Should Goodluck Lose His Goodwill?

“Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoner of goodwill. If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence. Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them. Strike at the source of trouble and the sheep will scatter” – Law 42 (48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene)

Nigerian Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan currently enjoys an impressive level of goodwill both internationally and internally amongst Nigerians. Citizens and internationals across board have in their majority given their support and backing to a man who seems to have all the favour in the world working for him; just within a decade he has walked from the obscurity of the classroom through state power into federal might. As I type this piece he has enormous powers backed by the constitution and laws of the land thrusted on his laps but there is just one problem; Goodluck is consumed with fear, indecisiveness and lack of will power to lead and steer the ship of governance – the simple truth being the fear of the ‘cabal’ seems to be the primary catalyst.

As a result of this simple truth, Nigerians are getting disappointed and evidently just within the last few days the man is losing the goodwill he enjoys as people are looking beyond him to what is now popularly termed ‘the hope of 2011’; you have to go to international blogs, social and professional networking sites to see what I will call a gradual paradigm shift in support and belief in Jonathan. His lack of ability to cease the opportunity; his lack of brevity; his lack of courage and strength to make the immediate change Nigerians desire is painfully frustrating. Currently the butt of jokes, Jonathan’s roots as an Ijaw man is being questioned; this is considering what is termed their natural fearlessness as a people, I recently read a blog comment saying Jonathan should stop smiling and get to work as there is nothing to smile about in Nigeria. 

  The nation was treated last week to the picture where the man, the Acting President of the Federation was sat down by Governors and like a school pupil told off in a manner so humiliating the attack led by his own state governor, Jonathan is on record to have sat there like a chicken drenched in water and couldn’t even muster a word of courage. Not yet done he was told to perish the thoughts of contesting for the Presidency under PDP. Thoughts of such happening under an incumbent Obasanjo Presidency would justifiably be dismissed as a bad dream, can we ever fathom governors during Obasanjo’s era summoning him for a Governors Forum meeting and then washing him down with disrespectful words – ‘fear no de catch them’, most of us will concur, their midnight nightmare of EFCC under Ribadu would have aborted that.

  ‘School of thoughts’ exist justifying why Jonathan carries on with his tail in between his legs but such can never be justified, Jonathan needs no lecture on what leadership should be, previous and past experiences should be a positive reference point for him. Running a very volatile state like Bayelsa should be enough preparation to run a country like Nigeria; he must note he would never have this opportunity again. He should know that providence is behind him and not luck. With Nigerians, the powerful bloc of United States and European Union standing by him what else does he need to be fully reassured? There are African leaders praying for such rare international bloc support as an antidote to hold power firmly; men (Bush and Blair) who haven’t come to Nigeria for quite sometime have come in as a bold step to encourage Jonathan. What is he scared of? Okay maybe a coup, I make it bold to say Nigeria with all the citizen awareness and determination has walked past that era and the military boys know it. Nigerians can no longer be threatened by martial music, it would be resisted and most of all worsted.

Let me give Jonathan few examples in decisiveness though I must add that some of the characters eventually failed when they lost focus especially the first:-

Obasanjo on taking over in 1999 effectively retired thousands of political soldiers and nothing happened, all the threats of a retaliatory coup vaporised – that single action remains one of the boldest moves made by any leader in Nigeria and has proven a stumbling block to future coup plots. Today a coup plot is not only impossible but never tenable.

Buhari set off the unprecedented War against Indiscipline and Corruption (WAI-C) , that action greatly offended his immediate constituency and the immensely corrupt elite of the time, but he made progress with that campaign because he was firm and decisive; his greatest undoing was that he decided to travel out of the country at the same time as his equally fearless and determined deputy.

Nuhu Ribadu effectively prosecuted and jailed political and economic criminals despite threats to his life and family because he was not only firm and decisive but bold and fearless, yes today he is out and seems down but we all know his return is inevitable.

These few respective examples I have proffered were known at the time to be laudable and cheered because they laid out results.

“It must be considered that there is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things." – Niccolo Machiavelli

The lessons are enormous for Mr Acting President, the ball is in his court, his lead advisor T.Y. Danjuma told him as much last week, I am hoping he is not thinking Danjuma was just reading an acceptance speech – we all know Danjuma’s antecedents, he doesn’t speak for the sake of it – we must give him that credit despite his shortfalls.

Improved power generation and supply, electoral reforms implementation heralded by Maurice Iwu’s sack; security and health care delivery should be the core focus of his brief administration.

He should his write his name in gold by cleaning up the mess made by Turai in the Niger delta using fictitious and non existing organisations all in the name of ‘developing’ the delta. He should sort out the stench emanating from the NDDC and ensure there is evident improvement in the welfare and lives of his people. It will not augur well for him if he fails to address the deliberately designed misfortunes and neglect of the south southerners.

The time is now or never, Yar’adua and Jonathan were carefully selected and forced on Nigeria by Obasanjo because they were viewed as weaklings who could never outshine their failed predecessor, and indeed that was why much more competent candidates from the north were dismissed by Obasanjo. Yar’adua has justified that reasoning rather unfortunately; it is time for Jonathan to either shamelessly follow suit or heroically tread the path of honour.

The general perception of Jonathan is that he is all forgiving and his back never touches the wall no matter how pushed, as a result everything is currently being thrown at him by his traducers to emasculate and break his spirit, of course they know he will never fight back and even if he does he will be merciful when asked for forgiveness. This attitude must be done away with at least for the sake of Nigerians who are hoping on him for a decisive leadership. He must be fierce in telling his bullies enough is enou

“Any man who tries to be good all the time is bound to come to ruin among the great number who are not good. Hence a prince who wants to keep his authority must learn how not to be good, and use that knowledge, or refrain from using it, as necessity requires.”- The Prince

Jonathan must do away with the current cabinet and immediately send a new list of competent Nigerians to the National Senate for confirmation as Ministers who would go to work immediately, if that august body of double dealing jesters as expected rejects the list in deference to Turai, he should recall the list and assign these competent hands as Senior Advisers to oversee the ministries till 2011. A leader must be proactive. Aondoakaa, a powerful Attorney General and Super Minister was sacked on his first day on the seat and nothing untoward happened – the humbling of that legal criminal without any serious qualms whatsoever from any quarters should serve as an appetiser for the Acting President. Goodluck should not be a victim of the mind games played by those toothless bulldogs who happily treasure the referrals to themselves as the cabal. He is vested with federal authority and as substantive C – in – C, he is in possession of powers, reports and intelligence that can make or mar anyone. He should deploy this power to good use.

The members of the new PAC and PMC should be his source of protection, drive and inspiration, I know some people may find this offensive but Danjuma and Nwabueze are men who cannot be taken for granted by anyone wishing to have an upper hand in power play scenarios especially if strategy and survival are to be considered.

Jonathan is a man currently without base and that is partly why he is scared stiff, He should cultivate followership amongst shrewd and well meaning Nigerians who are waiting to be called upon and most importantly recruit and empower them as members of his political structure. He should look beyond the PDP and float an alternative party with progressive ideologies, a party peopled by men and women of dignity and conscience.

The security hierarchy should be dismantled and urgently reconstituted in a way to reflect the diversity of the country. If he makes an announcement on Monday retiring tired and conniving hands in the nations security apparatus nothing will happen on Tuesday I can bet on that – Jonathan just needs to be brave and bold. He should keep an eye for and surround himself with forthright men and women of substance, which is all he needs to stay on top of the situation.

Lastly, the worst a leader dreads is to lose the goodwill he enjoys amongst his people, when such happens dictatorship sets in and then a free fall to oblivion, shame and loss of leadership – Obasanjo is a living example. 

Jonathan must avoid this and set out to make a mark for posterity. The world is watching!

“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary”. – Winston Churchill

Norris Benedict 
[email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here