Nigeria: Right of Reply – Jonathan Deserves Commendation
By Doyin Okupe
Without doubt or fear of equivocation, I strongly believe that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan deserves commendation for the successes he has achieved in the transformation agenda since he was elected on May 20, 2011.
Nigeria has had numerous leaders and various regimes, yet history will definitely record this period we are going through as one the most progressive and one within which much has been accomplished within such a short time without the usual cacophony which had accompanied lesser achievements in the past.
The persistent inadequacy in the availability of electricity had been a persistent menace that has disturbed and perplexed our citizenry for so long. Various governments have made several unfruitful attempts to solve this problem but with no apparent success.
Yet President Goodluck Jonathanon that fateful democracy day of May 29, 2011 slightly over a year ago, on an auspicious day, like a little David, promised that he would fall this Goliath that had bedeviled our nation for so long.
President Goodluck Jonathan after the seemingly embarrassing reception he received both from Nigerians and externally concerning the integrity of the election that heralded the victory of his joint ticket with the late President Yar’Adua, promised solemnly that he would remove the scourge of electoral shame that tended to undermine the integrity of our elections making successive Governments to lack the legitimacy that is required for effective leadership and governance. He promised the Nigerian people that he would not only ensure sound electoral reform but that the vote of every Nigerian would count, whether rich or poor, man, woman or youth.
In this hazardous undertaking which cynics hardly believed in,President Jonathan delivered on his promise of free and fair general and Presidential elections and that was what Nigerians had in 2011.This feat he has repeated in 2 or more states since then, gradually laying the solid foundation for our democracy.It is clear to all, including the leadership and members of his own party ,the PDP, that the “new kid on the block ” will not buckleunder any pressure to faithfully keep to his avowed promise of preserving the sanctity of the votes of Nigerians at any elections.
The baseof our economy is being diversified from its monolithic dependency status to include potentially huge revenues from agricultural reforms. Rail transportation is being revived nationwide and our hitherto dilapidated infrastructure is gradually being attended to nationwide. The East -West road is in full throttle, the Benin-Shagamu road has received an injection of massive funds and the all, important Lagos -Ibadan expressway, a pioneer PPP project is being revisited and the first phase of repair and reconstruction is due to begin in earnest .
The economy has also remained healthy with a commendable growth rate of 6.9%.The foreign reserves has hit the $40bn and is on an upward trajectory to $50bn , and for the first time ever a sovereign wealth fund has been established for Nigeria with its attendant effect of reinforcing the confidence in our financials by our trading partners and foreign investors.
Our people have complained that while they can concede the reality of macroeconomic improvements the lives of the ordinary Nigerian is yet to get any better. The truth is that this government as a responsible administration has employed the appropriate strategy to alleviate the suffering of the masses. The government has spent time and effort to design and execute the right fiscal reforms and policies which will form the framework that will deliver food on the tables of our citizens. The time for planting and nurturing is almost over and the harvest is definitely round the corner.
Unfortunately the government and the people of this country were shell-shocked by the havoc, wreckage and wanton destruction of life and property by the Boko Haram Insurgency. This administration though obviously unprepared for this unprecedented level of internal explosion, unrelenting violence and heightened insecurity, has risen with admirable aptitude and dexterity in the control and containment of this insurgency. It is without doubt that the Boko Haram threat which started as a localized sect avenging the unjustified killing of their leaders, soon became overtaken by a dastardly political group and also regrettably by another criminal group.
But never in the global history of Insurgency, from the Philippine insurgency to the Tamil rebels of Sri Lanka, to the Malaysian insurgency, the IRA, to the Maghreb insurgency in North Africa has so much progress been made so rapidly by a nation at Insurgency containment within a period of just one year.
It is evident that our security forces are equal to the task as they appear to have been able to limit and curtail the scope of the insurgency through their eagle eyed intelligence and the deployment of newly acquired cutting edge technology in a wholly modern and integrated security infrastructure.
The lull in the activities of Boko Haram in very recent times is not just a fluke. it is a product of patriotic commitment, dedication, courage and hard work often accompanied by the loss of lives of our security personnel.
All these have been achieved through the effective and committed leadership of our unassuming, but resilient President Goodluck Jonathan.
Ordinarily the Presidency of Nigeria ought to command respect from every loyal and patriotic citizen and certainly from the little said above and the even more left unsaid President Jonathan deserves respect and commendation and not insults and abuse.
This is why we are shocked when our revered and respected Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka describes the president as someone who has lost touch with reality or someone troubled by his conscience. None of these two descriptive terminologies can be used to describe a young man, who rather than use the enormity of the power of his office brutally deploys it to constructively transform the nation and make life better for its citizenry.
His remarks about the January fuel subsidy demonstrators are not farfetched. After all who were the true leaders and organizers of the protests but his erstwhile contestants and competitors who cannot believe that they lost the election to a nationally preferred and politically accepted Personality.
Finally and very recently the debate on the usefulness or otherwise of the 5000 note may have come and gone, but the real statesman is the president who while believing in the project which is within his lawful powers to endorse, approved it. But because of the orchestrated and voluble opposition took sides with the Nigerian people and asked the CBN to have yet another look at the policy .This clearly shows he is a listening president and is fully in touch with his people.
It is about time Nigerians take another good look at President Good luck Jonathan.
Okupe, senior special assistant to the president on public affairs presidency, Abuja