The Many Things Jonathan Cannot Do?

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I have struggled to avoid discussing the matter of Jonathan’s presidency so far, not as an act of  cowardice, but truly, who am I, to discuss, a PhD president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.  Especially when I am not on a praise singing mission like many are wont to do?

However, with each passing day, I know that I am compelled to make my opinion known, and it’s not just  my opinion but it’s that of many Nigerians. And I make these comments so that someday in the future  when I am asked what did I say or do, these words would hold me liable. I will not sit on the fence  and watch, I will talk, I will write and let my words stand for posterity.

Before I go far, let me state the following facts…as of today comparatively Jonathan is a decent  man… (Note my words, comparatively). He is not as tainted as most players in our power block.  However trust me, he is tainted. He helped himself on a couple of occasions as Governor of Bayelsa.  (Anyway, that’s not it, they all help themselves).

He is the guy you can sit with in Uncle Joe’s palm wine shed, do a bottle or two of palm wine with  good Madam Ngozi pepper soup. You could chat him up on one or two issues. He has this smile about him.  He is no Donald Duke, he is no Fashola either but then he does not have the guts of Ibori, or Dariye.  He is just there, and trust me that’s part of the problem.

The year 2007 was labelled the “Year of Living Deceptively” for South Korea because of the country’s  numerous scandals involving fake academics and corrupt politicians. A survey of 340 professors  selected the Chinese phrase ‘ja-gi-gi-in’ (deceiving yourself and others) to sum up the year.

I can tell you that since Jonathan came on board fully, it has been one hell of deceit, after another.  From the law of necessity to the ‘moonslide’ presidential primaries, it’s all been a case of  Ja-gi-gi-in.

A host of us know that the current administration and that which commences come May 2011 share a lot  in common, and that is “living deceptively”. Jonathan is a ‘yes man’ and is far from a departure of  the business as usual set of leaders that have plagued this nation.

In the last week, while Nigerians go through its own depression, Soludo (former CBN governor) and  Aganga (current Minister of Finance) have been deceiving Nigerians with big English and  micro-macro-economics 101 which cannot put food on the tables of Nigerians at 101 rate  (Breakfast-Dinner ratio).

The Jonathan praise singers have simply caught the messiah bug. I am surprised some persons have not  called him a god. The expectations are high, and for a nation that has for decades lived below its  potential we have a right to expect much but sadly we are again (saddled with our permission) a  government that is largely a deceptive one.

Many will tell you that there has been fuel for some 8 months now. But the fact remains that there is  a clear difference between availability and affordability, whichever way we argue, most people  drive-in just to purchase some two-three and four litres. Not that they do not have that right.

However, no one can debate the fact that we are paying an avoidable high cost for the importation of  fuel. Millions lost on subsidies that otherwise would have helped other sectors of the nation.  Besides, what really is the obstacle in having functional refineries that in turn would provide  thousands of jobs for a teeming unemployed population?

Jonathan not just by his will but by powers beyond him will be forced to still toe the known path. It  is the only road we know for now…road contracts that will be abandoned, commissioning of hospitals  without facilities. Schools that would be neglected, strikes within various sectors of the economy  amongst many shortfalls and long falls will characterise the administration with a couple of its own  fair share of ‘elephant and hippo’ projects.

Already part of the ja-gi-gi-in has resulted in the proposed building of more universities so that we  can be like USA, universities that their children will not attend. When we have not maintained the  present ones. When we have a National Assembly that cannot compel politicians’ children to attend  public schools because they have a right called “right to school abroad”.

There is nothing Jonathan can do about the National Assembly and their outrageous million naira  salaries for doing nothing, while as part of the deceit the government negotiates a few thousands, in  fact just N18,000 for another set that does at least a ‘small thing’.

Does anyone think that the Jonathan-led PDP is the answer, than we really need a re-think? We have all  been witnesses to the deceit called the textile industry. Or do we need a soothsayer to tell us that  the best that we have now is a conglomeration of deceit?

Security is working well only on two fronts, budgetary and expenses, but in terms of actual provision  of security it’s all deceit as Borno, Plateau, Bauchi, Bayelsa, and Edo are cases all there for all to  see.

By 2015, what will Jonathan’s greatest achievements be, (actually for those of us thinking, he will  lose April polls, we have very little in choice).

A cursory look at the policy thrust of this government is the very essence of my lamentation. For  those who have asked for more time, I have argued that a change in government, if free, fair and  credible election does not mean that government should restart its engine. On the contrary, it calls  for a refuelling and moving ahead. Our experience is that government has to start all over again and  the same old music is remixed and few months after we notice same old thread in action. Has it  occurred to us that the same issues that the last administration sought to solve or made comic of, is  the same ones we are facing again?

Obasanjo-Yardy-Jonathan…it’s all been cosmetic dressing, in terms of the resources at our disposal.  For those that ask for more time, I hope they are aware that we earned N2.8 trillion, in 2010, an  increase of almost 30% from 2009.

We have equally borrowed from everywhere, it remains to be seen if Benin Republic will give us money  for some Private-Public-Partnership project.

In recent times, a number of African countries including Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, have been hit by  wild protests fuelled by inflation, mass unemployment and poverty; all of which are present in  Nigeria.

However, Jonathan may be blessed as Nigerians are so divided on these issues by religion, ethnicity,  nepotism, ‘chopism’ and other selfish modules.

To curtail a break-out of similar revolts in the country, Jonathan and his team do not have the plan,  the will; it simple pays lip service to change…just like a labourer changes his shirt day by day  without choice to the same work wear he is used in 50 long years.

Jonathan and his PDP cohorts will not urgently and comprehensively address the job issue, nor improve  on the business of government.

There are no plans that will translate to the provision of housing, water, and education for all  Nigerian children to the Senior Secondary School grade.

With more billions spent, electricity will still not be available, reliable and affordable.

I beg to re-echo again that there must be an honest search for understanding, education, organisation,  action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis for  institutional change. There would be no answers; rather we would continually be plagued by the same  questions.

Jonathan is not going to solve our problems. Like Yar’Adua before him, he will not disappoint PDP.  Already discarded was the slow motion 7-point agenda. I and many like me would surprisingly with shame  eat our words if there is a remarkable surge forward, if we can stop complaining about the same  problems.

If Nigeria can join the speed train age and stop the government of celebrating borehole water in  communities that deserve more.

Finally Mr. President, you are not under obligation to read, or listen to me. Besides you are not the  root cause of why 50 years after we are still a nation of potential and little in achievement. You  cannot do anything about it…but certainly you can do something…You cannot surprise many of us that  do not believe in you. But you can shut us up by performing. It’s your choice sir.

•Prince Charles Dickson is editor, burningpot.com, Nigeria’s  first online newspaper. Tel:  234-08033311301, 08057152301. Visit http://burningpot.com

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