Last week, the Presidency released a statement to hit back at former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, for scoring the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan below average. The statement, by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, read thus: “Our attention has been drawn to comments made by a former President of this country, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo regarding the performance of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. We aver that Chief Obasanjo’s comments are untrue, misleading and clearly do not tally with the facts on the ground. We therefore wish to assert without equivocation that in terms of performance and achievements, no administration since 1960 when Nigeria gained independence from Britain, has done as much as that of President Jonathan. Every discerning and unbiased Nigerian will definitely attest to this fact as the evidence stare all of us in the face….”
I really do not know the benchmark that Okupe used in rating his boss as the best since independence in terms of performance and achievements, but the global fact is: the statement is deceptive, a propaganda and far from reality. You see, to whom much is given, much is expected and to whom much is within his disposal, much is also expected in return.
Nigeria is not a nation begging for funds. It is also a global fact that the country is blessed and stupendously rich. Even the country’s presidents at various occasions have testified to this. This means that Nigeria has enough to take most of its citizens out of poverty line and make them enjoy good governance through remarkable achievements and also has all it takes to be a great nation.
Nigeria is not Benin Republic. It is not Niger Republic or Chad that the senior special assistant to the president would regard the little and infinitesimal performance and achievements of President Jonathan as the best since 1960. Such statements belittle Nigeria as a nation and a gross embarrassment on Nigerians. Such statements regard Nigerians as people with low expectations and low self esteem. If President Jonathan was the president of any of those countries mentioned earlier, one could have partially accepted Dr. Okupe’s assertions as partially true, due to the level resources in those countries.
In term of performance, President Jonathan is the most clueless among his elected counterparts since independence. You cannot be the best performer and yet find it difficult and impossible to defeat the terrorism under you watch for over four years. In terms of achievements, he has achieved the least among his elected counterparts since independence. You cannot be the most achieved and yet call corruption mere stealing and do more or less nothing to alleviate the poverty of the land.
Also there is only little on the ground to reflect the huge budgetary allocations from 2010 till now. From 2010 through 2014, Nigeria’s approved budget is approximately N23.42 Trillion.
See breakdown by year below:
Year Approximate value (N)
This is an enormous amount that is only read on the pages of the dailies but barely felt in the key sectors of the nation and in the lives of the citizen. You cannot have so much as president within your disposal but do so little and flaunt yourself as the best in Nigeria since independence. It is absolutely derogatory and absurd!
Nigeria has had four elected presidents since independence whose individual achievements no matter how controversial they are, are far better and cannot be compared to that of President Goodluck Jonathan. Starting from Chief Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe (16th January 1966 – 1st October 1963), to Shehu shagari (1st October 1979 – 31st December 1983), then Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (29th May 1999 – 29th May 2007) and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (29th May – 5th May 2010).
President Goodluck Jonathan has been president for approximately five years. I would not say that for these years that he has done nothing. Saying that would mean exaggerating the scenario, but the truth is, his achievements do not in any way match up the weight of resources and strength within his disposal. Don’t be deceived by the recent fall in Brent crude oil price. His administration is the richest since independence yet the most under-achieved. Yes, assessments of the key sectors of national life under President Jonathan shows that the president has not in any way performed up to expectation.
Yes, it is true that the North Eastern parts of the country have been faced with incidents of insurgency and terrorism, especially in the last few years. But you cannot possibly say that is the reason why the president has not been able to tackle corruption squarely. Or is the insurgency also responsible for the use of force and military power against the opposition? Does terrorism prevent him from fixing the health sector too? And others?
Of course, I do not shy away from the fact that majority of these challenges have been before this present administration, but at the same time all actions on ground show that this present regime is not willing to address these challenges and his actions so far have only aggravated the challenges and made them look unsolvable.
Sincerely, I am only being fair on President Jonathan by considering him the worst elected president since 1960 and not the worst president Nigeria ever had. This is not to say that he is better placed than the military dictators that ruled the country since independence but just to be fair to him.
Take for instance, you may want to consider General Sani Abacha as the worst president since independence but remember he was just a military ruler who hijacked power for selfish gain.
However, comparing the level of corruption of both regimes, you would find out that President Jonathan`s regimes is more corrupt than that of General Sani Abacha. This is because cumulatively you might sum up Abacha’s and his boys’ embezzlements to $15 billion, which I know it is not up to, but in a few days, President Jonathan and his boys could not account for $20 billion oil revenue. Let alone the depletion of the foreign reserve, the massive corruption through oil subsidy and various scams among others. This is not to vindicate late General Sani Abacha of his atrocities.
Holistically, if you consider the whole regimes from independence till now, you would notice that Nigeria has never had an outstanding President since independence.
However, if one must choose the worst elected president since 1960, one might just end up by choosing the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan. That is to be fair to him because he probably is the worst since independence.
God Bless Nigeria.
Follow Ogundana Michael Rotimi at: @MickeySunny.