Jonathan: how to look bad naked

So, Jonathan’s first 100 days in office has come and gone. Lamentably, you’ll have to agree, the man cuts the picture of a passionless and reluctant President. He has also managed to remind us all that a snake cannot give birth to a tadpole. Within those 100 days, Jonathan crawled right back into his PDP hooddom. But that isn’t the worst bit. This chap hasn’t even attempted to man up at all, at all. It is a crying shame and a great pity.

Jonathan finds himself on Aso Rock’s main seat through a combination of Obasanjo’s bizarre machination, and poor hegemonic politics by another cabal led by Buhari and Ciroma. A few people had reasoned that as a PhD holder and a Deputy who has seen both of his principals fail, crash and burn, surely the man would know how to do a few things right. For others, given the over-bearance of our self-anointed overlords, the safer and logical choice to vote was Jonathan. Alas, the man Jonathan has wasted no time in leaving egg on everyone’s face. That is life for you.

But is it fear or naked incompetence?

I do not subscribe to the softly, softly approach to governance in a place like Nigeria. I think a new leader should come out smoking and put his/her imprimatur on the land. If you make mistakes – which are inevitable anyway, you have plenty of time to correct same and keep on moving. A new leader sets the tone, shape and the pace of governance. So far with Jonathan, there is neither pace nor shape. Just tone, and what a horrid tone! That ‘transformation’ mantra from his camp has taken on the noise of a corrupt dirge.

I began fretting when Jonathan, like Yar’Adua, started taking his sweet time in putting a Federal Cabinet together. I fretted some more when the man started talking about single term where executive office holders would do nothing but steal as they know that they are not coming back, no longer answerable to the electorate. My fretting turned into a conflagration of despair when I read what he said at the start of the ‘boko haram’ crisis and his subsequent disappearance from sight as a result of the same ‘boko haram.’

In just 100 days Jonathan has managed to convince nearly everyone that he might be another mistake that happened to Nigeria. The man just seems unwilling to grasp the mantle of leadership. Furthermore, he has quickly reverted to PDP’s perverse governance style where people are told to expect the bad and worse gets given them. Just recently, Jonathan and the PDP eased Justice Isa Salami, President of the Federal Appeal Court out of the way as his election challenge by political opponents approaches. It has all been deceptively wrapped up in a dummy apology request to a retiring Justice of the Supreme Court.

What was Salami’s offence? He alleged that the outgoing Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu directed him to doctor the Sokoto State electoral appeal back in 2009/10. From that, 7 out of 24 people recommended Salami’s dismissal because he refused to apologise to Katsina-Alu.

Well, let’s examine what took place in Sokoto:

Back in the summer of 2008, The Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna nullified the election of Aliyu Wammako (PDP) as governor of Sokoto State. The Court ruled that Wammako was not a duly registered member of the PDP as at the time he stood for election. You see, Wamakko was plucked from the ANPP by the PDP within a few days of the April 14 elections and promptly displaced Shagari Jr who had been campaigning for Governor. Consequently, Wamakko did not have enough time to resign his ANPP membership. Also, Wamakko in his CF001 Form had one Senator Bello Gada as his running mate but he nevertheless campaigned with Shagari Jr as the Deputy Governorship candidate. Shagari Jr on his part did not fill-in the CF001 Form at all and did not swear the Affidavit of Personal Particulars of persons seeking election to contest for the post of Deputy Governor until 27 April 2007, a clear 13 days after the election had taken place.

All of that were in clear breach of Section 187(1) of the 1999 Constitution and flies in the face of Section 38 of the 2006 Electoral Act as well. The Appeal Court in its judgement also took time out to condemn the leadership of the PDP for its flagrant disrespect for the Party’s constitution, and Iwu’s INEC for abetting the illegality.

So a new election was ordered. A rerun, not a bye election. Now, clearly, if Wammako and Shagari Jr were not qualified for the first election, they were not qualified for the rerun. Even INEC got internal legal advice that confirmed that PDP was not eligible for the rerun but it still went ahead without changing a thing. PDP won in a landslide. But the problem was still there. Contrary to the laws, PDP not only participated, but still presented Wammako and Shagari Jr whom the Court of Appeal had pronounced as not the legitimate candidates of that Party. Naturally, the opposition Parties headed to court again.

It was at this point that Katsina-Alu stepped in and body-slammed justice. He ordered the President of the Court of Appeal, Salami, and the presiding Justices of the Appeal Court sitting in Sokoto to stop the delivery of judgment on the appeal which had been slated for 24 February 2010. So, Katsina-Alu and the Supreme Court hijacked a pending election petition before a Court of Appeal and rendered judgment on it, even-though there was no petition before it (the Supreme Court) requiring a hearing.

Why did Katsina-Alu intervene in the Sokoto governorship electoral tribunal proceedings? Because the outcome, according to him, would undermine the Sultan of Sokoto’s authority and may lead to a breach of the peace! Salami refused the request and that was the start of his problems.

As of today, the Sokoto Appeal Court judgment is actually technically on hold, though the Supreme Court said it has dismissed the appeal from Abuja. For his courage and troubles, Salami got impeached by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

But you see, Salami was always going to be removed by the diseased PDP cabal in Nigeria one way or another. That apology demand from him was just the latest excuse and a publicity stunt. They know that no Justice worth half a penny would offer one in the circumstance. Back in February, they had tried to promote Salami out of the way to the Supreme Court. Salami refused to go. Then he was accused of liaison with opposition Parties and a call log was tendered as evidence. Three committees looked into it (Nigerian Bar Association, NJC’s first and second panels) but none accused Salami of any wrong doing in that specific regard.

So what has Jonathan done with all of this? He only went and, quite uncharacteristically for him, moved quickly to rubber-stamp the whole sham. The crucifixion of Nigerian judiciary seems complete; the anchor leg incredibly limped home by PDP’s Jonathan.

While Jonathan was doing this and PDPdising Nigerians, ‘boko haram,’ the latest tool in the hands of his hegemonic enemies, sets the country ablaze blowing up buildings and people to make him look horribly exposed and bad. The national edifice is being torn down because they are not in the driver’s seat. As they do this, Jonathan ambles to a microphone, makes another vacuous vow to deal with them and goes back to sleep. His lethargy and soggy approach to governance is a totally intolerable turn off. ‘Boko haram’ has also thoroughly exposed the underbelly of our security agencies. I even wonder whether some of them are in cahoots with ‘boko haram.’ I ask myself whether these agencies actually do any proactive work other than picking up and harassing travelling internet writers and bloggers.

I am certain that Jonathan and his team know the whys and the whos of this ‘boko haram’ menace. Why

he still hasn’t picked up all those who asserted quite openly that they would make the country “ungovernable” for him is beyond me. Why he lets those people and subsequently, commentators, continue to paint him in unflattering colours is also beyond me. Why has he chosen to seeming turn tail rather than confront known nemesis? Do we have to remind him that he is Commander-in-Chief, or is he not? Perhaps his authority is only limited to endorsing the killing-off of the few bright things in Nigeria. Meantime, his opponents mock and confidently pick who and where to strike in leisure and with absolute swagger.

Since his traducers run loose unchallenged, and – God forbid – should they get it into their misguided heads to target Aso Rock, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if we were told that Jonathan wasn’t there. Because he seems to have gone underground and chosen to save his own neck. What a leader! In just 100 days he has become even more uninspiring, dangerously close to being an absentee president; already a lame duck.

Looking back on Nigeria’s history of Presidents and its one Prime Minister, it is amazing that not even one of them was interested in the high office they later occupied. They were all individuals that were recruited by bigger fishes to go represent others’ interests. No one who ever declared their intention and clearly spelt out their vision and programme for the country from the very onset ever made it. It’s astonishing really. And it would appear that in Yar’Adua and now Jonathan, Obasanjo succeeded in foisting on Nigeria a truly dangerously mumufied duo. Nigeria just can’t seem to catch a break no how.

Written by
Michael Egbejumi-David
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