HISTORICALLY, there exist a brief similarity which may also be parallel, between the 36th   President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969), who succeeded President John F. Kennedy when the later was assassinated, and President Goodluck Jonathan, who took office after the death of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
Both Johnson and Jonathan were vice president, who succeeded their late bosses when they died in office, and went on to get elected in their own rights. Both presided over their nations in times of great political turbulence; in Johnson’s case, during the Vietnam War, in Jonathan’s the Boko Haran insurgency and Sundry woes. That is the elastic limit of their similarity!.
President Johnson (as he then was), shocked the world in the heat of the nomination process leading to the 1968 presidential election when he suddenly withdrew from the race because of the turmoil generated by his poor handling of the Vietnam War and widespread race riots at home. He was, nevertheless, applauded because of the nobility of his action which effectively sealed his place in the pantheon of American statesmen. He chose his country’s peace over self-aggrandisement and the allure of office.
President Jonathan faces a similar situation; he is presiding over a deeply divided country, torn apart by religious bigotry, unprecedented official corruption and a poorly managed insurgency. Idealy, poor handling of sensitive issues should ordinarily deflate his presidential ambition like Johnson’s, Jonathan unabashedly schemed his nomination, unopposed, for the 2015 presidential election. He and his peoples Democratic party cohorts fail to realize that, if you cannot solve a problem, you invariably become part of it.
That was why President Johnson didn’t seek re-election. The US leader at the time, knew the bounds between honour and dishonour and he chose the honourable path.
President’s Jonathan in reality, has constitutional right to seek re-election. However, legal rights should not be void of strength against moral ethos, so that it will not become burdensome to the beneficiary of the constitutional right. A commander-in – chief who presides over an army that may be too weak or war weary in such that her soldiers are deserting the war front in droves because of superior fire-power of a ‘rag-tag buccaneering’ force like Boko Haram, may not have confidence reposed on him by the entire citizenry, including that of his own armed forces.
The agonising plight of the Chibok school girls is still pending, our Defence authorities seem to be more anxious for a ceasefire with their Boko Haram captors, than the insurgents themselves, signaling war-weariness on the part of our army. Boko Haram has graduated from a ‘hit-and –run’ terrorist group, into an army which now occupies territories they have conquered in the North eastern part of the country.
It is not a bad idea though, that the PDP led administration of President Jonathan is concerned with enclosing victory in the 2015 general election, the most important thing that should be focused on is a calculated approach on how to defeat the insurgents which threatens the nation’s stability.
Some Nigerians may consider this position as a quest for renewed mandate on moral quicksand.
The ‘ding dong’ of proclamation of ceasefire by our government and frequent denials by Boko Haram is too embarrassing to be allow to continue! Nigerians wants to be saved the disgrace of seeing poorly armed Nigerian troops fleeing into Cameroon in the face of Boko Haram onslaught. Nigerians expect that this insurgency should rapidly be brought to an end because so many lives have been lost in the process!
In other civilised climes, when serious issues like insurgency are handled with “Kids glove”, the leadership of the armed forces would be dishonourably discharged, while the President and his cabinet may be forced to resign for performing below required standards. Rather, the Nigerian military have made a scapegoat of poor soldiers who violently protested bad service conditions, by sentencing them to death for mutiny. Though disloyalty should never be excused for whatever reason, the peculiar case of the mutinous soldiers who were recently condemned to death should be treated with leniency, and their sentences commuted to reasonable prison terms because their operational condition, were less than ideal as evidenced by the continued desertion being recorded in this war.
Considering the economic record of a president who seeks re-election come 2015, an editorial in The PUNCH edition of October 6, 2014, showed that Nigeria has poor governance index. In the corruption Perception Index 2013 published by Transparency International, Nigeria plunged further from 137th out of 177 counties surveyed in 2012 to 144th. Our score dropped to 25 percent from 28 percent. Neither is our moving out of the world’s most fragile states in the 2014 fragile states Index to 17th cause for cheer in an economy with Africa’s largest Gross Domestic product. We escaped the ignominy of remaining in the group of the 15 most fragile, only because of the civil war in Syria and Iraq and the descent of Guinea Bissau into an unstable narco state.
“In its Ease of Doing Business Report 2014, the World Bank rated Nigeria 147th out of 189 countries, a further deterioration from its ranking of 137th in 2013.
Despite all this; glaring poverty, unemployment and terribly inadequate infrastructure, the present administration in Nigeria and all the ministers involved, have created a narrative of success, even weakness and the tell-tale sings of a failing state daily confront Nigerians”.
Despite all these unflattering statistics, Nigerians expect that the leadership of this country should shift gaze from personal aggrandizement along political line, and focus on how to bring about meaningful development in all sector of the country.
Recently, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan urged Nigerians to allow him another four years to continue the transformation of vital sector of the Nigerian economy. Jonathan who officially declared his intention to run for a second term in office at the 2015 presidential election at the Eagles square Abuja before a mammoth crowd of supporters said he is poised to eradicating insecurity, unemployment, while creating an enabling environment for the accelerated development of the nation’s economy.
For Nigerians, that we want to experience is meaningful development that will place us among the comity of nations. Whether or not, there is a change administration, we long for positive change! Nigerians seek transformation in the next four years in such that there would be tranquility in the face of sustainable development.