14th August, 2012
These are certainly not the best of times for President Goodluck Jonathan. Fifteen months after he was sworn in as the executive president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the president is still struggling to convince Nigerians that he can deliver on his promise to transform the country.
In fact, failure to tackle urgent national issues requiring strong political will has led to a call for his resignation in certain quarters. Bogged down on all sides by corruption, insecurity, high unemployment, breakdown in infrastructure, poor perception index and lack of integrity, the president appears to be at his lowest performance rating by Nigerians.
President Jonathan, we observe, is faced with image challenges such as his apparent unwillingness to tame corruption, his perceived incompetence and his personal weakness as evidenced in his inability to confront issues. His critics also accuse him of resorting to clannishness in his attempt to justify his apparent inability to deal with problems confronting the nation.
Right now, Nigerians are beginning to ask themselves whether they did not make a mistake in electing him to lead the country, going by the downward slide of the country in all fields of human endeavour. To us, President Jonathan appears overwhelmed by these problems. Take for instance, the insecurity in the northern part of the country caused by the Boko Haram insurgency; apart from issuing statements condemning the wanton destruction of lives and property, President Jonathan has not been able to curb the menace. The unceasing daily attacks on innocent Nigerians by the murderous sect has led many to flee northern Nigeria. Investors have also abandoned the geo-political.
The president recently assured the nation that by the end of last month (July), the sect would have become history. But this is not the case. Right now, the sect has grown in strength and is attacking innocent citizens with impunity while the administration appears helpless.
In the area of tackling corruption, nothing much appears to have been done to tame the hydra-headed monster. Corruption and graft have assumed a frightening dimension among public servants that newspapers are replete with stories of unbriddled theft of public money by those charged with the management of the funds. Yet, when these cases are exposed, government adopts half-hearted measures to prosecute those involved. The citizens watch in amazement as clear cases of corruption are muddled up and later swept under the carpet.
Some of the corruption cases that have served to portray the Jonathan administration as inept include the lackadaisical attitude of the administration in the prosecution of those indicted in the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee’s report on the monumental fraud in the oil subsidy regime and the pension scam in which billions of naira was stolen by civil servants. Nigerians appear not to be convinced by the measures taken so far by the Jonathan administration to bring the culprits to book and are advocating for drastic measures.
We are no doubt aware that the president is also aware of this poor image perception among Nigerians and will want to do something about it. It is in this respect that we urge him to move swiftly to correct this perception. To overcome this image problem, President Jonathan needs to demonstrate strongly that he is capable of fighting corruption by bring all those accused of graft to book. To improve his image rating, he should also demonstrate the necessary political will to end the Boko Haram menace.