Africa

President Goodluck Jonathan and Nigeria’s Frail Democracy

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By Chris, M. A. Kwaja | 03 October 2010


 

Goodluck_Jonathan

The death of the Late President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Umaru Musa Yar’adua on Wednesday, 5th May, 2010, created a power vacuum that was immediately filled by his Vice, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who became acting President following the inability of the Late President to discharge his constitutional responsibility due to ill health. The National Assembly bowed to pressure from the people to declare President Goodluck Jonathan as Acting President under what was described as the Doctrine of Necessity, without invoking Section 145 of the Constitution that prescribes that the Late President can resign on the grounds of incapacitation, or can be declared unfit to rule, as well as impeached as the case may be.

In a fundamental sense, President Goodluck Jonathan is a product of the Yar’adua/Goodluck ticket that came into power on the 29th May, 2007. In his maiden speech to the nation, the Late President recognized and appreciated the fact that the government was a product of a flawed electoral process. In this sense, he expressed the commitment of the regime towards upholding the principles of good governance, the rule of law, constitutionalism, as well as the fight against corruption in high and low places of the Nigerian society. This was reflected in the creation of a ministry of the Niger Delta and the granting of amnesty to militants; commitment electoral reform and the setting up of the presidential committee on electoral reform; commitment to the rule of law and due process. All of these constitute the pillar upon which the philosophy of the government stood. With the death of Yar’adua, Goodluck is now saddled with the responsibility of realizing these goals.

The current political atmosphere in Nigeria is characterized by strong expectations as well as concerns from both the media and the people in general about the capacity of President Jonathan to provide the type of leadership that the people expect from him. The role a group of aides of the Late President, popularly referred to as the cabal played, as far as politics and governance are concerned, impacted negatively on the image of the government, thereby raising skepticisms as to whether the present President will be given the free-hand to govern.

 

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