By Kassim Afegbua, Vanguard
President Goodluck Jonathan’s media chat on Sunday, November 18, 2012, has come and gone. Just like his previous media outings, this one ended up with too many loose ends and hopelessness. No direction, no vision that could be discerned from his presentation of facts and the policy focus of his administration.
A commentator captured the whole essence more aptly, when he declared that President Jonathan was talking like someone who is running for office and not someone who is running an office.
According to the commentator, the President’s usage of terms suggests that he has not settled down to the business of governance two and a half years in office. He is still speaking the language of “I will”, instead of saying “we are” doing A, B, C and D.
It is a matter of fact that this government lacks the moral courage to confront issues of security, corruption and infrastructural development.
We do not have to pretend about it. It is on the lips of people in beer parlour, market stalls, public gatherings, offices, motor parks and school environment, that this government is not performing. Our roads are bad across the country.
Contractors are being owed huge debts and manufacturers have reached their dead end because the power sector is nothing to write home about.
What we hear are stories about wavers and import incentives to encourage importers to plumage our economy by their dubious imports. The government seems to be at crossroads about how to navigate itself away from the tidal turbulence of developmental challenges.
Debts are accumulating by the day in a manner that rubbishes the earlier explanation by Okonjo-Iweala on the paid up loans during the Obasanjo regime. Curiously, the woman who saw to the so-called debt relief during Obasanjo regime remains the architect of a new debt regime that is mortgaging the future of Nigeria.
If the president’s media chat was drab and uninspiring, his reasoning on issues and the comparism he draws to substantiate his points appears misleading. His response to the question of how much the villa guzzles for feeding and entertaining guests is to me most unpresidential.
We need to move away from drawing petty references about issues that impact on the collective will of the people. We need to chart a course of action that explains the road to tread and what government is doing to bail the country out from its present morass.
All the fossilised thoughts about a second term and the response of the president are to me, a matter of selfish interest.
Why will people be asking question about second term when we all are agreed on the barefaced fact that this leadership is not working and performing. Is it difficult for us to tell the president that thus far, he has performed abysmally poor and he needs to wake up else the country crumbles on his feet.
Such question of second term simply glorifies the president. How do you ask a man who is not performing whether he intends to contest 2015?
Are we saying we are happy that the country is drifting and wants the drift to continue by asking the President to continue through re-election? We should be bold to tell a president who is not performing to simply quit when the time comes rather than dragging us on the inelegant route of perfidy that has swallowed this administration.
All the jumble and mumble of the media chat simply explains that the President does not have answers to the developmental challenges confronting us. Pretending about our problem is digging graves for mass burial. Nobody will complain if the Villa decides to put a stop to this media chat ritual. It simply does not impress. Period.
Time to say goodbye for now
I am sure my readers have heard the news of my appointment as Special Adviser Media and Public Affairs to my State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, Mni, CON. I had contended not going back to Edo State for any official assignment after my first intervention, but I finally bowed to the wishes of my numerous friends who prevailed on me to accept the appointment.
I wish to thank the Comrade Governor for the opportunity given to me to serve the good and wonderful people of Edo State. The fact that the Comrade Governor is able to tolerate opposition viewpoint and criticism given my earlier stance against him, speaks volume about his leadership orientation.
In spite of my critical stance against the Comrade Governor on the oil subsidy discourse earlier in the year, we have both mended fences which culminated in my participation in the campaigns for the July 14, election.
I wish to state here that I am indeed very grateful for the confidence reposed in me to have offered me this job despite my initial rejection to serve in his cabinet. I will therefore put in my best in the discharge of my duties as I do hope that my numerous readers and critics would bear with me for signing off my column until when governmental duty terminates.
I wish to thank my one and only boss, the consummate Consultant-in-Chief, General IBB for giving me the nod to proceed on this journey of service to my people.
I am eternally grateful to him and members of his family for the rare understanding they have shown in taking my final decision to join the Oshiomhole administration in Edo State.
May Allah grant IBB good health, long life and prosperity as he marches through life’s seemingly unassailable forest. Oshiomhole’s second term of office presents to me a huge challenge both in terms of service delivery and meeting up with the yearnings of the good people of Edo State.
I do know from what I have seen, that the Comrade Governor will do that which is humanly possible to make a greater impact for the good of all and to the glory of God. I am proud that I will be counted among the people when the lofty story of Edo State development is put down in signs and symbols.
And to my friend and brother, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Patrick Obahiagbon and the essential Prof Julius Ihonvbere, the Secretary to the State Government, I salute them all. God bless all my readers and critics until I come your way again.