Be Wary of Companions!
“Bad Company corrupts good manners…” – The Bible
These days when the story of President Goodluck Jonathan is told, it is told in different ways depending on the place at which the story is told. In some places, it is the story of a man of honour, a man of sympathy and a man who keeps his words. In some places, the story is told as the story of a president, who mismanaged resources, was too weak to defend his country against Boko Haram and who let criminal get away with crimes. Whatever your perspective to this president, you must understand one thing: just because you see one side of a coin does not mean there are no other sides.
However, one fact glares us all in the face whenever we remember President Goodluck Jonathan and this fact is that he is the first incumbent president that was defeated in an election despite having all the forces of ‘good’ and of ‘evil’ at his command. And irrespective how media and other presidents want to paint this event as ‘historic’, ‘democratic’ and a thousand other appellations they use, there is a point to remember: ‘Failure is Failure irrespective of what you call it’.
In this generation, we have a culture of looking at things the light way. We give alternate names to our ills thereby making them easier to bear. We say ‘we were not completely truthful’ when we obviously ‘lied’. We say we ‘had an affair’ we obviously ‘committed adultery’ and we say President Goodluck Jonathan is a ‘true democrat’ when he obviously ‘failed at the polls’! Here is something to know: He could have been a true democrat even if he had won! But we are not here to point fingers. We are here to learn so our concern is to study the factors that led to his failure at the polls and to learn from them.
President Goodluck Jonathan was the case of ‘a good fruit among a rotten pack’. The people he surrounded himself with were not people that were reputable yet he failed to notice and change that. Here is my argument. When Sanusi Lamido was making a scene about the disappearance of petroleum money, the president was supposed to hear his case privately, investigate the matter even more privately, find the culpable ones and punish them publicly yet, he was complacent. He rather sacked Sanusi Lamido who went on international TV to clear his name therefore staining the image of the president and his cabinet. This turned millions of his sympathizers internationally against him. Also while the north-east was being bombarded daily by Boko Haram, a sect; believed to be linked to Ali Modu Sherriff, President Goodluck Jonathan decided it was time he partied with him and take trips to Chad. This act was used as the greatest weapon against him in around the nation. It was told that he had been sponsoring the group clandestinely and the people were just fed up with the destruction they experienced. These acts resulted to the defeat he witnessed in the polls.
Let us not bring any religion or ethnicity to this. This was the case of a good hearted man who did not know the power of image and the effect that friends and companions can have on one’s image. His friends and companions that were corrupt and of questionable characters and they were his woes.
In addition to this, his governors and subordinates had no fear or respect for him: Yea! We know about some of his subordinates that were double agents! I guess he had never read the book “the 48 laws of power”. The truth is power has its cost. You cannot be a ‘good guy’ president. You are got to be in control! Either by continuously manipulating the masses, instilling fear in your subordinates or by gaining their respect or even by keeping them totally dependent on you!
So the lesson here is this: Be Wary of your Friends and Companions!
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