By Ayo Onatola
I read President Goodluck Jonathan’s speech on Democracy Day in the Vanguard Newspaper Online and I felt so disappointed. Without regret, I found its contents the least lucid of all such speeches from the nation’s first citizens since the first republic to date, and including the speeches by all military heads of state.
In addition, it was full of repetitions and soliloquising. For how long will this government continue to commit blunders as if there was no history to make reference to as a guide for whatever actions it is to take?
On January 1, 2012 when Nigerians should wake up to receive cheering New Year’s message from their leader, all Jonathan could offer was the removal of ‘non-existent’ subsidy on petrol, which is a refined product of God’s endowed resource (crude oil), to the nation. Of course, Nigerians took to the streets to protest but our President is never the listening type.
In the early part of the second quarter, Nigeria’s President began to make moves to re-launch himself for wider acceptance by Nigerians, albeit he goofed! His next blunder was his action as if there was no adequate history to guide his administration, as he granted a state burial to the nation’s foremost rebel leader, the tate Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.
For the avoidance of any doubts, the amnesty granted to the Biafran Leader, the late Chief Ojukwu was just a pardon for him to return from exile as a Nigerian citizen but never to wipe off his anti-state roles that culminated in the nation’s civil war. To him, he has bought the Igbo votes against 2015 presidential elections.
On May 29, 2012, another blunder was recorded by our President, but to him, as a carrot dangled in the sight of the Yorubas to deliver the South-West to him in 2015, through the renaming of the University of Lagos after the late Chief MKO Abiola, the presidential candidate of the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the acclaimed winner of the 1992 presidential election that was adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the nation’s history.
Nigerians are surprised, the Akokites are disturbed and the future of that decision is shrouded in uncertainties amidst various questions.
Moreso, the precedence for renaming any public-owned university in Nigeria has always been based on proven criteria in relation to the status and position of the personality being immortalised in the Nigerian government vis-à-vis his contributions to the emergence of the university so named after him.
This was the situation with the federal universities named after Obafemi Awolowo (in Ile-Ife), Ahmadu Bello (in Zaria), Michael Okpara (in Umudike), Usman Danfodio (in Sokoto), Ado Bayero (in Kano) and Tafawa Balewa (in Bauchi), etc.
Even, the state universities named after Ambrose Alli (in Ekpoma), Olabisi Onabanjo (in Ago-Iwoye), Adekunle Ajasin University (in Ondo), Ladoke Akintola University (in Ogbomoso), Umar Musa Yar’Adua University (in Katsina), Nnamdi Azikiwe University (in Awka) had clear-cut justification for the actions.
Without prejudice to the foregoing, I feel Dr. Goodluck Jonathan needs to convince Nigerians that he is a scholar whose actions and leadership style should be based upon tested and reproducible template for people-centred governance. Notwithstanding, all these charades and unjustifiable policy actions of the incumbent federal administration have to be halted.
Finally, Nigerians should be weary of the quality of decisions being made by our so-called leaders in political governance. Late Sir Lord Lugard was instrumental to the amalgamation of Northern and Southern protectorates to become NIGERIA in 1914. It is hoped that our President will not rename Nigeria, BOKO HARAM, come October 1, 2012 or by October 1, 2013 or October 1, 2014, if only for him to get the support of that notorious group to have a second term in office.
NEVER SHALL ABBERATIONS TRIUMPH IN OUR LAND! Although, he should be reminded that he told Nigerians that he was not having any ambition to run for two terms in office. Time will tell!
Ayo Onatola was formerly Medical Librarian at the Lagos State University, Ikeja but now practices in the UK.