Goodluck Jonathan: The accidental president who wasted opportunities?
I love this GEJ pic, dat smile nah wayo wayo smile walahi!
The fact is, had I been in Nigeria today, (and I still don't understand why we in the diaspora can't vote...) I would probably be tussling with my decision right up to when I have my ballot papers in my hands! So no I am far from sold on the notion that GEJ deserves another 4 years governing Nigeria.
Quite frankly I wish there was a third candidate, but no matter how credible that third candidate would be, it is clear that the APC and the PDP are the two political heavyweights in Nigeria today so the president will come from one of those two parties.
For full disclosure I was at the forefront supporting a GEJ presidency during the brouhaha as regards Umaru Yar'Adua's passing and the madness that followed him being certified as "Acting president" whatever the heck that meant. I also supported him when he decided to run for a full term as president.
Everything looked great... "On paper"...
On paper, GEJ appeared to be an ideal president for a "new democratic Nigeria". Consider the following which i consider positives:
- His humble beginnings: As he likes to remind us he walked to primary school without shoes daily. So he is a man whom started life like many of us and found himself at the very top in Nigeria, a characteristic many Nigerians had been clamoring for in their ultimate leader. We had enough of recycled generals and wayo wayo business men.
- No Godfathers: So here was a man who had no "godfathers" in his rise to the top, we might qualify this and say he had just a few as no doubt Obasanjo pushed him in to the VP slot on the Yar'Adua ticket when he could have had Donald Duke or even Peter Odilli occupy the slot. And he might have gotten some small help when he was moving up the ranks at the defunct Niger Delta commission OMPADEC. Thus he was a man who should have had the interests of the people at heart not the interest of an endless list of Nigerian Godfathers.
- His educational background: If my memory serves me correctly, since Dr Azikiwe, there has been NO Nigerian ELECTED president with an earned Ph.D, note the word "earned" not an honorary one, but one you studied for and earned. Yes it might be in Zoology, but it is an advanced educational degree nonetheless. In a country with a endless number of smart graduates it was terribly sad that none ever rose to the position of being able to govern the country. By the way I have read the controversy on if he has the Ph.D or not and quite frankly evcen his M.Sc is still an advanded degree as we all know.
- His background as a working man. An added plus was the fact that this was a man who like every other graduate out there went to school, graduated, did his NYSC and worked in various positions from being a teacher to an environmentalist and and inspector, this is unlike many of our past leaders who simply joined the army and rose to the top and gained popularity or the others that were businessmen who profited from contracts given to them by their government friends and thus amassed stupendous wealth which in turn allowed them to become major players in Nigerian politics today.
- Last but not the least, he comes from the region of Nigeria that produces most of Nigerians oil and therefore the countries revenue. However that region had not produced a president since the countries independence, in my opinion that was not right. That I know is another argument for many who do not support him. I am frequently reminded that before oil, cash crops propped up Nigeria. That is another argument for another day though.
So again on paper, GEJ was an ideal candidate for Nigeria at the time. But as we would say in Naija... Oga nah paper we go chop...