Goodluck Jonathan gets his first strutting experience as “president” next week when he visits the
Umaru Yar’Adua set a poor tone when, during a visit at the White House in 2007, he acted like a child let loose in a candy shop. Eyes glimmering, he gushed to President George W. Bush that coming to
It would serve Jonathan to avoid such callow exuberance. He better come properly briefed, and fully prepared, to articulate
The two men, and their respective countries, have a large menu of bilateral issues to bite into. There are such issues as oil, terrorism, democracy, trade relations, anti-corruption measures, and
It’s easy, in talking with Obama, to misread his ties to
Even so, his deepest loyalties lie – as they should – with
Oil is at the center of
That prospect means that the
It would be a mistake to imagine that Obama is less than enthusiastic about George Bush’s plan to establish an African Command. Should Obama try to sell the idea, Jonathan ought to unambiguously register
In scale, it would have been the most serious terrorist assault on American soil since the September 11, 2001 bombing of the
Last week, a motorist in Calabar came close to causing another terrorist calamity. In a shocking breach of airport security, this man was able to ram his car onto an Arik Air flight. Little information has been released about the incident, but the attack – one must admit – is likely to strengthen Obama’s resolve to keep
That shouldn’t stop Jonathan from pleading
Jonathan is, like Obama, a figure thrown up by history – and capable of acting as an agent of profound historical change. Obama’s election more than a year ago signaled
Unlike Obama, Jonathan is handicapped by a deficiency of legitimacy. In 2007, he and Umaru Yar’Adua became prime beneficiaries of one of the most fraudulent elections in history. Now, with Yar’Adua consigned to the shadows through physical devastation, Jonathan has been thrust into power. And he’s been assigned a rare opportunity to rise beyond his circumstances and imprint his name in history.
Many doubt that he’s capable of rising to the challenge. He has been criticized, justifiably in my view, for coming up with a mostly uninspiring list of ministers. And even though he’s spoken of his commitment to electoral reforms, many doubt that he’s willing to go through with measures that are likely to upstage his political party.
Yet, Jonathan must know that
Obama should encourage Jonathan to stand behind electoral reform, to fire Maurice Iwu from the chairmanship of
Jonathan is reportedly making overtures to Nuhu Ribadu, a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to serve as an advisor on anti-corruption issues. This promises to rank as one of Jonathan’s most warmly received appointments. In his second coming, Ribadu has a rare opportunity to address legitimate questions about the selectivity of some of the EFCC’s prosecutions, and then proceed to reinvigorate the fight against all corrupt elements.
Ribadu will face a quandary. It was reported that, in September 2006, Ribadu’s EFCC officials seized $13.5 million from Patience Jonathan, then Governor Jonathan’s wife. Somehow, that case – which drew international attention – fizzled out. Neither Jonathan nor Ribadu can afford silence on the case. Both men must make it a priority to divulge the facts about Patience’s alleged millions. Is it true that the EFCC confiscated that stash of cash? If true, where’s that money? Was it handed back to Mrs. Jonathan? In that event, how and where did she make it? If it was confiscated, then Jonathan would do well to apologize on his wife’s behalf. Then, and then, should Ribadu get cracking on other abusers of public trust.