SPLENDID RETURN OF MR PRESIDENT
President Goodluck Jonathan’s splendid majority must be a great satisfaction for him; he will continue to have the support of the best elements in the society and, as such, his choice a reality. With unfeigned constancy, most Nigerians do applaud Mr. President’s non-despotic style of statesmanship, most importantly, his modest sit-back stance before and during the just concluded general elections in the country. It is no gainsaying either that his adjourning tenure has really opened up the nation for unprecedented change. The citizenry seem to be more confident that the experienced credible moments will transform to myriads of achievements. The fact, at this time, remains that a single step is the beginning of a million miles just as we owe much credence to Henry Bernbach's claim that, 'the future belongs, as always, to the brave',
Take cognizance of the trend of events, particularly, the political antecedent of Nigeria, and one will find that we are less than being impatient to have underscored the distinct approach of Mr. President. But his best may have not been seen. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, a sitting leader deployed all machinery to ensure a poll which both local and international observers accorded value to as true, free and fair. You would recall that Jonathan did not spare self as he repeatedly rehearsed that he would accept defeat in good faith should his opponent sack him at the polls. Again and again, he decried the ugly scenario pervading Cote D’Ivoire at the time but put his life on the line in the spirit of patriotism to pledge that Nigeria will never degenerate to such.
Times actually go by turns, and chances do change by course, from foul to fair. Jonathan must have learnt from the past: he must have had a mind steeped in the details of the Nigerian situation; he must have freed himself from competing interests and crises, distractions and interruptions by people who may have determined to fix it and leave the masses to complain; This president must have wisely followed Beveridge’s conditions most conducive to intuitions by diffusing mental and physical concentration on the problem, but instead, enjoyed intellectual stimulation from knowledgeable compatriots like Jega.
Professor Attahiru Jega is one single man that is seen home and abroad—at the moment—as fulcrum of the state machine galvanizing the most contentious ingredient of our national discourse. To salvage the process, Jega virtually engaged his own constituency—the academia—to the advantage of the country. Now and then, men and women from the ivory tower are quite modest and down-to-earth in their response to civil matters. The former university don is seen and believed to have actually delivered. He may have clearly had his name embossed as a template in the Nigerian chronicles. Roll call: Ovie Whiskey, Humphery Nwosu, others; Attahiru Jega seems to stand tall amongst all.
Nigeria’s credible elections in 2011 are a new dawn to democracy in Africa. You may wish to call it the Africa Awakening. For Jonathan, the party primary that produced him was never less than plausible. Another of Jega’s contemporaries, Professor Tunde Adeniran held sway. Amid furies and insinuations of sectional interests, the incumbent still emerged. With all presidential primaries votes counted and announced, and with victory in two-thirds of the states of the federation, Goodluck Jonathan won the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket. He crushed Atiku Abubakar fatally. Adeniran, the returning officer, told Nigerians that 3542 votes were cast during the primaries out of which Goodluck Jonathan pooled 2736 amounting to 78% of the total votes cast to shred Abubakar’s 805 votes. Affirmative action for Nigerian women shrink as Mrs. Sarah Jubril was not helped by her sole vote in the primary election.
Bearing in mind this uncontroversial circumstance at party primaries and looking at the crystal ball, hardly could the process have left anyone in doubt of the certainty that Goodluck Jonathan would beat every requirement raised in the context of the law to legitimize his return to the hallowed villa. He won almost as two times his immediate trailer at the polls. His 25 percent winning and over in 31 States of the Federation including Osun State and the Federal Capital Territory was no doubt convincing. Not even the disparity in vote rationing between the volatile north and the belligerent south was able to capsize his safe coasting to the Nigerian State House. What a destiny! Goodluck, really, to Nigeria!
The tide of history seeks to absolve Jonathan from the glooming effect of any sectional compromise. Whether zoning or not, Jonathan’s home region believed to have been exploited, deprived and left alone over the years in the name of national unity remains the only zone that has never had a shot at the Presidency—not even to deputize. If the race must result to survival of the fittest why not then after the last zone must have had its own turn? Nigeria will remain a mere geographical expression if power only recycles within some predetermined landscapes.
Obviously too, enormous challenges that tend to besiege Jonathan’s administration will require putting in place an uncompromising governmental structure in no time. Arguments so advanced against the on-going economic programme of the federal government of Nigeria are quite swift and severe. Inadequacies of power supply, water supply, affordable housing and health care are said to be terrifying challenges as well. Whilst in times of peace and conflict, the object of government has been understood to be happiness of the common man; the policies may have not really had sufficient impacts on the larger population as oligarchic interests and cut-throat competition presage the system. Foreign interests still play along the process even as conditions of legal convenience of such policies are clearly uncertain.
But the President must deliver as his conditions of service will definitely change between the adjourning regime and the new dispensation. The former was an adventure; the latter, a duty. Winston Churchill emphasized responsibility as the price of greatness. Jonathan needs to form a government of representatives that vote for their constituent's needs first. His policies must be accessible and beneficial to all, open to scrutiny and imagine an uncensored monitoring of the actions of his government by Nigerians.
To lead is to serve. Leadership and service are intertwined. To really get involved, certain heights need be attained. Henry Longfellow (1808 – 82) says that, "the heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept were toiling upward through the night". Of course, the activities of government are being coordinated by a number of those great men. President Jonathan contributes his own quota in the executive arm of government towards making Nigeria great again. In addition to his participatory commitment to effective administration in the country, he would as always seek to affirm in principle and in practice a quality of workmanship and presentation that will dignify, strengthen, and enhance the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy as it would from time to time affect the nation.
President Jonathan will be committed to sustainable development of Nigeria as part of the fulfillment of his mandate, and by extension, the unwavering integration and empowerment of the entire people of the Nigerian State. His reaches to the various landscapes for the purpose of citing, capacitating and rehabilitation of social infrastructures within the country require some underscoring remarks. Thus, he pursues a quality of stewardship that produces the best return for every resource entrusted to him. He has also shown a consistent pattern of behaviour that distinguishes him as a statesman.
Truth, and nothing but the truth must be told about Nigeria and her government and people. From Lagos to Maiduguri, Sokoto to Calabar, Nigeria had sought for a man that will truly be after her heart—binding and uniting the nation—in spite of the diverse ethnic groups, disparate religious affinity and incongruent resource formations. Election has come and gone; Nigerians must see the reality of enjoining the Ijaw man to build a nation where a government and its representatives who uphold the rule of law, and strive to protect our Constitution works to protect its citizens by promoting safer and healthier workplaces, a living wage, and accountability from leaders who use their offices for greedy and nefarious purposes. Be patriotic!
Gboyega Adeoye is a journalist in Lagos.