The jury is still not out on the lasting legacy of the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Contrary to what is in public domain, his tenure have not all been doom and woes. However, where it is not turmoil, one struggle to find a name for it. As a man, Goodluck Jonathan’s tale could have only been conjured by the gods, or how do you explain the chronicle of his lucky ride in Nigerian politics. Even GEJ acknowledged that Nigeria has been kind to him. If anyone ever needed inspiration that he can raise to the pinnacle in his chosen vocation, the tales of Goodluck Jonathan should be your pastime. However, to ascribe all that Goodluck Jonathan has achieved in his political sojourn solely on luck is to be economical with the truth. You need some level of political dexterity, dedication and tact to rise from such teething beginnings to become the number one citizen of the world most populous black nation.
As Jonathan leaves Aso Rock, there is the strong feeling that his presidency is a case of a missed opportunity. The apologists will argue that the terror of Boko Haram has distracted the administration from delivering the dividends of democracy. However, the premise of that argument is in itself flawed when one considers that protection of life and properties is the fundamental of those dividends. The goodwill president Goodluck Jonathan enjoyed during the last days of late president Umaru Yar’Adua and the cabal, was staggering. Defying ethnic and religious lines, Nigerians gave their all for him. In hindsight, one can only conclude that things have fallen apart.
Make no mistakes about it, the Goodluck Jonathan administration did achieve some feats in sectors such as agriculture and the entertainment industry, but these achievements are sparse and far in between that they are easily negligible in the bigger picture. The point should be made that Goodluck Jonathan is a good man, who genuinely had good intentions for Nigeria. The problem however is that good intentions cannot be measured in concrete times and will mean nothing without corresponding actions. The most potent criticism of Goodluck Jonathan has never been that he was a bad president, rather, it has been that under his watch, impunity, avarice, uncommon corruption and mayhem thrived. Sadly for him, these are the vices that so easily played into the hands of the opposition in the electioneering days. It is true that the magnitude of these vices will be further unraveled when the administration of Muhammadu Buhari finally assumes office. Goodluck Jonathan may had etched his name in the revere places of history by his call to General Buhari in conceding defeat after the March 28th elections, which many have termed ‘The phone call that saved Nigeria.’ Nonetheless, the legacy should have been more. Having emerged out of Niger-Delta against all odds, the world was his oyster. For six years, he had a glorious chance to at least begin the fixing process of the Nigerian project. Rather, he leaves office in the worst possible condition. Insecurity still thrives, stealing seized to be corruption, unemployment is as it all time high, the power sector is still in comatose and the list of woes is too long to rehash here. The result is far too obvious and only one conclusion will suffice: An opportunity missed. Interestingly, I had written on the first opportunity missed by Goodluck Jonathan during the subsidy debate era in early 2012 . What is staggering is that the issues raised in that article of almost four years ago, remains extant even today.
As Jonathan leaves Aso Rock, the question now will be what next for him? The feelers are that he might want to take a detour from mainstream politics for a while. After all, who doesn’t deserve a vacation after leading a nation like ours for the better part of a decade? Another school of thought believes that he might be in the fore-front of helping the People’s Democratic Party reemerge from the rude beating it got at the last election. Yet, there is still some who think that he might just return to his fast love: lecturing. Whatever Goodluck Jonathan decides to do next will be ultimately his prerogative. However, while he drives out of Aso Rock after the razzmatazz of May 29th, on his way out and in a final moment of introspection in the Villa, with Patience Jonathan at his side, he must accept the home truth that his administration was a disappointment in more ways than one and a massive opportunity lost.