By Charles Adingupu
The ability of President Jonathan to record success in his transformation agenda depends on the decision behind his wisdom to muster enough political will to tackle the numerous socio-economic and political problems ahead of him.
For the world most powerful President, Barack Obama of the United States of America (USA), he has demonstrated unquestionable commitment, total dedication and uncommon guts in tackling the numerous challenges ahead of him.
From the Republican opposition party who vowed to make Obama one-term President his demonstration of political will in handling the General Motors imbroglio with the lawmakers, the USA President held sway. Today, it will be an error in history if President Obama fails to pass as one of the powerful Presidents in America has had, considering the diplomatic success he has recorded since assumption of office.
For most Nigerians, this may be what President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan needs, the political will to make his most touted transformation agenda a reality, impacting on the lives of the teeming Nigerians.
There is no gainsaying that the economy of the nation is undoubtedly in comatose as virtually every aspects of the nation’s mainstay are begging for attention. Although in certain circles, some Nigerians have heaped the sliding of the nation’s economy on purely sabotage, allegedly perpetrated by perceived political enemies. Yet the President sits aloof and watches helplessly at those marked enemies without making bold to bringing them to book.
In his Christmas message, President Jonathan implored Nigerians not to withhold their trust from his administration particularly as regards their unwavering commitment to fully support “our agenda of national transformation for the benefits of all Nigerians. No one should doubt that we have the political will and determination to deliver on our promises of positive changes in the living conditions of our people in the shortest possible time,” he said.
The President who expressed optimism that more of the efforts, actions and measures already undertaken in these areas will be successfully realised in the “magic year of 2013,” and make the results of diligent project planning and execution being done under his administration more apparent to all Nigerians.
But how long must the feverish birds quiver before their master? The President seems to understand that his followers are weary of waiting for him to demonstrate this political will in tackling issues of national concerns such as corruption; unemployment, provision of electricity and the endless fuel crisis.
For members of the opposition parties and non partisan Nigerians, corruption in Nigeria today has attained an unprecedented proportion. It is all about movement without motion. Every passing day, corrupt government officials, failed contractors, oil thieves were named and sometimes paraded before the public without trial. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practice Commission (ICPC) have become lame ducks. The National Agency for Food, Drugs and Administration Control (NAFDAC) has not faired better either in the passing year.
Corrupt officials are tried without being convicted, aside from those caught collecting fuel subsidy funds, who still walk the streets with impunity, other corrupt officials still indulge in corruption with reckless abandon. But has the President demonstrated enough political will to ensure that those caught were tried and convicted according to the law of the land?
The rising number of unemployed Nigerians
As at the last count, the figure of unemployed Nigerians stood at 23%. Though this may be government’s own statistics as there are indications that this figure may be far above this. One of the electoral promises of President Jonathan was provision of employment for Nigerians. Ironically the reverse has become the case. Everyday, Nigerians are being thrown out of job.
The banking sector which employed large army of qualified Nigerians, today is nothing short of a shadow of its proud past. The boisterous bubbling sector has been brought to its knees by the endless and confused reforms of the Central Bank Governor, Malam Lamido Sanusi. It’s on record that no fewer than five thousand Nigerians or more have lost their jobs in the bank. Just last week, about 150 workers of the Keystone Bank were sacked after over 2000 of them were sacked in the wake of Sanusi’s reform agenda.
Again, Nigerians want to see the President demonstrates his political will by either calling the CBN boss to order who has been severally described as an economist of turbulence, and as a man who has created more problems for the nation’s wobbling economy.
Provision of electricity
Regular provision of electricity remains one of the cardinal trust in President Jonathan’s transformation agenda. But since assumption of office, the electricity situation seems to be going from bad to worse. Though, the President has alleged sabotage by perceived political enemies, yet, he watches as the nation slides into darkness.
The President admitted this much in his Christmas message when he lamented that people play politics with things that affect their own lives, that is why somebody will vandalise power equipment in order to ensure that power fails.”
Already the number of firms that have closed shops cannot be counted with the human fingers. This has also translated into an army of jobless Nigerians who want to survive at any cost. The artisans who relied on electricity for their business find it hard to make ends meet.
On security matters
Already the President has blamed the slow pace of his administration on the inherent security challenges, the country is currently experiencing. But beyond this, the President was quoted as saying that those trying to frustrate his administration were ironically members of his government.
Again, Nigerians want to see how the President will in 2013 tackle this undaunting task of insecurity once and for all. He is expected not only to mention those behind the mask but to bring them to book.
The lingering fuel shortage
The perennial fuel crisis across the nation will no doubt be described as man made. Though, the disturbing issue of subsidy cannot be separated from the present fuel crisis that the nation has been thrown into.
For most Nigerians, petrol seems the only succor for them to manage their businesses. In this regard, Nigerians want to see President Jonathan demonstrate an uncommon guts in addressing the issues of subsidy and oil thieves with the much needed political will.
Though, the President who last Tuesday admitted the apparent slowness of his administration in deciding on major national issues, said the reason was mainly to avoid costly mistakes. He stated that experience has shown that in rushing to take decisions it could lead to serious mistakes.
“Government must think things properly before it acts. When you don’t think through things properly or when you rush, you will make mistakes. It is more difficult to correct errors. You can ask those who build houses,” President Jonathan said.
Since this declaration, criticisms have continued to trail the President’s admittance as the opposition political parties, civil right groups and Nigerians alike said this posture of the President Jonathan remains demonstration of his inefficiencies to tackle the enormous challenges ahead of him.
But the President must go beyond words to make Nigerians believe that his transformation agenda was arrived at after a full day’s debate ahead of his declaration of his presidential ambition in 2010.
Moreso, he must go beyond mere rhetorics by demonstrating enough political will to expunge those aspects of the book that will paint him bad in history. This, he must do by wielding the sledge hammer on those who seem to create problems rather than solutions for his administration.
With two years to is exit from Aso Rock, President Jonathan should be more preoccupied with the actualisation of his transformation agenda rather than campaigning for his second term while Nigerians groan in miseries.