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Goodluck Jonathan And The ‘Anyhowness’ Of Nigeria’s Politics

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Goodluck Jonathan And The 'Anyhowness' Of Nigeria's Politics
Goodluck Jonathan And The ‘Anyhowness’ Of Nigeria’s Politics

The word ‘anyhowness’ might appear strange but it best describes Nigeria’s current political reality ahead of the 2023 general elections. Just as ‘garri’ needs no advertisement, the bird needs no tutoring to fly and the fish needs no swimming class, so is the meaning of the word ‘anyhoness’ in Nigeria’s political scene.  By the time you are done reading this, you’d grasp the meaning maybe more than this writer.

When former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari after the 2015 elections, he stamped his place as a model of democracy. The former president put a call through to his successor, Muhammadu Buhari, to congratulate him even though the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was yet to make a formal pronouncement on the outcome of the presidential election. That was indeed a wowing gesture considering the enormous number of doomsday political allies who have sworn that Nigeria would come to an end if the Otuoke born president should not emerge. Their principal’s call to the opposition candidate broke their arms and the intense political atmosphere became suddenly calm. In the African political space, it is almost impossible for an incumbent to lose an election but it happened in the most ethnically diverse country in the continent. Some have tried to downplay Jonathan’s action but it becomes more praiseworthy if placed side-by-side the theatrics of former US president, Donald Trump, after he lost the November 2021 US presidential election. Comparing the democratic action of a political figure in Nigeria to the first citizen of the epitome of the world’s democracy is enough to tell that “the call” was a big deal.

The thrills and travails preceding the 2015 presidential elections was one yet to be seen in Nigeria. Foes became friends, political leaders became stooges, the divided became unified, different religions merged, tribes aligned and different political parties came together to oust Goodluck Jonathan. It was indeed a thrilling endeavour. Never-seen-before propaganda took over the social space, print and electronic media succumbed to the need to evict Jonathan from Aso-Rock, ‘veteran’ political activists threw their weight behind the newly birthed All Progressives Congress and the stage was set for a forceful takeover. The symbols of the merger, President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiawaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, toured the country and even sought foreign help to achieve their aim. It was achieved. APC won! Goodluck Jonathan became the scape goat. He was arguably the most vituperated president Nigeria has seen.

Many of the vituperations were justifiable. Goodluck Jonathan did woeful as President but Buhari’s tenure has made the ex-president a saint. Even with crude oil selling at above $100 per barrel during most of his five-year tenure, Jonathan failed to achieve much. Rather, there was massive looting of the treasury and round tripping of foreign exchange in the system. The massive looting of the CBN vaults in the last days of his tenure to fund the 2015 elections remains a major stain on his reputation.  The country’s security situation was nothing to write home about. Boko Haram terrorists had a field day, Chibok school girls were kidnapped and bandits did their ‘thing’ unabated. Nigerians seem to have forgotten all these but it is understandable. The Buhari tenure has made Jonathan a saviour of some sort. The country’s security situation is dreadful and the president seems to have been short of ideas on how to salvage the situation.

Now to Jonathan, it is no longer a rumour that the ex-president has joined the All Progressives Congress and has purchased the party’s presidential nomination form. The same party responsible for his ‘downfall’. Jonathan’s government was marred by series of protest financed and spearheaded by his new found ‘lovers’. Nigeria’s politicians keep showing the populace that governance in the country is based on an ideology of ‘nothing’. Anything goes politics is the country’s forte. Nigerian politicians are fair weather folks who indulge in bread and butter politics. They are bereft of ideological DNA and will only flock to whatever government is in power. We have seen this with almost all the leading aspirants in the main opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party. Goodluck Jonathan has decided to join the train. APC campaigns have always been about outright change to any PDP related programmes. Even the agricultural revolution the Jonathan administration recorded a huge score-card, the APC denigrated it. What then is it that Jonathan can offer the Nigerian people? Or was the praise-worthy “call” meant to bargain a return to power after the disastrous eight year tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari? Or are we just stuck with Nigeria’s politics of ‘Anyhowness’?

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