Bayo Olupohunda: Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala Ruined Nigeria

Bayo Olupohunda: Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala Ruined Nigeria

Editor’s note: The columnist Bayo Olupohunda does not deny it took a long string of ill-intentioned and selfish politicians to guide Nigeria to its current dilapidated state. But he feels especially bitter about the erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. And how will you remember the duo? 

The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of

Now is not the time for political correctness. I am not going to try and conceal the anger I feel  at the clueless and incompetent Goodluck Jonathan and his lying, conniving and manipulative finance and coordinating minister of economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who messed up our country and have left us all to suffer the consequence of their profligacy. I have deliberately omitted the ‘president’ tag, for Jonathan does not deserve to be so called. Mind you, I also do not exonerate the legion of past accidental presidents that have brought our country to its knees. But Jonathan was in a class of his own.

He was as clueless as they can get. Since he was defeated some weeks ago, some so-called ‘Jonathanians’ have been hailing Jonathan as a hero. Pray! What is heroic about the man who conceded because he was thankful Nigerians voted him out, thereby saving him from being exposed as a monumental failure? The defeat of Jonathan actually saved him from total disgrace and rescued our country from Mr Clueless.

Mr Jonathan must have thought it unwise to continue in a position he was totally unsuitable to occupy if not for former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s foolhardiness in forcing one of the worst individuals to preside over the affairs of the most populous black nation on earth. Let me be clear, I have no apologies for what I am going to say here. I know millions of Nigerians feel the same anger towards the last administration. I am just their voicing their feelings. Our prayer as country is, May we never see the likes of Jonathan again for generations to come. For six years, Jonathan, in his cluelessness, took our country on a merry-go-round. He destroyed what is left of our patrimony. He ran a directionless and visionless government.

His presidency can be compared to a ship that was left to float in a dark sea without a captain, leaving Nigerians wailing and dying, with some jumping into the cold hands of death. That was Jonathan for you.

Many have argued that he did not create the problem. I agree. I have never excused past leaders, from the wastrel President Shehu Shagari to the ‘maradonic' Ibrahim Babangida to the dictatorial Sanni Abacha and even the largely disappointing Olusegun Obasanjo in his second coming.

If we have all agreed that past leaders mismanaged our country, Goodluck Jonathan presided over its funeral. He was the undertaker, the man who always adorned himself perpetually in black dress. The woman now infamously known as finance minister and coordinating minister of economy completed the job by presiding over Nigeria’s economic doom.

Let’s just hope the new president, Muhammadu Buhari will be able to resuscitate what is left of the dead horse that is Nigeria, plundered by Jonathan and his ‘Jonathanians’.

See, I am one angry Nigerian right now. Millions of Nigerians who voted the lame duck Jonathan 2011 are regretting ever doing so. It is a surprise how they have survived the lies and incompetence of the Jonathan administration. In other climes, the country would have been literally set ablaze because of the incompetence of the government. In climes like China, none of those who presided over Nigerian affairs in the last dispensation would have been spared. They would have all been prescribed capital punishment. But Nigerians are peaceful — sorry, docile. That Jonathan even harbored the thought of seeking a second term in spite of his incompetence showed his contempt and disdain for Nigerians. Everywhere you turn, our country is in dire straits due to one man’s incompetence and a finance minister’s conspiracy to shield the people from our country’s economic status.

Now the wind has blown and the fowl rut has been exposed.

The country is in a mess: no petrol, no power, unemployment has hit the rooftop. Yet, they wallow in self-deceit that we are the largest economy in Africa — an economy powered by generators. Everything Jonathan touched was destroyed. Look at the power sector. From 4,000MW in 2011, when he came, now the country is generating less than 2,000MW. Instead of light, the man has left the entire country in darkness.

In his time, corruption was the order of the day. He now has the singular honour of being second to Babangida as a man who institutionalized corruption by equating corruption to mere stealing. His Transformation Agenda only helped in throwing Nigeria back into Stone Age with ozone layer destroying locomotive trains that cost billions, when countries like Ethiopia have high-speed trains and light-rail system that did not cost even quarter of the money spent on the Jonathan contraption.

Nigeria is so divided now that you wonder what happened in the six years of Jonathan strutting around Abuja attending church services like a visiting pastor rather than concentrating on the affairs of the nation. The ethnic and religious divide caused by Jonathan will take a long time to heal. It was this  same man that allowed people of the North-East to die needlessly in the hands of the terror group, Boko Haram, because, in his mind, he wickedly considered Boko Haram as a Northern problem, until he selfishly decided to engage them because of his re-election bid. Now they are back.

You cannot cover a lie — the truth will always find its way out. In his time, subsidy payment for fuel became a drainpipe to siphon Nigeria’s money to private pockets. Rather than prosecute all known subsidy thieves, he chose to fraternize with them in public. Not to mention how subsidy payment rose from N250 billion to trillions under his government. We must not also forget how oil thieves, who were indicted by the Ribadu report, were roaming freely and even found a home in the Villa as long as they were ‘loyal' to the occupant. Today, we are all suffering from Jonathan's corruption after-effects.

Nigerian youths have been hit with unemployment rates as high as 50%. Yet, there are misguided young individuals, blinded by ethnicity and mediocrity, who refer to themselves as ‘Jonathanians’ and celebrate failure. For one, the term ‘Jonathanian’ is a euphemism for cluelessness. How any Nigerian would want to associate themselves with an incompetent leader under whose watch Nigerian youths lost their lives in the Immigration Service employment scam and who refused to sack minister of the interior, Abba Morro, beats my imagination.

Today, more than 100 million Nigerians live in poverty. Where is the Transformation Agenda that was touted when Jonathan was in power? How come the transformation has disappeared few weeks after he left power? The truth is that there was never an agenda, not to talk of transformation. It was all make-believe, a ruse to hoodwink Nigerians. But I am glad Nigerians saw through the deceit and kicked Jonathan out. His ouster was good riddance to bad rubbish. Let’s hope we can pick the pieces of our lives together under the new President Muhammadu Buhari.

Bayo Olupohunda: Jonathan, Okonjo-Iweala Ruined Nigeria
Bayo Olupohunda, a renowned Nigerian educator and columnist


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Khadijah Thabit (Copyeditor) Khadijah Thabit is an editor with over 3 years of experience editing and managing contents such as articles, blogs, newsletters and social leads. She has a BA in English and Literary Studies from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Khadijah joined in September 2020 as a copyeditor and proofreader for the Human Interest, Current Affairs, Business, Sports and PR desks. As a grammar police, she develops her skills by reading novels and dictionaries. Email:

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