By Demola Adeniran
In the hit political thriller series produced for Fox TV, 24; President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) faced several saboteurs inside his government as he battled real and imagined enemies in his attempt at steering the state affairs of the United States. One of the saboteurs that fell into the realm of real enemies of President Palmer was his wife, the First Lady of the United States, Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson).
Sherry Palmer’s sabotage of her husband’s government was a different kind of sabotage altogether because what motivated her actions cum inactions bordered around the variations of ideas in both private and State affairs that emanated from the privacy of the President’s home. To this end, Mrs. Palmer therefore instigated some actions against her husband’s government just to prove a point or two that she was right and her husband was wrong.
In the movie The Negotiator directed by F. Gary Gray in 1998, Lieutenant Danny Roman (Samuel L. Jackson) got isolated within the confinement of his own group of people, The Chicago Police Department through an elaborate web of corruption allegations. Knowing he could not trust anyone inside the department any longer, Roman decided to deal with an outsider, Lt. Chris Sabian (Kevin Spacey) in order to clear his name.
The two scenarios above always play on my mind whenever I thought of Nigeria’s current President Goodluck Jonathan and his many battles to save Nigeria’s sinking ship from the hands of both his real enemies and imagined ones. Let me state here that while I do not believe anyone in any position of authority would want things to go bad under their watch, I do however believe that as the first person in the line of decision making and taking, the buck ultimately stops on a leader’s desk. It is very apparent President Jonathan has enemies within his closest camp and the sooner he curtails their excessively damaging influences to his government, the better for him.
So who are these fifth columnists inside the Jonathan’s Government and what are their motivations?
The saboteurs in the Jonathan Presidency are divided into three broad groups and like cancer, they have eaten into every tissue of his government. The first sets of saboteurs are those managing the information, both officially and un- officially for the President. Mind you, it is not every time this group knowingly harm President Jonathan’s image because most of the errors they commit comes in the line of pursuing their jobs zealously. But to the larger public, Jonathan must have approved this zeal, therefore making him also a culprit.
Take for example, the Minister of Information Labaran Maku’s comment on May 23rd 2013, which said “The President has fulfilled all his electoral promises to Nigerians in the areas of power, road construction, railways and job creation.” This statement was made regardless of the fact that a well known road, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway has just been concessioned to a construction company and may not be ready until late next year. But even so, can the President indeed complete all the tasks listed in a country as immense as Nigeria in less than three years? For a President who probably would want a second shot at the office, it is sabotage of the highest order to the President’s political future to say his job has finished as Maku said. It would have been better had he simply used fulfilling in place of the fulfilled.
Then again we have the case of Reno Omokri who spends his time posturing as a “pastor” in the day time and a cowardly slanderer at night. Mr. Omokri as the President’s SA on New Media did the unthinkable by a posting discrediting article under a hidden name of Wendell Simlin. Mr. Omokri under the false alias totally accused Mallam Sanusi, the erstwhile CBN Governor of being a sponsor of the terrorist group, Boko Haram. After this irreparable gaffe, can we now conclude that the many libelous accusations we have seen every time someone suddenly falls out with the Jonathan’s government came from Mr. Omokri’s computer?
The second set of the saboteurs of Jonathan’s government are those who think the President owes them a favour with his position as President. These groups of people could well include part of his immediate and extended family as well as friends. Take for an example the case of erstwhile Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah who probably believed the President owed his election success in 2011 to her neighbor to neighbor idea and thus; by her actions, she sabotaged the Presidency with her corruptible acts while maintaining a posture of an untouchable.
The Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Dieziani Alison Madueke also falls into this second category. This is one woman who has become more than an albatross for the Jonathan Presidency. Whatever must have been her hold on the President is thicker than blood one must conclude. The scandals and incompetency exhibited by this woman alone in the oil sector is enough for any opponent to use against President Jonathan come 2015. All a smart opposition needs to do is to build up the failings of the subsidy regimes, the missing billions of dollars and the fuel scarcity experienced by Nigerians to attack everything good Jonathan has done when the campaign starts.
President Jonathan must realize that he is under a form of hostage situation and not every of actions taken by his allies are in his overall interest. Some people within the President’s caucus only want Jonathan in power for their own benefit and not for the benefit of the President in form of his performances and legacy.
Demola Adeniran wrote in from Lagos