Goodbye and Goodluck Jonathan

In the pursuit of happiness in the Niger Area, a functional geopolitical solution will not be the least needed ingredient

Goodbye and Goodluck Jonathan

Which Way Nigeria?

By Adeola Aderounmu

Some of us grew up with the awareness that our parents and grandparents told us to be careful about the things we say with our mouths and the things that we wished for.

Though he has denied it on several occasions and it bears no relevance any longer l can repeat that one of my keen observations the last time l visited Nigeria in 2010 was the campaigns of both Jonathan and Atiku.

I was actually stunned by the promise of Goodluck Jonathan as he begged to do only one term. Yes, I call it begging based on his body language and the way he expressed himself. It sounds like just let me do one term and Nigeria will be paradise again (but not in those words).

Nigeria political landscape has mostly been devoid of men of integrity. A few good men who may have some elements of integrity usually get choked out. They don’t last the campaign or they don’t get the vote because Nigerians are predictable voters.

They don’t even support the people with integrity to the extent where their votes may (now) not be counted. National and state elections are usually scandalous, rigged and manipulated. The 2015 election is reportedly full of malpractices.

In 2010/2011 Jonathan was a clear choice because at that time Atiku’s corruption files were already in the public domain thanks to his corrupt boss Olusegun Obasanjo whose corrupt files were also in the open as they fight for third term-to be or not to be.

That Jonathan was a clear choice at that time arose from many other factors. His criminal tendencies were watered down as he became Obasanjo’s choice after the demise of Yar Adua.

In addition the opposition parties at that time were not formidable.

I have written under several headlines about the laziness of Goodluck Jonathan and his extreme weaknesses as a person both as the deputy governor and then governor of Bayelsa State.

But at the national level, most of these deficiencies were not widely known. Even then Nigerians are gullible when one considers how criminals have emerged as selected or elected politicians over the years.

So this issue with Jonathan’s previous criminal records was not special.

If the anticorruption agencies in Nigeria were firm, committed and credible, Mrs. Jonathan would have at least being arrested because of her roles in fraud and money laundering. There is no way she would have had access to large sums of money or these types of crimes without the help of her husband Mr. Jonathan.

But when they arrived at the national scene after scaling all these hurdles, one would have expected the Jonathans to live a life of repented souls.

They did not.

They threw caution to the wind. They built houses made of gold in Bayelsa. They had probably the largest number of parties and ceremonies since Aso Rock was built. They did what they like and how they like acting like the presidential palace is part of their inheritance.

Jonathan made more than 200 electoral promises and achieved almost nothing. Instead he turned to propaganda and employed professional liars as PR machines.

For some reasons that will become clearer for sure in the days and years ahead security reached an all time low as terrorists took over more than 15% of Nigeria carving for themselves a region in the North East of Nigeria.

One could go on with all that went wrong under Jonathan which his sympathisers will not like to read or hear about. They will fight back.

For them and the Jonathans Nigeria remains a geographical expression and the purpose of winning political offices is for personal enrichment. .

Mostly true, but sad anyway. The question is: should it or does it have to go on like that?

Apart from security, there is hardly any problem in Nigeria today that started with Goodluck Jonathan.

He stated this fact so much it not only became a reference point but also his exclusive reason for non-performance.

I think as soon as Jonathan became the ruler of Nigeria he forgot that the reason why he was the clear choice over Atiku and Buhari was because people wanted a break; l mean people wanted a change from the category of people that have been destroying Nigeria at the center.

Until he became VP to Yar Adua, a relatively unknown Jonathan has only been destructive at the local and state level.

Led by Obasanjo, a man who thinks he knows everything, Nigerians even invaded the social media to ensure that the man who lied that he didn’t have any shoes an a boy became the ruler  of Nigeria.

Jonathan-if the results of the last election are credible and anything to go by-is still a popular figure in Nigerian politics. I mean he almost won a re-election. Since the elections were not completely fair, he could actually claim (as he tried to do lately) that the presidential election was rigged!

He said he wanted one term, that’s what he got.

In my personal opinion, the machinery that installed Goodluck Jonathan was the same machinery that uninstalled him.

It was with great confidence that a few politicians have stated before the elections that Buhari will win. Let those who understand the abracadabra of Nigerian politics go figure that out.

One of my friends who visited Nigeria and left just before the 2015 elections told me that he was sure Buhari would win by a landslide victory. His explanations and reasons were no longer stark as we look together at the figures of the elections.

It is either Buhari was over estimated or Goodluck Jonathan slept for too long.

There could have been a remedy for Jonathan’s curse (the one term curse)

The easiest way and the only remedy perhaps for his one term curse on self could have been a performance-based cure.

Rather than perform Jonathan was romancing criminals of all types. Drug barons, ex-convicts and murderers found favour in Jonathan’s eyes. He played their God.

He continued the trend that Nigerians had known for years. He fell people’s hands.

Jonathan did not fight corruption one bit. He promoted and thrived on it.

He appears not to be in control of the situation. He is misinformed and ill-informed. He is not proactive.

When he departs at the end of the month Nigeria will be in her worst economy shape ever! Nigerian workers are not getting paid, fuel scarcity is back, tears and sorrows fill the land.

No one knows what the APC mandate will be like, only time can tell. But may the likes of Jonathan never see the apex of power again.

Sometimes though l wonder in whose hands the hope of rejuvenation of a country lies. Isn’t it logical that in a country where workers don’t get paid and the unemployed have no hopes of fulfilment-that the way forward lies with the people and what they decide to do or not?

I also wonder if the future really lies in the hands of a new government with old known faces of failure or a revolution by the people.

The people should be demanding for justice from those who ruined their lives and a return of every naira or kobo in the hands of the criminal politicians, at national and foreign banks.

Jonathan and his destructive team are leaving. They could be free or the law could take its toll on them.

Jonathan, goodbye and good luck!

But Nigeria is going no where! Dumb politicians don’t know that.

The people of Nigeria need to throw sentiments away. They need instead the armour of discernment. Nigeria belongs to them and their unborn generations.

Our lives will pass away. Power is transient.

What is more profitable and sensible than barbaric looting and senseless accumulation of wealth is to build a society and a country where peace and social justice reign.

For Nigeria the destruction of lives and institutions have been massive.

The road to freedom is going to be rough, long and unwinding. Along the way the people must pick up constructive education, natural intelligence and wholesome patriotism that will place value and merit above mediocrity.

In the pursuit of happiness in the Niger Area, a functional geopolitical solution will not be the least needed ingredient.

aderounmu@gmail.com

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The Corruption Ring

When those in the corruption ring start to sing and tell, we must not let their revelations and confessions go with the winds the way Atiku-Obasanjo open trials of each other were overlooked by EFCC under Mr. Ribadu.

The Corruption Ring

By Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

Adeola Aderounmu

The change slogan that was the hallmark of the APC during the recent elections in Nigeria may bring a lot of wahala in the days ahead.

Buhari is not yet sworn in as the president of Nigeria, yet people were already expecting some actions that will change things around overnight.

During the campaign many people interpreted the change slogan to mean the same as miracles. They will be disappointed if they don’t wake up to smell the coffee, and quickly too.

On a global scale, political campaigns are loaded with promises the same way several chewing gums are coated with sugar.

When the sugar is dissolved or melted, the task of chewing the gum starts. The real work or change for Nigeria will start when the sugar coating melts away on May the 29th.

There are loads of hindrances in the way that should wake everyone up to the realities of the Nigerian calamities brought about by more than 50 years of misrule.

On the economy, unemployment, infrastructure, population distribution, population growth control, education, health, social justice, political structure and reform, you name it, Nigeria is saddled with uphill challenges.

Nevertheless the APC government must bring hope and visible developments clearly befitting the change slogan. The APC dispensation must bring success over time or pack up.

On the anti-corruption front, it appears that the wheels are getting oiled already. It is gathering momentum at a time that the true state of the Nigerian economy is becoming obvious.

The consensus now is that Nigeria’s economy is in a mess. It lies prostrate.

In the hands of Mrs. Iweala Nigeria was dished to the world as the numero uno economy in Africa.

But now she says that Nigeria is borrowing to pay salaries of civil servants. I have always thought that Mrs. Iweala is a crook and on my blog (and probably here) I have repeated calls for her to resign.

Even in 1987-1989 when I studied economy in class 3-5 l knew it would have been criminal if any teacher told me within this short interval that the biggest economy in Africa is that which borrows money to pay salaries.

This sad but realistic revelation heightened the call for the prosecution of Mrs. Iweala, Mrs. Diezani Alison and many actors in the Jonathan destructive and wasteful government.

But trust the theatrics of the Nigerian political space where there are no dull moments and no saints. The revelation of some of the corrupt activities of Olusegun Obasanjo suddenly emerged.

There are some many things in Nigeria that many people regard as coincidences.

I prefer to see the connections between the disgraceful identities of Mrs. Iweala as the woman who now borrows money to pay salaries of civil servants and Obasanjo whose rags to riches story was neglected since 1999.

How Mrs. Ezekwesili’s defence of Obasanjo in the infamous May Day interview adds to this sequence of events is also interesting in the political games in Nigeria.

At some point even before the start of the useless and corrupt regime of Jonathan, a certain civil right group in Nigeria challenged both Obasanjo and Iweala to produce one of the Abacha’s loots that was returned to Nigeria. After some foot-dragging, Mrs, Iweala produced a fabricated financial report of some expenditure that was supposed to have been in the budget.

She invariably was trying to say that Abacha’s loot was used for payments of some projects that were already provided for in that year’s budget.

What this means in simple language is that substantial parts of Abacha’s loot or all of it was re-looted under Obasanjo using Iweala’s fraudulent double cash book.

Criminals in Nigeria’s political fields come in different shades, sex and sizes.

During the Jonathan oil subsidy scam and the occupy Nigeria struggle Mrs. Iweala threatened to resign and I urged her to do so in one of my blog posts. Nigeria can never miss looters and liars. They are the ones who need Nigeria to sustain their evil ways.

I congratulate Mrs. Iweala in her roles in the sacking of Mr. Shuaib. What are we going to do about her lies about Nigeria’s economy and wealth now that the truth is known?

At this point when change is the slogan, many politicians and Nigeria’s fair-weather friends (like Obasanjo) are trying to associate with the slogan. Many are trying to paint themselves as saints who should be considered in the unfolding political scenario of the APC dispensation.

One day Mrs. Ezekwesili responded to one of my blog posts-Thy Glory O’ Nigeria-where I stated that all Nigerian politicians are criminals and that while she served under Obasanjo, she had also been a part of the corrupt people that destroyed Nigeria. She came on, defending her integrity and stance.

I am not about to change my mind about my conclusions on Nigerian politicians. Not even now when Mrs. Ezekwesili tried to defend Obasanjo’s corrupt regime.

These people don’t understand that while corruption may be relative, the consequences are the same. Nigeria as a country suffers for it and the people, more than 90% of the population, continue to live from hand to mouth. The consequences of corruption and negligence of duties to people and country are not a joke!

Every N1 stolen or taken from the Nigerian treasury at the federal, state of local levels without accountability contributes to the demeaning of the lives of the people. Hence it is not a matter of whether corruption is relative or not.

In public service people should be content with their take-home pay and allowances which in Nigeria is probably already the easiest route to wealth and prosperity. Therefore when people have taken N1 from the Nigerian treasury without probity, they are criminals just like the one who has taken N1 billion. A thief is a thief!

In a recent article I had suggested that it was not Buhari’s job to prosecute people who are corrupt or criminals. Such a task is for the institutions that are saddled with such obligations.

Indeed the APC regime must be seen to allow such separations of powers and independence of various institutions and arms of government. The judiciary and the police must resurrect to perform their obligations as part of the change slogan.

What we are witnessing in the past few days and that which will shape the nature of the change that was promised are the true situations in Nigeria.

When those in the corruption ring start to sing and tell, we must not let their revelations and confessions go with the winds the way Atiku-Obasanjo open trials of each other were overlooked by EFCC under Mr. Ribadu.The anticorruption agency blew away the chance of a life time letting 2 criminals with publicly published facts about each other go free.

The corruption ring in Nigeria that exists among the politicians and political appointees is a type of organised crime. It is crime against humanity because of the overwhelming consequences on the quality of life in Nigeria.

To take down corruption and corrupt people in Nigeria will be an enormous challenge.

When losers and political criminals from the PDP were decamping to the APC en masse it appears that what it takes to be righteous in 2015 was to disown the PDP and become a hanger-on in the APC.

The unfolding revelations about Obasanjo whose roles in promoting corruption and social injustice in Nigeria has been neglected since 1978 will partly help to destroy that myth forever.

In addition, let us constantly remind ourselves that the original APC is also full of political criminals and dubious characters.

Hence there are several reasons why Buhari must not be seen as the prosecutor and the judge in an attempt to bring back the glory of Nigeria and to rid the country of corruption.

The best he can do is to provide leadership by good examples, allow the institutions to run independently and transparently. He could also watch as the anticorruption agencies pick up men and women from the PDP, APC and other places across Nigeria.

This is one of the rare ways that change can come to Nigeria. So, when the Buhari days are over, it would be good to also serve him with justice. For in principle, no one is above the law.

Change is the result of collective wills. Change is the result of collective responsibilities.

Change will always be in the hands of the people and how they use the power that always belong to them to steer governance.

The people must put pressure on the politicians and always demand openness, probity and accountability. They must ensure that the institutions are strong, independent and functional.

Nigeria’s corruption ring ought to be broken once and for all. All the arguments and unfolding revelations in recent weeks will help to contribute to the change that may steer Nigeria to a better place.

A lasting political solution that will ease the political tensions in Nigeria and one that will ensure the devolution of power away from the centre (such as in a regional government) will be integral in steering Nigeria forward.

aderounmu@gmail.com

The Changing Lanes of Mikel and Fabregas

If John Obi Mikel grows up (in Chelsea) the way I predict, we have found gold-Jose Mourinho, 2006

The Changing Lanes of Mikel and Fabregas

By Adeola Aderounmu

Mikel, Mourinho and Fabregas

Mikel, Mourinho and Fabregas

Mikel Obi and Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea Football Club can make history together if they become champions of the English Premier League this year 2015. This can happen already on Sunday the 3rd of May if Chelsea defeats Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.

Such a feat will cap 2 seasons of reform and planning instituted at Chelsea by the special one Jose Mourinho. The little horse that crawled in 2014 is now grown and running.

In the 34th game of the season played on Wednesday 29th away at Leicester, Mikel Obi came on as a late substitute for Cesc Fabregas. I looked at the two of them and l saw how great football can be.

By great, l mean in the sense of history, purpose, achievements and different perspectives of looking at life.

Fabregas has always been a libero/playmaker since his days as a Spanish national U-17 footballer. His ascendance into the football hall of fame was not an accident. His tutelage in Barcelona and development in Arsenal played remarkable roles in forming him into one of football’s brightest minds.

When Febregas and Matic arrived at Chelsea as Jose Mourinho started his second term at the Bridge, Mikel became an irregular player.

Mikel himself arrived at Chelsea at the age of 19 under controversial circumstances that saw FIFA intervened in the Manchester United and Chelsea fight for a young player whom Mourinho described as gold in 2006.

Mikel’s exemplary humility as a Chelsea player has often been overlooked but his contributions though quiet, are immense. Even this season Mourinho still praise the player he converted from a natural attacking role to a defensive midfielder.

By converting Mikel from an attacking player to a defensive player and then departing Chelsea in the middle of it, many critics still think that Mourinho did not allow Mikel to reach his potentials.

In my opinion Mikel will remain a utility player and that makes him a good player. A good footballer must be versatile and formable. Some players never made it far because they are unable to adjust to situations and the need of the clubs.

Mikel has played more than 300 games for Chelsea and l don’t think he is ever going to complain about the number of games he played since the arrival of Fabregas and Matic.

Rather he had stood up every time he is called upon. He has never pretended to be a Fabregas or a Matic. Like a giant he rises up when called upon and holds his place and style of play on the field.

According to Swedish commentators, when Mikel is introduced by Jose Mourinho, it means that the shop is closed. Mikel’s style of play is very effective in holding possession and when necessary has been a part of the Chelsea’s bus parking mode.

In Chelsea’s shirt Mikel has won many trophies. The greatest of them is Champions League Cup. At the Nigerian national team level-where many critics believe that Mikel hasn’t given his best-his moment came when he led the Nigerian midfield to win the African cup of Nations’ trophy in 2013.

Under Stephen Keshi and with a team that also included Chelsea’s team mate Victor Moses and the sublime Sunday Mba, Mikel’s performance in the midfield in 2013 was the highlight of his time wearing the colours of Nigeria. Against Ivory Coast in the semi-final, he literarily pocketed Yaya Toure to gain command of the field.

In his career, Fabregas has won several individual awards. With Spain he has won the European Championship a couple of times and the World cup in South Africa 2010. the playmaker is however still hunting for a Champions’ League Cup glory.

Both Fabregas and Mikel have come to represent further examples of young players who went on to develop their games (even if it is to varying degrees) and shown that football is a progressive sport.

We will never know what Mikel’s career would have been like as an attacking midfielder. We will make do with hypotheses and theories.

From being very young players, both Fabregas and and Mikel’s paths finally crossed each other at the club level when Fabregas signed for Chelsea and formed part of the entourage that came with the return of Jose Mourinho to Stamford Bridge.

On Sunday the 3rd of May, both players can make history together at Stamford Bridge if they lift the EPL cup together. They have the Crystal Palace hurdle to surmount. Fabregas may be with Matic on the starting line up while Mikel may start from the bench.

Unless I had forgotten Chelsea appeared not to have lost any premier league game at the Bridge under Mourinho. Last season l remembered that they rescued a point against West Brom in the last minute of the game.

If Chelsea fails on Sunday, it won’t matter so much. Picking 2 or 3 points from 3 outstanding games must not be an impossible task for a team that started the season at the top of the table and has kept it calm for 35 weeks.

It is almost improbable and unthinkable that Chelsea will need the favour of another team to defeat Arsenal which is the only team still capable of catching up with Chelsea at the top.

Some questions and issues of pride may arise at the end of the season or remain untouched under pretense. How England allowed his greatest defender to quit the national team under an avoidable situation will remain debatable. John Terry may even get a new contract at Chelsea beyond this season. He may also decide to retire on a high note.

Together with Ivanovic and Cahill, Terry remains the focal point of the gang that has formed the proverbial parked bus in front of Chelsea’s goal line. One Swedish commentator added that it is like the Chelsea defenders are born to block shots!

With active legs like those of Ramires, Matic, Azpilcueta and in form Willian, Chelsea may run home with the title this weekend.

After all the blocking and hopefully some goals that will get Chelsea the victory on Sunday, and when the deeds are done, they may still need Mikel Obi to close the shop for the 2015 season.

If John Obi Mikel grows up (in Chelsea) the way I predict, we have found gold-Jose Mourinho said in 2006.

Has Mikel developed the way Mourinho wanted him to?

No doubt, Fabregas will be there to open the 2016 season. What about the shop closer, the former golden boy of the FIFA 2005 World Youth Champinoship-John Mikel Obi?

aderounmu@gmail.com