Ã¢â‚¬Å“You have trusted me with your mandate, and I will never, never let you down.Ã¢â‚¬Â This statement well couched and crafted in neo-liberal framework is JonathanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s response to the anguish and pains that stared at him on the 29th May 2011 inauguration at Eagles Square, Abuja.
Today the definition of neo-liberalism has been so broadened to include the entire gamut of human endeavour. However in terms of the scope of international relations and foreign interventionism, the centrality of the Westphalia state and its interests are still the subject and primary unit of analysis, but they must all be positivist and State-related.
It is this positivist attitude of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan that has attracted him to majority of Nigerian voters.
It is an incontestable fact that President Jonathan exudes hope, confidence and an unquenchable resolve that it is still possible to salvage this country from the dark and dangerous precipice on which it is hanging precariously.
Apart from the days of Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria has never been blessed with a humane president who is not thinking of becoming the wealthiest man in the world.
Majority of NigerianÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s believe in JonathanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s precedence and profile because he has assured us that he is one of us and that he will not let us down. And the president knows that the onus is on him to prove the veracity of this statement.
Nigerians are very excited and expectant of president Goodluck JonathanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 5-point agenda but most analysts believe that giving power a (electricity) topmost priority will put the icing on the nations cake.
Power generation and distribution is NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Achilles hill. It is the only single infrastructure that can turn Nigeria around; its domino effect on all the other sectors of the Nigerian economy is capable of revolutionizing our standard of living and catapulting Nigeria into the comity of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s economically advanced countries.
For instance South Africa for which Nigeria spend billions of hard earned dollars to free from apartheid, today is the greatest economy in Africa and one of the fastest growing among the economies of the world.
Today South Africa is a member of BRICS, an economic union of developing and developed nations comprising of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. South Africa has successfully recolonized Nigeria and imposed her economic hegemony on her. It is a well known fact that South Africa has dominated in the economic spheres of banking, supermarkets, communication, capital investment here on Nigerian soil.
The Ã¢â‚¬Å“south African miracleÃ¢â‚¬Â is predicated on its power generation and distribution of 50,000 megawatts for its almost 50 million people. Even Ã¢â‚¬Å“smallÃ¢â‚¬Â Ghana with a population of 23.9 million people has generated about 2000 megawatts of electricity while Nigeria is fluctuating between 2500 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ 3000 mws
The United Nations Development report of 2009 rated Chiles (a South American country) as highly competitive in terms of quality of life, political stability, globalization economic freedom, low perception of corruption, a comparatively low poverty rate. In the same year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also ranked Chile very high in freedom of the press, human development, democratic development, the regions highest GDP and also a high degree of income inequality.
The miracles of these developing nations are within our grasp if we pursue an over ambitions power generation of at least 20,000mws. This is possible if we are determined to do so.
I am sure President Goodluck Jonathan, who was the chairman of the committee on the Nigerian Integrated Power Project (NIPP) under President Umaru Musa YarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Adua and later doubled as the nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s power minister when he became President after YarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢AduaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s painful demise, can manage this unenviable challenge in our power sector. Vice President Namadi Sambo who was NIPPÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Vice Chairman will also come in handy here.
Nigeria should use these 4 years of national transformation to perfect a brand that is uniquely Nigerian for export to the whole world including the industrialized worlds and the super powers of America, China and Russia.
Chile after 17 years of Augusto PinochetÃ¢â‚¬â„¢sÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ neo-liberal regime, was able to patent and export the Chilean Pension Model to the communist party of China and has been invoked as a model by economic reformers in Boris YeltsinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Russia and to almost all of Eastern Europe.
Nigeria has the potential to even exceed Chile, Singapore and even Japan in global industrialization and trade. Copper accounts for 40% of ChileÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s external trade and she is the world greatest producer.
Nigeria, if we put our power acts right, can beat national and international expectations in all spheres of development and this will have a trickle-down effect on all the other 5 agenda of Economy, Infrastructure, Education, Agriculture and the development of the Niger Delta.
The just concluded 2011 elections largely exhibited JonathanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s neo-liberalism. All over the world elections have caused major dislocations in civil societies and also in the civil-military equilibrium. The just concluded elections are so far AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s freest and fairest and this was as a result of the impeccable sincerity of President Goodluck Jonathan who bluntly refused to interfere with the impeachable honesty of the Professor Attahiru Jega led Independent National Electoral Commission.
The greatest test of any nationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s democratic experiment is the freeness and fairness of its elections. The integrity of many African elections have been at best questionable. The examples abound all over in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and most recently in Cote dÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Voire. Democracy is dealt an excruciating blow when elections are fraudulent and in all such countries democracy is on trial until the trend is reversed. The ripple effect of rigged and fraudulent elections on democracy are innumerable and calamitous.
President Goodluck Jonathan wished it, planned it and executed a virtually free and fair election through the uncompromising Victorian discipline of Professor JegaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s consortium of Nigerian Professors.
President Goodluck Jonathan has also assured us of a free Judiciary and a free press both of which he has honoured.
The freedom of the Judiciary was amply demonstrated when most of the long pending gubernatorial cases were won by opposition parties immediately on the confirmation of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as NigeriaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s executive President on the death of President Umaru YarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Adua in 2010. And characteristically President Jonathan congratulated them all.
Of course the Nigerian Press even before the recent signing of the FO1 bill has remained very free under President Goodluck Jonathan as it was with his former boss President Umaru YarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Adua.
The greatest show of tolerance and magnanimity was displayed during the election of the speaker of the House of Representatives in Abuja.
For the first time in the history of the PeoplesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Democratic Party (PDP), party representatives rebelled against party instructions and teamed up with the opposition to produce a rebel as the Nations Speaker of the house of Representative.
Most people believe that this was an affront on the President but so far the President has taken it in his stride and forgiven the rebellious speaker and his other officers. Accepting this rebellion and flagrant display of party indiscipline with equanimity is a rare trait of brinkmanship rarely displayed by Nigerian Presidents. Even though it was a big blow to the Presidents personal ego and authority, he took the punch in his stride.
We hope that all Nigerians will emulate the PresidentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ humility and forgiving spirit as displayed during the house of representative Crisis.
All other opposition parties must also accept the President Olive branch which he waved to them in a recent meeting in Abuja. Winning elections is no more a do or die affair in Nigeria Ã¢â‚¬â€œ a la President Goodluck Jonathan.
In a recent press conference in Benghazi Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Libya, Senator John McCain bluntly refused to criticise President Barack Obama over AmericaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s actions and inactions in Libya. John McCain displayed a superior political maturity tapping from his repertoire of so many years of Washington DC experience. Some of our brutish and brusque Presidential candidates would have displayed so much ignorance under the same circumstance by condemning the incumbent President as a result of indiscipline and a weakness in personality trait.
President Goodluck Jonathan should concentrate on building Democratic Institutions rather than the Nigerian political culture of consolidating party structures. Parties are to some extent ephemeral in nature but all over the world democracy has come to stay. Even communist countries are in the race for globalization and international free trade.
The Tambuwal / Ihedioha case has shown that not all party Ã¢â‚¬Å“faithfulÃ¢â‚¬Â are faithful and disciplined. President Goodluck Jonathan should source his cabinet and team from patriotic and competent Nigerians across party lines and from any part of the country.
The PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s emphasis on education Agriculture, the economy, infrastructure and the Niger Delta development is highly commendable and if religiously executed, will surely lead us to reap the intrinsic dividends of democracy.
God bless Nigeria.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢Ben Nanaghan wrote from Lagos, Nigeria