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What Exactly is 'Clueless' about Goodluck Jonathan? (1)

Source: pointblanknews.com
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By Femi Aribisala
Jonathan is the most highly-educated president in the history of

Nigeria.
The English have an expression: “give a dog a bad name in order to kill

it.” It refers to the malicious misrepresentation of someone in order to

discredit him. This has been strategy of the opposition to Goodluck

Jonathan to date. This opposition comprises an unholy alliance between the

APC, the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Northern Elders Forum as well as

the Boko Haram. In complete disdain for the office of the president of

Nigeria, the membership of these institutions has gone to great lengths in

despising, disdaining and abusing the person of Goodluck Jonathan.

“Clueless” opposition
One favoured insult is to refer to him as “clueless.” Taking a leaf out of

the infamous notebook of George Bush who told all kinds of lies against

John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election in the United States, now

referred to as “snow boating;” President Jonathan's traducers are seeking

to establish falsehood about him and his administration just by sheer

force of repetition. It is therefore necessary to ask the question if,

indeed, Goodluck Jonathan can be rightly described as “clueless.” What

exactly is “clueless” about Goodluck Jonathan?
 
Shehu Shagari was president of Nigeria from 1979 to 1983. He had very

limited formal education and never attended a university. Nevertheless, he

was not called “clueless.” Olusegun Obasanjo was president of Nigeria from

1999 to 2007. He did not go to university before becoming President: he

only enrolled after he left office. Nevertheless, he was not labeled

“clueless.”
But some would like us to believe Goodluck Jonathan, who has been

substantive president since 2011 is “clueless.” However, Jonathan is the

most highly-educated president in the history of Nigeria. He has a B.Sc.

in Zoology; an M.Sc. in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology; and a Ph.D. in

Zoology. It is preposterous to describe such a man as “clueless.” Indeed,

there are few Nigerians with comparable educational credentials. Who are

those “clueful” ones ranged in opposition against him? Surprise, surprise!

They are former military dictators with no university training whatsoever

and dubious politicians with forged university certificates.

Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State wants to be president. But what he

displays most of the time is cluelessness. When he captures newspaper

headlines, it is to shout things like: “Jonathan wants to kill me;” or

“Jonathan is not qualified to contest in 2015.” Somebody needs to advise

Kwankwaso that abusing and disparaging the president is no substitute for

having substantive policies on how to govern Nigeria.

Legacy of “cluelessness”
Who can be more clueless than many of the Northern politicians who have

been in power in Nigeria in the past to very little effect and are still

clamouring for power today? These men have defrauded the North and the

country over the years? They have ruled for some 38 years but failed

woefully to promote meaningful economic development in the North or the

South.
In their years of Northern rule both at the state and the federal level,

not a single model Islamic school was established in the North that

teaches Mathematics. Instead, the children of the “talakawa” are

restricted to Koranic memorization and recitation. No single Islamic model

school was established in the North that teaches Chemistry. The singular

focus was on Arabic grammar. No single Islamic model school was

established that teaches Biology. The children of the poor were limited to

Islamic history.
Northern politicians failed to draw inspiration from such excellent Muslim

countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, where

Western education is not deemed to contradict Islamic education. Instead

of educating the youth, some of our Northern politicians kept them as

fodder for instigating insurgencies for their selfish power-political

gain. It is no wonder therefore that, in the 21st century, when a “Third

World” country like India has landed a spacecraft on Mars; an insurgency

has arisen in the Nigerian North-East claiming that “Western education is

a sin.”
Northerners opposed to Jonathan, like Muhammadu Buhari, Ango Abdullahi,

Adamu Ciroma and Junaid Mohammed have never demonstrated any belief in the

education of the masses. Their children don't attend almajiri schools and

beg on the streets. When in power, they pay no attention to the mass

illiteracy in the North. This makes them no different from the Boko Haram

that maintains western education is sinful. Now that we have a South-South

president from Otuoke in Bayelsa State who is committed to Northern

education, these same do-nothing politicians are claiming he is clueless.

Who needs their “cluefulness?”
Jonathan's northern agenda
Atiku Abubakar showed remarkable cluelessness when he observed that the

North would not be voting for Goodluck Jonathan in 2015. If the North

would not vote for Jonathan, who then would they vote for?

In 2011, Jonathan received over 8 million Northern votes. Since then, he

has bent over backwards to reward the North. He has highly favoured the

region in his appointments. The former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim

Mantu said: “Quote me; in a long time we have not had a government where

the northern extraction has enjoyed so many appointments like this one.”

Indeed, under Jonathan, the Vice-president, President of the Senate,

Speaker of the House of Representatives and Chief Justice of the Supreme

Court are all from the North.
Jonathan's opponents would have us believe he is “clueless” but, within

four years, Jonathan built 125 Almajiri Schools in 13 states in the North;

something Northern rulers themselves failed to do. At the commissioning of

the first Almajiri Model School in Gagi, Sokoto State, the Sultan of

Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa'ad III, observed that Jonathan's action was

unprecedented in the history of Northern Nigeria.
“Clueless” Jonathan went on to establish ten new federal universities;

seven of them in the North. It is important to list them, so Nigerians can

be in no doubt how ridiculous the allegations against our president have

been. Jonathan established the Federal Universities in Lafia, Nasarawa

State; Lokoja, Kogi State; Kashere, Gombe State; Wakari, Taraba State;

Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State; and Dutse, Jigawa State. No other president in

the history of Nigeria has this kind of legacy, North or South.

The Jonathan administration has more than doubled the budgetary allocation

to education in the country. It sponsored 7000 lecturers for post-graduate

studies at home and abroad and licensed 100 Innovation Enterprise

Institutions, while also granting 101 Presidential Scholarships for

innovation and development. 51 Polytechnic laboratories have been

rehabilitated and
34 new NCE awarding institutions created.

The result has been remarkable. There has been a 10 million student

increase in basic education enrolment (UBEC) in the country. There has

also been a 75% increase in O'Level credit pass in Maths and English under

the Jonathan administration.
Health transformation
Part of the grouse of Nigerians against past governments is that when

subsidies are removed (especially that of petroleum), the extra money

disappears into thin air without any appreciable public benefit. For this

reason, Nigerians insist on the retention of subsidies so that the

man-in-the-street can at least get something out of it. However, under the

Jonathan administration, it has been possible to identify the salutary

effect of the subsidy removal on the well-being of the people.

With the drastic reduction of the petroleum subsidy in 2012, the

government created the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme

(SURE-P). This is designed to invest the savings accruing from the subsidy

reduction in critical infrastructure and human-resource empowerment

projects across the length and breadth of the country. To this end, the

scheme has included maternal and child-health programmes.

Within two years, the Maternal and Child Health scheme of the SURE-P has

reduced the maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria by 26%; reduced neo-natal

mortality by 22%; increased the percentage of births by skilled attendants

by 33% and increased the percent of reproductive aged women using family

planning by 100%.
Road transformation
SURE-P has also been invaluable in engaging in a number of road

rehabilitation projects right across the country. For example, the

Onitsha-Owerri and the Vom-Manchok roads have been completed. Work is

underway on the Apapa-Oshodi expressway in Lagos; the Benin-Ore-Sagamu

dual carriage-way; the Onitsha-Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriage-way; the

Kaduna-Maiduguri dual carriage-way; Lokoja – Benin road; Lagos-Ibadan

Expressway; Mokwa-Bida road; Akure-Ilesha road; Sokoto-Tambuwal-Jega road;

Enugu- Abakaliki- Cross River road; Ogoja – Ikom road; Vandekiya-Obudu

road; and the East-West road.
The Kano-Maiduguri and the Abuja-Abaji-Lokoja roads are currently

undergoing dualisation. The Onitsha Head-Bridge Flyover (Ojukwu Gateway)

and the Oweto Bridge across River Benue have been completed. The Second

Niger Bridge is under construction and the government is also undertaking

the dredging the River. There is also on-going seaport construction and

the expansion of existing ports, including Warri, Baro, Calabar, Onne,

Owerri and Onitsha.
Rail transformation
The railway system in Nigeria had been comatose for over 30 years.

However, the “clueless” Jonathan administration has managed to revive this

within two years. The Lagos-Kano line has been rehabilitated and is now

functional again. The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri line is being rehabilitated

and will soon be operational. Kano-Maiduguri, Kaduna-Abuja and Lagos-Port

Harcourt rail-lines are also under construction.
President Jonathan inaugurated two Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) train-sets

and six air-conditioned passengers' coaches at the NRC terminus in Lagos.

His administration also launched the Mass Transit Train Service (MTTS);

deploying 11 trains carrying close to 15,000 passengers daily within the

Lagos metropolis. This has drastically reduced the cost of intra-city

train transportation within Lagos.
A return-trip from Agege to Ebute Metta under the MTTS now costs less than

N150, as against the more than N1,000 it costs by taxi. Transportation

from Lagos to Kano now costs less than N1,800 as against between N4,000

and N5,000 by car or bus.
This is what Babatunde Fashola had to say about the “clueless” Jonathan

administration's contribution to mass transit in Lagos State: “It is a

very welcome development to our nation, Nigeria and to the Centre of

Excellence, Lagos State. No doubt, we require this infrastructure. We

appreciate it and we will continue to give every moral support that the

corporation requires as we now have complementary services in the

transport system of Lagos State.”
These are by no means the tokens of a “clueless”
presidency.
(Continued).
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