President Jonathan Is A Product Of A Very Corrupt Process – Dr. Adunbi

Dr. Lade Adunbi
By Chido Onumah

Dr. Omolade Adunbi is a political anthropologist and an Assistant Professor at the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies (DAAS), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A. In this interview with Chido Onumah, he examines corruption, the national question, and political violence in Nigeria amongst other national issues.

•    What is your assessment of the current situation in Nigeria?
Nigeria is in a state of rot. A rot caused by being held hostage by a cabal that is bent on destroying the country. A lens through which to see Nigeria is that of a sick person who suddenly found himself in a hospital. At the hospital, he was given wrong diagnoses and of course wrong prescription. Each time the patient takes his medication, his condition keeps getting worse and the physician keeps conducting tests upon tests without the patient realizing that the physician is actually not a trained physician but a fraudster parading himself as one. This is the situation in which Nigeria, a country rich in human and natural resources has found herself today. In spite of the abundance of those with the right expertise to tackle Nigeria’s problems, the cabal that has held the country hostage will not allow Nigeria, the sick patient, to be treated by a trained physician. Until the patient frees himself from this fraudster, he will continue to fall sick while his peers are making their lives better. This is my assessment of Nigeria of today.

•    To what extent are you worried that the unsettled question of nationhood continues to dominate public discourse in Nigeria?
Am I worried that the national discourse today is about the unsettled question of nationhood? Any patriotic Nigerian should be worried about this. I am worried because after more than 50 years of nationhood and almost a century of having an entity called Nigeria, we ought to have moved beyond questioning our ability to stay together. Some will say, if you have been married for over fifty years and the marriage is still enmeshed in discord, then you are not compatible. But the issue is not that of incompatibility here but that of social inequality. When there is an increase in social inequality, people tend to look for ways of fending for themselves and the process of doing this often lead to discord with a capacity to degenerate into what some might call ethnic divide. When this happens, many will begin to call into question the idea of Nigerian nationhood itself. The other way to reflect on the question itself is to argue that Nigeria has never been a nation, so there is no point talking about whether the discourse of nationhood is dominating the political landscape or not. The question then will be why is Nigeria not a nation? Nigeria is not a nation because it is an imposed entity. This may not suggest that it does not have the capacity to become a nation, but after over 50 years of independence, it is yet to clearly demonstrate that it has that capability of becoming a nation. What we see today is a situation whereby people continue to see themselves not as Nigerians but more importantly as Birom, Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Ijaw, Ibibio, Yoruba etc.  People continue to cling on to their ethnic cleavages rather than clinging on to the idea of Nigeria as a nation. If you look critically at the history of formation of many of these ethnic groups, it is not as if they all started through a process of homogenization. Many can be considered as a hybrid of many traditions, cultures and practices, but living together over the years and with the right leadership, many began to see themselves as one. For example, if we look at the Yorubas of Southwest Nigeria, the development of Yoruba orthography helped in shaping a Yoruba identity. Prior to the development of Yoruba orthography, many would either see themselves as the Oyos, Ifes, Owos etc with a common ancestry which can also be interrogated or questioned but developing a Yoruba orthography helped in making people believe that they are at once a Yoruba person before being an Oyo person. Same thing can be said for the Igbos, the Hausa/Fulanis and others. So, nations are formed through commonalities and unfortunately, the only thing we have in common in Nigeria today can be categorized into two. Those who are extremely rich because of their access to our commonwealth. This group constitutes less than 1% of the population. The second category is the more than 99% of the population who are extremely poor and continually pushed to the margins by the less than 1% of the population. The tragedy of the whole situation is that this group, who for many years have been told that they are different and compartmentalized into being Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Ijaw, Birom, Zango etc do not see their destiny as being tied together. Rather they see their destiny as being tied to a representative of the less than 1% within their community. That is why when that person who has been co-opted into the less than 1% group comes home to talk about marginalization, those who should chastise him will be the same people who will be ready to die for him not knowing that he is in fact one of their oppressors. Therefore, the less than 1% of the population who constitute the oppressing cabal have succeeded in manipulating and transforming what ordinarily should be a national psyche into a local, ethnic or communal psyche. Such is the tragedy of the Nigerian situation and this is why the question of nationhood keeps coming up because there is no nation.

•    Recently the National Assembly called for memos for the review of the constitution. Do you think this is the right way to go? If not, how should Nigerians go about fashioning a workable constitution for themselves?
I have thought about this severally and I am beginning to think that the constitution might after all not be the problem. We have been fashioning constitutions since the 1900s and here we are in the 2000s and we still have not been able to fashion a workable constitution for ourselves. We have had what I will call a pseudo democracy for over 13 years now and every four years the national assembly sets up a committee to review the constitution but what have we got from this? We are fast becoming a nation of committees. Committees that help in the process of siphoning our commonwealth instead of designing appropriate policies and programs that will help uplift our people. If we must have a workable constitution then my suggestion will be that it should be done through a democratic process. Let all Nigerians elect their representatives to a constitution drafting assembly and let the outcome be a subject of a referendum to either approve or reject the new constitution. The election of representatives must be conducted by a genuine and transparent electoral commission put in place not be the present government but by an independent body.

•    How would you rate President Jonathan’s fight against corruption?
Is President Jonathan fighting corruption? I am not sure he is. Jonathan is a product of a very corrupt process and such a person lacks the capacity to fight corruption. In Nigeria, corruption has become an institution and it is highly destructive. Corruption as an institution will make sure that other institutions that could help strengthen the nation are weakened. This is the only way it can continue to thrive. Of course you also have the beneficiaries like Jonathan and others who might feel threatened if there is a serious war on corruption. The bottom-line is that if we succeed in fighting or destroying institutional corruption, then we could say we are on our way to strengthening institutions of the state. As things stand today, we do not have a state but what we have is Nigeria in name and not a Nigerian state. Strong institutions are what make a state and not name recognition. So, Nigeria is just a hanging on to name recognition and crying for serious help and Jonathan does not have the capacity to render the kind of help that Nigeria needs.

•    What’s your view of his decision not to publicly declare his assets in the face of continued public anger against corruption in the top echelon of his administration?
Jonathan’s view that he does not give a ‘damn about asset declaration’ stems from the fact that he is not representing the Nigerian people. The institution he represents is comfortable with his not declaring his assets, so he feels he does not owe the rest of the country anything. Jonathan can only be worried if the cabal who put him in office becomes uncomfortable with him. After all, votes do not count in Nigeria, so he really does not need our votes to remain in office. Until votes begin to count and Nigerians are able to freely elect their representatives, we will continue to have leaders such as Jonathan. So, we need to move beyond procedural democracy that we currently have to a more inclusive and transparent democratic practices.

•    Can this administration be trusted when the president says those found guilty in the oil subsidy report will be prosecuted? What do you make of the faceoff between Messers Femi Otedola and Farouk Lawan over bribery allegation?
We have had several probes in the past and nothing happened. The administration of Jonathan has set up several committees since its inception and nothing has come out of those committees. I remember when Obasanjo left office, there was a power probe committee set up by the National Assembly and nothing came out of the committee’s report. So, you can expect that the same thing will happen to the oil subsidy committee too. I think the National Assembly and its leaders have become what I will call a ‘craftimanipulative’ institution if I am permitted to use a word like that. What I mean by this is that they are schooled in the art of distracting the general population from the main issues of social inequality. So, when you hear that there is an oil subsidy or power project probe, the expectations of citizens are immediately raised, thinking that finally, something is going to be done about their plight. The period of the probe will become theatrical where the so called leaders who may think the idea of shame is foreign will expose their ‘secret dealings’ for a few weeks for Nigerians to see. Ordinarily, such public expositions should be a mobilizing tool for Nigerians but it is not. If you remember where I started from, the less than 1% have succeeded in manipulating the population to believing that the reason why there is social inequality is because of the other person who is not from their ethnic group. Again, what such probes do is to turn the light towards ethnic witch-hunting as the reason why things are the way they are. Thus, Femi Otedola and Farouk Lawan are products of the same corrupt institutions and I will not be surprised if tomorrow people start to think that Farouk Lawan is being witch-hunted because he is Hausa/Fulani. The fact is no one is asking questions about Otedola’s sudden wealth. How did he suddenly become a multi-millionaire? What is his background? Where did he get his initial capital to start a business? The truth is both Otedola and Lawal are beneficiaries of a corrupt institution called Nigeria.

•    How would you assess the problem of insecurity and what it portends for the future of the country?
The truth is that Nigeria is currently at war. It is only those who are delusional that will say Nigeria is at peace and that what is going on are pockets of violence here and there. The tragedy of the Nigerian situation is that a time bomb placed at the centre of the country several years ago is beginning to detonate. Unfortunately, those who can help stop the degeneration are not in a position to do so. The problem of insecurity is neatly tied into the problem of social inequality and the continued marginalization of the majority of the population. When you have a population that is highly pauperized by the few elites, the dignity of the person becomes bare through a process of Darwinism. Survival becomes an uphill task and the resultant effect is the recourse to ethnic or religious chauvinism. Religion then turns to opium of the people and those who cannot stand the double marginalization hide under the cloak of fighting for a God’s kingdom to further traumatize the aggrieved population.  It is in this context that I see the level of insecurity in the country. Just pumping money into national security cannot solve the problem. The only solution is to address the marginalization of the majority of the population by addressing issues of access to education, health, roads, and rural infrastructure. When the so-called Boko Haram says it is opposed to Western education, it is because it equates Western education with the institutionalization of corruption in Nigeria. I see their cry as the cry for equity, justice, access to education, health care, good roads and over all development of the country. I see them as wanting to be part of an inclusive process that will address social inequity in the Nigerian state. Their grievance is not in anyway different from the unannounced grievance of Nigerians out there who are disgusted about the decay in their country.

•    What do you make of the clamour for 2015 in light of the crisis of the Nigerian state?
Politicians will always jostle for office whenever the opportunity presents itself. Those who believe Jonathan will not run in 2015 need to re-examine their minds. Jonathan will run in 2015 and the question is whether the opposition will be able to put their acts together and give him a run for the Nigerian money that he is spending. More importantly, it is hard to see if the salvation of Nigeria lies in the current political system. If the Nigerian people can rise up and fight, they may be able to change the system and install a more durable democratic system in Nigeria. We need to rekindle the fighting spirit of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s when Nigeria was the leading light in democratic struggles. What Nigerians need to do is to create an enduring process that will shield the popular struggle from the rampaging elite who might want to take advantage of it and reinstall themselves in office. This is exactly what happened in the 1990s when the elite hijacked a genuine movement for democratic change and installed what is presently in place. To guide against that, Nigerians need to rally round an organization that will be all inclusive and ready to take the fight to the elite and rescue the Nigerian nation. It is when this happens that Nigeria can move away from being a nation recognized in name only to that of a Nigerian state that will be democratic, where justice and equity will reign supreme.
•    What role can Nigerians in the Diaspora play in effort to reclaim Nigeria?
The role I see for Nigerians in Diaspora is to be more involved in the process of reclaiming Nigeria from the marauding elite that has taken Nigeria hostage. Nigerians in Diaspora can liaise with those in Nigeria to help shape the form and character of whatever organization will be put in place to rescue Nigeria. This category of Nigerians may need to take a cue from other Diasporas who have helped to shape the future of their countries in the past. There are several examples to draw from. Within the African continent, history of democratic struggle in South Africa where those in the Diaspora supported those at home still lingers in our memory. We can also draw from various countries in Latin America, and the Middle East.

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President Jonathan Is A Product Of A Very Corrupt Process – Dr.

I feel very sorry for many of you that are criticizing the government of GEJ. This is not news for many of us that are praying and building the image of this nation. When you finish damaging your country in the public glare, you will come back home. But remember that the pebbles you throw at a palm tree will be thrown back to you in due time. If you do not see something good in this government nobody will good things you are trying to do. Keep on with your criticism and see if you will get award for it.

our professor lost me....

i de laughoooooooo!t johnson i hope you didn't attend night school bcos you can't even figure out simple analysis.

our professor lost me....

i de laughoooooooo!t johnson i hope you didn't attend night school bcos you can't even figure out simple analysis.

our professor lost me....

i de laughoooooooo!t johnson i hope you didn't attend night school bcos you can't even figure out simple analysis.


Goddy, they know but you will agree with me that we are No.1 when it comes to crucifixion. I pray that the Lord will give President Jonathan and his team to lead this nation aright.

I've had mild tinnitus for

I've had mild tinnitus for years but lately it's been getting worse. I talked to my physician (gp) about it and he shrugged and mentioned there's absolutely nothing to accomplish about it. Nevertheless I see advertisements and such about it now and after that. Is it all nonsense or are there truly thing that can help?.

Jonathan has failed Nigeria

Jonathan is the worst President Nigeria has ever had. Nigeria has gone one steg forward, ten steps backward during his time. Under his rulership, Nigerians are more pauverised and we now have a failed Nation. What a pity! All we need now urgently is convocation of a national conference(SNC).

The sick patient and the fraudster physician.

Dr. Omolade Adunbi you are just wright

You all we aware that he is a

You all we aware that he is a product of corrupion process and you went ahead to vote for him.



good luck

Take de attitude of a student who learn to big 2 ask qustion never learn too much to learn something new a big head with an empty brian is a big load too head we can get over being poor but it take time to get over being in guroant Nigeria is geat nation bout our leader are takeing advage of de citizen one thing I know is our omage liveth he is the allpha and omega He knows the best he alwayz do he best pls my follow citizen it tuches me what it happening but what can I not but God dey one thing I know one day we rich to our destination


I am ashamed of some of the commentaries on Dr. Omolade Adunbi's candid analysis of the true state of "Nigeria." It is clear that many are not educated and thus lack the ability to understand what is going in what we now call "Nigeria." They are a product of mis-education. This inability to discern issues, continues to be our problem in that portion of land called Nigeria. We are not a country and until we get our act together, all countries of the world will continue to hold us in contempt and disdain. If you live there and think all is well, ask yourself when you saw a new public school building or a new public hospital being built. If you send your children to private schools and think all is well, you are part of a system that lies to itself everyday.


Other Presidents of Nigeria before President Johnathan both Military and Civil had back bone because all Perm Secetaries, Accountants, Under Secetaries and CBN Governors were Hause, Yorubas, and some both over Ibos like former CBN Governor of OBJ, Oyiuke who sold Federal properites and Hotels to OBJ. Even shit which wife of Johnathan went to shit are reported by Aids of Aso Rock.

Northern takeover

People like are still wallowing in d waters ethnic gengotism. D prof had made it abundantly clear that unless we think like Nigerians we will continue to suffer from d hands of these cabals. They abound in all d six Geopolitical zones. So my friend be wise!

Yeye Doctor

Pot dey call kettle, if u get the opportunity u nor go steal? Afterall nor be una dey use CLO tey steal, where all money when dem dey donate den? Theif people, abdul oroh, ayo obe, olise, mahmud and co....

You are right

We can't accuse the president to be responsible for all the miss happenings in this country.

Who are those who first corrupt the system.

I advocate the fact that in this country, there are people who come together and form a cabal to decide what happens in this country and the strongly believe that nothing good can come in to this country without passing through them and the believe that a percentage of any amount of money coming into this county must be paid into their account. Nigeria won't go far not until this cabal is broken.

President Jonathan Is A Product Of A Very Corrupt Process

‘Love thy neighbour as thyself’, God Love us so much that He gave his only son to die for our sins, President Jonathan is human like you and me and has his drawbacks. I don’t know and never met him. Unless we do it in God’s way, we will always go wrong. In God I trust, for I know I will get to the final destination safe, sound and happy. Always put your trust and hope in God, for you will always be happy, ‘Worship God with all your hearts, mind and soul and accept that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins’. ‘Let him or her without sin throw the first stone’.

Good, prof but............

I agree with your intelectual foresight on one of the problem of nigeria and the solution but totally disagree with you on the boko haram issue.

Jonathan stop dancing on your wife's tone.

Jonathan Goodluck, we thought he is and will be a different human but he is seen here in US as the worst leader that is controlled by woman his so called Patience,what a nation is this? Nigeria and its citizen has been a subject of play between GoodLuck and his family expecially is shameless wife Patient.
Once again let him and his family not allow what happened in Libya and to Gaddafi family visit him and his family.


I think Dr Lade Adunbi only shared his own knowledge of the Nigerian State but did not give a satisfactory analysis of the right approach to solving the Nigeria's problem.I strongly disregard his view that Nigeria is not a Nation yet, from the fact that people respect their respective ethnic and tribal group than Nigeria as a nation.This is so not because Nigeria is not a nation but because the leadership over the years have failed the,rather for one to prioritise national interest,you would rather prioritise ethnic,tribal and religious interest because every day that step is enshrined in your system based on the forms you fill in the society,asking you about your tribe,state,lg and religion. Mere saying Nigeria is not a Nation outside Nigeria is questionable.

Fools lead by idiots

Nigerians are really fools lead by idiots and I would like to add, morons lead by crafty and the wicked. Despite the Doctors genuine approach to move our minds from the regional, tribal, religious thinking to global, all embracing thinking line to nib the problem and locate our common enermy, we continue in our depaved biased and stuborn unprogressive thinking. A system that is highly profittable and useful to the described 1%. I am greatly dissapointed that the men/women who comment here are intellectuals. I can imagine why we have and may never make progress in this country.

Prof, thanks for the enlightened write up. please forgive and continue to support with the expositions.

Educating Nigeria youths

Iwillstart by calling on our youth especially those in the south to understand that dividing the country is not the solution,because thesame Elites in power will turn down to rule you(Refer To theory of Elite by Paretor)The prof is right he is not a northern,but u shuld understand the Governt know about Boko Haram and it causes that iS way Mr president always said it,he has never denies that causes mention by pro,come to think of these,Who was billing the Late sec leder,or those the sss do not longerhave the record,these are things we should ask for when authority said they are faceless,Think aboutit let make this country a better place to be,Thank You

The Revolution Is Here

There is something going on already; people are just not aware of it yet - a revolution of thought, which is what we really need, to deliver us. The recent election in Edo State is a pointer. GEJ's coming has helped to magnify our faults before our eyes which have led us thus far. We now know that tribalism, sectarianism, ethnicity, corruption, etc ultimately will not serve the common man. So despite the huge money PDP deployed in Edo July 14 election (and the tribalistic campaigning by PDP too), the people were smart enough this time to know what to do. Come 2015, it wouldn't be so easy for PDP to the win the presidency except the opposition really messes up.

The Topic

Next time when Nigerians see a would be public office holder campaining of being shoeless in the past, they should think twice. This is not only a sign of curruption but of a timid and visionless leader. Jonathief should be made to rewrite/resit his doctorate papers. For me that shoeless man cannot pass the First School Leaving Certificate exams without tip-toeing shoelesly to girraf frowm other inteligent pupils¡

Same here! The man's

Same here! The man's assessment is not worthy of a school debating society's jousting. I think that his mussing on this matter is coloured by the thinking in some American elite circles. They see our problem from a very different perspective which simply does not hold water when viewed objectively. Much as we care about the Americans, they are wide off the mark on this count

The point that GEJ inherited

The point that GEJ inherited the problem does not matter because every leader is duty bound to try to solve his society problems, as much as possible. After all, which leader, any where in the world does not inherit one kind of problem or the other from his predecessor? Why is nigerians different? So countrymen lets do away with sentiments and challenge our leaders to live up to their constitutional responsibility of providing at least the basic minimum leadership and accountability to us, irrespective of tribal, religious inclination. Most of us belong to the 99% Dr Adunbi mentioned, so we should not continue to be as foolish as the 1% group have made us to be.

Why do my compatriots from

Why do my compatriots from the south of the Niger dont want to face reality and truth, unless what they want to hear? Agreed there are problems with the structure of nigeria, but these are minor issues that have always been there all along.So if someone comes and say our country has degenerated into an unprecedented low, which even foreigners know and acknowledge,why should people always attempt to change the focus to tribal, religious and regional issue? IS this not a deliberate attempt to divert the important topic which can lead to solutions to our problem? Nigeria is in a desperate and difficult conditions, mostly due to poor or total leadership failure, of which whether we like it or not is accentuated by the clueless person we have as president.

bad leaders killing our country

D most corrupted govt ever in d history of nig ,
May ALLAH bring savior !

@onyeze Anambra

When Nigerian Islamist Umar Farouk boarded Northern Airline Flight253 with hidden plastic explosives in his underwear was it poverty that made him do it? I thought his father was a wealthy banker? When OBJ allowed sharia law to be established in most Northern states was it GEJ fault?If GEJ did not become president are you saying we will not have Boko Haram violence? Is poverty the reason why Boko Haram want to islamize Nigeria? Does poverty make you strap on a bomb so you can kill your fellow citizen? If that is the case how come southerners are not strapping on bombs? My point is we cannot always blame poverty for everything in Nigeria. I know on this forum GEJ is always the scapegoat. I want to stae here that I am nota supporter of GEJ. On issues on this Forum I will always use common sense.

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