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Jonathan: What Nigeria needs for change

THE Arab world is enmeshed in crises of identity and direction. First it was the Tunisians who gave Ben Ali one of the oldest dictators this side of the Atlantic, the marching order.

Although the old tyrant strove to offer palliatives as red herring, the masses were not to be fooled.

They might not have known who would rule the roost next, but they knew exactly who should not. Consequently, he became history. Apparently energised and inspired by the Tunisian Revolution the other Arab states followed suit. Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, etc. And the spate of revolutions is yielding ample results. Monarchies are getting jittery and democracies are springing up.

Not surprisingly in Nigeria, Black Africa’s most populous country, a new kind of revolution is taking shape and already promising a new Nigerian Renaissance. For what it is worth, it is the Goodluck Jonathan revolution and inspiration, sweeping through the country like a hurricane, licking the old order like an incandescent flame and collapsing both corporate and individual boundaries and alliances.

And this is the kind of revolution the nation needs rather badly: a conceptual or ideological blueprint that strives to channel the latent energy of our pedigree along constructive channels. It is certainly not the blueprint for mass murder, arson and bloodletting; it is also not so much the programme for unabashed propaganda and mere media junketing as of eclectic corporate articulation of needs and its sublime realisation in terms of food, clothing, shelter, potable water good roads, health, employment and social security for all.

However, Nigerian politicians might do worse than learn from the Arab efflorescence. Although Nigerian politicians are still in the vice-like grip of corruption and patronage politics, awarding fat and juicy contracts to themselves, their families and their cronies, and still adding to the already bloated burdens of the masses.

The time has come, the Arab uprising has pointed out, for such primaeval crudity and grab grab inclination to elicit mass public censure and demonstrably violent criticism.

And this is just exactly what the Goodluck bravura is all about. It is all about offering Nigerians a fresh breath in a land hitherto suffocating and gasping for breath on account of the debilitating lack of civilized standards birthing succulent corruption and collective corporate paranoia.

It promises to be a new dawn which would sweep clean the entire nation, disinfect the pervasively tangy air of corruption and malfeasance.

Furthermore, the Goodluck Jonathan Revolution is a generational paradigm shift from instituted and institutionalised gerontocracy to youthfulness, vibrancy and intellectual fervour. It is germane to say that before the advent of this charismatic youth from the somnolent reaches of the Niger Delta, it was impossible to see a youth become the president of the nation.

In fact, it is on record that some of the past leaders of our country were so vegetatively old that they became senile in their imaginations, chasing anything and everything in skirts and blouses, like some teenage boys exposed to the fairer sex for the first time in their lives.

The situation was so bad that it was as if it had already been enshrined in the nation’s constitution that no young man must rule the country. All over the nation then it was the virtue of old age and indeed the atrophy of the brain that some leaders then extolled and pass off for genius.

And especially since the degree of infrastructural decay in the nation has been astronomically high, there is the dire need for this Goodluck Jonathan revolution since only an able-bodied youth is possessed of both the physical and the mental energy to dream and aspire, as well as execute blueprints and plans to the letter. An old president usually constitutes a health nuisance to the nation as well as a drain on the economy, having to go for incessant and expensive medical check-ups abroad at the expense of the nation.

The incessant medical trips abroad of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua are still too fresh and graphic in our minds to warrant any mention. Not less so is the crippling cost: millions of dollars which otherwise deployed could have made the difference between poverty and wealth in many a Nigerian’s life.
What is even more remarkable there is the need for a higher degree of honesty, probity, integrity and accountability vis a vis the collection, management and disbursement of public funds. What we are seeing today is how to share public funds into private pockets by allocating fantastic sums of money for cosmetic white elephant projects that do not impact on the lives of Nigerians positively.

Especially as the masses are impoverished and jobless, we would like to see a new crop of Nigerian leaders, not rulers leaders who would think of what to do for  Nigeria and Nigerians, and not what Nigeria can do  for them.

2011 affords the nation the opportunity in a million to bounce back to reckoning and preeminence in the West Africa subregion.

Mr. GAB AJUWA, a journalist,  writes from Lagos.


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