As posited by “Robert Green” the first law of power is “never to outshine or outdistance your masters”, especially your benefactor, if you are to attain not only the highest form of power but also to maximize all opportunity. Be cautious of your doings, especially when trying to impress or delight your master, Give him more superior loyalty, and appear to be dependent on his brilliancy, even if you know more than he does.


In an attempt to provide an empirical analysis, cum effort to ensure a simplistic interpretation of the Law in Nigeria`s context, the political life, the ups and down of Nigeria former President Goodluck Jonathan is the case study.

Ex –President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a glossy, gentle looking man born in 1957 climb through political ladder of success. He became the deputy governor of Bayelsa state on May 29, 1999. He became the governor of Bayelsa state in 2008 after the impeachment of his boss “Dieprieye Alamieshiagha”. He Keep climbing the ladder as he arose to be the Vice president Of the federal republic in 2007, against all odds he became the Acting president of the republic after the death of his boss President Musa Yar` Adua in febuaruary 2010. One would have thought that is the highest he can climb, but he climbed to the top of political ladder, attaining the highest form of political power in the country. Goodluck Jonathan became the 4th President of the federal republic of Nigeria on May 29, 2011. Disappointingly He couldn’t climb further, as he lost out his seat of power to a former General in the Nigeria army “President Muhammad Buhari” in 2015 presidential election.


A study of the political history of “Goodluck Jonathan “expatiated and exemplified the the first law of power as posited by “Robert Green”. Goodluck Jonathan arose politically to attain the highest form of power through his uncommon characteristics- “Superior loyalism”, his is simplistic nature, perseverance, and “playing along” attitude all accounted  for his political success.

It could be recalled that upon the impeachment of the then Bayelsa state governor “Diprieye Alamesiagha”, Goodluck Jonathan became the governor of the state , taking over the control of the state power. However, in spite of the enormous power bestowed on him, Goodluck Jonathan has always been loyal to his benefactor and never attempt to outshine or outdistance his master throughout his master hurdles and till date. In fact, he went further to bestow on his Master a state Pardon to pay and bring back him to Nigeria’s Political milieu. Although morally it might be wrong for him to do such, but politically it is right and pass mark for “Goodluck Jonathan”.

Another dimension to drive my point home, is the exceptional  Political pretence perpetuated by Goodluck jonathan prior to his resumption as the “Acting President” of the federal republic after the death of his boss “President Umaru Musa Yar`Adua”. Against all catabolizm against him and the Northern agitation to override the constitution, attempting to create constitutional crisis, Goodluck Jonathan during those days of Upheavals never outburst or attempt to outshine these power brokers even with the fact he control the state power. He acted wisely , maintained a low profile, acted less and lobby more, summing up political sympathy across borders , transmogrifying pity and exploiting the people’s emotions as they come to the foray to fight the battle for him and made a triumph over enemy,. By logical extention he expands his political umpire.

I believe that this exceptional qualifications of Jonathan Personality draws and attracted “Chief Olusgen Obasanjo” when chose him above all other contenders in 2007 to be the vice president  and the outstanding support he gave him in 2011 to be the president of the federal republic.


With the admirable attribute, no one would believe that today Goodluck Jonathan will be outshined and lost out to 72 years old former military head of state “General Muhammod Buhari”.

The question is what went wrong and what lesson is visible?

Goodluck Jonathan upon his assumption as the president of the federal republic and the commander in chief of the armed forces, taking over the affair of the state coupled with the enormous power bestowed on him as the number 1 citizen, became blindfolded against “Political Arithmetic” , allowing selfish unscrupulous individual and interest to override his reason. Two major political blunder in my own opinion accounted for his political defeat.

First, Goodluck Jonathan attempt to outdistance and outshine his master “Chief Olusegun Obasanjo” not in term of democratic dividend but political hierarchical achievement accounted for his defeat. It is not erroneous to posit that things fall apart, immediately President Goodluck Jonathan try to employ political deceit in honoring his one term agreement, making fool of his master, employing political gimmicks that are not feasible and his effort to neutralize the political power of his master “Olusegun Obasanjo” by placing above him petit power broker who can only control a large part of a Local government, not to say Nigeria as a whole. Attempt to outsmart, outshine and outdistance his master pave way for his political trauma.

Second, President Goodluck Jonathan political power faded immediately he attempt to outshine his masters, in this case the “citizens”. Jonathan lost it completely immediately he attempt to use political deceit as his machinery of governance with different unpopular policy, ineptitude in the course of managing the country and the lost of focus that characterized his government,He moved from a citizen centric government to a more interest-centric government and the tantamount of this was his political collapse.”

“Niccollo de Bernardo Machiavelli” posited in his book “The Prince” that what ever means exploited in the course of power is justifiable but the “Raison de tat” is not negotiable. This wasn’t the case of a Jonathan who climbed the ladder of political success on a platter of gold. He became overwhelmed with power and forgot the reason why he was elected, he forgot that the people sympathy was exploited for him, he never sees them as a benefactor, he fail to realize that the voice of the people is the voice of GOD and at the end, he gave up with their political sympathy leading to his rejection. Aside from the postulation by Bernado, Democracy itself is built on people acceptability and a government that lack their support as invariable gave up the ghost.


Avoid outshining the master. All superiority is odious. Never exploit deceit in the course of your relationship, don’t attempt to be too impressive or attempt to be to crafty, always put at the back of your mind that you can outsmart your benefactors in this case the “Citizens”. Aside, always remember that life is full of jealousy and hypocrisy

The lesson from this is not only suited for politicians, it encompasses all human endeavour, in the family, Institutions, work place and even Job Search. Yea job search because recent event has proven that enemy of progress start immediately from the day you are interviewed, if you are too outspoken and too intelligent, sometime it work against you. Give room for a degree of dependency on your master but that does not mean you shouldn’t be perfect.

Thanks Immensely

NOTE: This write-up is subject to constructive criticism and constructive praise. And if there is any question, you can always ask by subscribing to my blog. Adekunledamilola.wordpress.com follow @deepolity on twitter and invite friends to like our facebook page facebook.com/adekunlesoba


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