BY JOHNSON MOMODU
LET me make my position clear that I am not a fan of President Goodluck Jonathan because of my personal beef with him. At the same time, my education and religion do not require me to turn a blind eye when bare-faced lies are told against any man because I am not his fan or I do not belong to his party.
In blistering comments when he met with some unelected and self-appointed, but respectable elders a few days ago, the Kano State Governor and presidential hopeful, Rabiu Kwankwaso, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) took on Jonathan and tore him to shreds in the manner that smacked of the uncultured.
He said that Nigeria was drifting because the President lacked the competence and courage to manage the affairs of the country. As is common with him whenever he holds meetings behind closed doors, the self-confessed traitor in the Northern Governors’ Forum disclosed that though Jonathan had received advice from leaders from within and outside the country on how to put Nigeria on the right track, he had refused to follow them.
The advice came from people like former US Secretary of States, Hilary Clinton, and I suspect national leaders like Olusegun Obasanjo, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and, even maybe, General Muhammadu Buhari, but the lily-livered and cowardly Jonathan, who has no courage, listened to these quality persons and ignored them. So much for a man who has no courage!
If you doubted that Kwankwaso was not a man who betrayed people as he did to Jonah Jang of Plateau State, see the manner he divulged details of a meeting he had with Jonathan and other northern governors. The words from his leaky lips: “When we met with the President, as Northern Governors, he told us that the former US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, told him that as President he has to look at the issue of the North very critically. She noted that there was an imbalance in terms of patronage, appointments and sharing of resources.
“He assured that he was looking at those comments and that was why he was delaying appointments into boards and so on. Since that meeting, we have not seen anything or changes. So, it is my conclusion that the President lacks the capacity and courage to do the right thing.”
Hmmn. I doubt if a man who lacks capacity would have sat atop Nigeria as long as Jonathan has done, even when all political generals of note and their counterparts in civilian clothing have done everything, including promising to make Nigeria ungovernable, to undermine his government. It is either he has capacity or somebody with capacity is watching over him and Nigeria.
Isn’t it again wrong in the faith of Kwankwaso to make the denigrating remarks he made about the leader of his people? Or, if I may ask, when all these political clowns finish rubbishing the presidency they desperately crave for, what would they have when they get into office?
I remember once when the late sage, Obafemi Awolowo, was said to have been invited by former President Shehu Shagari, some of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) hotheads advised him not to go; but he told them he was going, not because Shagari asked him to come, but because the President and Commander-in-Chief wanted to see him. I think some of our ill-advised hotheads today need to learn from that and not denigrate an office they are jostling for.
According to media reports, the governor claimed that the federal budget is heavily tilted in favour of one section of the country, pointing out that a situation where one section of the country is suffering from illiteracy, underdevelopment and misery while the other section has more than enough is not good for national unity.
Is that so? So the President created the problem of loafing youths all over the north, not the northern leaders who were in power at the centre for most of our years as a nation? Not the clueless leaders of Kano, including him who will be spending eight years in power by 2015? Not his predecessor and sworn political foe who spent eight years and both were unable to deal with the menace of joblessness in Kano?
But I must be fair to Kwankwaso to state that he has, with some of his recent initiatives in training the youths and even sending some abroad, begun a process that may turn the state around, if continued by his successors; but I think he is myopic in putting the blame of Arewa at the doorstep of an Ijaw man. We know our problems and we don’t have to lie about them in the name of the politics of 2015.
What annoyed me most about the governor’s comments are the following words: “We have had enough crises in this country and it is not right to plant seeds for crisis in the future. Look at the North East that was allocated N2 billion in the current budget. N2 billion is what Mr. President allocated to non-APC states for supporting him, while N111 billion was allocated to the South East and South-South. This is not close to fairness.”
With all due respect, the governor lied with statistics like his kith, the politicians. To start with, how much has been spent on the Almajiri programme in the North-east, and indeed the whole north? Was a similar amount spent to cater for those from the Christian north? Also, I read an interview in the Daily Trust granted by Jatau, the Christian leader, and it was painful to hear that no compensation has been paid for the schools taken over from them. On the Almajiri programme, I’d like to know what commensurate programme is on going in the South, or the Christian north for that matter.
Secondly, the hundreds of billions being spent on insurgency or those budgeted for insurgency this year, are they part of this N2 billion calculated by the governor’s mathematicians or accountants? Beyond the money, what about the lives of soldiers that have been lost or may be lost? How does Kwankwaso plan to calculate that in monetary terms?
But Jonathan and the federal government apart, what exactly are the northern governors and local government chairmen doing with the huge sums they take monthly from Abuja? Is governance all about doing non-creative things like building roads, bridges, schools and other things that are by-products of sitting in office?
For me to agree with Governor Kwankwaso and to believe that he is right concerning Jonathan, he should do more than he has done this time and not cut a picture of a man who enjoys sharing confidences in the open.
*Mr. Momodu, a pubic affairs commentator, wrote from Abuja.