10th February, 2011
I have struggled to avoid discussing the matter of Jonathanâ€™s presidency so far, not as an act ofÂ cowardice, but truly, who am I, to discuss, a PhD president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.Â 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 itâ€™s not justÂ my opinion but itâ€™s that of many Nigerians. And I make these comments so that someday in the futureÂ when I am asked what did I say or do, these words would hold me liable. I will not sit on the fenceÂ 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 decentÂ man… (Note my words, comparatively). He is not as tainted as most players in our power block.Â However trust me, he is tainted. He helped himself on a couple of occasions as Governor of Bayelsa.Â (Anyway, thatâ€™s not it, they all help themselves).
He is the guy you can sit with in Uncle Joeâ€™s palm wine shed, do a bottle or two of palm wine withÂ good Madam Ngozi pepper soup. You could chat him up on one or two issues. He has this smile about him.Â He is no Donald Duke, he is no Fashola either but then he does not have the guts of Ibori, or Dariye.Â He is just there, and trust me thatâ€™s part of the problem.
The year 2007 was labelled the â€œYear of Living Deceptivelyâ€ for South Korea because of the countryâ€™sÂ numerous scandals involving fake academics and corrupt politicians. A survey of 340 professorsÂ selected the Chinese phrase â€˜ja-gi-gi-inâ€™ (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.Â From the law of necessity to the â€˜moonslideâ€™ presidential primaries, itâ€™s all been a case ofÂ Ja-gi-gi-in.
A host of us know that the current administration and that which commences come May 2011 share a lotÂ in common, and that is â€œliving deceptivelyâ€. Jonathan is a â€˜yes manâ€™ and is far from a departure ofÂ 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) andÂ Aganga (current Minister of Finance) have been deceiving Nigerians with big English andÂ micro-macro-economics 101 which cannot put food on the tables of Nigerians at 101 rateÂ (Breakfast-Dinner ratio).
The Jonathan praise singers have simply caught the messiah bug. I am surprised some persons have notÂ called him a god. The expectations are high, and for a nation that has for decades lived below itsÂ potential we have a right to expect much but sadly we are again (saddled with our permission) aÂ 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 isÂ a clear difference between availability and affordability, whichever way we argue, most peopleÂ 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 ofÂ fuel. Millions lost on subsidies that otherwise would have helped other sectors of the nation.Â Besides, what really is the obstacle in having functional refineries that in turn would provideÂ 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. ItÂ is the only road we know for now…road contracts that will be abandoned, commissioning of hospitalsÂ without facilities. Schools that would be neglected, strikes within various sectors of the economyÂ amongst many shortfalls and long falls will characterise the administration with a couple of its ownÂ fair share of â€˜elephant and hippoâ€™ projects.
Already part of the ja-gi-gi-in has resulted in the proposed building of more universities so that weÂ can be like USA, universities that their children will not attend. When we have not maintained theÂ present ones. When we have a National Assembly that cannot compel politiciansâ€™ children to attendÂ public schools because they have a right called â€œright to school abroadâ€.
There is nothing Jonathan can do about the National Assembly and their outrageous million nairaÂ salaries for doing nothing, while as part of the deceit the government negotiates a few thousands, inÂ fact just N18,000 for another set that does at least a â€˜small thingâ€™.
Does anyone think that the Jonathan-led PDP is the answer, than we really need a re-think? We have allÂ been witnesses to the deceit called the textile industry. Or do we need a soothsayer to tell us thatÂ 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 provisionÂ of security itâ€™s all deceit as Borno, Plateau, Bauchi, Bayelsa, and Edo are cases all there for all toÂ see.
By 2015, what will Jonathanâ€™s greatest achievements be, (actually for those of us thinking, he willÂ 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. ForÂ those who have asked for more time, I have argued that a change in government, if free, fair andÂ credible election does not mean that government should restart its engine. On the contrary, it callsÂ for a refuelling and moving ahead. Our experience is that government has to start all over again andÂ the same old music is remixed and few months after we notice same old thread in action. Has itÂ occurred to us that the same issues that the last administration sought to solve or made comic of, isÂ the same ones we are facing again?
Obasanjo-Yardy-Jonathan…itâ€™s all been cosmetic dressing, in terms of the resources at our disposal.Â For those that ask for more time, I hope they are aware that we earned N2.8 trillion, in 2010, anÂ increase of almost 30% from 2009.
We have equally borrowed from everywhere, it remains to be seen if Benin Republic will give us moneyÂ for some Private-Public-Partnership project.
In recent times, a number of African countries including Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, have been hit byÂ wild protests fuelled by inflation, mass unemployment and poverty; all of which are present inÂ Nigeria.
However, Jonathan may be blessed as Nigerians are so divided on these issues by religion, ethnicity,Â nepotism, â€˜chopismâ€™ and other selfish modules.
To curtail a break-out of similar revolts in the country, Jonathan and his team do not have the plan,Â the will; it simple pays lip service to change…just like a labourer changes his shirt day by dayÂ 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 improveÂ on the business of government.
There are no plans that will translate to the provision of housing, water, and education for allÂ 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,Â action that raises the cost of state violence for its perpetrators or that lays the basis forÂ institutional change. There would be no answers; rather we would continually be plagued by the sameÂ questions.
Jonathan is not going to solve our problems. Like Yarâ€™Adua before him, he will not disappoint PDP.Â Already discarded was the slow motion 7-point agenda. I and many like me would surprisingly with shameÂ eat our words if there is a remarkable surge forward, if we can stop complaining about the sameÂ problems.
If Nigeria can join the speed train age and stop the government of celebrating borehole water inÂ communities that deserve more.
Finally Mr. President, you are not under obligation to read, or listen to me. Besides you are not theÂ root cause of why 50 years after we are still a nation of potential and little in achievement. YouÂ cannot do anything about it…but certainly you can do something…You cannot surprise many of us thatÂ do not believe in you. But you can shut us up by performing. Itâ€™s your choice sir.
â€¢Prince Charles Dickson is editor, burningpot.com, Nigeriaâ€™sÂ first online newspaper. Tel:Â 234-08033311301, 08057152301. Visit http://burningpot.com