As We Await Jonathan’s Declaration
If there is any subject that has generated too much debate with nerve-racking arguments in recent times in Nigeria, it is the legality of President Good Luck Jonathan contesting the 2015 Presidential Election! It is an awaiting event that has already produced so many schools of thoughts in the country.
While one school of thought believes that, it is their turn to produce the next president for the country, the other school of thought believes that Jonathan as a citizen like Alhaji Shehu Shagari who contested and won the Presidential Elections of 1979 and 1983 and Chief Olusengun Obasanjo who also contested and won the 1999 and 2003 Presidential Elections, that President Good Luck Jonathan having contested and won for the first time the 2011 Presidential Election is politically and legally qualified to contest the 2015 Presidential Election.
These two schools of thoughts have built strong mass appeals and supports across the country. But, the question is do we really need a President of northern extraction or a President of Southern extraction? Should we elect a President because of his root or place of origin or should we elect a President who will observe and maintain the concepts and principles of Social Contract as expounded by Thomas Hobbes?
One funny drama that have heralded the pursuit of the 2015 Presidential ambitions by our political gladiators is that, they have succeeded in diverting the attention of the electorates to trivial issues instead of confronting the fundamental issues about the election. As a political activist and commentator on national issues, I took my time to highlight some of the fundamental challenges confronting Nigeria as a nation in my previous write-ups, but, it seems the demagogic rhetoric of our politicians have dangerously interfered with our thinking abilities that we can no longer differentiate between what we want and what we do not want!
If one should carefully study and analyze most of the too-good-to-be-true promises politicians have been making concerning the 2015 Presidential Election, one would rather prefer the known black Angel to an unknown white Angel. This is because, most of their mouths-watering political promises are similar to those we have read and heard before, dating back to 1979 which was the year Presidential System of Government was formally introduced in Nigeria. However, it will be recalled that, as a prelude to the 2007 Presidential Election, one of the aspirants and his political party promised to make food accessible, affordable and available to all Nigerians, but a report in 2008 indicated that about 54 percent of Nigerians go to bed hungry every night. Since food is one of the basic necessities of life, it will be convenient to assume that, lack of food is a good evidence of poverty. Yet, from 1979 till date, fighting poverty in the country has been the major
campaign issues. Who is fooling is fooling who?
Nonetheless, like Simon Kolawole rightly captured in one of his weekly commentaries in Thisday Newspaper entitled: “Our Eternal Obsession with Aso Rock”, he said, “Nigerians have been so brainwashed - or have so brainwashed themselves – to think that the world starts and ends with Aso Rock… If Transparency International rates Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, automatically it is the Federal Government or (Obasanjo/Yar'Dua/Jonathan) government that has been indicted! Yet, how many Commissioners have been fired and put on trial for corruption by states?”
It is a known fact all over the world that, government is not the sole employer of labor. Rather, it formulates and implements policies that will stimulate the economy. And for anyone to objectively asses any government or regime, one should be able to study, analyze, interpret and apply the policies and reforms been formulated and executed by the government of the day! It is also worthy of note that policy articulation, formulation and execution is not something that should be rushed or invented overnight. This is because; it must involve every stakeholder, not just the critical ones only, but every relevant stakeholder. After this stage, it will now require time, energy and vigor to drive the policy to yielding the needed results.
Besides, one of the major factors that have greatly contributed to Africa's under-development can sometimes be attributed to our inabilities to allowing the hen that lays the golden eggs to hatch the golden eggs laid. Hence, we throw leaders out of office because we have allowed critics who know the way, but cannot drive to fill our minds with “quick-fix mentality.” But, no one has really taken time to compare the consequences of not allowing our leaders to complete their constitutionally allowed terms in office. May be it is the “Quick Fix” induced style of governance witnessed in the past that is responsible for the embarrassing rates of abandoned projects in the country! This is because, when a new leader comes to power, instead of continuing with policies and projects execution, he will be tempted to abandon them to starting new ones. And when his tenure is cut-short, the time, money and energies spent towards the materializations of the
project become a waste. But, thank God that the 2015 presents us the opportunity to correct our past mistakes, because problem known is half solved.
Finally, as President Good Luck Jonathan plans to tell Nigerians his decision about the 2015 Presidential Election later in the year, I urge Nigerians to allow substance to prevail over shadows, because, if the 1999 Constitution should be our grand norm in Nigeria, then it should be applied in Jonathan's case.
Comrade Edwin Ekene Uhara is an Activist and Public Affairs Commentator.
He is also the National President of Young Nigerians for Change.
No. 9, Imgbi Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.