Whether they wrote the letter to President Buhari from self-motivation, or they merely read former president Goodluck Jonathan’s lips and put their worries in writing, the ex-ministers who issued a statement late August condemning the Buhari government’s seeming ploy to deflate the contributions of the former president were controversial, if not misguided. Dr Abubakar Suleiman, a former National Planning minister, reportedly issued the statement on behalf of some Jonathan ministers. They decried what they believed were efforts to ‘condemn, ridicule and undermine’ the contributions of Dr Jonathan to nation-building. The former president should be given his due, they suggested tersely.

If the Nigerian presidency had not been run by a camorra of former presidents, nearly all of whom think they are supernatural, infallible and exceptional, no one who carefully contemplates the sordid manner Dr Jonathan presided over Nigeria would think of standing up for him or writing anything in his defence. In the light of the forced resignation of the Guatemalan president, Otto Perez Molina, not to talk of his detention in jail, former Nigerian presidents have been treated undeservingly very well.

The Buhari presidency may be acting very awkwardly in exposing and remedying the misdeeds of Dr Jonathan, but it has not been severe or irrational. From all the disclosures so far, Dr Jonathan should be in jail awaiting trial. And not only he, even his predecessors, chiefly Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, should have been tried long ago and put away for the abominable manner they presided over Nigeria and caused her so much grief. While it is recommended that the Buhari presidency should fine-tune its investigations into the misdeeds of past governments to eliminate the veneer of vendetta, it should not waver in its determination to unearth those misdeeds.

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