Africa

Nigeria: The task ahead of Jonathan

THAT   President   Goodluck     Ebele  Jonathan‘s  dreams came  to pass  to continue  from May  29, 2011, as president  of  Federal  Republic of Nigeria raised the  hope  of  Nigerians  that change  is  inevitable considering  the  President’s  zeal, commitment    and   readiness  to effect   a   change  in the  Africa’s  most  populous country – a  heady   mix  of about 150 million  people, and 250  ethnic   groups.

The  ambition  to  become  the  president  of  Nigeria was  nursed right from when the late President Umaru Yar’Adua  fell  ill, and    Jonathan  was  constitutionally  required  to step into the  shoes  of Yar’Adua, while  his ailment lasted; and it  was speculated  that he  was not  likely  to  survive. But,  after  the  demise  of  Yar’Adua, Dr  Jonathan  was warmly  welcomed    both  at  home  and  abroad   to  fill   the  vacuum  last year.

When   Jonathan  took  over,  he assured   Nigerians  that   he will   fix  three  of  Nigeria’s  biggest challenges: electoral  fraud, unreliable  electricity supply(NEPA/PHCN problem)  and  Niger  Delta  crises,  that  was  constantly  assuming    frightening  dimensions  at  the spur   of  every  moment.

This  signal from Jonathan…   apparently  in  the  right  perspective  restored  hope  in  Nigerians, particularly  in the  Niger  Delta  region and there  was  confidence  that   Jonathan  could  make good his reformist  zeal. But  this  can never  be  achieved  in a jiffy – he  needs  time  to  deliver-  apparently – this  warmed  Jonathan  into  the  heart   of   Nigerians,  that  if  given  the   opportunity as President he  could   transform  Nigeria.

He took  a cue  from  where  Yar’Adua   stopped  in  negotiating   Niger  Delta  militants’ rehabilitation, and  a  rehabilitation  camp  was  opened  in  July, 2010  for  the  repentant militia  who  laid  down  their  arms.

The  crux  of   the  matter   which  sparked  off  agitation for a president(from South-South)  is  that  the  oil from  the Niger  Delta region constitutes  80 per cent of   the  government’s  revenue, yet  its   residents  are  politically  marginalised, and the oil from their  area has equally destroyed their land, that negates the possibility of any worthwhile  farming. This  unfair  treatment  re-awakened   in  their  consciousness  the  quest   for a   president   from   their   region.

When the tempo  gradually began to reverberate towards 2011 election last  year after  the  death  of Yar’Adua,  Jonathan  did  not  indicate  that  he will  run  for the  presidency; and those who had built their  hope on him were astounded. But while  speculation has  been growing as  Jonathan, who was appointed   to  his  post  earlier, pondered  whether  to  run  for  election, on  the  streets of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, unusual  posters  were  appearing.

Lobby   groups  were busy  plastering  the city  with banners  encouraging  Dr. Goodluck  Jonathan  to run  for the  2011  presidential  election. One  of  them  who could  not  even  contain  his  emotion said:  “ We  have   found  our champion”; and “ You  can  do it…”, declared  another. Yet, Jonathan did not budge, may be until he pondered enough and  sought  the   face  of  God  for  approval before  he  summoned  courage  to declare  his  interest  to  contest  for the  presidency.

Perhaps this  led to  his resounding  victory  at the  polls  in  April . As  it  were, his  biggest  challenge  was winning  similar  support in Northern Nigeria, but  in the end by  providence, he  got  the reasonable  percentage of votes from  the  Northern divide necessary  for  him to scale  through  the presidential election. He  made  it  because  he has  the  credentials and the quality, perhaps, the electorate expected. Jonathan was  bold  to say: ”Don’t  rig  for me“. That  is  confidence, and  it speaks volume…  .The  electorate  saw  it…  and they  voted  for  Jonathan, not  PDP.  The people  sounded it  loud  and  clear. What next?

Now  the populace  has  gotten Goodluck  as  their  president,  the   expectation  is  high  that  he  should  shine  in  every nook  and  cranny of   Nigeria. There  lies  the  challenge  ahead: Our  economy  is  in a bad  shape, even  dubbed one  of   the  poorest  countries  in the world. The  country  so  richly  endowed with human resources (found virtually all over the world, contributing their own quota in developing other nations),blessed  with mineral resources yet to be exploited  and  arable  land  for   mechanised  agriculture.

A  feat in  agricultural  project  alone will  have far-reaching  results: Strengthen  our   economy, remove over-  dependence  on oil, alleviate  the suffering  of  the populace, create  job  opportunities which  will check  unemployment, etc. Our  nation  is  not  free  from  a  network  of violence, especially  in the  North; our  health care  system is  not dependable hence Nigerians go abroad on health grounds; educational  system  is fast  deteriorating to  the extent that  Professor  Tam David-West and others  often   weep  at the  depth  of  decay.  From oil sector analysts: The national budget is put at about N4.485 trillion.

Yet it will amount to lack of foresight on the part of government to still maintain the status quo of overdependence on oil sector instead of diversifying; reviving other sectors of the economy.

Mr. SIMEON NDAJI, a commentator on national    issues wrote from Lagos.

Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret Onwutalobi
Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC and CEO of Portia Web Solutions. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
https://www.codewit.com

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