A short biographical description of the rise and fall (and maybe rise again) of the immediate past President of Nigeria would read: From Goodluck to bad luck to statesman; although, not everyone thinks that his congratulatory phone call to President Muhammadu Buhari, as results were being collated is deserving of any special courtesy, but was him “doing the right thing.”
In 2010, Jonathan, then a spineless vice- president, was saved by the goodwill of Nigerians from all category, who took to the streets protesting and urging the legislature to recognise him as the acting president, since the then late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was incapacitated. This mass support was again freely given in 2011 when he contested for president.
Jonathan’s “growing up without shoes” campaign story resonated with the masses who saw him as one of them. This goodwill was but short-lived. In 2012, his attempt to end the fuel subsidy regime without making plans on how the masses could cushion the effect of what was going to be a harsh policy, saw those who voted him in the previous year, rise against him.
From this point he ran out of luck nonstop. His quick rise to political fame, beginning from deputy governor of Bayelsa State went on a freefall, culminating in his defeat on March 28, 2015. Since his many blunders are well-known, here is a list of those that drew the ire of the world the most.
Of all his failings, no singular issue generated as much criticism for Jonathan all around the world as his administration’s poor treatment of the abduction, in April 2014, of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls from their hostel by the Boko Haram sect. The girls remain missing till date.
Jonathan’s government was also considered corrupt and encouraging of corruption, although on several occasions the former president tried to argue that it was simply a case of perception. As much as he tried, no one took him serious, at least not after his handling of #Oduahgate.
The governments of the three former presidents, Jonathan, Olusegun Obasanjo and late Yar’Adua invested approximately $20 billion into the power sector, but yet a population of nearly 180 million still rations about 4000megawatts of electricity, according to government figures.
All over Nigeria, there were unchecked insecurity. While terrorism held sway in the North, kidnapping was the bane of the East, and then there was armed robbery all over the country, not to mention the continuous clashes between Fulani herdsmen and farmers.
One deed though helped redeem whatever image he may have lost during his one-tenure presidency. It was the decisive phone call to Buhari. To understand the import of this action is to go back to 2011 when, following his victory, about 12 states in Northern Nigeria were engulfed in post-election violence that claimed the lives of hundreds of Nigerians.
Now, the political atmosphere before March 28, 2015 was tensed and there were fears of a
repeat of 2011. His refusal to accept the election result was all it would have taken to transport the nation back in time to 2011. From his inauguration speech, one can tell that Buhari understands the weight of Jonathan’s deed. “I would like to thank President Goodluck Jonathan for his display of statesmanship in setting a precedent for us that has now made our people proud to be Nigerians wherever they are.” Indeed Jonathan lost Nigeria’s 2015 presidential election, but no doubt won the peace of not only Nigeria, but West Africa and the entire continent, setting a precedence as the first Nigerian incumbent president to lose a re-election, but more importantly, to concede defeat.