TAN, JONATHAN AND MANDELA SINGLE TERM
THERE is no stopping President Goodluck Jonathan from falling into the clairvoyance trap. Already, the presidency has reached the empty point. The timeless advice, “Say what you mean, and mean what you say”, which must be preceded by knowing what you mean did not find a place in the heart of Mr President. We are not at a lost as to how things come to this sober moment.
Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN has given him the reasons to continue to wobble and to violate the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the same constitution he swore to uphold and protect. President Jonathan now believe that truly committed following like TAN's group and others automatically sense his ambition and know what he want without being told. They have been reading his decisive body language and had keyed into the anomalies, forthwith.
Now, the oddity. The hempy group called TAN has dragged the name of the Sainted late former South Africa President Nelson Mandela onto the bargain. The immoral swamping mud of Nigeria politics as a cynosure of presidential waywardness has taken the centre stage. The is a country where executive recklessness, status arrogance, presidential corruption of all hues, electoral manipulation, ritual killings are given metaphors of governance.
Interestingly, those who stole the nation's Fuel Subsidy billions are said to be the ones sponsoring TAN and several other frauds recorded under president Jonathan Administration. Any wonder that the N32.8 billion Police Pension Fund; N40 billion Gbenga Daniel's theft of Ogun State money, the former minister of Works and Housing N75 billion looting, N94.2 million Faruq Lawal versus Femi Otedola bribery, N58 billion squandered by four Governors, N20 billion NNPC missing fund, N7 billion Shell Petroleum Tax Evasion, the $1.1 billion OPL 245 Malabu bribe, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor's $9.3 million arms deal can never be unearthed.
There is no doubt that President Jonathan got Pan-Nigerian mandate in 2011 for his seemingly candid promises to fix the rust of the nation. He also promised to run for single term in office. So far, he has failed the nation on the two promises. Nigeria has got the worst of image problems in terms of insecurity and doing exactly opposite what its leader promised. Yet, TAN has consistently – in its daily advertisement – equates President Jonathan with the South Africa icon, late President Nelson Mandela.
Madiba was one of the world's most revered statesmen, who led the struggle to replace the apartheid regime of South Africa with a multi-racial democracy. Jailed for 27 years, he emerged in 1990 to become the country's first black president four years later and spearheaded the drive for peace in other spheres of conflict. He also won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993. His charisma, self-deprecating sense of humour and lack of bitterness over his harsh treatment, as well as his amazing life story, partly explain his extraordinary global appeal.
One wonder, therefore why TAN should be equating President Jonathan with the Madiba, the last liberator of the 20th century – whose exemplary life of struggle, triumph, dignity, freedom, and hope found expression in the live of billions across the globe? Why would TAN compared the Otuoke man with the Thembo man who gave potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and the moral necessity of racial justice? Why must the President enjoy the adulation of his lifeless presidency as portrayer for excellent leadership? Why would TAN disingenuously compared Jonathan with Mandela – a who man erected a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations? A man who was committed to democracy and rule of law and ratified same not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term?
Madiba's commitment to this cause was aptly captured thus: “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I've cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and [with] equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
Granted that Madiba was not a bust made of marble; he admitted so: “I am not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.” But President Jonathan credited sainthood to his Administration in his 53th Independence Day speech, saying his Administration has touched every segment of the society: “We have recorded notable success in the social sector. Nigeria has been globally acknowledged for reducing extreme hunger by more than half, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) formally presenting the country with an award for achieving the Millennium Development Goal on Hunger three years ahead of the 2015 target date set for the Millennium Development Goals.”
This is coming at a time Nigeria has been rated one of the worst governed countries in Africa based on the 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance [IIAG], which was released a few days ago. In the report, Nigeria is rated 45.8 per cent lower than the African average (51.5 per cent) and ranked 37th out of 52 in the overall governance scale. The country scored lower than the regional average for West Africa which stands at 52.2 percent and ranked 12th out of 15 in the region. While Nigeria got the damning rating by the IIAG, Mauritius is adjudged the best governed country in Africa, with 81.7 per cent, followed by Cape Verde, with 76.6 percent.
IIAG is sponsored by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, MIF, a non-grant making organisation committed to defining, assessing and enhancing governance and leadership in Africa. It presents annual assessments of the quality of governance in African countries. It also provides the framework for citizens, governments, institutions and the private sector to assess accurately the delivery of public goods and services, and policy outcomes, across the continent. Other countries that made it to the top of the list included Botswana which is rated the third best governed country in the continent with 76.2 percent and South Africa which comes fourth with 73.3 percent. Ghana is rated 7th; Rwanda 11th; Benin Republic 18th; Egypt 26th; Mali 28th; Niger, 29th; Liberia; 31st; Cameroon 34th and Togo 36th; all ahead of far more endowed Nigeria.
With a population of 173.6 million and population growth rate pegged at 2.8 percent, Nigeria's Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is put at $3013.3 USD, while inflation and unemployment rates stand at 8.5 percent and 13.7 percent, respectively. Nigeria also received appalling ratings in such categories such as safety and the rule of law where it is rated 44th with 38.1 per cent, 32nd in the rule of law with 41.0 percent and 30th in accountability with 36.6 percent. The country got its lowest rating in personal safety where it is ranked 49th with 16.5 per cent and second lowest in national security where it is ranked 48th with 58.2 per cent. Under participation and human rights, the country is rated 26th with 46.9 per cent, 31th on sustainable economic opportunity with 43.3 per cent and 34th in human development with 53.0 per cent.
The danger in the arc of Jonathan's Administration is histrionic. The danger in it is that young and gullible Nigerians would be tempted to conflate actual governance, purposeful leadership and broad mindedness witnessed in the life and time of Madiba to mean mere opportunism masquerading as governance in Nigeria. They will be confused into believing that President Jonathan is offering socio-economic panacea needed in the 21th century, as presented by TAN. Such grandstanding by president Jonathan and TAN will erase the legacy of Madiba, his sense of equality, economic and political justice which he fought and died for.
In Nigeria today, we still see children suffering from hunger and disease; 10. 8 million children are out of school, we still see run-down schools everywhere. We still see young people without prospects for the future and without means of livelihood. In and around Nigeria today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs, and are still persecuted for who they worship, and how they worship, and who they love. The grinning president has no answer to the chronic poverty and growing inequality in the country.
This is where clarity of purpose suffice. Without doubts, the starting point for all effective leader is vision and visioning. It's only when a leader is absolutely clear about what he wants that the hard work of leadership is simplified and can be actualised. Then, the distance between beloved leader and despised leader becomes shorter than we think. The swath is so thin that proper conceptualisation will readily bridge the gap. That is one of the reasons we have been witnessing the public downfall of leaders from almost every area of endeavor – politics, religion, business and sports. Today they are on top of the heap, the next day, the heap is on top of them!
Unfortunately, President Jonathan is trying to become a leader and has fallen into the trap of leadership “becoming”. Incidentally, leadership flows from natural inner vision and character. President Jonathan Administration is suffering from lack of leadership clarity. This has manifested in the way and manner the president has been double speaking. When leaders are unclear about their purpose in governance, they often hide their confusion and uncertainty in the continuity subterfuge.
President Jonathan, long before now had slipped onto the slopping valley of failure. A nation is in danger when its leader confuses manipulation for leadership and when compromised ethics is rationalised away as necessary for the “greater good” for the “greatest numbers”. These are more manifest when leaders over indulged themselves in any pleasures, be they food, drink, drugs, gambling or sex with increasing acerbity.
Mark Sanborn who has been acknowledged for expository essays on leadership classifies leadership thus: “A leader's credibility is the result of two aspects: what he or she does (competency) and who he or she is (character). A discrepancy between these two aspects creates an integrity problem”. That is the oddity confronting Presdent Goodluck Jonathan and his Administration.
Written by Erasmus Ikhide.
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