Nigerian historian Max Siollun wrote an in depth piece on The Guardian detailing why President Goodluck Jonathan lost in his reelection bid, and he was spot on in every way.
Here are some excerpts from the piece;
1. Don’t cross the boss
When Nigeria emerged from 15 years of military rule in 1999, Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic party (PDP) was formed by wealthy retired generals to inherit power from the military. One of the godfathers was General Olusegun Obasanjo, who has governed Nigeria twice (between 1976-1979 and 1999-2007). Jonathan made the mistake of alienating Obasanjo; leading the general to write a public 18-page letter containing lacerating criticism of the president in December 2013. A party member likened Obasanjo’s hectoring of Jonathan to a father’s disappointment with his son.
Rather than make peace with the 77-year-old, Jonathan’s office retaliated.
Getting on the wrong side of Obasanjo is the political equivalent of crossing a mafia don. You will pay. Obasanjo’s attacks on Jonathan intensified. In February, an irate Obasanjo quit the PDP and dramatically ripped up his party membership card on television.
Jonathan was naïve to think he could remain president without the support of PDP godfathers like Obasanjo. Although Nigeria is no longer under military rule, many retired millionaire generals call the shots from behind the scenes.
2. Playing fair
Previous Nigerian presidents were too cynical to expose themselves to the unpredictable risk of a fair election. The election victories of PDP presidents during the past 16 years have been partially “assisted” by electoral malpractice. That changed when Jonathan nominated Professor Attahiru Jega as the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) in 2010. Jega vowed to reform Nigeria’s electoral process to ensure free and fair elections.
The former university lecturer exuded calm authority and integrity. He has painstakingly prepared for the task over the past four years by studying the rigging methods used in previous elections, implementing an elaborate system of voter registration, training thousands of electoral staff, and introducing biometric readers to identify voters by reading their thumbprint.
Jonathan created the environment for the emergence of these changes and gave Jega the freedom and authority to conduct reforms that led to a credible election. But by giving Jega a free hand to play fair, he allowed Jega to craft the weapons that were used to oust him from power.
Read the rest of the piece on The Guardian.