In fairness to President Jonathan
By Mohammed Ahmed Yidikawu
Recent events in this country have given one a serious cause for concern. It is rather unfortunate that of our over fifty years of attaining nationhood, Nigeria is yet to achieve significant development even as we were compelled to watch in awe how our contemporaries overtook us on the way. Paradoxically, Nigeria has all that it takes for a nation to assume its rightful position in a global scheme of affairs. Endowed with abundant human and material wealth in addition to a very fertile land suitable for all year round agricultural activities, we still could not exploit all these potentials for our own good.
Ironically, individual Nigerians are rich while the country put together remains poor. We take pride in struggling for power mainly to steal and live in affluence and fashion simply because “once an opportunity is lost will never be gotten”. And because we careless for the country that we do not have at heart, yet we wanted to be clever by half in trying to always remain relevant by making a lot of noise as if our individual antecedents have been forgotten by the very masses that we claim to represent.
Certainly, those societal ills and crimes couldn't have been caused in the last three years, neither could they have been solved at once. Indeed, if such ills were not inherent in us, and the society was ok, then Buhari couldn't have launched the War Against Indiscipline and Corruption in 1985 or Babangida'sethical revolution, Abacha's failed Banks Tribunal or Obasanjo's EFCC. We also know that the MEND, MASSOB, OPC, Area Boys, ECOMOG, Kalare,etc, were also not the creation of the leadership that assumed power in the last three years, nor could it have caused the outbreak of the notorious Boko Haram insurgency. Causing Boko Haram indeed differs from fighting Boko Haram.
As for President Goodluck Jonathan's transformation agenda, he has equally refused to be provoked into becoming a totalitarian ruler. Otherwise how could one describe the on-going barrage of mounting criticisms, assaults and inflammable comments directed against his person by the so-called progressives and political noise makers? Not only that they have failed to appreciate the Nigerian factor, they were making efforts to cover their inadequacies and shift the blame on Mr President. So far the ordinary citizens of this country have understood their selfish desires. To them it is only to capture power, power and nothing but power again. Indeed, it is common knowledge in Nigeria that at all levels of government, an incumbent is always wrong, be he elected or appointed. These so-called progressives would never appreciate whatever the President is doing neither would they allow anybody to.
As a northerner, I am pleased that the Federal Government has awarded contract for the reconstruction of the Kano-Katsina road abandoned 15 years ago at N14bn. The Kaltungo-Numan-Yola road connecting Gombe to Adamawa State also abandoned in the last 16 years has almost been completed. The Lagos-Abuja-Kaduna narrow gauge line (fast rail line) is nearing completion aimed at boosting the industrial hub of the north. Not only that, 9 out of the 12 newly established Federal Universities are located in the North. There was also the 700mw Zungeru thermal plant in Niger state as well as the 350mw Mambila Hydro-power plant in Taraba state aimed at boosting electricity power. The dredging of the River Niger is ongoing even as the SURE-P and MDG programmes are being spread across the nooks and corners of the region. The Malam Aminu Kano International airport has been put to standard use in line with international best practices.
No nation succeeds without a leader. In all cases, leadership is build either on consensus or the system allows the authority to evolve and flow naturally. But, whatever the case may be, such an authority automatically commands the respect and loyalty of all, failure of which sanctions are imposed,otherwise such a society is doomed.
With the successful hosting of the Nigeria's centenary celebrations, kudos to Mr President for assembling all the former Head of States and conferred various awards on them. Let the import behind this significant event send a positive signal to all those that are dancing to the drumbeats of disrespect or war, that Nigeria has passed that stage. Henceforth, let their criticisms be issues-based rather than always centred around personality, ethnicity, region or religion.
Finally, with the convocation of the long awaited national conference by Mr President, all of us must see reason to allow peace to reign and offer President Jonathan time and the helping hand to right the wrongs. All this blame games should be over by now and as Mr President put it “all prejudices of yesterday should die with yesterday”. No wonder that our esteemed delegates were moved by Mr. President's inaugural address and had to give him a standing ovation. Yes, a president driven by passion, NOT ambition.