Fidelity bank card banner Camano banner

Jonathan and the making of a new Nigeria, By Kanayo Esinulo

By News Express on 24/08/2015

Views: 2,580


For me, the emerging face of a new Nigeria started with the bold decision to challenge the old order by the government of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, when it became clear that the old ways and methods of getting Nigeria moving again were not paying off. And what are those bold attempts at introducing new ways of tackling the many challenges that have hindered Nigeria’s development for quite some time. I take the power sector as an example. Our good friend, the late Chief Bola Ige, became the Minister of Power in 1999 under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

At his first press conference as Nigeria’s new Power Minister, he promised Nigerians that in ‘six months, electricity supply would stabilise and power outages would minimise considerably’. I reacted immediately in my column in one of our weeklies that ‘Chief Bola Ige’s hope and optimism may be a tall order, except he has the courage and the will to fight and defeat the criminal mafia within and outside NEPA that is both entrenched and formidable and fearless’, By this time Chief Ige did not know the character of the mafia in the power sector nor the level of its fearlessness and its capacity to stoutly resist any structural changes that he would introduce to make NEPA to deliver quality services to Nigerians.

When Chief Ige saw what some of us have been writing about for years, even decades, he was sad and requested, I am told, to be moved away from that ministry. Until he was killed by cowards in the recesses of his bedroom, Ige was Nigeria’s Attorney General and Minister of Justice. The simple truth was that our Cicero was thoroughly overwhelmed and couldn’t handle NEPA; it was too hot for him. He was obliged by Obasanjo and was relocated him to the Justice ministry.

Jonathan smashed that stubborn and hydra-headed mafia that has been milking Nigeria dry in that sector and successfully kept Nigeria and its people in darkness, made Nigeria notorious as the ‘darkest country in the world’, in this age of computers and  rocket science. His administration routed the criminal gang that monopolised NEPA and released the energy sector from their grip and stranglehold, paid off many thousands of its workers, privatised the place and opened up enough space for robust private sector participation in the sector.

Give it to him: Jonathan demystified NEPA/PHCN, just as the Obasanjo government turned telephony into something that even the rural and urban poor can own and operate. In no time, and if this legacy is sustained, and not disrupted or discontinued, electricity would soon be something we may begin to take for granted. And that has been the spirit, it seems to me, that has driven the Jonathan dream for the power sector.

I make this point conscious of the fact that it is the second nature of a typical Nigerian elite to run down anyone who has served this country, once he is out of power. Yes, President Muhammadu Buhari is the new bride in town, and he is currently getting all the praises and attention. I bet you, soon after he leaves office, just after some few weeks, we turn him into a veritable villain that should be probed, detained and possibly jailed. And all his achievements during this tenure would be diminished, erased from their warped minds as they wait for the next victim. But I am told that Buhari is too smart for this category of petit-bourgeois intellectuals.

My second port of call is our federal roads. Twice, I have slept on Shagamu/Benin road trying to get to Port Harcourt. By this time, the road was simply impassable, impossible and its Ondo component was not only bad, but also harboured incredibly daring armed robbers that could have come from Satan’s den. The total collapse of that important road, an artery that leads to other parts of the country, became, at a point, a national embarrassment. The subsequent deployment of policemen at the worst spots along this road did not help matters, as more horrible spots began to emerge requiring further deployments of more armed policemen and soldiers. That did not scare away the armed bandits from the road.

They withdrew for some weeks, only to come back after acquiring more sophisticated weapons with which to continue their ‘business’ and to face ‘these policemen who would never mind their business and leave us alone to do our own business’,  was exactly how one of armed robbers, caught after a shootout with the police, boldly put it. How is that road today, if I may ask? I am not saying that this important road is now super, but no traveller gets trapped on it again and had to sleep inside his car or bus.

The credit should, in my view, be given to the Jonathan administration for its determination and will power to do what should have been done by his predecessors. To me, this road is a sweet alternative to flying, if I choose to stop over in Benin City or Asaba to see good old friends and colleagues. And many other federal highways in the north of the republic got similar attention and treatment from the Jonathan administration.

I ask an old acquaintance of mine who is so rabidly anti-Jonathan to an extent that he finds it so mentally difficult to admit that his administration did one good thing for this country. Embarrassingly, he sometimes loses his usual robust logic and reasoning power when Jonathan and his administration are up for discussions: Is there nothing you can point your finger at that the young man and his team got right or did well, I will ask him? He will throw his neck backwards, focus his eyes on the ceiling for a while, and then suddenly come back to me with the answer: ‘oh nothing, sure nothing, except stealing. That one they did so well’.

I will then tell him pointedly, not minding his age: ‘You are not being truthful. You are not being honest and sincere on these matters’. Quickly, I will remind him of the back-to-life refineries and the great leap the administration recorded in the area of agriculture. Let’s be truthful and ‘shame the devil’, like we used to say in our in our younger days. The four refineries in the country are producing so excellently now. How long does it really take to do the Turn Around Maintenance, TAM. Would these refineries be producing to capacity now if nothing was done to, at least, turn them around, I will ask him?

My inquiries confirm that at the very least, eighteen months is required to complete one TAM. And the story is now going round that if President Muhammadu Buhari administration is not, in any way, sabotaged by the vultures within the system and outside of it, the refineries would conveniently produce enough for local consumption. Is that not a piece of cheering news, and to whose government should we attribute or associate this feat? My acquaintance wouldn’t have answers.

Didn’t the Jonathan government achieve an enviable pass mark, in fact an ‘A’ in Agriculture?, I once asked my man. But knowing his mindset and how unfair he is when discussing and assessing the immediate past administration, I quickly reminded him that if he failed to be true and honest in this one, Jonathan’s ‘sound agricultural revolution under the care of an incredibly efficient and dedicated agric minister, Dr. Adesina’, then I would most humbly suggest to his wife that we call in a psychiatrist. With my warning in mind, this old time acquaintance whose name I continue to protect, would reluctantly say: ‘E be like say the man try for that area’. I asked him what that meant. He repeated himself.

I then reminded him our robust discussion in I998, some days after the sudden death of General Sani Abacha. I said by way of refreshing his mind, that every leader and every government almost always leave one or two legacies for which it would be remembered: Abacha held down the American dollar to eighty naira and remained adamant to IMF promptings till his Creator recalled him; Ibrahim Babangida opened up Nigeria’s economic space for private sector participation. Buhari/Idiagbon instilled discipline in Nigeria and taught us the virtues of orderliness; Only recently, I updated this discussion with him when I added that Obasanjo’s administration should conveniently take credit for making telephony an essential part of our daily lives today.

Would anyone deny that late President Umaru Yar’Aduah brought the agitation and the militancy in the Niger Delta literally to an end by the methods he used and his Amnesty programme? These are legacies. Why my acquaintance would argue that the present level of our agriculture should not be added to the list of Jonathan’s achievements saddens me. And he knows it. By the time President Buhari finishes his term, it would be most unfair not to give him credits for the specific landmarks the current federal administration would leave behind. I accused my man that when that time comes, he mustn’t be blind to what may have been achieved by the Buhari administration.

Recently, I dropped by his house, as I normally do on weekends, and he was drinking his tea, a habit he said he acquired in his student days in London in the 60s, I voluntarily announced to me that ‘NEPA is doing very well now-oo. Everything here has blocked. We thank God-oo’ I laughed and laughed. To some of us, Jonathan did his best and had the will to challenge the old political order and our archaic ways of defining national development..

Let me end by just adding this coda: Those whose official job it is to defend Jonathan and his administration would do so in their own style and at their own time. I have never met him or any of his ministers before, nor did I benefit from his government, in any way. From all I read about him, I think he meant well. He is not an angel, probably because angels do not live in this planet – they are there in heaven. Mistakes occurred under his government, as mistakes occur under any government, but to write, suggest or insinuate that he left no legacy at all, in my considered view, would be most unfair and flippant. Time and history will tell.

•Esinulo, a veteran journalist and public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos. Photo shows ex-President Jonathan.

Source News Express

Posted 24/08/2015 03:25:12 AM

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

 

You may also like...
Nigeria aiming to be among world’s 16 largest...

DSS complies with court order on El-Zakzaky

Domestic airlines record 30,214 delayed flights in 2017...

It’s no longer rumour: Aso Rock moves to...

MASSOB washes hands off disruption of Igbo summit...

National Convention: Okorocha should accept his fate or...

Facebook opens first African office

NIGERIA EXPOSED IN AMERICA •How Nigeria murders democracy...

4 perish in Bauchi fatal accident, man nabbed...

No amount of petitions to EFCC, ICPC will...

Setback for war against terror?: Northern Senators move...

No work, no pay for striking ASUU members...

 

Latest News Community leader, wife, others kidnapped in Enugu Why I shunned PFN panel on Busola Dakola - Pastor Fatoyinbo FG, Labour meet to end minimum wage logjam Officer crushes widow to death inside Abia police station Nigerian professor discovers anti-cancer, anti-TB drugs, seeks commercialisation FBI list: FG mulls repatriation of indicted Nigerians NYSC hands over 3 prospective corps members with fake certificates to police Truck crushes army officer to death in Ogun Civilian JTF critical to ending Boko Haram insurgency in Borno, says Governor Zulum Why we are partnering Niger government on ranch - CBN Nigerian stocks rally to 3-week high as investors eye reforms Re-Ondo deputy governor divides PDP: Hand of Esau, voice of Jacob

 

Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (530,229 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (439,056 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (384,017 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (323,188 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (290,749 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (251,476 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (246,349 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (233,636 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (228,295 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (214,531 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (193,302 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (191,203 views)

 

CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (98) Business & Economy (4,406) Business Verdict (79) Columnists (1,097) Complaints & Requests (95) Enterprise & Opportunities (215) Entertainment (648) Features (796) Global Business Monitor (422) ICT Monitor (58) International (3,856) Interview (198) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (166) Maggie's Blog (387) News (50,331) Opinion (1,331) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,334) Religion (1,086) Sports (2,134) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

 

 

 

 

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera