Much has been said and written about the dilapidated state of the Nigerian economy, the rising insecurity, unprecedented level of corruption and Government inefficiency led by the Government of Outgoing President GEJ. As valid as these denunciations are, what some of our Nigerian comrades fail to concede is the fact that, it could have been worst were it not for GEJ’s selfless act (accepting the results without reservation).
Many Nigerian comrades are fast to point out that-GEJ had no other choice. When pressed, they even go as far as saying that Nigeria has come of age and that no single person can plunge the country into instability. As an optimistic African, I relish this argument and the feeling of maturity. I too believe that Nigeria is the continent’s big brother and must continue to show maturity in everything they do. After-all, it is the only country that can impose sanctions on western super powers in the same way sanctions are imposed on them. For its economic and military might, Africa must always look up to Nigeria. They have been there for the rest of Africa (including for our South African Comrades during those dark days).
However, as a realistic African, I cannot stop wondering what would have happened if GEJ (out of selfishness)contested the election result(as was the case in Ghana), what would have happened if instead of congratulating Buhari (as he did), GEJ went on live TV to say he won the election (as was the case in Ivory Coast and many other countries). The history of Nigeria and to a greater extend our entire continent has not been a palatable one when such circumstances occur. To overlook this selfless act of GEJ is to overlook the close to 2000 people who died following the result of the last presidential election where GEJ won and the history of Nigeria and the continent. So in my opinion, GEJ made Nigeria the matured Africa’s big brother that she truly is.
With ethnic tension at its apex in Nigeria at the moment, what GEJ did was to set the country on a non-ethnical and more sustainable democratic path. A path that will hopefully see the country follow the Ghanaians pattern in electing successive leaders not along ethnic lines but on merit and their vision for the country. Yes he lost the election, but he gave Nigeria what many other presidents would have avoided.
Many will say OBJ left peacefully, yes he did. But he did that at the end of his mandate, and he left mindful of the fact that his party and to a certain extent his handpicked successor was to lead the country. So it wasn’t really a lost. This is why I believe Nigerians must applaud Outgoing President Goodluck E. Jonathan. Not for economic reasons but for putting the country at the apex of the continent’s democratic strata.Because the burden of being a big brother requires a pedigree of objective maturity- The continent can now argue that the big brother is indeed a democratic beacon.
For a continent where leadership seems to be the cause of half of her economic, social and political problems, we must celebrate the victory of President-elect Gen Buhari and salute the courage of outgoing President GEJ. And if Nigerians will not give him this credit, we as Africans from countries like Burundi, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Central Africa Republic, Libya, Egypt, Togo, Zimbabwe, etc must remind our Nigerian comrades of what political greed can do to a nation.