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February 28, 2010

Lessons of the Presidential Crisis

The Ag. President Mr. Goodluck Jonathan has shown remarkable leadership and honour in the face of this crisis. Up until now I have never heard or read of any inflammatory statement, comment or action from him. He has shown true statesmanship and should be commended for that. The military hierarchy also showed remarkable leadership, especially, the chief of Defence Staff Air Marshall Paul Dike. His words “Regardless of the imperfections of our political experiments, democracy remains the only acceptable form of governance.” shall stand as a statement defining the role and stand of our military in all political discuss.(See ).
What should be the lessons of this crisis?
Of all lessons we are to learn from this crisis including the imperfections of our constitution there is one lesson I desire to impress in the minds of all true Nigerians: This presidential crisis have shown the true colours of the current participants in the present administration and we must hold then to account for their actions. We must at least hold them liable. Those that have been good we must reward with more trust and those that have been bad we must reward negatively as well. This is the only way to sustain good leadership and develop more good leaders that we can trust and that will deliver.
Chief of Defence Staff Air Vice Marshall Paul Dike
Among those that have shown good leadership, respect to our constitution and legislative authority I would count first and foremost the Chief of Defence Staff Air Vice Marshall Paul Dike. His defining words “Meddling in political issues does not complement our constitutional role in any way, shape or form. I therefore warn all members of the armed forces to steer clear of politics. Ours is a military that is mindful of its past, conscious of its present and hopeful of the future. Regardless of the imperfections of our political experiments, democracy remains the only acceptable form of governance”. This words came at the thick of the crisis and shows true leadership. Nigerians must remember to reward this act of leadership.
Prof. Dora Akunyili, Information Minister and member FEC
Her defining moment:This remarkable woman also stood out for being the first member of the Federal Executive Council to point out the existence of a leadership vacuum. Other members of the FEC lead by the then Attorney General Mr. Micheal Aoandokaa (SAN) clearly denied this. She did this by writing a the memo (later supported by Foreign Affairs Minister Chief Ojo Maduekwe) without holding any grudges against any body not even against the President, Mr Yar’adua, himself but as a matter of principle for the smooth operation of governance. Nigerians must reward this act of leadership
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau
I would marginally add the name of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazau in the list. His defining words: “the subsisting democratic environment gives us a lot of advantages in our pursuit of  professionalism, the Nigerian Army affirms its commitment to its constitutional responsibilities and will continue to contribute meaningfully to the enthronement of democracy in Nigeria. The Nigerian Army urges all stakeholders in our national affairs to eschew violence and promote peace and tranquillity in Nigeria”. Though his subsequent actions did not fully recognize position of his Acting Commander-in-Chief Mr. Goodluck Jonathan his action could possibly be a result of manipulation by the President’s (Mr. Yar’adua) aides. Of course I believe he too deserves to be reprimanded for deploying soldiers without deference to his boss, the Ag President and commander-in-chief, Mr Goodluck Jonathan, but this is not a direct act of disloyalty which would be treason. So a redeployment or an internal military process should immediately be used to reprimand him. Mr Jonathan must do this quickly and quietly like that of Mr. Micheal Aoandokaa (SAN) so that discipline and authority, of the office of the President (or Ag. President) would not be breached.
Other leaders
Some other prominent individuals also showed level headedness and true leadership. I will mention Shehu Shagari, Alex Ekwueme, Olusegun Obasanjo, even Babangida showed some restraint and understanding in his words during the crisis. The National Assembly as a body (even though some individuals among them would be less commendable), the Save Nigeria campaign and the free Press. The judicial arm of governance has continued to stand out as a beacon of hope in troubled times for correct and unbiased interpretation of our laws and in dispensing justice to all. Nigerians must always protect and hold firm to that.
The losers
We must never forget the negative actions of the other individuals and officials of this administration in this crisis. The so called cabal, or kitchen cabinet lead by Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, for addressing the Ag. President as Vice President and insinuating a rejection of his (Mr Jonathan’s) authority as Ag. President; the President’s wife (Turai Yar’adua), for simulations of authority not only over his husband but over the nation; Mr. Micheal Aoandokaa (SAN) for not acting lawfully as is required by a legal luminary and as Minister of Justice for not applying himself towards a resolution of the crisis lawfully and by sitting on all possible solutions even those launched by the Bar Association of which he is a member; the State Governors' from the North that sought to turn the matter into a regional and ethic battle ground. These individuals have shown their colours and have characterized themselves in this crisis. Nigeria must always remember this. When they get appointed into a position which this their own characterisation does not fit the people of Nigeria, must oppose it. The people of Nigeria, must oppose irresponsible appointments the same way that we resisted and defeated military rule, the same way that we now resist and will defeat unjust electioneering, that same way we must resist any attempt to re-appoint people like these into government. By their actions they have shown lack of respect for the progress of the people of Nigeria, for the rule of law and for sound principles. You may never expect nothing less from them in whichever position you appoint or elect them in future.
Likewise we must remember the actions of the other notable people who have shown correct decorum, respect, and honour in the face of uncertainty and have not sought for power where it may have been easier for them to wrest it in the face of the crisis of leadership occasioned by President Yar’adua’s health and temporary incapacity.
The people of Nigeria, must make sure that non of the members of the cabal would ever hold an elected public office, and we must make sure that no elected official would ever appoint them to any position of authority and even if Mr President resumes office tomorrow, we the people of Nigeria, resist their continued “service” in this administration. What they have committed is simply “murder” and they must not get away with it, without redemption. Nigerians must end hypocritical leadership.
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