THE WONDERS OF JONATHAN'S TRANFORMATION PROGRAMME
In 2010 when other Presidential candidates were declaring their presidential interest with Six Points Agenda, Four Points Agenda even Seven Points Agenda, President Good Luck Ebele Jonathan declared his own with 'Transformation Agenda'.
With Transformation Agenda being a novel idea in the nation's socio-political mantra, many analysts and commentators were confused of what the President actually meant by transforming Nigeria. Some gave conceptual meaning to it by asking 'Does he mean a dramatic change in Nigeria?' If true, then the president is only going to work in the area of Nigeria's Foreign Policy! But, little did they know that, what President Jonathan meant by transforming Nigeria was an integrated development that cut across all sectors of the national economy. His reason was because, the challenges facing Nigeria as a country were too numerous to be limited to only six or four points agenda as other contenders did!
However, on assumption of office, our amiable and pragmatic President left no one in doubt about the tasks ahead! Hence, he rolled up his sleeves and hit the ground running by first of all assembling the doyen of Nigeria's crÃ¨me de le cream who will help him in the transformation programme. As a result of this, within one year, Nigerians and the entire world began to feel and acknowledge the giant strides of the Jonathan's administration. That was when cynical Nigerians began to have a rethink!
Their change of mind however did not come easily; rather they were compelled to change their position because of the undeniable wonders of the Jonathan's transformation programme. In fact, if the blind man or woman in the country cannot see the wonders of the transformation programme, certainly, he or she perceives transformation in the Agricultural Sector, Power Sector, Education Sector, Mining Sector, Transportation Sector, Oil and Gas Sector, Rehabilitation and Expansion of National Infrastructure as well as Job Creation among numerous others.
The Education Sector for instance got an increased allocation from the paltry N224 billion in 2007 to N634 billion in 2013. This figure however did not include the improved access to education which is seen in the building of 125 Al-majiri schools, thereby removing more 9.5 million Al-majiris from the street to modern class room comparable only to those found in Europe and America. The transformation train also moved to the tertiary institutions by establishing three additional Federal Universities in the North, bringing the total number of Federal Universities established by President Good Luck Jonathan administration to 12. Still within the education sector, the Jonathan's Government rehabilitated 352 laboratories in 2013 alone, while 72 new laboratories were constructed in all the Unity Schools and Federal cum State Polytechnics in the country.
In the Agricultural Sector, the Jonathan administration achieved what his predecessors could not achieve during their reign in office! With the introduction of the e-wallet system, brief case-farmers who were hitherto notorious for sabotaging the efforts of the past regimes in the agricultural sector were dislodged. As at the end of last year, over 4.2 million farmer's nation-wide got fertilizers at highly subsidized rate under the Growth Enhancement Scheme (GES). That success alone led to the production of over 8 million metric tons of food stuffs in the country, while at the same time, bringing down the cost of food importation in to the country from the exorbitant rate of N1.1 trillion in 2011 to N648 billion last year. By the end of this year, it is expected that Nigeria will move from food importing country to becoming a net exporter of food.
Similarly, with the successful introduction and implementation of the National Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) whose mandate and purpose is to industrialize and diversify our national economy from overdependence on oil and gas industry to agro-processing, light manufacturing, petrochemicals among others which is attributed to the wonders of the Jonathan's Transformation Agenda, Nigeria is now better positioned to join the next emerging global economic giants known as MINT. The MINT countries are; Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.
Also, with our rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Nigeria is now the largest economy in Africa and 26th in the world with $510 billion worth of GDP. It will be recalled that, the last time our GDP was rebased was in 1990; a time the telecommunication subsector, publishing, entertainment, ICT among other subsectors were not captured in the calculation of our GDP. Hence, the rebasing of our GDP by the Jonathan's administration has the capacity of attracting multibillion dollar worth of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in to the country in the nearest future!
The manufacturing sector also got an unprecedented boost under the transformation programme of the Jonathan's administration. For example, Nigeria has moved from being an importer of cement to an exporter of cement to the outside world; as the country's cement production capacity has increased from 2 million metric tons in 2002 to 28.5 million metric tons in 2013. And it is expected that, the wonders of the Jonathan's Transformation Agenda would double that feat by the end of this year.
In the area of job creation, the Jonathan's administration in the year 2013 alone created about 1.6 million new jobs and has added about 500,224 jobs for the first and second quarters of this year. This is outside the 70 percent of Nigerians who work in the informal sector. With the sustenance of the Youth Enterprise with Innovation (YOU WIN), the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) and the Presidential Job Creation Committee of the Jonathan's administration which has the mandate of creating 3 million jobs yearly, it is believed that an end to the high rate of unemployment is now in view!
The Transportation Sector is also not left out, as massive construction and rehabilitation of our road and rail system is ongoing at an unprecedented level. With the construction of Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja road, the construction of Kano-Maiduguri road, the 2nd Niger Bridge, the rehabilitation of Shagamu-Ore-Benin dual carriage road, the rehabilitation of Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriage among many others, Nigerians can now drive to any length without fear of the usual carnage on our road or Ember demons!
Because of the wonders of the Jonathan's Transformation Programme, Nigeria has being named as the number one investment destination in Africa by the influential United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. This is why the entire world converged in Abuja in May this year for the World Economic Forum for Africa.
The wonders of the Jonathan's transformation programme are countless as it cut across all sectors, but, for the sake of time and space, let me stop here until Jonathan declares his intention for the February 14 2015 Presidential Election.
Comrade Edwin Uhara, is a Member of PDP Project Reloaded Media Team, Abuja.