The Blame Game as a Route to the Destination of Uncreativity
Dr. Abubakar Alkali
It was the young Ghanaian writer Israelmore Ayivor who wrote ‘You may regret for messing up on few occasions, but you need to appreciate the fact that blames don’t clean the mess, they only smear the blame on your face.
Former President Jonathan’s defeat in the 2015 Presidential election was painful and understandably devastating which made him resort to making outbursts and name-calling as a form of relief to douse these pains. Jonathan really has to employ his wisdom, age, experience and all that he has to enable him deal with the pains of the defeat. These pains never seem to go away judging by the blame game that the former President has employed as his weapon to hit back at those he felt caused his defeat.
The defeat suffered by former President Jonathan is historical being the first time on record in Nigeria that an incumbent President lost an election. The defeat inflicted on Jonathan is more remarkable in the African political setting where it is unthinkable for an incumbent to lose an election but it is not impossibility: Ask Mahama of Ghana or Wade of Senegal. Africa where Presidential executive powers are total and the President can command the security agencies and the electoral officers to do his bidding as he so wish.
How on earth President Jonathan did lose that election? Realistically, the former President should blame nobody but himself for the defeat. The main reason why former President Jonathan lost that election was because of his lackadaisical, cavalier and non-committal attitude in fighting Boko haram. Former President Jonathan simply refused to fight Boko haram because to him, Boko haram is political and was created by Northerners to wrest power from him. Now he knows better.
By not fighting Boko haram and being clearly insincere about the Boko haram madness, Jonathan was caught on the wrong side of America and its allies who felt that the best way forward if Boko haram is to be stopped was for Jonathan to go. If Jonathan had fought Boko haram sincerely, he could well have won the election and still be in the Aso rock Presidential villa today.
The former President spares nobody in his bid to take his own pound of flesh from those he felt made him lose the election not least former U.S President Barrack Obama in the book ‘against the run of play’ written by Olusegun Adeniyi. President Jonathan’s lamentations will not help anything. To put it mildly, the blame game the former President is pursuing amounts to medicine after death.
Former President Jonathan’s outbursts on Professor Jega, the then INEC Chairman was also misplaced. If there was any shred of evidence against the conduct of the 2015 Presidential elections, the former President should have summoned courage and gone to court even if to put the records straight but not to resort to blaming Professor Jega for the defeat. This is a case of Ihu bayan hari in Hausa language (Shouting when the fight has ended).
In the book ‘against the run of play, former President Jonathan has blamed virtually everyone he can remember for his electoral defeat in 2015. The point needs to be made that it is preposterous for former President Jonathan to blame anyone for his defeat. Indeed, If former U.S President Barrack Obama had played any role in dethroning Jonathan at the polls in 2015 as former President Jonathan had insinuated, then President Jonathan owes a big ‘THANK YOU’ to President Obama because President Obama did a big favour to him. If President Jonathan had won that election, Boko haram could have taken over Aso rock by now and in the process, could have had their wish of getting their hands on President Jonathan.
Helping Jonathan to lose the election is a big favour to him. Much as this may sound theoretical, it is a fact that Boko haram have never hiding their wish to take over Nigeria’s seat of power in Aso rock. During Jonathan’s reign as President, Boko haram were parading more sophisticated weapons compared to our gallant solders. Our soldiers that we look up to in the fight against Boko haram had no weapons due to the inaction of the government under former President Jonathan.
There were cases of mutiny in Borno state among the soldiers because they were not provided with weapons to fight Boko haram. Wives of soldiers have staged demonstrations because their husbands were sent to the battle field to fight Boko haram without weapons.
Former President Jonathan was even allegedly quoted as saying that Boko haram is a ‘Northern affair’ and ‘since brothers are killing their own brothers, there is nothing he can do about it. It is inconceivable that Northerners will create Boko haram to kill their own people because they want to wrest power from Jonathan. How could anyone set fire to their house and expect to live in it?
Jonathan’s spectacular electoral defeat in 2015 is now history and but what refused to go away is the blood of those who died and the suffering of those displaced by the conflict. It is in this regard that nemesis caught up with Jonathan in 2015 and he lost the election woefully and in grand style. It is not exactly because Obama or David Cameron doesn’t like him; it is because Jonathan refused to do his job. Period!
Former President Jonathan was traversing towards a dead end and sleepwalking into the hands of Boko haram but he didn’t realise it until men of conscience helped him lose the 2015 Presidential election to save him. Boko haram had very mighty ambitions and was ready to take over Nigeria with everyone on board. Taking over Aso rock is one part of their ambition, the other is to strike the western world and launch into global reckoning. The group has never hidden these ambitions.
Former President Jonathan refused to fight Boko haram and hence fell to the weight of the western world and he knows that the west has more than a million ways to remove an African President if they so wish. It is crystal clear that Boko haram, just like any renegade terrorist group following in the footsteps of ISIS, Alshabab AlQaeda and the Taliban, has demonstrated beyond any iota of doubt that their main target is the west including America and Britain. Former President Jonathan thought and wrongly too, that by denying our troops the weapons to fight Boko haram, he was impliedly empowering Boko haram, weakening our troops and dealing with the North. This concept backfired on Jonathan in the 2015 elections.
How will America and its allies sit by and watch Jonathan win the election when his actions are empowering Boko haram? If former President Jonathan continues in office, Boko haram gets upgraded and inches closer to their main target which is the west. If Jonathan loses the election and President Buhari comes in, Boko haram gets degraded and defeated with no chance to aim at the west. In the calculation of the west, Jonathan has to go if Boko haram is to be defeated. It is as simple as that!
When Jonathan woke up to fight Boko haram during the election when he suspended the election for 6 weeks, it was already too late in the day to make amends because the West have taken a stand that he has to go if Boko haram is to be defeated. It can be recalled that during the 6 weeks suspension of the election, an appreciable success was recorded in fighting Boko haram because weapons were given to our troops. That was a strategy by Jonathan to convince the west that he is now serious in fighting Boko haram but it was too late.
When Jonathan sensed that he is on his way to electoral defeat, he played his last card and literally emptied the Nigerian treasury of its last kobo which he shared amongst his political apologists and everyone he comes across in a bid to win the election. The $2.1 billion former President Jonathan gave to Sambo Dasuki to share out is part of this plan but money has its limits. Buhari had no money but he is the President today. The over £43 million recently found at Osborne towers allegedly belonging to the Nigerian intelligence agency is also said to be part of proceeds of crime meant to be used by Jonathan to rig the 2015 elections.
Of course it has to be said that on the home front, there was palpable displeasure and rejection of the Goodluck Jonathan administration majorly for two reasons: His inaction on Boko haram and his clear marginalisation of other regions particularly the Northern region which by the way holds the ace when it comes to electoral votes. Moreover, the North felt that Jonathan shouldn’t be a candidate in 2015 having completed the term of late President YarAdua. The North felt 2015 should be its turn in the spirit of rotational Presidency.
All through his 6 years as President, former President Jonathan couldn’t build any political bridges with other regions. He had no friends outside the South-South and South-East Geopolitical zones that constitute just about 20% of the 70.3 million registered voters for the election across the country.
Although former President Jonathan didn’t create Boko haram, the group grew from strength to strength during his time as President. The metamorphosis of Boko haram into a deadly terrorist group that is among the elitists in the world happened under the watch of former President Jonathan.
Former President’s body language clearly suggest that he doesn’t care if Boko haram continues to kill as many people as they wish after all, it doesn’t affect his region, the Niger Delta and more so, as it affects his perceived enemies, the Northerners. Under the watch of former President Jonathan, Boko haram ran over our military forces and carved an area comprising of 14 local government areas –the size of Belgium- out of Nigeria. The west was watching all of this and at some point America voted not to sale arms to Nigeria because they were not sure what these weapons were going to be used for. This position of the America and its allies not to sale arms to Nigeria was understandable because even the weapons that were in the armoury of the Nigerian army were not used so the U.S cannot be certain as to what purpose any new weapons sold to Jonathan will be used for.
The former President complained of alleged rigging in 2015 but he shied away from his rigging of 2011 during which he allegedly used taxpayers funds to bankroll his election with over N1 trillion. He gave $15,000.00 to each delegate to the PDP primary election held in Abuja excluding their hotel bills. The former President also allegedly gave state governors between N2 – N4 billion Naira for the election depending on how convincing the governor sounds in the ears of the former President.
The position put forward by former President Jonathan that he handed over power to President Buhari to avoid bloodshed is an afterthought. If it is true that Jonathan doesn’t want bloodshed, why was he not committed to fighting Boko haram which was shedding blood? In reality, Jonathan had absolutely NO choice but to handover power because he clearly lost the election. If he hadn’t handed over power, he will have tasted the Laurent Gagbo treatment and would have at this time been facing trial at the international criminal court for attempting to truncate Nigeria’s democracy. Former President of Ivory Coast Lauretn Gbagbo was arrested and arraigned before the international criminal court (ICC) in Hague the Netherlands after losing the election and refusing to handover to the winner, Allasane Quttara.
It is quite a sensible move by former President Jonathan to handover but it is also in his interest because the world will not sit and watch him truncate Nigeria’s democracy. The international crimical court will surely have had another case on their hands if former President Jonathan had attempted not to hand over power to President Buhari.
Former President Jonathan should take solace in the fact that he got to the Presidency on a platter of gold. He never asked for it, never thought he will be President and suddenly by constitutional fiat, he found himself as the President and C-In-C of Africa’s most populous country. The former President should apologise to President Obama and all those that he mentioned in his blame game. He should continue to thank and get closer to God, he could even start evangelism to preach love and forgiveness not to embark on a blame game that will not help anybody.