“In Nigeria, we have this tradition where you must know someone” before appointing individuals into “juicy” positions. ..”
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has said there was neither nepotism nor tribalism in appointing individuals into key government positions during his tenure, a statement which key observes believed to have further dented the reputation of President Muhammadu Buhari and his regime.
Jonathan who served as the president of Nigeria between 2010 and 2015, made the claim during a one-day visit to the Emir of Bauchi’s palace on Tuesday, according to Tribune newspaper.
The former president whose administration was widely riddled with corruption stated that Nigeria has a tradition of “you must know someone” before appointing individuals into “juicy” positions.
“Similarly, corrupt practices continued to increase at a worrisome level since President Buhari assumed office.
“Jonathan’s administration displayed a lack of political will, a high degree of lethargy and cluelessness in the fight against corruption in the face of many corrupt practices frequently reported against government officials,” said Ogbewere Ijewereme in his ‘Anatomy of Corruption in the Nigerian Public Sector: Theoretical Perspectives and Some Empirical Explanations.’
While reacting to Governor Bala Mohammed’s introductory comments, the former president recalled making Mr Mohammed the FCT minister without knowing him.
“Yes, I did not know him when I met him and made him the FCT Minister,” Jonathan said.
“In Nigeria, we have this tradition where some people feel that some ministries are big and juicy and must be given to a special person or that you have to know someone before you give him a responsibility role or put him somewhere,” the ex-president added.
He claimed that as a president, he did not do that.
“It is not like that with me. It is not my way of doing things,” Mr Jonathan insisted.
He stressed that Mr Mohammed while serving as the FCT minister, “worked with commitment.”
The former governor stated further, “I gave him a free hand to run the affairs of the FCT. I’ve come to visit him and to commission a project and a road that was even named after me.”
Earlier, the Bauchi governor, while introducing the former president, said, “I don’t have anything in common with him other than the stake of nationalism and Nigerianness.”
Speaking further, Mohammed confirmed Jonathan’s words, “He made me the minister of the FCT without knowing me or belonging to the same political party. He has really impacted so much. He gave me responsibility, and by so doing, he has proven that he is a detribalised Nigerian.”
Jonathan lost his bid for reelection to Buhari in 2015.
Buhari has repeatedly been criticised for appointing cronies and members of his ethnic group into key national public offices since he assumed office six years ago.