by Enenim Ubon
“I am always content with what happens; for I know that what God chooses is better than what I choose”
The above quotation is a summary of the life of Dr Jonathan. A man who in 16 years of Nigeria’s (return to) democracy has risen from deputy governor to president; a position many Nigerians would give ANYTHING to attain. As the saying goes “who God has blessed, no man can curse”, Dr Jonathan is a man ordained from birth for great exploits. From the back waters of a polluted Ijaw community, ‘Jona’ has become a global citizen.
As you leave office today, people will remember you for different things, depending on which side of the divide they belong to. Some for your ‘cluelessness’, others for your ‘inability to be decisive’, another group as an ‘infidel’ who tried to take what belongs to them, another group for your transformation agenda/visible accomplishments in several sectors of the Nigerian state and yet another group for your rare action of conceding defeat even before final election results were announced – something still alien to the African continent.
You once said “Nigerians will appreciate me when I leave office”, you were wrong sir. Even while you were still in power, the discerning minds had already started realizing that some of the actions you took that earned you various names from clueless to weak, were the best actions under the circumstances at the time.
Sir you did not have to leave office for those who allowed themselves to be used to #OccupyNigeria to realize that you did the proper thing by trying to totally stop the fraud associated with the subsidy on petroleum products. Today even those who called you insensitive for that heroic action(which also contributed to a large extent in deciding your electoral fate) sing a different tune. I do not know how many have now realized they were being used by the same people you wanted to protect them from.
We are told your successor will allow the rule of law reign supreme – in simple English this means the various arms of government (judiciary inclusive) will be allowed to function independently. The very persons who are trying to sell this message mocked you for not influencing the EFCC to arrest and publicly disgrace those they already condemned in their bedrooms. For allowing the law take its course, you were said to be silent on the anti corruption war. They hailed the actions of the Ota General and despised you for allowing the anti graft agencies and judiciary perform their duties independently and yet tell us that the same respect for rule of law you adhered to will also the hallmark of your successor.
Sir, you did not need to leave office for your efforts in the agricultural sector to be applauded. For your successor to openly canvass for your minister of agriculture to be elected AFDB president is a clear acceptance of the fact that under your leadership, the agricultural sector in Nigeria fared well.
You did not have to leave office for Nigerians to realize that the story of your administration being the most corrupt in Nigeria’s history were all lies. As a matter of fact under you watch Nigeria’s corruption rating (as released by Transparency International) dropped to its lowest level ever.
As clueless as they say you are, you are intelligent enough to know that a nation cannot tackle insurgency with obsolete weapons and have significantly equipped our armed forces; something even Generals could not do. If this is an act of cluelessness, many people need to buy dictionaries.
It took your coming for people to know that the almajiri’s should be treated as humans. You proved to them, that having sympathy for the under privileged is not an act of weakness.
You did not need to leave office for us to know that our power generating capacity has improved significantly. We are very far from where our contemporaries are but we have moved on from where our ex president who also doubled as petroleum minister left us, after spending billions of dollars for 8 years on so called power reforms.
For reviving our rail system, you were mocked for not giving us all high speed trains – forgetting that if administrations as recent as the one from 1999 – 2007 had revived the railway, maybe by now we would be traveling to other african countries by rail. Your Abuja lite rail project was ridiculed at conception; with what has become of the multi billion naira Rivers state monorail, it is now obvious why they thought you would fail.
While you still were in office it became obvious that for two straight years Nigeria maintained a single digit inflation rate, with an economy growing at a faster pace than envisaged; all these right before the eyes of them that accused you of destroying our economy resulting in the inability of governors to pay salaries. Under your leadership the sovereign wealth fund(SWF) was established to ensure some money is saved for times like this but our self-centered governors did not allow you be. You went further to reduce expenditure by initiating the Integrated Personnel and Payroll system which helped eliminate ghost workers thus saving 118 billion naira for the country.
As you step aside a lot more of your actions will be clearer and the reasons they were opposed even more clearer. As every human being you had your flaws(in governance), some of which I criticized but then who can lead a 170 million people and meet all their individual expectations, acting in a way that will please everyone – even Moses with all the anointing could not. What matters most is that you have contributed your significant quota to a nation you have proven(in action) that you love.
“Who saves his country, saves himself, saves all things and all things saved do bless him. Who let’s his country die, let’s all things die, dies himself ignorably and all things dying curse him.” – Benjamin H. Hill
You have served and saved your nation. As you hand over today, I wish you the very best and also hope I will have as much ‘good luck’ as you do.
Enenim Ubon tweets from @EnenimUbon.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.