Following President Goodluck Jonathan’s acceptance of defeat after the March 28 presidential election, many people both home and abroad lauded his spirit of sportsmanship and immediately proclaimed him a statesman. By that singular action analysts believe that the outgoing President managed to snatch some semblance of victory from the jaws of defeat. They interpreted the gesture of calling to congratulate the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari as a new tonic in efforts to deepen our fledgling democracy.
I commend him too because such gesture is rare in our clime. One thing that gladdens my heart is that for once Jonathan manned up. I believe historians will record him to have introduced a new lexicon into the nation’s democratic experience. His action led many other candidates to accept defeat across the country, therefore, foreclosing long drawn litigations with their victorious opponents. If for nothing, Jonathan may have won himself a place in the list of those being considered for the Nobel Peace Prize or the Mo Ibrahim African Leadership Award in the near future. Possibly, the United Nations may also deem him fit as an envoy to lead some of its peace missions to some troubled parts of Africa where candidates in an election refuse to accept the results. Already he has expressed his desire to join the likes of former military Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Head of the defunct Interim National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, in serving the country and the international community in whatever capacity he is assigned. He has earned that and nobody can deny him such a role post-Aso Rock Villa.
However, his unceremonious sacking of the Inspector General of Police, Suleiman Abba a few weeks to vacating office will not help his new found democratic credentials. I don’t have issues with Abba’s sack, after all, those who hire can fire and Jonathan is still the Commander-In-Chief. What I find nauseating is that while the Presidency has failed to give reasons for Abba’s sack, reports have it that the hammer was wielded because Abba refused to “act the script” allegedly given to him for the presidential election thereby causing the electoral downfall of the President.
It is all hearsay. But if it is true, then what manner of script would that have been if not to use the police to rig the elections in favour of the President? If it is true that there was a sinister plot to again steal the people’s mandate as reflected in the last election, then we all must thank Abba for refusing to be used.
He deserves worthy commendation from all lovers of democracy. Let him go home walking tall with his shoulders held high.
Last week, I condemned the surreptitious rapproachement of the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy (CME), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (NOI) towards the incoming administration of GMB. However, I suddenly discovered that NOI is not the one advising GMB on how the economy should be managed henceforth. The latest kid on the block is the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele. Emefiele was appointed as governor of CBN at a time of financial turbulence and malfeasance in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). Former CBN helmsman and now Emir of Kano, Mohammadu Sanusi II, had exposed the underbelly of the behemoth’s hierarchy. N20billion in oil was said to have disappeared. The PDP’s administration led by the Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke and in cahoots with the Budget Office and Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation had arrayed themselves against Sanusi for daring to open the lid on their financial impropriety. They got the Senate to pronounce that no money was missing. The forensic experts from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) concurred, saying the NNPC only needed to refund a paltry $1.48bn. It is generally believed that Emefiele was drafted from Zenith Bank apparently to bury the facts rather than discover the money.
I believe the truth about about the missing $20bn shall yet be told. Therefore, I want to commend the president-elect who has assured that the allegation would be investigated because the amount is to big to be ignored. The Nigerian Extractive Industry and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has left no one in doubt about what amounts the outgoing administration may have illegally plundered from the nation’s till. Presently, Emefiele has advised the incoming GMB’s administration to divest its equities from Joint Ventures to finance infrastructure. Why did he not give Jonathan the same prescription? I believe Emefiele’s hands are too full defending the naira, stabilising the economy and fighting to stave off the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) from encroaching on its core mandate of licencing and supervising commercial banks to have the time to ruminate on the future management of the oil sector. Let him focus on his claimed efforts of spending billions out of the nation’s external reserves to stabilise or defend the naira, his other pastime of ensuring astronomical increase in the capital outlay of Bureau de Change (BDC) and the return of fees on withdrawals from Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs). He was there when the PDP painted the country red with dollars during the last elections but did nothing. Today he winces about the use of dollars in domestic transactions.
It is worthy of note that those who chorused the transformation song under the outgoing administration cannot wait to handover before reversing themselves. The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga is one of those who is never short of words to extol the transformation acumen of GEJ. I was surprised that he complained last week that Nigeria had no standard laboratories to make her experts acceptable at the international market and I could not ask myself what happened to the transformation wonders of GEJ. The Minister who spoke while unveiling the new office complex of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria in Abuja reportedly said that the high volume of rejected Nigerian products was not acceptable. He blamed the development on lack of accredited laboratories in the country where the products could be tested before being shipped abroad. He said for instance, that while the rejected exported products from Nigeria were over 103, countries like South Africa and Ghana had just six and seven rejects only.
It is late to cry when the head is off, they say. Aganga as one of the pioneer ministers in the Jonathan’s administration had all the chance to impress on the soon-to-end administration to provide infrastructure in all sectors. His lamentation has shown that he failed to do that.
I think one lesson the Broom Revolution should teach us as a nation is that leaders once in position of leadership should faithfully serve by doing those things that better the lives of the people as well as stand the test of time. The handover is barely a month away, but East-West Road, Nigerian refineries, Abuja metroline, Second Niger Bridge, power sector are still comatose while drivers continue to sleep in filling stations to be able to buy fuel. So much for transformation lies.