November 17, 2010 by staff
Nigeriaworld, (This Day / All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) – “He hit the ground running.” That’s how a friend captured the dynamism with which Goodluck Jonathan finally took office as president of Nigeria after a rather long characterized by innuendo and suspense. He added, “This is contrary to the expectations of certain interests which had provided him a weak leader.” Indeed, we must say he has proved beyond a reasonable doubt all but a lame duck president.
Without doubt, given his appearance – a politician soft-spoken gentleman who comes across more like a university gift politician robust case of Nigeria – one may be forgiven for doubting whether this man (who his name, “Goodluck, has virtually turned out to be an omen true) might be able to defy the world upside of Nigerian politics and move on to successfully lead this nation quite complex.
A nation of many different, sometimes violently conflicting socio-economic cleavages, political, religious and ethnic groups, Nigeria is sure to be a nightmare sometimes horrible to even the leader at the heart of a lion. We have seen repeatedly that sadly play in our country’s tumultuous five decades of the nation. We have seen elsewhere patriotic, courageous, conscientious and cheerful men who walked in governance with the best intentions of these corridors leave little better than red carpet disgraced, broken, rogues. The sweet lure of kleptomania, self-aggrandizement and nepotism, the strong attraction towards tribal and religious chauvinism, etc. – these are the pitfalls crowded, sinister and strange paths dog men of power at all levels of government in this country.
Therefore, when the modest Dr. Goodluck Jonathan came to the leadership position, many experts have predicted a leadership style dull and colorless. This was especially since he has maintained a stoic silence and calm in the face of intrigue and cover-ups that characterized the period from hospitalization to the sad end of the then President Yar’adua. This reluctance bold in the face of these insidious machinations of the cabal itself, which held the nation captive at the time, was regarded as cowardice or political naivete. But, as we shall soon see, not only proved that equality proverbial “golden silence,” President Jonathan has proved the cynics wrong he made a sort of calm and measured dynamic dynamism to bear on governance and politics in the country.
For example, the tone of his government was set immediately; he took up his functions by an action that captures the adage “charity begins at home”. It is established by the Compensation rank PDP Augean stables by falling long-awaited Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, then chairman of the PDP. For the president, it was morally wrong for a man facing serious charges of corruption to manage the affairs of a party that had as a leader. It is a mark of moral turpitude of the entire Nigerian system that men like these had comfortably chaired the affairs of men and the state. And although the remnants of the era Ogbulafor still persist in the party hierarchy, Dr. Okwesilieze Nwodo leadership has been a breath of fresh air that promises to waft the much needed internal democracy, fairness, due process and equity through the body and the spirit of the PDP. Finally, the regime of impunity that was almost suffocating the party was swept away for good.
But it was the appointment of new Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) leader who would deliver the master Jonathan. It is known that in the annals of political developments of our nation at any time, any leadership the kind of sincerity and openness President Jonathan has shown regarding the appointment of Professor Attahiru Jega that the pattern of INEC. For the typical Nigerian politician, for whom elections are a manipulative game foxy votes at the polls, the appointment of a neutral man at the head of INEC’s simply the absolute political immaturity on the part of President that will only lead to self-inflicted political suicide. Where the president has admitted that he had appointed a man he had never met or known personally as chairman of INEC, a Nigerian many believed he was simply grandstanding posture or to gain cheap political popularity – like most politicians are wont to do.
What the president does not want to have absolute control over the institution that organizes all important elections? Most Nigerians must have thought ironically rejected these claims as they perceived. But come to think of it, in all countries throughout Africa and most third world countries (where there is a lot of noise today on progress towards liberal democracy), the thorny issue of release of the electoral process, agencies such as INEC, the claws of the Government was still a sore point. On the African continent, for example, only Ghana, South Africa, Botswana and a few others were acquitted and honorably in this regard. But now, thanks to President Jonathan, Nigeria is gradually towards joining this exclusive group. And as a further demonstration of its commitment to make INEC truly independent, the President lost no time in removing two of the INEC National Commissioners who were cardholders of members of the PDP. Opposition parties had raised objection regarding their presence in the bodies of INEC.
In addition, the president was quick to approve the budget of INEC, without much trouble and the reductions and quickly moved to affix his signature to the Act looked forward to the elections. From the foregoing therefore, it is clear that from the next general elections, Nigeria is entering a new era of truly free and fair elections if the outcome will be an honest reflection of the will of the electorate. It will, therefore, have the overall effect of making our entire democracy is based entirely on people.
Perhaps no segment of Nigeria and almost felt the positive effects of style-President Goodluck Jonathan focused leadership, simple-minded and focused on outcomes that the people of Plateau State. Our State has been the victim of a deliberate and well orchestrated conspiracy of malfeasance on the part of leaders who would normally make the difference on the crises in the State, either to pursue their narrow ethnic and religious, or pen their political nests. In short, the political elite and security that controlled the reins of the apparatus of the nation’s security state has simply refused to see, say and continue on the path of truth in the very sensitive issue of crisis. But President Jonathan took a big step forward where others, for selfish reasons, chose to go in circles.
For us, therefore, the moment took place during an interview with the president of CNN Christiane Amanpour. In his usual manner of political courage, it is unequivocally the cause of the crisis in Jos on the refusal of Hausa Muslim settlers in the region to accept the natural position of the Berom, Anaguta Afizere and that the natives of good faith and, therefore, owners of Jos. As a minority in the Niger Delta which is well versed in the nuances of the power equation of Nigeria and their ethnic and religious nuances, the President is eminently qualified for this conclusion valid, although informed and impartial. It is remarkable that, for once, a leader of Nigeria’s position put the Plateau problem in proper perspective, without yielding to sentimentality and the whims of power brokers and selfish religious fanatics. Obviously, the president is a leader who always tell the truth (whatever bitter), is not minding whose ox is of the threat, he will not play politics with sensitive issues that affect life and death – such as the Jos crisis.
Then came the shock of Nigeria’s World Cup debacle. When Nigeria crashed into the tournament in South Africa so shamefully, extremely upset and distraught nation called for drastic measures to prevent any future recurrence. This general feeling was doubtless inspired by the inconvenient fact that the Super Eagles Mundial campaigns over the years become fiasco fantastic stories after another. Read the popular mood of the nation at the time, President Jonathan quickly decided to ban the national team for two years. Then, the nation heaved a huge sigh of relief and palpable. Yes, a sanction as drastic as that was what was needed to inject some measure of common sense in the Super Eagles and even the administration of football in the country as a whole. Unfortunately, it is our lot in this country that the national team would always lose even before their first match due to poor preparations, the Official corruption and disturbingly nonchalant attitude of the players, especially the so-called professionals; of course, they dare not do when playing with their club sides in Europe! In addition, it is obvious that such competitions are avenues simply easier for administrators of football in the country of corruption to enrich themselves at the expense of a nation for whom football is more than a sport.
But when tempers cooled and the President prevailed upon to manipulate the justice with mercy, he did not hesitate to annul the decision in the interest of the country. Another leader would have, driven by pride, stubbornly stuck to his guns – after all, he has the last word on the matter. In fact, this is not the common wisdom in ruling circles that the leader is never wrong? However, the decision to probe Nigeria’s football house is so new that it is very necessary, given the fact that in the past, sleaze in this area had been visited with a simple slap on the wrist and nothing more.
The other area where the president presented a positive and commendable zeal in the power sector in Nigeria is jinxed. Well aware of the extraordinary nature of the problem, President Goodluck Jonathan has put his reputation at stake personally assume the Herculean task of monitoring the Federal Ministry of Power. With fierce determination, he finally initiated the long-awaited energy sector reform on the roadmap August 26, 2010, which marked the start of full implementation of reforms in the sector of electrical energy (EPSR) Act 2005. This very ambitious and challenging plan aims to boost power generation to 5,000 megawatts between 2012 and 2013. To make this possible, and contracts worth 1.914 billion for 96 projects were awarded under the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), most of which will be private sector driven.
He said to achieve the objectives and ensure that a tariff structure that will be attractive to private investors, the government set the terms of motion to reconstitute the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC). Overall, President Jonathan had this to say about this and other issues concerning the sector during this landmark occasion: “I took the time to choose the President [NERC] that has similar references to the President of the National Independent Power (INEC). I decided to do because we need a revolution in the energy sector. We hope that those who will lead the commission in this process. I clearly stated several times that the achievement of stability in the sector; government to withdraw from the production and distribution of electricity in the country.
The government will encourage private sector participation in these areas. Therefore, as stated in the Act EPSR 2005, the private sector will be responsible for production and distribution, while the government will always own transmission, but with the private sector management. “It should be noted here that while the former Nigerian leaders passionately confronted head on this monstrosity, this problem was a thing of the past.
This brief foray into the mandate of even relatively (and present), President Goodluck Jonathan’s memory presents him as a quiet but very determined personality capable of making sacrifices to make a monumental difference in the interest of the people and country.
Obviously not a Machiavellian politician of the mold, it nevertheless demonstrated a sufficient understanding and a deep understanding of Nigerians “landscapes rather complex and convoluted, but interesting socio-political and economic. More importantly, he has made firm personal integrity, a rarity in Nigerian politics, to be worn on the body otherwise bad reputation of the political nation and on a scale even larger, and the leadership style of the nation.
Without doubt, these are the exceptional qualities offered by Governor Jang to be the first to call this amiable character to challenge for the presidency in polls next year. And, through the way things are playing today in the country, there is no doubt that this man of honor and destiny will be sworn in as president – came May 29, 2010.
Gyang is the personal assistant to the governor of Plateau State
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