President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: can he be the true national leader Nigerians have been yearning for? His emergence as President of this country, is by God’s providence. Under normal circumstances, he wouldn’t have been able to rise to the top position, no matter how he struggled, or lobbied for it. Years ago, he was a deputy Governor of Bayelsa State. When his boss the incumbent Governor was impeached, he took over.
Later, he became Vice-Presidential candidate under Musa Yar’aduah, during 2007 presidential election on the platform of People’s democratic Party (PDP). They won and he became Vice-President. Following the demise of President Musa Yar’aduah, after protracted illness, he stepped in. His ascension to the highest position in this country, is reminiscent of some persons God Almighty greatly made use of in the past.
The Lord called Moses to lead people of Israel from the land of Egypt, to the promised land. He neither campaigned, nor lobbied for the high position. God used him with Aaron as his deputy, to carry out the job. The Lord was able to beat down their enemies before them; many of whom were giants. Joseph in the land of Egypt didn’t solicit for the exalted position. But, God acted in a mysterious way, to make him next to Pharaoh of Egypt. The Lord smoothened the path of greatness for him, in order to fulfill His divine purpose, concerning Israel. There are clear indications, President Jonathan will perform better than all his predecessors; if he sustains the tempo of his style of governance. Right from the period he was Acting President, generality of the people were overwhelmed by his level headedness, and achievements.
His most remarkable achievement is the availability of fuel, everywhere in this country at official pump price (65 naira per litre), for a year and half now. It has never happened in this country for decades. Many of our past rulers were benefiting from the artificial scarcity of petroleum products. There were times the prices of these products, would go up by five hundred percent, in black market especially during festive periods, like Christmas. During those dark years of misrule, many filling stations used to sell most of their products late in the night, or midnight to black marketers; in order to break even. It was more costly to buy from the depot. Marketers of petroleum products had to bribe at every stage to obtain the products. There were artificial scarcity of the God-given products. These are mineral resources we produce here in Nigeria, and export to other countries.
Our rulers (over-lords) had lackadaisical attitude toward resuscitating our four major refineries, to operate in full capacity. At a stage, all the refineries were virtually grounded. We relied heavily on importation. We produce the crude, and send to foreign lands. They refined them, and send back to us at exorbitant prices. Many of our rulers and their family members, own refineries abroad which they use to refine the crude oil. They were paying lip-service to establishing more refineries in the country.
President Jonathan has done better than all his predecessors, in respecting the secular nature of Nigeria. He participates in the annual Ramadan fast, right from the time he was vice-president. He has given his new Vice-President, Mamadi Sambo more free hand to operate. The latter recently visited Saudi Arabia. He discussed with authorities there. The Islamic bank officials their reached agreement, in financing some development projects in Nigeria, President Jonathan recently signed contract with Chinese firm for the construction of three refineries in: Bayelsa, Lagos and Kogi states.
I must not fail to give some kudos to the late President, Musa Yar’aduah for his genuine intentions. He granted amnesty to Niger Delta militants; improved on the rule of law; commenced the dredging of lower River Niger, neglected by successive administrations. He had the intention to bring positive changes in the country, but lacked the energy to accomplish it. He bowed to protracted sickness eventually.
The President is doing a lot to quell the ethnic-religions clashes mostly in the Northern part of the country. He has said it categorically, that whoever commits any atrocity in the name of religious clashes, will be tried for it. Their sponsors will also face the full weight of law, no matter how highly placed.
He seems to be improving on the legacies of his immediate predecessor, Umaru Musa Yar’aduah, who adopted the position of servant leader. Throughout his stay in office, there was no political assassination, or mysterious death of political opponents. He didn’t have mistresses or concubines, he lavished state fund on. He didn’t interfere with the judicial process either.
President Jonathan need to be commended, for his confidence building efforts across the tribes in Nigeria. When he newly assumed the position of
President, even in acting capacity, some elites from a section of the country were upset by the development. They felt he had come to alter the status quo: somebody from a minority tribe coming to rule the country. They were disturbed by the circumstances that allowed him to step into the shoes of the President.
Now, they are beginning to realize that someone outside their geo-political zone can rule this country Nigeria even better; and protect their interest more. Many of our past tribal rulers, have brainwashed their tribesmen to believe, an “outsider” can’t protect their economic, political, and religious interests. We strongly believe, by the time he leaves office, tribal and religious politics will suffer devastating blows.
Then, the era of divide and rule tactics will be outdated. His present tenure will terminate on May 9th 2011. But, it is too short for him to make the desired impact in transforming the country.
His stay in office has debunked the notion in many quarters, that the person presiding over the affairs of this country must come from a certain tribe. He is from minority tribe– Ijaw. People marvel at his performance so far; even the international community. He has been building “bridges” across the Niger. People’s eyes are now opening.
His coming to power has brought great stability, in the Niger Delta area– his home base. Militancy and unrest there have been reduced to the barest minimum. Pipeline vandalism has died down much; caused by longstanding neglect of the area by successive Federal Government, and subsequently oil prospecting companies, operating in the area like Shell. During the military dictatorship, Shell armed their security men “Shell Police,” with sophisticated weapons, imported into the country. This imperialist oil company, preferred spending millions to buy arms to subjugate and silence the voice of dissent, against their gross neglect of oil producing areas, and their environmental hazards.
They took undue advantage of the near nonchalant attitude, of the Federal Military Government toward the plight of oil producing communities. Virtually, all the heads of military juntas in this country, are not indigenes of oil producing areas. So, they cared little about the gross neglect of the place. Shell, the elite oil company, capitalized on that, and impoverished the people with impunity, by devastating their farm lands, and fishing waters with oil spills. As a result, the company spent much more on security, than solving the problem it created.
However, the present government is seriously reversing the trend. United Nations officials are in the area, to estimate the environmental degradation, and proffer solutions. Oil companies operating there including Shell, are being given guidelines, to meet up with environmental standard. A lot of goodies are going to Niger Delta; with increased budgetary allocation, for the Ministry, among others.
The current President Jonathan, has a long way to go, in rescuing the nation from decades of misrule and looting, from both military and civilian rulers.
Our people have been made poor by selfish and evil rulers. They are hypocrites who make mere verbal utterances on patriotism, and national development. The more they loot and siphon our oil money abroad, the more they carry out propaganda, and image laundering; with the connivance of their sycophants, and hangers-on, many of whom organize awards and titles for them, here and there.
Our leaders usually start well several months of coming to power. They diagnose the problems with the country; like a medical doctor ready to cure his patients. They build people’s confidence in them to govern well. But, somewhere along the line, they derail and become like those they overthrew, or took over from.
We are all watching President ‘Goodluck’ Jonathan. Let him know God has brought him to that position at this time. Let his performance not be a flash in the pan.