Former President of Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, says Nigeria is where it is today because of its leadership style that puts family and friends, acquaintances over merit, ability and capability to deliver.
The former President disclosed this while speaking at the Palace of the Emir of Bauchi during a one-day working visit to Bauchi state.
He said for someone to be appointed to an office or given a responsibility in Nigeria, they must know someone at the top.
He said the tradition has been drawing the country backwards.
Jonathan, who was reacting to introductory comments made by Governor Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, said, “Yes, I did not know him when I met him and made him the FCT Minister. 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. It is not like that with me, it is not my way of doing things.
“Today is a happy day for me because since I left office, this is the first time I am coming to Bauchi. First, let me use this rare opportunity that I have before the Emir of Bauchi to thank the people of Bauchi for supporting my dear son, you have done very well to support him. It would have been difficult for him to win the election without your support.”
He continued, “Bala Mohammed is a good younger brother, he is a good son, even when he was the FCT Minister, he worked with commitment and 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 while introducing the former President to the Emir, Governor Mohammed, said, “Your Highness, I am the happiest man today standing here today, history is being made. Somebody who is instrumental in my coming to the limelight in Nigeria is here with you.
“He came from Yenagoa in Bayelsa State, somebody I don’t have anything in common with other than the stake of nationalism and Nigerianess. 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.
“The way and manner he left the government and created an impression globally in terms of democracy made me proud that I have a father and a mentor who is the face of democracy in Africa. Today, he is coming to our house, this house that we all respect in Bauchi and in the whole country. This is the house of the Are Ona Kakanfo of the North.”