By Garba Abu
In 2011, President Jonathan won Nigeria’s presidential election, securing an outright victory. His overwhelming victory showed that his candidacy had considerable support in the north as well as the south even though it was a departure from the unofficial north south rotation policy. 4 years later, Jonathan’s luck expired as he suffered defeat in the 2015 presidential election, losing to Gen Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress. How did Jonathan fall from glory to story? Kess Ewubare explains 5 factors that reduced Jonathan’s popularity resulting in his inevitable defeat.
From glory to story
Deceived by sycophants
Abandoned by PDP chieftains
for the first time in Nigeria’s history, an incumbent president has suffered defeat in an election. 4 years ago he was the man of the moment, now his approval ratings have plummeted to the lowest level. What were the factors that robbed President Jonathan of his Goodluck. Here are 5 reasons why Jonathan likely lost the 2015 presidential election.
1) Jonathan Surrounded Himself With Unwise People
One reason why President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration suffered colossal failure was that he surrounded himself with sycophants and people of lazy intellectual capacity. Admitting this mistake, the president had in February, 2015 said: more than 80 percent of advisers have nothing to say, but you listen to them and do what is right. This was his undoing, Jonathan administration was marred by individuals who threw caution to the wind while addressing national issues. His association with persons such as Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti state who sponsored a death advert on Buhari on a national newspaper, and Femi Fani Kayode who speaks without caution, created enemies for his administration.
Other lazy minded people who rubbished Jonathan’s administration were Doyin Okupe, the president’ senior special assistant on public affairs and Senator Obanikoro. These crop of people had little or no contributions to make on national issues, they only sang his praises and irritated his critics. One would have thought that as a Dr, Jonathan’s administration would be made up of technocrats who would proffer solutions to the myriads of problems bedeviling Nigeria, but this was not to be. Jonathan instead chose to rub minds with lazy minded peoples and this cost him dearly.
2) Boko Haram Insurgency
Boko Haram started before Jonathan became president, but the inability of his administration to curtail the sect cast a huge doubt over his administration. Daily, Nigerians were greeted by news of bomb blast and gun attacks. Unfortunately, the Boko Haram menace was interpreted by Jonathan as an effort to rubbish his administration. Because of this flawed opinion, a president who was supposed to protect his people was always involved in accusations and counter accusations that northern political elites were using Boko Haram as a tool to discredit his government.
While these baseless political interpretation was going on, thousands of people in northeast were killed daily while our president watched. The situation became so bad that the Nigerian army suffered countless humiliating defeats at the hands of Boko Haram. The president gave the impression that he was clueless in solving the security issue. The Lax and belated way his administration responded to the kidnap of the Chibok girls on April 14, 2014, and the Baga massacre on January 2, 2015 showed that Jonathan placed less priority on solving the Boko Haram menace. Boko Haram’s reign of terror highlighted the weakness of his administration.
3) Massive Corruption Pervaded Jonathan’s Government
Never has Nigeria’s corruption rating assumed a more frightening record that it did under Jonathan. This does not imply that the president himself is corrupt, but it however exposed the president’s lack of willingness to fight corruption. Under his watch huge sums of money got missing without any one called to account. When former governor of central bank, Sanusi Lamido alleged that $20 billion could not be unaccounted for by the NNPC. Rather than take such claims serious, Jonathan explained the issue away and went as far as sacking Sanusi for blowing the whistle. He failed to take any decisive action in addressing the many corruption cases that surfaced under his administration, such as:
N95 billion Maina pension scam
Kerosene subsidy scam; $6 billion fuel subsidy scam
Police pension scam;
Stella Oduah car purchase scandal;
$15 million private jet scandal
Among others, under his watch not a single corruption case was conclusively tried in court.
4) The Fracas In The PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party was never united under President Jonathan’s administration. Never had the party suffered such huge defections as witnessed in recent times. The wranglings in the PDP began immediately after the Death of Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010. Many party chieftains saw Jonathan’s presidency as a disruption of the party’s unofficial policy of rotating the presidency between candidates from the predominantly Christian south and the predominantly Muslim north.
After he secured an overwhelming victory in the 2011 presidential election, he expended his energy in trying to garner support of key party members that had deserted him. In doing so, he paid little attention to more pressing issues bedevilling the country while the economy and the Boko Haram insurgency thrived. The crack in the PDP culminated in several members of the party’s Board of Trustees deserting Jonathan. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, Atiku Abubakar, and Ibrahim Babangida distanced themselves from Jonathan. He thus became a sinking man in a sinking ship. This also led to his inevitable defeat.
5) An Election Difficult To Rig
Previous elections in Nigeria have been full of controversies. This fact was made clear when President Umar Musa Yar’Adua admitted in 2007 that the electoral process which brought him to power was floored and promised to reform the Nigerian electoral system in order to ensure that future elections in Nigeria would be credible, transparent, free and fair. The appointment of Atahiru Jega as the chairman of Nigeria’s electoral commission brought sanity to the system. Jega did his best to sanitize Nigeria’s electoral system.
The 2011 elections were considered to be better but observers said fraud and rigging still took place. The 2015 elections is however a deviant from the past. INEC’s adoption of a biometric voter’s card reduced the loopholes in the electoral system to the minimum.
These changes worked against several power brokers who might have wanted PDP to win so as to save guard their selfish interests. The harder to rig election also contributed to the defeat of Jonathan’s PDP. The party thus lost the firm grip it had on the electoral system.
Even though he lost, President Jonathan has entered history books as the first president in Nigeria to oversee an election seen as free and fair. I wish him well in all his endeavors.