Nwakaya: Jonathan, 2015 presidency and armchair critics
IN the democratic history of Nigeria, no president has ever been criticised like President Jonathan. The armchair and puerile criticism against Jonathan’s government is not because of his dismal performance, but because of tribe and circumstance that brought him to the office. Not many Nigerians especially those who have always believed that political power at centre is their birthright envisaged the scenario that brought Jonathan to office as a child of circumstance. They are also shocked and envious of numerous achievements, having felt initially that he will fail in office. So from the inception of his administration, it is obvious that traps were set for him in order to ensure his failure. The conspiracy was vicious, virile and well hatched. Some agents entrenched in the system are handy to be used by these forces of darkness.
It was all these things that Jonathan saw on assumption of office that he decided to be very cautious and meticulous in running the affairs of the country to avoid pitfalls. Sincerely, the enormity of the challenges confronting the country at the time of Jonathan’s emergence were enough to discourage any leader, but Jonathan has remained undaunted in the face of unwarranted criticisms and provocation. Not that he cannot bare his fangs like his predecessors, but because he never believe in oppression or suppression of the people.
Unfortunately, many of Jonathan’s sponsored critics misunderstood his approach to governance as weakness and clueless. That is a misconception and dummy they have and are still trying to sell to the people of Nigeria ahead of the forthcoming election. Those behind these severe criticisms against Jonathan’s government are few and have been responsible for the devils and setbacks facing the country since Independence. Some of them have had opportunity to be in Jonathan’s position, but failed woefully. So on what moral ground are they criticizing or sponsoring verbal attacks against Jonathan’s government when it is obvious that Jonathan has outperformed his predecessors.
Now what were Jonathan’s offences against the cabal that they have remained unrelenting in attacking his government policies and programme? Is it because it is no longer business as usual in the corridors of power? Is it why they are fighting his government from all fronts? Jonathan’s government, against all odds, has privatized the monster called PHCN and today, there is clear signal that there is light at the end of the tunnel as concerns steady power supply in the country. It just requires patience on the part of Nigerians to enjoy the dividend of Jonathan’s power sector revolution. The hiccups being witnessed in the sector now is due to the irreparable damage done to the sector by successive governments.
It would be recalled that before Jonathan’s administration, one of the country’s past presidents had spent N16 billion on the power project without any tangible result to justify the expenses. The same former president is the one leading the political onslaught against Jonathan’s re-election bid today for personal reason known to him and his allies.
Placing Jonathan’s six years performance side by side with that of the eight years of the former president from the Southwest, it is obvious to Nigerians that Jonathan is not only a star, but also super star in all ramifications. Apart from transforming the Nigerian airports, which were in a terrible situation when he assumed office, the agriculture sector has witnessed serious mechanization. Education sector is not left out by President Jonathan’s administration as many Alimajiri schools and universities have been established.
The Boko Haram insurgency, which was at minimal level when President Jonathan took office, assumed dangerous dimension forthwith. From Abuja to Minna, the sect members were on rampage; determined to tear the country apart, but it took massive support of Jonathan’s government and the courage of the Nigerian Army to push them to the fringe communities of three Northeast states that are sharing borders with some Moslem countries. If not because of the timely and superior tactics of the Nigerian Army, the sect and their sponsors were determined to run the present government aground for reason many assumed is political. One indisputable fact which Jonathan’s critics cannot even ignore is the fact that in the face of the daunting security challenge which is a global problem, Jonathan’s government has done well in combating it. It is a common knowledge that terrorism war all over the world is not child’s war because of its complexities and intricacies that is most times insurmountable for world powers.
Clearly since the country’s Independence, no government has ever witnessed the kind of security challenge Jonathan’s government has been battling with in the last six years. The government’s expenses on the security personnel and armoury have been tremendous and unprecedented because nobody envisaged the escalation of the insurgency. But typical of them, Jonathan’s rabid critics have not seen anything good in his government’s effort in this direction.
Leveraging on the conducive atmosphere and freedom of speech mantra provided and encouraged by Jonathan’s government in the spirit of true democracy, the sponsored critics have mounted podium, took over social media, television/ radio stations, pages of newspaper to call the president all sorts of name just to ridicule him and denigrate him as a failure. The act, which is sometimes libellous and seditious, has continued unhindered and neither Jonathan nor his aides have harassed or taken anybody to court. The same characters will turn around to say that Jonathan has not performed. Nigerians know what and how the situation was during the successive governments before now.
Objectively assessing criticisms against President Jonathan’s government so far and those behind it, it is lucid to majority of Nigerians that the agenda was to blackmail Jonathan out of office in the forthcoming elections by labelling his government a failure. This was a grand plot being orchestrated by the cabal that had held the country down for years and will want the status quo to remain. But they have failed to realise that Nigerians are wiser now, and know their leaders better because their antecedents are in public domain.
In this forthcoming presidential election, Nigerians will make a choice based on track record and achievements, not on sponsored criticisms, tribe or religion. This is because such consideration in the past has done more harm to Nigerians than good. Nigerians have fallen prey to such antics of the cabal in the past, but looking at the awareness ahead of the polls, the outcome will be different. Although, the 2015 presidential contest involves 13 presidential candidates on different party platforms, the real contest will be between Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) of All Progressives Congress. Between the duo, Nigerians know who is better, tested and trusted. The antics of the likes of the former president from the southwest against Jonathan’s re-election will likely crash. All eyes are on Nigerians to make a choice and show love to their preferred presidential candidate on the lovers’ day February 14, this year.
• Dr. Nwakaya, an industrialist, wrote from Onitsha, Anambra State.