At perilous times like this when Buhari’s incompetence races to the rooftops, Goodluck Jonathan minions crawl of their miserable woodworks and try to promote the annoyingly tendentious assertion that Jonathan would have been better than Buhari; that Jonathan was hounded out of power because he was Ijaw (he is, in fact, Ogbia, which isn’t even linguistically related to Ijaw) from Nigeria’s deep south, and so on and so forth. That’s a transparently false and fraudulent narrative. The truth is that Jonathan was a desperate, unrelieved disaster. It was his disastrously incompetent presidency that cursed Nigeria with a Buhari succession.

I have as much contempt for anyone who supported and wanted to reelect Jonathan in spite of the proven disaster that he was as I have for anyone who defends and campaigns for Buhari in spite of his demonstrable incompetence. Given Jonathan's own ineptitude, it was reasonable to expect that a 70-something-year-old man who had seen it all and who had been fighting to get back to power would reflect on his past mistakes and try to correct them if given another chance, if only to bequeath a legacy that will outlast him. Alas, he had other intentions when he sought to get back to power, which we couldn't have known because we aren't clairvoyant. The shame is on the person who deceived, not on the person who genuinely trusted.

But the beauty of periodic elections—if they're free and fair, that is—is that they give the electorate the chance to correct their mistakes. I hope Nigerians will correct their Buhari mistake in 2019, like they did their Jonathan mistake in 2015. But to desire a return to Jonathan because Buhari has turned out to be a total disappointment is reactionary and boneheaded. It’s like desiring to return to the frying pan after escaping into the fire. It’s the same difference.

There was nothing about Jonathan’s days as president that is worth sentimentalizing. I know Nigerians are notoriously amnesic, but Jonathan’s presidency was also marked by incessant petrol shortages. Jonathan was hated because he was incompetent, the same way normal, straight-thinking, non-partisan people deeply resent Buhari because he is incompetent and insensitive.

Nigeria’s biggest problem is unreasoning attachment to silly ethno-regional loyalties. We will continue to be stuck at the edge of the precipice, and even fall off, if we don’t snap out of this backward mindset.

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