By Donu Kogbara
Last week, I defended ex-President Goodluck Jonathan against critics who unfairly insist that he aggressively promoted his (Ijaw) ethnic group and (Niger Delta) region.
I said that Jonathan actually neglected his people, justifying this opinion by highlighting some of the things that he DIDN’T do for the Niger Delta and its indigenes – renovating Port Harcourt’s mega-dingy airport and acting on the United Nations report on the environmental devastation of Ogoniland, for example.
Whenever I’ve grumbled about Jonathan’s performance since the 2015 election, some Vanguard readers have contacted me to complain about my complaint!…on the grounds that they regard it as unseemly or unkind to “kick a man when he is down”.
I can sympathise with readers who have a soft spot for Jonathan because when I met him, I liked him. And you don’t have to meet him to sense that he’s a nice man.
However, we all make mistakes and all possess weaknesses; and I don’t feel sentimentally obliged to gloss over Jonathan’s mistakes and weaknesses, not least because his mistakes and weaknesses affected millions of Nigerian citizens.
Exclusive global VIP club
The bottom line is that Jonathan is not a fragile little flower. He is a member of an extremely exclusive global VIP club. He is one of very few men on the African (or ANY) continent who have enjoyed the rare privilege of being a head of state.
He ambitiously sought power. He successfully acquired power. He gladly wielded power. He was super-pampered in the process.
He will always be famous. His name will feature in every single history book that will ever be written about Nigeria.
And he still has a sizeable fan club – folks who adore him unconditionally. On his birthday, social media site Facebook was awash with affectionate congratulations.
In other words: Jonathan was and is a Big Boy; and I don’t see why he should be handled with protective kiddie gloves by those who are disappointed in him and feel that he mismanaged golden opportunities to elevate his people and country!
Meanwhile, Henry Seriake Dickson, the sincere, determined and passionate Governor of Jonathan’s home state, Bayelsa, has described Jonathan’s six-year tenure as a wasted opportunity for the Ijaws.
According to Dickson, ministers and presidential aides from Bayelsa focused on their selfish interests, instead of joining hands with him and participating in his efforts to develop their state.
Dickson made these comments in Yenagoa on Tuesday, during a ceremony in honour of the heroic Major Isaac Adaka Boro, who fought for Ijaw self-determination.
Speaking before laying wreaths on Boro’s tomb, Dickson referred to a “Baylesa Ijaw disease” he described as “pulling-him-down syndrome” and lamented the fact that Abuja-based government officials from Bayelsa are still failing to support his developmental agenda.
If its any consolation to Dickson, Bayelsa has not been the only victim of this problem. My own state, Rivers, has suffered from it for years…as in megalomaniacs elevating their toxic personal nonsense above the collective well-being.
2348128801999 Oluwatobi David
Good morning Donu Kogbara! Is it not amazing that they have heaped all the problems of Nigeria and all the misrule of the past leaders on Jonathan. Jonathan is now a sacrificial lamb! Some even say Jonathan did not do anything good while in office. That’s very unfair and in bad taste
2348056095412 Lekann Olawumi
Former President Jonathan was not prepared for leadership of a big country like Nigeria . During his tenure,he was trying to please certain sections of the country that will never be satisfied unless thier own is in power. Jonathan did not learn from what happened to Aguiyi Ironsi. He was a nice man but a failure as a leader. Thanks
God bless you Donu for the piece on Jonathan. I am from Delta State but voted against GEJ in the 2015 presidential election for this same reason of not doing enough for Niger Delta region.
For instance the proposed international airport in Bayelsa left behind by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua could not be completed by GEJ. So many of my friends have criticised and called me a traitor for voting against GEJ. But your write-up which enumerated how GEJ failed us in the Niger Delta gladdens my heart.
2348022714734 Anonymous Sister, if Jonathan disappointed you, as you claim, has Muhammadu Buhari now made you proud?
Let the man be. Continuing to spit upon a man that is down already is not decent. Allow him. Let Jonathan carry his cross quietly sister.
2348068179536 Victory Oguchi
Good morning Kogbara . Everything you said about Goodluck Jonathan is true. Six years just went down the drain.
Dear Donu Kogbara,
I felt nothing but pity after reading your write-up on Jonathan. This is what I have to say. As a South- Southerner. I don’t know where I am going but I sure do know where I have been . The foundation of this entity called Nigeria hinges on the North, West and East. Hence, as Southerners, we are only hanging on the promises of this faulty foundation. The only thing we Southerners know is to dream tall dreams requiring blood sacrifices, and leaving us as drifters. As drifters , we are bound to walk alone. This was an attribute which Jonathan exhibited.
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