/?p=15062

GEJ AT 55: THE NIGERIAN PARALLEL   5 comments

“Nigeria [is] a blessed country being destroyed by bad people in government. We have to unite to save Nigeria in 2015.” –Bello Mohammed

On November 20, President Goodluck Jonathan turned 55! For an individual who has spent the previous twelve years of his life in the top echelons of Nigerian political power and the last two as president, with very little or no effort on his part, if he, at 55, looked back at his personal life and the political successes therein, he would have been filled with awe especially regarding how he now occupies one of the most powerful offices in Africa without ever dreaming of it before.

Nonetheless, the supposed festive and recreational atmosphere at Jonathan’s 55th birthday was sadly mired by the gloom of his brother’s passing, on the same day. In a news report, The Premium Times’ Nnenna Ibeh put it succinctly: “It is mixed feelings at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, as President Goodluck Jonathan’s half brother, Meni Jonathan, died same day the President turned 55.”

Nigeria, as a nation, has been there before. In 2010, on her 50th Independence Anniversary, deadly bomb blasts rocked the Eagle Square, Abuja, the scene of the federal government’s celebrations, resulting in the deaths of some of her children.

After that very painful 2010 experience, Nigeria would definitely hope for a much happier celebration, in the short-term, by mid-decade in 2015! Like Jonathan in 2012, Nigeria turns 55 in 2015! And, 2015 is not just the deadline for the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); it is also Nigeria’s next general election year!

On Jonathan’s 55th Birthday, I tweeted this: “Happy Birthday, GEJ! May Nigeria be much better at 55 (in 2015) than it is now, as you turn 55!” By this tweet, I meant that the onus is on Jonathan to muster the courage and the will to do the right things that will make Nigeria a better country in 2015! Like him or loathe him, to be Nigeria’s president for two years at age 55 is a commendable achievement. My expectation, therefore, is that Jonathan will be committed to using the remainder of his term to contribute significantly to what Nigeria can proudly call her own commendable achievements by the time she turns 55 in 2015!

However, even in my hope that, by 2015, Jonathan could have improved on his very unconvincing record thus far, I am reminded about the truism that no person can give what he or she doesn’t have. Only his apologists will contend with the fact that Jonathan just doesn’t have the leadership capabilities needed to take Nigeria forward. It was this realisation that informed my next Jonathan-at-55 tweet: “GEJ, Alameiyeseigha et al gave way for you to have a story to tell at 55! May you give way soon so Nigeria can have a story to tell at 55!”

With the above tweet, I implied what I’ve always advocated for – namely that, for the reasons of his acute lack of leadership capacity, Nigeria can’t afford another presidential term for Goodluck Jonathan! I hope and am convicted that a new, very sensitive and courageous Nigerian president would be sworn in on May 29, 2015 and by the time Nigeria turns 55 on October 1, 2015, such a president should have given the first signals of a radical departure from Jonathan’s very poor performance by putting in place a truly competent and frugal cabinet, void of the too numerous aides and special advisers and assistants comprising the profligate characteristics of the Jonathan era, for example.

Indeed, Nigerians must unite to save Nigeria in 2015! Any effort to save Nigeria in 2015 must have at its core the electing of a replacement for Goodluck Jonathan at the Aso Villa. Nigeria at 55 will deserve nothing less!

Raymond is on Twitter @Raymond_Eyo

Posted November 30, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

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JONATHAN’S SENSELESS #OCCUPY BEEFS!   11 comments

President Goodluck Jonathan is his own worst enemy! Just when many were beginning to reconsider Jonathan in a hopeful light, despite his many failings, and trying to be persuaded that he could at least succeed in delivering even the barest positives for national development, he again uttered another anti-masses’ salvo, totally uncalled for, and which has had the consequence of raising further doubts about his capacity to deliver.

By condemning the nationwide January #Occupy protests against the fuel subsidy removal and alleging that those who took part in the same were sponsored, Jonathan has taken his insensitivity to a new, and very ignominious, low. If Jonathan thought his statement would be saluted as a show of temerity and gumption, he was certainly very mistaken. Ostensibly, Jonathan has no regard for the hiatus in public anger against him which some other thoughtful president will capitalise on, to regain his citizenry’s confidence.

Jonathan’s senseless #Occupy beefs comprise a display of misplaced truculence which would rather be more befittingly spent on his thieving proxies. It is instructive to note that this same Jonathan recently complained that he is the most criticised president in the world. Well, there is a corollary between being the president who says arguably the most insensitive things and being the most criticised president. Unwise presidential utterances will always naturally attract criticisms, especially from a people so long deprived of their due.

Beyond that though, at the same time that Jonathan is trying to dent the unfortunate security situation in the country, he must be careful to not say things that give any segment of society reason to want to violently vent frustrations and further complicate the nation’s security. On a TV program to commemorate the International Day of Peace on September 22, the Executive Director of the Civil Liberty Organisation, Ibuchukwu Ezike, chided Jonathan’s criticism of the #Occupy protests saying, and rightly so, that “Such a statement can trigger violence.”

Also reacting to Jonathan’s condemnation of the fuel subsidy protests, on September 21, Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka said, “The most generous response that can be given to President Jonathan’s recent statement on the people’s fuel subsidy protest is that he is suffering from a bad conscience. The worst is that he is lamentably alienated from the true pulse of the nation, thanks perhaps to the poor, eager-to-please quality of his analysts, those who are supposed to provide him an accurate feel of the public mood. Since I have had the opportunity to contest this perception of the protest with him directly, it is clear what kind of interpretative diet he prefers.”

“The president sent in the army and shock police squads to forcibly seize and occupy grounds from a demonstrating public, a violation of the people’s rights as entrenched in the constitution… The culture of public protest appears to be alien territory to President Jonathan, which is somewhat surprising, considering the fact that he has not only lived in this nation as a citizen but served in various political offices. He has lived through the terror reign of Sani Abacha whose ruthless misuse of the military did not prevent demonstrations against perceived injustice and truncation of people’s rights,” Soyinka added.

Similarly, on September 21, the opposition Action Congress of Nigeria said President Jonathan’s berating of Nigerians who were opposed to the removal of the fuel subsidy manifestly depicts him as “a President who is completely out of touch not only with ordinary Nigerians but also with universal trends.” “Those involved in the January protests were…Nigerian professionals from all walks of life. To claim that this class of Nigerians were lured to the protest ground because of a bottle of water and food is to say the least, not only uncharitable, but also a reflection of the shallowness of the thought process of the President’s advisers and handlers,” the party stated.

In addition, in an opinion piece reacting to Jonathan’s comment, published in The Punch, on September 25, a certain Adewole Oluyemi asked rhetorically: “Was the President saying the Nigerian masses are undiscerning [about] issues affecting their existence negatively, even when they see citizens of countries with lesser God-given resources enjoying what they are denied of?”

One would have thought that the conjured essence of having senior aides for public affairs, and media and publicity, a microcosm of the larger wasteful duplication of public offices under Jonathan, is to ensure the president’s public comments reflect rationality, sensitivity and decorum. But alas, by Jonathan’s myriad of unguarded statements, one can safely say Nigeria isn’t getting any value from the bootlicking Abati/Okupe duo.

Any more sleazy comments by Jonathan will only exacerbate public mistrust in him. For his own good, it is high-time Jonathan desists from making comments that are not only incongruous but that also go a long way to douse whatever public confidence his administration’s nascent gains in the power sector have earned.

Raymond can be reached on Twitter @Raymond_Eyo

Posted September 28, 2012 by Raymond Eyo in Aso Villa

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