RE: Acting President Goodluck Jonathan’s Ministerial Inaugural Speech.
The Acting president's speech during his inauguration of the nation's new ministers on April 6, 2010, is a beautiful oratory. It's a great speech indeed! What matters, however, is the implementation of the content and especially government policies and initiatives that will attend to the needs of the people.
The people (and the world) will hold him by his words because actions speaks louder than Words. And this isn't the first time such words have been spoken and nothing concrete done but business as usual. It's been the sorrow, death of a people; the death of a nation while few smile to the banks with Niger Delta/public funds.
It's easy to write or be written for and read what has been written. Doing as written or said is another, but very important thing. I hope these sweet words will translate into decisive action! Government is about people; the people and not few persons. Ogoni/Niger Delta's bid for justice is one area the Acting president must look into immediately and resolve for a one Nigeria, progress and economic stability. If it takes the scrapping of existing states that are nonviable (about 90 percent of the 36) but acting as parasites (saprophytes or sarcophagus) to the few viable and Niger Delta's in particular.
The Federal government must take this bold step. One huge problem the Acting president would have or has is the lopsided National Assembly predominated by Northerners and other so-called majority ethnic groups.
And this illogical, ill-conceived design or formula was and still a means of usurping the resources from the "minorities." It's caused by creating a multiplicity of states for the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo people to maintain control and repression against more than 297 ethnic nationalities that were forced to make up the contraption Nigeria.
These three groups aren't in any way different in ethnic status from others. Yet and sadly they've held the rest at gunpoint. I must say here that this inequitable geographical and political structuring is the deepest disease plaguing the nation and it must be redressed. That is, the system should be restructured to represent all ethnic groups that form Nigeria for peace to reign. And a Sovereign National Conference that will bring all the forced groups to renegotiate their destiny will solve the above irrationality based on selfishness and greed. Although Nigeria is supposed to be a federation of ethnic groups. If it's today seen as a federation of states (like America) then states should be created for all the ethnic groups. This is insofar as each group has what it takes to run a state and get occasional support from the central government instead of the dependence that prevails. Groups which can't provide for themselves can negotiate a merger. This will conduce to peaceful co-existence.
You don't cheat others by creating more states for yourselves and use their resources to run those states that are almost dead. The British colonialists taught the Hausas of the northern fringe how to do this unsavory act because the former used its citizen's tax-money to run the north and later used the funds from the south to run same and relieve its taxpayers of this burden. This method must be broken if Nigeria must remain as one, after all there is nothing known as one Nigeria but the greed for Niger Delta oil and gas. For the north and others to survive more Niger Deltans must die and their environment depleted by oil exploitation. They're forced near extinction for others to live and this isn't fair!
There has to be a collective pool channeling resources to the center for the good of all. The current structure where only Niger Delta and few others pull their resources to the center for all the nonviable states is absurd, against all economic measures. It's polarizing and has a tendency of leading the nation into chaos and dismemberment. It's illogical and counterproductive and must therefore stop! This systemic injustice and disrespect is the reason Niger Delta and others have remained perpetual slaves in their land and in the midst of plenty. They've continued to wash their hands with stinking saliva yet clean water streams from the rivers of nature. This is unfair and unjust! It's unacceptable and must stop if the project called Nigeria isn't bracing up for its last days of existence.
Politics is a game of number, whether in a democracy or otherwise. Majority carries the vote as they say doesn't always mean such votes are based on the truth and in the interest of the people. If it were
the case the majority rule and votes should have made Nigeria an economic power of international height as well as an enviable beauty, where citizens don't complain about simple or basic needs. That is, basic necessities such as food, waters, health care, education, electricity, access road, and security among others. In the midst of the black gold oozing from the veins of the Niger Deltans the people and nation remains one of the poorest, most corrupt, insecure...and life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short as written by Thomas Hobbes.
The Acting president and his new cabinet can do better and redeem the nation from a known quagmire that is threatening the continuous existence of the artificially created framework-no thanks to the British. All it takes is a renewed attitude to service for the public against the popular mode of a master's overlordship. It takes justice, empathy (not sympathy), mutual respect, integrity, probity and understanding. These are natural and environmental traits that need no degree. In short, some if not most of those with degrees in the government of Nigeria lack these traits. The false and forced marriage between the ethnic groups of Nigeria isn't enough after 50 years to keep the common people in a state of squalor. What should be said of a country that gives no special attention to children and women? Enough of this mess, enough! Or does equity, justice, sustainable development, which incorporates poverty eradication and women/youth empowerment mean nothing to the Nigerian rulers; the cabal? Then they should cease to exist if yes, becomes the answer.
As earlier enunciated the forceful formation of Nigeria by the British for their own good could play some roles in the predicaments faced. But by now the people should have out-grown this British blame game and do right by themselves for harmony, peace and stability. In Nigeria, like in the rest of African nations it's black against black and not white against black. Why can't there be a system that favors the people when everyone is black if we've complained about race and racism in white dominated systems? Is what's happening in Nigeria and Africa/black nations a disease that can't be cured? I believe it can be cured, if it's a disease. It will take determination, self and group respect, selflessness, honesty and understanding. It will also take the equality of persons and especially before the law; and the understanding of the root causes of the problems.
Conclusively, the task before acting President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who is invariably the president, is to work hard, roll back his sleeves like Obama and push policies that will benefit the masses to the National Assembly. It isn't going to be an easy one but achievable. Although the biggest challenge is the unequal representation in the assembly, the Obama-Democrat style might work. This is if things such as resource control and environmental justice for Niger Delta (like American health care and education reforms, etc.) are seen as the panacea to the nation's problems as they're. Government measures will succeed if economic/petroleum and electoral reforms, good governance, democracy, the rule of law and not the protection of corrupt and evil government officials and others are likewise seen as the remedy to the aged problems.
The Northerners and others should by this point have no reason not to concede to the oil-rich region its rights bearing in mind their own land and resources aren't confiscated by the Federal government as the case with Niger Delta. This in itself is a glaring injustice. There can't be a federal law holding one persons land and having nothing to do with other's simply because there is oil on the one held hostage. The north, west and east, even the south south or Niger Delta must understand that no relationship can succeed without respect, adaptation and strategic and effective communication. They should learn how to respect those whose land they're milking and adapt to the realities of the time. They should learn how to do right by the south-south; and learn how to redirect their priorities and reinvest in themselves without holding sway the Niger Delta.
It will get to a point where this hostage taking by the majority ethnic groups will explode and consume the entire nation in another avalanche of blood letting. That point will definitely come if the hostage takers don't have a rethink and a change of heart. That day is drawing closer. But I hope they would see the signs of the time and do right to safe Nigeria from imminent collapse. Nothing stays the same; not to talk of Nigeria that was formed on falsehood and so making no meaningful strides to positively change its destiny for better.
Jonathan has a duty to romance with Northern legislators and others and let them see reasons in the interest of the polity. The Obama style I've alluded to is the use of his party to do what's right for the people despite the recalcitrant and "Do nothing" attitude of the Republican Party. The party's racist white supporters, who believe the privileges or rights they enjoy shouldn't extend to blacks and others tried but failed to stop what the president did that is right. They will all benefit from the reforms anyway, like the hostage takers of Nigeria will also benefit from reforms there so long as they stop being lazy, crooked and work. Obama's success is based on delivering his campaign manifestos. He had also worn the hard, suffering shoes so knows where they hurt. The Nigeria environment isn't same as America. It's the same concept of doing what's right for the masses.
It's about justice, power decentralization, respect, collaboration, honesty, responsibility and accountability. These are the concepts that allows for good governance which Jonathan emphasized in his new minister's inaugural speech. He should be ready to do it alone with his party or those willing to do the right thing. And that is if all attempts to bring everyone in the National Assembly to act responsibly, fairly and honestly fail. When we do the right thing, the fear of offending anyone doesn't exist, but doing the wrong thing as prevalent in Nigeria against the wishes of the people meant to be served causes one to fear the consequences.
Jonathan's resolve to solve the Niger Delta question, which is also Nigeria's (him being the first president from the region) while also doing right by other Nigerians is the crux of his presidency even though short. He might also run in a free and fair election to become the next president and complete a redirectional map for the good of the nation. The presently held rotational presidency or zoning by the "Peoples Democratic Party" or PDP, the ruling party is undemocratic. It's particularly so, if all the ethnic groups will not have a fair share of the rotation. Meanwhile, what Jonathan does in relation to Niger Delta (in his tenure) will determine to a large extent what non Niger Deltans that may succeed him would do.
There shall be a lot of obstacles on his way, but he will overcome if he's the gut and charisma. If your father, mother, or sibling can't do it for you with the wherewithal available what makes you think those who aren't related and have demonstrated their uncanny hate and oppressive attitudes toward you (the oil-rich people) would do it? I wish President Jonathan and his administration good luck. We all stand before history as we write and make it everyday. Writing history in gold as against irresponsibility, exploitation, intimidation and bloodletting, deceit, discrimination and hate matters!