Jonathan, Our Man Of The Year 2015!.
The choice, by our Board of Editors, of Nigeria’s immediate past President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as our Man of the Year, was easy and effortless. His commitment to the enhancement of democracy in Nigeria stood him out.
His courage in exercising restraint in the face of obvious possibilities inherent in his office as Commander – in – Chief was not only exemplary but outstanding in a country and continent where political office holders prefer to die in office rather than relinquish power.
When it became indubitable that the electorate has decided to dispense of his services as their leader, he thanked them for the opportunity to serve and bowed out gracefully in a manner many acknowledged as unprecedented. It counted for him as proof of his honour and integrity.
Jonathan came into the nation’s political limelight in what many a political analyst has described as fortuitous circumstances. First, his name became a sign post for him as he journeyed on the path already mapped out for by mother luck.
From his comparatively lowly classroom job as a university teacher, he rose meteor- like, to take the nation by storm. When he was appointed as the Deputy Governor of his native Bayelsa State, Jonathan was seen as yet another spare tyre, as deputies in political offices in the country have come to be perceived. But soon, it became evident that he was not cut out for that kind of backwater duties as fate demonstrated in his own case that it always holds the ace.
He became Governor when his boss the late Dieyepreye Alamieseigha ran foul of the law and was humiliated out of office. After his re-election in 2007, he was about settling down to execute the duties of that office when, yet again, he rose to higher duties on the booster rocket of his once godfather and out-going president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who favoured him among many for the office of the Vice President in the Alhaji Umaru Yar’Adua Presidency. But fortune was not done with him yet as he became acting President of Nigeria on that much-orchestrated Doctrine of Necessity following the incapacitation of the President and later the substantive chief executive. His re-election in 2011, in a manner of speaking, consolidated his foothold on the nation’s political scene.
Most importantly, Jonathan will be remembered as the first Nigerian politician that did the unthinkable, yielding to the dictates of democratic principles and in a grand style.
For emphasis, he left office as president under record setting circumstances, at least, by Nigerian standards. While in office, he promised to ensure that democracy thrived and that the general elections, on his watch, will keep to the international best practices of democratic conduct. He made it clear that his aspiration to be president of Nigeria was not worth a drop of any Nigerian’s blood.
His administration fulfilled this promise which manifested in the conduct of an election that was transparent enough to be adjudged by Nigerians and the international community as satisfying the expectations of the participants, that is, the electorate and the candidates even as it resulted in the defeat of an incumbent, in this case, President Jonathan himself.
He was humble in conceding defeat even before the final result was announced; an attitude that was uncommon in the annals of democratic practice in the country. He, therefore, set a standard to the acclamation of all and which will remain a reference point.
And for the first time in recent memory in the nation’s democratic journey, there was no post-election litigation, at least at the presidential level.
President Muhammadu Buhari, as a show of magnanimity in victory, thanked Jonathan for saving the country from the pre-election cataclysmic anticipations. World leaders saw in the former president’s handling of the entire process as evidence that Nigeria has redeemed herself after past years of false steps and self-inflicted electoral complications.
After that famous phone call during which he congratulated Buhari as President-elect, Nigerians, his friends and even cynics knew that that he is, indeed, a man of history of whom posterity will be proud of.
For his sterling democratic credentials and record- setting propensities, we hereby honour him as Our Man of the Year 2015.