Bayo Olopohunda: How Jonathan betrayed Nigerians

by Bayo Olopohunda


Now, he is aiming to recontest his lack lustre presidency in 2015. Nigerians should reject Jonathan in 2015 as a payback for his betrayal.

The election year of 2011 is still fresh in my memory. I remember it just like yesterday. It was in that year that Goodluck Jonathan was elected the third executive President of the Federal Republic. It was a momentous occasion for him and the nation. His election, comparable only to the election of Barack Obama as America’s first black president, was unprecedented. It signalled the triumph of the struggle for relevance by Nigeria’s long-suffering minority groups. When Jonathan was elected, Nigerians dreamily believed that the maladies that afflicted the nation would cease to exist.  They believed his election would usher in a vigorous wind of economic and political change for the nation. Jonathan himself vowed that his election would demarcate the conclusion of grisly “politics-as-usual” to the commencement of democratic and political freshness. However, as this administration continues on, it is clear that Jonathan has not only failed to deliver in a general sense, he has also completely betrayed Nigerians.

Looking back now, I have often rued the lost opportunities of the Jonathan Presidency. I wish Nigerians had not been so trusting. I wish they had not been so gullible. I wish they had not easily believed the “no-shoes-at-childhood’’ tales told by this president. Now, some years down the line, the events that have shaped the Jonathan Presidency have revealed a gross betrayal of the Nigerian people. But how could Nigerians have known that they were electing a leader who would eventfully surround himself with those that have brought our country to its present state? Who would have known that this President will be more of the same or even worse? Any honest person in Nigeria today must look at the President’s demonstrable disregard for issues that affect the common man and come to the inescapable conclusion that Nigerians are the very least of his concerns. The President has since pitched his tent with the corrupt political elite. Ordinary Nigerians who voted for him, who trusted him, can go to hell after all he does not give a damn.

The system many thought he would change for the good of ordinary Nigerians has apparently taken him hostage. It is indeed a great betrayal. What has become really scary is the President’s surreptitious support of primordial ethnic schism that has been the bane of our underdevelopment. His silence in the face of ethnic irredentists who make statements that threaten the polity will further polarise us as a nation. The President has also been found to breach the secular status of the country as entrenched in the constitution as he goes from one church to the other where he makes policy statements. He has converted the pulpit into the theatre of political bitterness. Those churches who allow the President to use the pulpit as a campaign platform also contribute to our national malaise.

This is certainly not the type of President Nigerians envisaged.  Now, the schism is so pronounced that one cannot even criticise the government without one’s ethnic group coming into play. If you criticise the government, it is because you are Yoruba, Igbo or Tiv or in the opposition. Where is the nationalism? The President is sacrificing patriotism on the altar of religion and politics. In the years former President Olusegun Obasanjo was in power, his most ardent critics were those of his ethnic group. Where is the Pan-Nigerian mandate given to Jonathan in 2011?  Jonathan has betrayed Nigerians in many fronts. Is it in his record of non-performance? Is it in his lack of political will to fight corruption? In fact, his dismal anti-corruption record is the worst betrayal of trust by Jonathan. Because of his lip service to the fight against corruption, Nigerians are worse off than in 2011. All the institutions of government have been corrupted. Even his Niger Delta is not better off. Who would have known that Jonathan will not fight corruption? Who would have known that this President would render the anti-corruption agencies so pineffective as to not to convict any individual for corruption in spite of the allegations of corruption involving high ranking officials of his government? Nigerians have lost count of corruption scandals in the Jonathan administration. The President even hobnobs with indicted individuals. Who would have known that this President would condone corruption to the extent that oil theft which had previously existed minimally would deepen under his reign? Are the scandals in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation not embarrassing to the President?

Besides, Nigerians have certainly been hoodwinked by a President who promised change. He looks the other way while his cronies steal the country blind, prevaricates when he ought to sack indicted officials, and carries on not minding the effect of his inaction on ordinary people. The power sector has yielded no result in spite of trumpeted reforms. There is no indication that the country will have constant electricity even if this President gets a life term. The health sector is worse off. Public hospitals are nothing to write home about. Privileged Nigerians visit hospitals abroad even for minor health issues like a headache or to treat rubber bullet “injuries” while ordinary Nigerians die of common ailments at home. The betrayal of Nigerians has manifested in all areas of governance in which this government has shown its incompetence.

Is it in the creation of jobs? Is it the voodoo economy where government and its officials have bandied bogus job statistics? If indeed they have created employment, how come job statistics continue to rise with millions of Nigerians roaming the streets? The Jonathan government claims phantom growth in the economy but over 100 million Nigerians are, according to verifiable studies, impoverished. Recklessness, official wastage, and outrageous recurrent expenditure characterise budgetary spending. More egregious than the high rate of unemployment is the fact that Jonathan has been completely disconnected from ordinary Nigerians.  He has failed to articulate any policy that would deal with emerging socio-economic crises. Rather, he is more focused on articulating and enacting policies that are favourable to his friends and cronies. The excuse has always been that the he did not create the problems Nigerians elected him to solve. This feeble argument exists for the sole purpose of deflecting legitimate criticism of his failure to meet the needs of Nigerians. They said Nigerians should be patient yet they have no road map for the future.

The President has also displayed gross insensitivity to the past suffering of his Niger Delta people. The centenary award he bestowed on the late dictator Sani Abacha amounts to a betrayal of the Niger Delta cause. At the centenary awards, he betrayed his own people by making heroes of yesterday’s villains. He gave a centenary award to a dictator, Abacha, who plundered and oppressed Nigerians. He honoured a wicked leader who sent soldiers to destroy villages and killed his own people. A President who is mindful of history would have declined to endorse such an ignominy. By so doing, Jonathan has spat on the graves of activists and others who died in the struggle to restore democracy of which he is a beneficiary. Now, he is aiming to recontest his lack lustre presidency in 2015. Nigerians should reject Jonathan in 2015 as a payback for his betrayal.


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