As expected, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s last meeting with his ministers in council was quite illuminating. He was sober, reflective, perhaps, resigned to his imminent status as former president but not necessarily defeated. All the same, Jonathan was dramatic in his observations.
At last, Jonathan commented on the month-long fuel scarcity and blamed the oil importers for the blackmail with which his administration was being sent into history. Second, he requested that any planned probe of his administration should be extended to his predecessors’ tenure. He also admitted that some decisions during his tenure might have been bad or were actually bad and concluded that he did his best.
What instantly emerged was that Jonathan hurt himself with the negative publicity. So, the fuel crisis was a blackmail? The scarcity lasted for over a month and affected all parts of Nigeria and virtually brought the country to a standstill. Yet, Jonathan kept quiet. In the process, the impression created was that, given the bitter campaigns the PDP waged for the presidential elections, the fuel scarcity crisis was aimed at dragging the country to a halt to create a difficult take-off for President Muhammadu Buhari.
Even if that were so, it could only have earned Buhari instant public acclamation for ending the fuel scarcity, restoring electricity supply, etc. It was an irony that Jonathan allowed himself to be discredited by ungrateful oil importers, most of them PDP supporters, the same beneficiaries of government patronage in committing fraud in the name of fuel subsidy.
The first hint of Jonathan’s lamentation on the fuel scarcity crisis was given two days earlier by former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the Senate hearing when she accused the oil importers of political/economic sabotage. According to her, the oil importers never created any problem when government owed them over one trillion naira. She then wondered why the oil importers capitalised on the ongoing verification of the suspected false claims of less than two hundred billion naira as outstanding payment to throw the country into political/economic crisis.
Jonathan should not have waited till his last twenty-four hours in office to expose the economic saboteurs. It was even untenable for the former Nigerian President to demand that any intended probe of his administration should be extended to his predecessors. As far back as when? 1999? Or 1960? That was desperate and self-serving. The standard is that no former Nigerian Head of State should be subjected to such humiliation.
That is not to say every transaction was clean. Much must have happened in the six-year tenure of Jonathan, facts of which might crop up only in the scheme of things. Cropping up of such facts must not necessarily be seen as a probe of the Jonathan administration. For example, none of the criminal suspects in the fraud of over two trillion naira as fuel subsidy so far has been successfully prosecuted. Jonathan had nothing to do with the scandal.
Rejuvenating such prosecutions, leading to convictions or, at least, recovery of the huge amount is not a probe of Jonathan as a former president. After all, both Jonathan and former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala are on record that the entire fuel subsidy transactions up to that stage were carried out by NNPC without their knowledge. It is also on record that National Assembly never appropriated the huge sum of over two trillion naira purported oil subsidy NNPC paid to the criminals.
Rather than witch-hunt, it will be a recovery of stolen public fund or conviction of the culprits, whoever they are. Again, there should be no deliberate probe of Jonathan. But if down the line, facts emerged on illegal or criminal acquisition of wealth, the only restraint is that there should be no fun-fare of such discovery. Otherwise, any of such abuse of office should be disgorged.
Witch-hunt? Definition of such is ever self-serving. Was it witch-hunt when the son of Sule Lamido, ex-governor of Jigawa State was prosecuted for criminal currency trafficking? Was it witch-hunt when ex—PDP national chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, was hunted out of office with a criminal offence allegedly committed eight years earlier? Was it witch-hunt when ex-Kwara State governor, Bukunola Saraki, was serially questioned by EFCC on financial transactions at his father’s defunct bank about ten years before he was elected governor? Was it witch-hunt when ex-Bayelsa State governor, Timipre Sylva, was arraigned by EFCC for alleged looting of public funds during his tenure?
They were only made to account for their conduct during their tenure. If found liable, Jonathan’s aides must also legitimately be arraigned. After all, one of them, Doyin Okupe was arraigned by the EFCC only after Jonathan lost the presidential elections. Had Doyin Okupe been arraigned under the new administration of President Buhari, meanings would have been read into the prosecution.
Then, according to former President Jonathan’s self-confession at the valedictory session of the Federal Executive Council, mistakes might have been made or, in fact, were made in some of the decisions he took. In that situation, it is only fair for the succeeding administration to correct such mistakes and that cannot be any sort of witch-hunt.
Correctly put, if Jonathan were still in office and detected those mistakes, he would himself have corrected what he admitted could have been or were indeed real mistakes. Why, for example, did Jonathan continue, in couple of days left for him in office, making fresh appointments to major public offices or reconstituting membership of federal agencies?
If constitutionally possible, Jonathan would have reconstituted the federal cabinet of ministers (and would have) handed to President Buhari as fait accompli.
Jonathan said he did his best for Nigeria. Of course, anybody in Jonathan’s position is expected to do his best, leaving history to be the judge. He can console himself that all his controversial predecessors were eventually appreciated for one distinction or another.

Beckoning to anarchy
Whatever crime for which Buruji Kashamu (a senator-elect) might have been accused, the fact remains that as a Nigerian and indeed, a citizen of the world, he is entitled a fair trial and should be treated as innocent until he is found guilty in a Court of Law.
Despite that constitutional and legal right, it is disappointing that National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) is hell-bent on denying the man his rights. Faced with the prospects of being kidnapped and bundled to United States, Buruji sought and obtained the protection of Nigerian courts against violent denial of his legal rights by NDLEA.
It is, therefore, a shock that NDLEA could treat our law courts with outrageous contempt by describing as trivial, a court order, restraining NDLEA from infringing Buruji’s freedom of movement. If Buruji is guilty as charged, that should be established in a Court of Law. Instead, NDLEA has assumed the position of the complainant, the prosecutor and the judge, even without trying the accused in a Court of Law.
So far, at least, two Nigerian courts have refused to sanction Buruji’s kidnap and extradition to United States and three Nigerian Courts have restrained Nigerian government, including NDLEA, from unilaterally extraditing Buruji. Earlier, a British court similarly inquired into the charges against Buruji for up to two years and ruled that Buruji should not be extradited to United States on grounds of mistaken identity.
Buruji might yet be liable to criminal prosecution but NDLEA or even Nigerian government must prove that guilt in our law courts to warrant any extradition to United States.
Here is the difference. On the eve of the last presidential elections in United States, Barrack Obama issued a vote-catching proclamation halting further deportations of illegal immigrants. Aggrieved groups went to challenge the legality of Obama’s amnesty. The court, this week, ruled that Obama must withhold his amnesty pending the trial of the suit challenging the legality of the amnesty.
Obama has complied. In short, American government will not defy their law courts. In contrast, why must our NDLEA or even Nigerian government defy the court ruling halting Buruji Kashamu’s extradition?
It is a question of law and an issue for Nigerian Bar Association to be concerned with. Can a government agency or even Nigerian government disobey/disregard a court order? NBA’s interest in this matter is in preserving the sanctity of law courts.
If Buruji is considered liable for deportation, NDLEA and or Nigerian government must appeal to a higher court. Otherwise, we are beckoning at anarchy.

Sacking of UI council
Retired General Adeyinka Adebayo might not have bothered himself in ticking off former President Goodluck Jonathan for the latter’s discourtesy in removing General Adebayo as Chairman of Governing Council of University of Ibadan.
Jonathan dissolved that Council less than three weeks before his (Jonathan’s) tenure expired. If the former president could not see it, the certainty was that in dissolving the University Council about two years into the statutory four-year tenure, Jonathan only rendered his new appointees all over the place to be similarly dismissed by the new Federal Administration.
It should be emphasised that General Adebayo’s concern was even the discourtesy of not being informed. Can Jonathan henceforth exercise such power?