More than a year ago, President Goodluck Jonathan was sworn into office. As it has been the case every four years in the last 12 years, the inauguration was attended by so much wining and dining, backed up by a lavish spending of tax payers’ money and an avalanche of congratulatory messages.
In fact, the inauguration ceremony was so huge that the outcry that was to later follow from millions of poor Nigerians who saw it on television, better captures how the Jonathan and Vice-President, Namadi Sambo administration took off.
However, despite the huge celebration and the large number of dignitaries, the most important ingredient for the duo to really take off did not attend the inauguration — and that is the required political will and nationalistic fervour to transform the country. No wonder, more than one year after May 29, 2011, our lot remains the same.
A couple of weeks ago, government was awash with congratulatory messages again, ostensibly to celebrate another democracy day; but while all the occupants of our state houses wined and dined, one big question that loomed and still does is, congratulations for what? Congratulations that our country is today worse off than she was a year ago, security wise; or congratulations that the only transformation Nigerians have witnessed so far is that the promises made by President Goodluck Jonathan?
Very conveniently, a cross section of Nigerians during the April 2011 elections did attempt to console themselves by arguing that they were not voting for the PDP, but rather for Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. One can certainly say that those ones know better now.
Another group did rise afterwards, to pontificate that as far as they were concerned, Jonathan did not cause all the problems Nigeria faces at the moment.
Good argument; except that they seem to have forgotten that Jonathan as a public office-holder has been part of the government since 1999, whether as deputy-governor, governor, or as vice-president.
The question is, what has been his impact? In fact, before May 29, 2011, he was both the acting and the substantive President for about two years, which establishes the fact that he has technically occupied the number one office for about three years now. But then, what is there to show for it?
So, what is the so-called democracy day all about? Is it about the state of massive insecurity in the country in which lives of hundreds of innocent Nigerians have been lost; or the country’s unemployment rate that has remained stubbornly high?
Are we celebrating the fuel subsidy scam that has since become a national embarrassment, and which continues to make a mockery of whatever is left of our national ethos?
What, indeed, are we celebrating? The President, while campaigning, told us how he never had shoes while growing up; yet, a year after, millions of Nigerian children have been made shoe-less because their parents have become economically incapacitated.
Thousands who had jobs before have since lost it, courtesy of the rot in the banking sector; yet, we are celebrating. Where smaller African countries are celebrating innovations and engendering an improved standard of living for their citizens, we are celebrating a democracy that we have even refused to practise aright. What is the big deal in having a democracy if it doesn’t better the lives of the people?
Perhaps those who surround the President have not told him, but he should know this: nothing is working in the country. It doesn’t matter how hard the information minister, Labaran Maku, tries to sell the administration to Nigerians, if things are working Nigerians will see for themselves.
If the President means well for this country, he should get down to work. The next three years should be a period of hard work. Nigerians do not need to be told about a transformation, as they know what it looks like when they see one.
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