8th July, 2010
As a president of a country assailed by a legion of problems of gargantuan proportions, Goodluck Jonathan has been trying to fix things in a rush. But the inconsistency of his decisions in recent times is creating the false impression that the president is fickle-minded.
On Monday, Jonathan bowed to pressures from both the country and international community and reversed his decision to withdraw the Super Eagles from international competitions until 2012.
The presidentâ€™s decision beat the deadline given by FIFA to Nigeria to either rescind the decision on the ban or face suspension from the body and its programmes. The Committee on Sports in the House of Representatives also mounted pressure on the presidency to unban the Eagles, saying the decision was not in the interest of the countryâ€™s football.
Not too long ago, Jonathan also dropped some names he had nominated as commissioners in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after Nigerians excoriated him for picking card-carrying members of his party, the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party (PDP) for the INEC job.
The controversial N10 billion Jonathan has also approved for the celebration of Nigeriaâ€™s 50th independence anniversary has been attracting a lot of brickbats from Nigerians. The ill-thought out decision is likely to also be reversed because of the outcry, except those who will benefit from the jamboree will deceive the president to go ahead with the colossal spending.
The repeated rash decisions by Jonathan are portraying him as a president who acts too hastily without due consultations. This is dangerous for the progress and the image of Nigeria.
A president who changes his mind all the time cannot be trusted with leadership. He could be perceived as a lily-livered leader who could be swayed easily. A good leader does not act in a hurry. He consults thoroughly and widely with stakeholders and his advisers before he takes a final decision which, most times, is difficult to reverse. Such decisions are always in the best interest of the people.
In very difficult situations, a good leader even goes beyond the small circle of his advisers and reaches out to the society at large. In the United States for example, men who become president are under intense scrutiny for many years and are adjudged consistent in their statements, actions and decisions. Americans will not elect a man to the highest office if he continually changes his character like a chameleon as he will be seen as a weak leader who goes with the crowd instead of taking tough decisions when the need arises.
With a myriad of problems to fix, Nigeria needs a strong leader who listens to his people; a president who consults widely before he takes a final decision. We, therefore, call on President Jonathan to take time to listen to the vast majority of Nigerians before he takes any decision. He should stop putting the cart before the horse.