A call to higher office to serve involves cost and expectation of leadership. The failure of a leader usually results in consequences far more than the fall of a non-leader.
It’s no secret that even before the end of midterm of his administration, President Jonathan has become deflated, depressed, paralyzed, powerless, and disillusioned about his own leadership. Here we have a president who lost the air in his sails because he has no vision, no purpose, and there is no progress.
Leadership without visionary perspective is meaningless. Mr. Jonathan should be reminded that things don’t make a leader. A leader must give up the pursuit of lesser things.
In the succinctly elegant words of C.S. Lewis, “Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward … we are halfhearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition …like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by an offer of a holiday at the sea.” C.S. concludes that “We are far too easily pleased.”
Recently, Mr. Jonathan issued a presidential threat to take SaharaReporters to court “for reporting that his health problems in London during the investors meeting in London may have resulted from heavy partying in celebration of his 56th birthday.”
As expected, his attack dog Reuben Abati went into uproarious spoof overdrive to chastise and whip as it were, SR for the story. “As unregulated as they are,” Abati fumes, “SaharaReporters and their ilk are not beyond the bounds of legal action for libel and willful defamation of the character and reputation of a President who has courageously stepped forward to serve his country.”
The attack dog warned SR that Mr. Jonathan’s patience is wearing thin: “Their incessant claim of a bibulous President is pure fiction and blackmail, and the product of malicious imagination. We warn that our forbearance of their disrespectful caricaturing of the President is not limitless.”
I have no problem with Abati defending the president. Deep down in his heart he knows that the opposite is true of his PR propaganda. But I blame the president for threatening SR with a lawsuit.
A source close to Aso Rock once told me that President Jonathan could hardly function after 3pm due to heavy drinking of ogogoro and other prized gins. Initially, I dismissed the report but going by the way Mr. Jonathan handles his responsibility for 160 million dumb Nigerians, nothing could be further from the truth.
Majority of people who come to see a psychiatrist are suffering from what is called either a neurosis or a character disorder. These two conditions are disorders of responsibility, and as such they are opposite styles of relating to the world and its problems.
In the case of President Jonathan, he suffers from a character disorder because people who are afflicted with a character disorder assume not enough responsibility and when they are in conflict with the world (or SR as in the case with Mr. Jonathan) they automatically assume that the world is at fault. This is exactly what Mr. Jonathan did to SR – by blaming SR for his inadequacies and utter neglect of his responsibilities to Nigerians.
Mr. Jonathan’s threat to sue SR is more of distraction and for image sake than anything else. Only an idle leader like Mr. Jonathan is able to sleep with his two eyes closed in a country with 100 million destitute. Mr. Jonathan is easily get caught up in doing things for image sake and to distract the people from serious national problems. The threat in my view, is pure facade and hypocrisy. He reacts by trying to cover his flaws, rather than being honest.
Mr. Jonathan’s subterfuge is not only a sickening diversion, it is an attempt to cover up his personal and leadership failure in the tragic way he runs the affairs of the country. His threat to drag SR to court stems from being an insecure leader who doesn’t provide security to Nigerians, a leader who takes more than he gives, a leader who continually limit his citizens, a leader who continually sabotages his country, a leader who becomes self-seeking and manipulative, a leader who feels intimidated and deal with others through intimidation, a leader who blames others for his dilemma, and a leader who spends more energy trying to keep his job than to do his job.
He lies in order to project the right image. He reacts with fury when he doesn’t get his way. He concerned himself only with his own benefit. He seeks to destroy any potential threat to his leadership.
Strong character is necessary to sustain strong conduct, an insecure leader like Mr. Jonathan will never empower and develop secure followers. Mr. Jonathan’s performance as the leader of Africa’s most populous nation reveals that he suffers from four fatal flaws: he feels inferior because a sense of worth is missing, feels insecure because there is no sense of belonging, feels illegitimate because of a lack of purpose, and he feels inadequate due to a lack of competence.
Mr. Jonathan missed so many opportunities to define his core values as a leader. He is not doing things for the right reasons. He sweats the small stuff like threatening to sue an Internet portal. He judges others before judging himself.
For a leader, burden always come first before a vision. Mr. Jonathan has demonstrated convincingly that he’s not burdened by the sordid horror state of affairs in the country. Taking SR to court will earn him no respect or add any plausibility to his already soiled credibility.
Mr. Jonathan provides ample confirmation of a key management principle called the Law of Picture. People don’t do what they hear; they do what they see. The example of a leader determines the experience of the people. A nation’s leadership determines the direction of the whole country. Now we know why Mr. Jonathan is so handicapped to fight corruption and other problems facing the country.
The fastest way to gain leadership is through problem solving. Left alone, things go awry (look at Nigeria), people go astray (Nigerians have become refugees in their own country), plans go amiss (what happens to SURE-P? “Transformation Agenda”? committees and blue ribbon panels? health and education systems? road and other infrastructures?) The man with the plan is the man with the power!
Nigerians want Mr. Jonathan to identify their problems and inform the nation. We want Mr. Jonathan to identify and pursue top priorities and brainstorm the solutions with his advisers. Seek to practice what will benefit most people. Communicate clearly. See things through the eyes of an outsider. Invite his cabinet to a problem-solving process. Include talents and honest people the not bootlickers that swarm around him like bees.
He should plunge himself into the cockpit. By now he should be tired of being a spectator. Get involved. Get dirty. Get to work at least for once. The country is on the precipice. I dare say all these things because his leadership and governing style have bankrupted the country. He has mismanaged the country – and that’s mincing words.
Mr. Jonathan is an example of a leader who doesn’t know how to get what he wants. Why? Because he lacks focus, discipline, he reached high and low, experimenting with all kinds of goals, yet never achieved anything.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct,” which is why wise people learn not to dread but actually welcome problems and actually to welcome the pain of problems. The president is not so wise. He avoids problem. He procrastinates, hoping that they will go away. He ignores them, pretends they do not exist. He attempts to skirt around the problems rather than meet them head on. He attempts to get out of them rather than suffer through them.
Nigerians and the rest of the world see Mr. Jonathan not as problem solver because he doesn’t anticipate problems, doesn’t accept the truth, doesn’t see the big picture, can’t handle one thing at a time, and gives up major goal even before the project takes off. Since he’s not a good problem solver, he should complement his weaknesses by surrounding himself with problem solvers. Diverse thinking makes it possible to solve a variety of problems.
Leaders who changed the world have sharp focus. Self-discipline is required and recommended for Mr. Jonathan. Mr. Jonathan needs to govern his actions. Display self-control, guard his attitudes, lead by example, think on the positive things that will lift Nigerians from poverty. Shun materialism for nothing purifies more than sharing resources. What’s Mr. Jonathan doing with 12 presidential jets and 17 ambulances idly parked at Aso Rock while hospitals in the country could not boast of one dependable ambulance?
Nigeria’s history of corruption is long and benighted. Why is the president so impotent in dealing with the brood vipers of his administration? The scale and scope of graft can feel both mundane and extraordinary. His administration serves as a repository for citizens palm-greasing.
More evidence of grand-scale graft in Mr. Jonathan’s administration continues to defy reasoning and explanation. In the face of all these graft and greed, the president is criminally quiet and self-possessed and maintains a starchy reserve.
He’s never been outraged by the brazen crookedness of his cabinet on corruption. His trajectory crusade against corruption has been jagged. With 2015 around the corner, no one should be surprised if the president and his administration give away airplanes and armored cars as bribes to INEC officials and voters to rig the election. After all, this is Nigeria a behemoth of corruption!
The way a leader handles people or institutions like SR who do not want to travel with him is the acid test of a leader’s poise. If Mr. Jonathan believes the best way to govern his tattered nation is to harass SR and other critics of his administration, let him go for it. By the time you finish reading this, a court summons from Aso Rock might be lurking around SaharaReporters offices. Mr. President bring it on!
“A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves.” – Bertrand de Jouvenel
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters