By Jide Ajani
Disclaimer: If it is wrong to say Mr. President goofed gratuitously, then we apologise.
However, Mr. President goofed on grounds of facts and morality. Therefore, he needs to recant; or, better still, somebody should explain what he was trying to say to Nigerians regarding Bamanga Tukur, the ousted National Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the NOT GUILTY verdict he passed on the former ruling party leader.
But those who know President Goodluck Jonathan say of him that he is a nice man by nature; that he is moulded in the image of a gentleman. He has serially demonstrated that attribute in his long suffering disposition to issues concerning himself, his political party and his handling of affairs in Nigeria since May 2010 – mind you, as vice president, he tolerated and took in all the delinquent conduct of members of the cabal who trampled on his person and his office while the Office of the President suffered a lacuna.
That his modus operandi is not the same as that of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a man who operates like a locomotive engine with a failed break system, is not in doubt. Spanning the ASUU strike, the walkout on him at the PDP convention last August, PHCN workers’ retirement benefits, the charge by the CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, regarding the missing $49billion and some other issues too numerous to mention here, Jonathan has demonstrated that he is a Gentleman President.
However, being a Gentleman President does not in any way justify his penchant for pushing his luck too far.
At the National Executive Committee, NEC, meeting of the PDP, last Thursday, President Jonathan told Nigerians that Tukur had resigned and his resignation had been accepted. That was good because Tukur’s excess baggage was already dragging the selfsame Jonathan down the bottom of the river.
But for Mr. President to add that Tukur did no wrong sends the wrong signal.
On issues of morality, why was Tukur forced to resign if he did no wrong?
Flowing from that, and, worse still, those in attendance at the PDP NEC meeting stood up to applaud the President’s statement, thereby, confirming that Tukur did no wrong. The downside to this is that an innocent man is being forced out of office for doing no wrong.
In truth and in protection of the integrity of the Office of the President of Nigeria, Jonathan shouldn’t have been the one to pronounce a NOT GUILTY verdict on Tukur.
The ever garrulous National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, should have been saddled with that responsibility since most of the statements he issues are either lacking in depth of logic, flippant or highly combustible in content, context and interpretation. If Metuh had pronounced Tukur NOT GUILTY, may be as vote of thanks, it would have followed the pattern of his sometimes inane statements.
That the PDP could open President Jonathan’s flanks in public is not right. Now, on the issue of fact, Tukur did many wrongs.
Upon assumption of office, he appointed special advisers to take over every key job of the NWC members. Those ones kicked. He was forced to dump his advisers.
The unilateral actions he took regarding the state chapter of Adamawa State, which opened him to attacks from state governors set the stage for every other thing that has gone wrong since his assumption of office, getting to a head with the walkout on Mr. President at the party’s August national convention. President Jonathan himself had, reportedly, been serially embarrassed by some of the actions of Tukur (like suspending a state governor from the party without the President’s knowledge).
Even while the topsy-turvy created by Tukur’s style of administration lasted, just last Monday, the Kwara and Sokoto State chapters were again tinkered with in a unilateral manner. The President was misled into believing that the Nigeria Governors’ Forum was in the pocket of some individuals whose loyalty today remains in doubt. Yet, when they failed to deliver, they, inexplicably, persuaded Mr. President to align with their warped reasoning that numeral 16 is greater than numeral 19 and, therefore, Jonah Jang with 16 votes won against Rotimi Amaechi’s 19.
What morals are we passing to the younger generation?
President Jonathan landed the killer blow when he promised to give Tukur a more important job than that of PDP Chairman.
In which part of the world is an individual acknowledged as not doing any wrong but he is ridiculed and deprived of his office, only to be promised a higher calling? The answer is Nigeria.
If Tukur is said to have sacrificed his office for peace in the party, that is meet and proper. If Tukur is said to have been sacrificed for peace to reign in PDP, it is understandable because some others do have people like Tukur who make huge sacrifices. If President Jonathan wanted to be charitable to an elder, it is his right to so do. If the same fat cats in PDP who caused five state governors to dump the party wanted a soft landing for their ousted Chairman, it is permissible.
But to say Tukur did no wrong and he has been disgraced out of office is not fit to come from the President and Commander-in-Chief who also doubles as the leader of the PDP. But PDP always has its way. Just look at the history of past chairmen and how they ended