The cow , they say does not know the value of her tail till she has lost it. Frankly, I can not , for the life of me, find the words to describe the overwhelming sense of satisfaction and joy I heartily felt when President Jonathan trounced his opponent Muhammadu Buhari in the 2011 presidential election. With joy in my heart I stood alongside other Nigerians back in the Scandinavians as the news of his victory filtered in to celebrate Nigeria’s first PhD as President to lead the most populous black nation on earth in the coming years.
As a young black man, I felt a true sense of patriotism as I witnessed our country rally together to show, finally, that we are more concerned about who is the most qualified man for the job, regardless of tribe or religion. A change of which Nigeria urgently stand in need came with a young man , a PhD at the helm , I knew things would never be the same again and this was eventually recorded in his basket of achievements in spite of the ongoing agonizing distraction orchestrated by certain high-ups who have diabolically chosen to make Nigeria ungovernable if they lose the last presidential election. As luck would have it , it did really happen and still happening to this day calling to mind the insurgency that is ravaging the embattled north eastern province. But like an old soldier who , they say , never dies we see him still marching on in his resolute bid to deliver on his political promises to the citizenry.
Following the colossal failure of his predecessors and its attendant economic hardship, many Nigerian including my humble self after an agonizing and fruitless job hunt left Nigeria in search of the proverbial greener pastures abroad from where we have been watching behind the scenes. A lot , you will all agree with me has happened and as a bigoted critic of the ruling People’s Democratic party then, calling to mind Lucky’s Igbinedion abysmal failure in Edo State I longed for a change but there was no credible opposition until the change like such I desired eventually came from within following Dr. Ebelle Goodluck Jonathan’s victory at the polls and inauguration.
Be that as it may, my admiration for this man has never in any way gotten the better of me as to becloud my sense of reasoning. I recognize that President Jonathan has also made more than one controversial decision and rocked the boat a time or two. Sure, he has committed his share of blunders and tripped over his own words from time to time. Homer, it is said , sometimes nods hence there is no president under the sun who has not erred at some point during his administration. While I acknowledge he has made a number of mistakes in recent years, I stand firm in my conviction that he remains one of the greatest presidents we have ever had in Nigeria. I am supremely confident that history will prove this, and with time, he will be remembered in the annals of history as a revered revolutionary like the Indian Mahatma Gandhi.
President Jonathan’s posses a rare gift of humility and tolerance, his continued demonstration of equality, integrity respect for the rule of law is awesome unlike his predecessors under which Nigerians moaned and groaned. He has held tenaciously to civil rights and spoken consistently on behalf of the underdog, the poor and the common wage earners all in a bid to better the lots of Nigerians. He started rebuilding our economy by strenghtening the middle class and this has yielded amazing results calling to mind our new status like I said before as the biggest economy on the continent.
Here is a man who is renowned for his friendly demeanour and reassuring manner. In almost six years under perhaps the most intense public scrutiny ever placed upon a Nigerian leader , he has never lost sight of the fact that he bleeds red, just like everyone else. I often stand in awe of his humility , relaxed deportment in the face of every agonizing insult and abuse often hurled at him by all, even though he is the most powerful man in Nigeria, he is, at heart, just a man which make him real and relatable. Conversely, “Nigerians are useless. Nigerians are senseless. Nigerians are indicipline ” , his strong opponent did expressly tell Nigerians after overthrowing a democratically elected civilian government in 1983. To what do we attribute this ? Arrogance and intolerance in block letters!!!
As a PhD , he has been an advocate for education making it a top priority of his administration. Before he got involved there was no single al-majirin school in the north but today even the prayers of these socially and economically deprived children will see him through to lead the nation in the coming years. President Jonathan has built no fewer than 127 model schools to cater for these children’s educational needs which has never been done by any of his predecessors. Education he has often said is what brings about the strenght of a nation and this he has fought over the years with dogged determination to give Nigerians by ensuring every state in the country has at least a federal institution or university. In this connection, every state today now has a federal university , nine in the north and three in the south and this paves the way for Nigeria to have the highest proportion of university graduates on the continent and peharps in the world in the near future.
What really are President Jonathan’s bigited critics and opponents up to? This is quite a complex and involved question with a number of points to be addressed. What else do they want to give us that has not been provided under the leadership of President Jonathan? I know they would readily say security of lives and property.
Worried by the spate of insecuirty of lives and property in the country, the Federal Government on July 2 , 2011 inaugurated a Presidential Committee on security challenges in North-East with Ambassador Othman GanjiGaltimari as chairman being the biggest security nightmare staring us ominously in the face since the historic amalgamation of 1914. Never in our political history as a nation has Nigeria had it so bad following the insurgency and ubiquitous bomb blasts and terrorists activities that put the lives of every Nigerian on the line by a tribe of armed terrorist gang Boko Haram. Their dastardly acts date back to 2009. We have it on good authority that there was a long-standing tension between the sect’s members and Nigerian security forces; what actually led to this tension , reports say , is that the sect lost one of its members and while on the way to the graveyard to inter the departed comrade ran into a detachment of policemen who demanded that they comply with a road traffic law by wearing crash helmets. Their refusal led to a confrontation where many of the sect members were shot and wounded by police. So did the raging insurgency and terrorists activities hunting Nigeria today begin by the armed Islamic Fundamentalist group – the Boko Haram – which hangs over our heads like the ancient sword of Damocles.
The Federal Government under President Jonathan could have as well ordered the military to rid the region of these vermin at the time no matter whose ox is gored just as his predecessor President Olusegun Obasanjo did at Odi but considering the fact that they are Nigerians he proposed amnesty to the sect which they declined and continued their reign of terror with undiminished intensity. This is part of the underhand plans to wrestle power from him by making him look incapable of containing the crisis. That this problem has persisted to this day could also be blamed on saborteurs within the military. A serving General or a platoon commander in the region we were told has been arrested and standing trial for collaborating with the sect’s members to unleash terror on Nigerians and soldiers alike ; and this has resulted in heavy causualties on the part of the soldiers. Would this be blamed on President Jonathan? Frankly, if you ask me I will say NO again in block letters. The USA with its sophistcated military prowess has not been able to defeat terror overnight and still fights it to this day since 9/11and even had to extend the campaign beyond her territorial borders with regiments in Iraq and Afghanistan. Terrorism is a global problem which could never be contain overnight.
For starters, the issue of corruption is not applicable to Nigeria alone. It is one that has assumed global proportions. Corruption in Nigeria did not start with President Jonathan’s administration. It is an issue that resonates with peoples all over the world and therefore has become a hot-button issue for politicians who seize upon any issue, real or imagined in order to score political points. General Muhammadu Buhari a major opponent in the mainstream opposition – the All Progressives Congress and also a strong contender for Nigeria’s plum job could not contain corruption many a time in the government departments and parastals under him. We had verifiable facts about his embarassing disagreement with his late trusted lieutenant – Gen Tunde Idiagbon . So pervasive has corruption been globally that there is no country in the world that has, in one way or the other, been spared the ‘corruption’ virus.
There is no country no matter how highly advanced is free from the corruption scourge. In many countries across the world serving and former government officials have been accused of variety of offences which border on none other than corruption and this ranges from fraudulent management of government institutions , money laundering and others. In some advanced nations like the USA cases of corporate fraud have now become commonplace. In Transparency International Corruption Perception Index Nigeria under President Jonathan has not been rated as the most corrupt nation on mother earth but that is not to say that I am or have lost sight of the corruption in Nigeria today. Nigeria and PTF under Buhari recorded case of massive fraud. Late Fela was jailed by the above-named when he sang to expose the ills of that regime. Have we forgotten this? What about the sudden disappearance of $2.8 bn from Nigeria’s NNPC Midland Bank account in London under Buhari? We have these facts and records! PTF was a colossal failure in the southern part of the country and several billions of naira could not be accounted for by Muhammadu Buhari but these are often swept under the carpet by his apologists. Is there anyone in the mainstream opposition who has not practically indulged in corrupt practices? Lagos State debt profile the opposition stronghold , for instance , has continued to mount into whooping billions of dollars with little or nothing to show for it in the area of infrastructural renewal or development. Statistics obtained from the website of the Debt Management Office in Abuja showed that Lagos owes a whooping $3.01 eternal debt and this you will agree with me is a lot of money. Part of Riyadh metro , for instance , cost than $1.9 billion dollars to build by Samsung C&T of South Korea. The Lagos light-rail project particularly the first two lines of the urban rail project we are told is to cost Lagos tax-payers $1.4bn!
However recent study by Transparency International has shown that Nigeria is the second most improved country in Africa in fighting corruption. Has there been any case of President Jonathan’s outright refusal to enforce anti-corruption legislation on its books and back anti-corruption agencies? Have the agencies been working? Has the President interfered in their work and stop the anti-graft agency from doing their duty? Has the president ever actively shielded any corrupt official from prosecution? Is their any glaring proof in this regard? Bigoted critics answer me!
He has also been chided for this by his loud-mouthed critics that he bypasses every action opportunity but whenever he decides to do so he is accused of being dictatorial, high-handed and despotic. We are a very complex people. The Lagos State House Speaker who was accused of stealing billions of Naira was acquitted by Lagos State High Court in spite of the glaring evidence against him. That is a state whose governor often criticises the president for not doing enough to fight corruption!
When you are called upon to lead you do not metamorphose into a hydra-headed monster as some brutes erroneously do. Dele Giwa was brutally murdered in 1986 by the powers-that-be, Kudirat Abiola was killed by people believed to be Abacha security agents. Her husband , the uncrowned winner of the 1993 presidential election died under mysterious circumstances while in detention among many others. Some of the country’s credible leaders were unduly incarcerated in 1983 under false charges and some never came out alive and those who eventually did remained sickly for the rest of their lives until they eventually gave up the ghost, Prof. Ambrose Alli and Pa Adekunle Ajasin’s annihilation are cases in point. These men went down in health as a result of prolonged incarceration for no offence committed while some of their northern counterparts enjoyed robust health under house arrest and soon regained freedom even with tangible evidence of their ill-gotten gains!
Must President Jonathan transform himself into a brute before we admit the fact he is leading the country in the right direction? Objectively speaking , he has been doing his best to better the lots of Nigerians if you ask me. Today our trains are working ferrying as many as 5 million passengers across the country annually. The railways died in 1983 under Gen. Buhari and nothing was done by his predecessors to resuscitate it. In the area of infrastructural development, roads have been rehabilitated across the country and it is still ongoing. Our airports have been remodelled and certified safe by the US when we retained Federal Aviation Administration Category One and Two Safety Status. Nigeria , a country which used to be suffused by guinea worm has been certified guinea worm free under President Jonathan. He detected 50,000 ghost workers in the federal civil service whose annual salary stood at N139bn but today all is now history. Has this not been there before he got involved? Why was this massive fraud not detected by his predecessors who again aspire to be Nigeria’s most powerful men? Middle men have been eliminated in the sale and distribution of fertilizers to farmers and over six million farmers we gathered now acquire the product direct from the Federal Government thus paving the way for a thriving aggro-based economy.
Ay, here is a Jonathan! Whence comes such another?
Iyoha John Darlington , aka Lington Donovan writes from Turin, Italy.
Email: [email protected]