Home OPINION COLUMNISTS President Jonathan And His Men, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

President Jonathan And His Men, By Yusuf Ozi-Usman

Yusuf Ozi-Usman
Yusuf Ozi-Usman

After listening to President Goodluck Jonathan on the media chat programme, aired live both on national television and Radio stations on Wednesday, February 11, one was constrained to sympathize with him and at the same time lament over what appears to be a government of isolationism, in which our President is gradually being distanced from the system he is supposed to preside over.
Less than 28 hours after the National Council of State which he presided over ended a seven-hour meeting at the Presidential Aso Villa without any concrete decision taken about the postponement of the election or otherwise, President Jonathan, by his account, was left in the dark about the postponement. The major headline in most of the media was: “I was not consulted” before the announcement of the postponement.
It was not clear however, at what point he was not consulted: was it immediately before the announced postponement by Professor Attahiru Jega or who were those that did not consult with him and at what point?
Even though what the President implied was that he was not privy to the postponement which, of course no one is contesting, but the larger implication is that he is being kept in the dark as regard what is happening in the polity by some vital persons he appointed and who are supposed to keep him in the picture of what is happening 24 hours a day. At least as President.
The sympathy for President Jonathan is deepened by his confession that he is aware of public’s outcry of the people around him that have been damaging “the perception” of his government.
It is really disturbing that, in a matter as important as the postponement of national elections, which even the National Security Adviser (Colonel Sambo Dasuki) kick-started in far away US a couple of weeks ago, the President, who is the Commander-In-Chief of the Nigerian security system, and who is, by virtue of his position, the Chief supervisor of the electoral system, was kept in the dark.
There is no doubt that by and by, the President deserves some kind of sympathy also because of his personal nature: of not wanting to hurt anybody in his government or at its periphery. Those who are close to Jonathan would admit to his humility and respect for the feelings of others. In fact, one may not miss the point entirely to say that many people around him are so powerful that they most times try to over-ride him, most times, unconsciously and at other times, as a way of seeking for his pleasure by default.
This is the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, that confessed a few months ago that he did not know when his aides were insulting either his political opponents or those who as much as speak against his government.
This is the President who, shortly after he signed a Peace Accord with other political stakeholders at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Abuja, many of his aides embarked on directly and indirectly insulting and making hate-speeches about his political rivals.
This is the President, whose kinsmen have been trying to reduce to a tribal war-lord and at other time, some religious bigots trying to adorn him with religious toga: the President who obviously is not in the picture of all such happenings around and about him.
This is the President, whose political leaders and aides have been quarrelling with the electoral body that is supposed to be independent, framing against its chairman with all sorts of “unprintable” and libelous accusations.
This is the President whose security agents (being the Commander-In-Chief) have been harassing and intimidating some leaders of the opposition, including Senator Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Rochas Okorocha, Garba Shehu and others, without any justifiable reasons.
This is the President that has remained very helpless even when any of his appointees is found to have soiled his or her hands in the nation’s public purse, stealing billions of naira and dollars; our collective patrimony.
The point needs to be stressed that President Jonathan is, by human standards, good and means well for this country. In fact, unbiased Nigerians, including yours sincerely, would always give it to the President that his government has made some outstanding achievements in terms of physical infrastructure and others.
But, what seems to be happening has a semblance of what happened in the Second Republic where the then President Shehu Shagari was innocently leading the country, thinking about how to leave good legacy after his tenure, whereas the people around him were busy either helping themselves to the spoils of office or busy abusing anybody that dare challenged them or the government.
The personal goodness of President Jonathan and his apparent good intention to leave Nigeria a better country than he met it cannot be equated to the behaviours and behavioural pattern of his aides, which of course, is a key factor in the total perception of his government by the people.
Indeed, whatever wrong or right things his aides, his appointees, leaders and functionaries of his political party and that of his ethnic and religious persuasion do, the buck, as political scientists would say, stops at his executive table.
Saying that he does not know what any of these people is doing, or saying for, and on his behalf at any given time is seen usually as a sign of weakness. And, it is just an excuse that won’t amount to cleaning him up.  [myad]

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