The drumbeats of the 2015 presidential elections are very clear and even deafening on the side of the amalgamated but yet unregistered opposition party. However the Peoples Democratic Party is treading, cautiously, as a result of the President’s ban on political campaigns ahead of the next general elections.
President Goodluck Jonathan has warned his ministers and officials to resign if they want to participate in the politics of 2015 and some have complied. This disciplined approach to governance is to ensure the administration’s focus is not derailed or dimmed by early politicking for 2015.
This is the first time a sitting President would restrict politicking to a specific period to allow the government-in-power to concentrate on governance without distraction. In previous civilian regimes, politics and campaigns for the next elections take off immediately the government in-power is sworn-in. And this is the one of the disadvantages of the double tenure system as against the six year single tenure which Jonathan proposed in 2011. This fine proposal was killed by the National Assembly especially the Tambuwal-led House of Representatives which attacks any proposal or bill originating from the presidency.
The anti-Jonathan plot is thickening by the day just as the federal administration is scoring high on economy, infrastructures, security, education and good governance.
But the plot will crumble like a pack of cards because it is the people who will elect their President, not Tambuwal and definitely not the new messiah of south-west politics. And of course not Prof Ango Abdullai, the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum who just threatened that the North will not accept Jonathan as President in 2015. I did not expect anything less from the Prof who has for long been sidelined in northern politics and only ascended into his political eldorado recently.
It is unfortunate that the professor has never commented on the lack of education in northern Nigeria. About a forthright ago, the Director General of the Nigerian Teachers Institute (NTI), Kaduna, Dr. Aminu Ladan Sharehu said less than 20% of teachers in the North are qualified to teach. This means more than 80% of teachers in the North are themselves illiterates with mainly certificates in Islamic Studies.
The figures on education in the North are mind-boggling. Before the Boko Haram insurgency, 10 million school age children were already out of school in northern Nigeria alone. With the recent wanton wastage of the lives of pupils/students in Yobe State and other Boko Haram states in the North, the withdrawal from school will almost double.
In 2010, Adamu Ciroma and his associates tried all the tricks in their political bag but Jonathan won in all the geopolitical zones including Katsina State which is the home state of his main opponent. That same year, many associations sprang up aiming to defeat GEJ at the polls,but they all failed because of Jonathan’s promises and candidacy. Today, Nigeria is better for it as GEJ is on course in his efforts to take Nigeria out of the woods. A critical look at the President’s transformation agenda showed that out of the 14 points-program he has achieved reverberating success in sight.
Our GDP has recorded encouraging growth and this has stabilized our exchange rate at between N150 to N160 per dollar. In May 2011 our inflation rate was 12.4 percent but today it is about 9.1%. The domino effect of this on the economy is inestimable.
Our external reserve also rose from $38.08bn in May 2011 to #48.4bn in May 2013. Our External Crude Account (ECA) went from $4bn in May 2011 to $9bn in December 2012 and in May 2013 we recorded $6bn. This is because our projected crude oil production fell from the 2.53 million bdp to between 2.1 and 2.2mn bpd. Government annual borrowing was also drastically reduced from N852bn in 2011 to N588bn in May 2013.
The Jonathan administration is working to earn international trust and confidence and this has made Nigeria the highest foreign investment destination in Africa with $7bn Foreign Direct Investment. Many foreign investors have openly praised the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration due to his transparence and absence of covert and personal pre-agreement conditionalities and kickbacks as in some previous regimes.
In agriculture, the administration blocked loopholes in the procurement and distribution of fertilizer.
On rail and road transportation, the Jonathan administration has made giant strides. These were infrastructural facilities that were pronounced DEAD, but it resuscitated them.
In the road sector government has made Nigerians proud with the refurbishment of the Lagos-Ore-Benin Road, Kano-Maiduguri Road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Road. Even most of the eastern roads which were hitherto gullies are now pleasurably motorable. The much publicized East-West trans state road linking the West with the East is also progressing as planned.
Petrol queues have vanished. The usually quarterly deregulation tango is now a thing of the past.
Electricity has improved. And the President is not losing focus as electricity will be one of his legacies.
Many Nigerians are impressed with the President’s handling of the Boko Haram issue. A few critics have lambasted Jonathan for handling the insurgency with kid gloves instead of using the bulldozer approach which leveled Odi on Nov. 20, 1999.
The North has never hidden its disdain for the right of southerners to govern this country. From 1957, the North ruled Nigeria till 1999 apart from Gen. Obasanjo’s three years military rule. The North after ruling for 38 years now felt very sorry for the South and ceded power to the South-west due to Obasanjo’s support for President Shehu Shagari in the 1983 122/3 saga that nailed Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s ambition to make Nigeria a nation to be reckoned with in the comity of advanced nations. And so the North has ruled Nigeria for 41 years while the South in 2013 has ruled for only 15 years from 1957.
The North will still vote the President into power inspite of the Ango Abdullais and the now sidelined Adamu Ciromas.
Jonathan may not be a strong, military, bulldozing President but nothing will deprive him of his constitutional right to contest the 2015 presidential election.
He will run for the presidency in 2015 and there will be no “shaking” about this by the special grace of GOD.
*Nanaghan lives in Lagos.