Jonathan, As You Leave Us In Darkness, We Still Thank You By Dele Sobowale
“A leader is best/ when people barely know he exists/not so good when people obey and acclaim him/worst when they despise him…..” Lao-tsy, 6th Century AD. (VANGUARD BOOK, p 124).
Former President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, your departure from the exalted office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on May 29, 2015, was a landmark in many respects – few of which can be regarded as credits to your five years in office. In fact, if future historians, who must base some of their conclusions on today’s media records, are to judge you, as you proclaimed a few weeks before your departure, they will judge you a failure.
Why? Because as Phil Graham, a former Managing Editor of the Washington Post, had reminded us, “journalism is the first rough draft of history.” So, Your Excellency, stop deluding yourself that posterity will manufacture what is not on record today. For as long as human beings remain on this planet, Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan, and “our brother” Idi Amin will for ever be regarded as the monsters that they were.
Posterity’s judgment of your years in office will not be radically different from what we know now. “Even God cannot change the past.” (Agathon, 447-401 BC). You have become the past. Nothing can change that. Let me place on record some of the things that will never change in your favour. Since you appear to be a practicing Christian, let me start with something you must recollect from the Bible. “And God said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light’” (Genesis 1:3).
When you became the President, after Yar’Adua’s death in 2010, the nation enjoyed about 3000MW of power supply. That was partial darkness for a nation of about 160 million because nations much smaller than Nigeria can boast of several times that power output. Being new to the helm, Nigerians gave you time to sort out the power problem.
Then, you launched what was titled ROAD MAP TO POWER GENERATION in which you promised 14,100MW of power supply by December 2013. Nigerians were hopeful, especially as they recollect your statement in 2011 that “if I cannot solve power problem in four years, then I would not have achieved anything.” Five years after this journey, the records show that power supply is less than 2000MW. Never mind all the official explanation about installed capacity and gas supply.
Every country has more capacity than is supplied; even the most efficient power systems don’t deliver hundred per cent. Posterity will never change the fact that you left us in more darkness than when you started. Professors Bart Nnaji and Nebo, your two Ministers of Power, who routinely promised 5,000MW or more by December of each year, without delivering once, have demolished your legacy for all time. Unlike strong leaders, like Lee Kwan Yew, with whom your flatterers make inappropriate comparisons, you never had the guts to fire Nebo until the very end.
It would be interesting to know what Professor Nebo had to say when both of you were leaving office without once reaching the 5000MW milestone. Power generation and leaving us in the dark, as you settle in Otuoke, serve as proxy for the rest of your government’s failure. The four refineries delivered next to nothing in five years – resulting in corrupt fuel subsidy payments; which also nurtured the fraud called SURE-P.
“Madam SURE-P’ has finally discredited all former World Bank officials. Never again will Nigerians be awed by the fact that somebody works, or has worked, for the Bank. One Ngozi is enough for a century. Between Ngozi and Diezani Alison Madueke, you not only left us in the dark, you de-mobilised us. In 2015, we are experiencing fuel scarcity as severe as any before 1999. Who is the future historian who will dispute that fact? Let me stop for now and wish you well.
FAREWELL DR OKONJO-IWEALA; BUT, DON’T GO FAR.
“The climax of every tragedy lies in the deafness of its heroes [heroines].
Albert Camus, 1903-1960, (VANGUARD BOOK p 90).
When in November last year, I published GOODBYE DR OKONJO-IWEALA, it was a subtle hint to the former World Bank Managing Director, to run away before the roof caved in on the government she had served so badly. Even if Jonathan had been re-elected, I had it on good authority that he would not have re-appointed Okonjo-Iweala. Ngozi would have become suddenly expendable. Had she left, and another Minister of Finance been appointed, he/she would be the one holding the dirty bag now.
But, she did not listen to advice. Henceforth she will pay dearly for over-staying her welcome. With multiple scandals brewing on issues including Duty Waivers, illegal virements, handling of PTDF money, SURE-P, allegations of theft of Excess Crude Account Allocation to pay subsidies etc, the former Finance Minister had left office; but, she can’t go home and rest. In fact, she will be spending a lot of time in the National Assembly, NASS, answering questions at probe panels that she might as well settle permanently in Abuja.
Unlike the past, she will not have Jonathan to provide the immunity which fostered the impudence with which she treated legislators. Once called now, she must trot to the venue – on the double. Like most of her colleagues, she thought second term was a cinch. She will eat humble pie from now on. And she will need the best lawyers money can buy. It is as serious as that. “Fortune, you fan my flame one moment; in the next, extinguish it.”Aeschylus, 525-456 BC. (VBQ p 64).