by Ayokunle Odekunle
When I was at the Primary School, there was this guy. My Head Boy. His name is/was Mukaila.
I attended an elitist Primary school in Abeokuta and I remember how my dad toiled real hard to pay my school fees. Fact is, even though the school was an elitist school, a minority of the students were not elites. We just had some very good and ambitious parents who wanted the best for us and were ready to spend their last dime to pay our fees.
The ‘Elites’ in the school were in the majority and whenever we were to elect prefects, they were ALWAYS elected. They therefore saw ‘prefectship’ as something which was as of right.
Mukaila and I came from the same kind of background. Even worse. His father was a bricklayer and he paid Mukaila’s school fees in 5 installments. He had the ambition to be the school Head Boy but there was a snag: He wasn’t an elite. By omission or commission, Mukaila contested for the post and defeated his opponent, a prominent elitist. Many of the elitists refused to believe that Mukaila won the election free and fair. They huffed and puffed.
Mukaila was sworn in.
Before he started performing his duties, they had branded Mukaila a failure. To them, there was nothing he could do that would be right. They had spoken among themselves as friends and because they were in the majority, it gradually became the accepted consensus that Mukaila was a failure.
The people had already seen Mukaila as a failure just half-way into his tenure! Nothing he would do would convince them otherwise!!
Away from Mukaila’s story, I have seen people condemn someone all because they don’t like him. I have seen step-mothers condemning their step-children all because they don’t like him/her. Nothing he would do would please her. Whatever he does badly; it is because he is so naturally bad that he cannot do anything well. Where however he manages to do anything well, she would choose to overlook it… after all, he is a naturally useless person and useless people don’t do anything usefully.
In many ways, Mr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s story is exactly like that of Mukaila, my good friend. He never gets credit for anything he does. Infact, some people believe he is ‘useless’ by default. Many have never, are not and will never see anything good in him. And why should they?
Here was a man who is about making a Retired General whom many of them see as a hero’ Nigeria’s Abraham Lincoln (Emeritus Loser). Here is a man who has rendered some people so useless that they have now formed an online party called the SOCIAL MEDIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY (I didn’t say El-rufai), where they vent all their frustrations. Here is a man who has made Mr Femi-Fani Kayode a conspiracy theorist per excellence, when he is now so jobless that he can link the Woolwich tragedy to the Illuminati. (a result of writing when you are drinking Alcohol).
Mr Jonathan has spent 2 (or 3?) years in power already and our political analysts are out in full force to analyze his tenure. Some of these people are analyzing with good intentions but many suffer from selective myopia: They only see what they want to see.
To many of these intellectually myopic people, Nigeria has made NO progress under Mr Jonathan. To them he has failed, he is failing and he would ALWAYS fail.
How true is this?
I would attempt to briefly and without sentiments examine some keys sectors of his tenure and how they have been run over the past 2 years.
Mr President has performed below par in the area of public relations and perception. He oozes an acute lack of confidence and he delivers speeches like a primary school student debating for the very first time. He is a classic example of an uncharismatic leader. More often than not, he has failed to LIFT Nigerians in times of despair.
Infact, Mr Jonathan manages to run his mouth in times of trouble. He always manages to say the very wrong things when the Nation is on fire. After a certain bomb blast, the President said “NIGERIANS DON’T PANIC. TERRORIST ATTACKS HAPPEN EVERYWHERE”.
Furthermore, he performed below par during the Amanpour Interview.He has goofed in a lot of his public speeches that I wonder if he has minders and speech writers.
For a start, I would advice Mr Jonathan to be an apprentice to Mr Barack Obama of the USA for just 3 months to take some lessons.
Furthermore, Mr President should caution or discard with a lot of those who constitute his media team. I don’t believe he needs someone like Doyin Okupe. In as much as he needs someone to handle Mr Lie Mohammed of the ACN when he breaks into a fit of acute mouth diarrhea, he doesn’t need someone like Okupe who sometimes turns logic on its head and puts the President in more trouble. He needs someone calmer.
Mr President should know that perception matters a lot. His appearance also does. How he presents himself says a lot about how he would be addressed by his subjects.
I stumbled upon a Daily Times Newspaper of 1981 where the then President Shagari said “Power will be stable next year”. Over 32 years down the lane, we are still experiencing the same problem.
Were some Nigerians expecting the President to just perform some magic and give them CONSTANT power within two years? I mean you expect him to solve a problem of over 32 years in 2 years?
To be fair to Mr President, there has been massive improvement in power supply and with the privatization going on, it is sure that power supply can only get better.
On this particular subject, Mr Jonathan deserves some credit from his traducers.
Has any unemployed youth tried finding out from his state Governor if there are available jobs? Has any of the youths tried his hands on something? How many youths are employable? How many youths can speak GOOD ENGLISH? How many youths are RESPONSIBLE? How many NYSC members have drawn their Curriculum Vitae? How many of them have ambitions?
This is an issue I would not blame on the Federal Government. It is everybody’s blame to take!
I once heard one of those mushroom ‘pro-democracy’ groups blaming the President for corruption. I asked them; Are we to blame the President for corruption going on in the State Governments? Local Governments? Corruption between private individuals?
My point is that: Corruption is an INSTITUTION in this country and it goes beyond a man. How come critics of Mr Jonathan haven’t asked the Head of one of the major opposition parties in the countries where he got the money to build a world class hotel, a Newspaper house, a television station, a Taxation company that bears something like ‘Alpha and Beta’, an Airline.?, Money to fund a political party, the 2 Million pounds donated to Governor Mimiko during the 2007 Election run-in?
We have seen the Government arraigning ‘corruption’ suspects. Is the President supposed to be the Judge? There is a legal maxim which says NEMO JUDEX IN CASUA SUA (you cannot be a Judge in your own case). And if our Judges are not so competent or are corrupt, are we supposed to blame the President because so called corrupt people are getting off the hook?
I would not blame the corruption in this country on Mr. President even though I believe he can do better. There has been allegations of corruption against some of his Ministers, a more responsible Government would have ordered investigations into the allegations.
I think Mr President needs to be more pro-active in the fight against corruption. The State Governors too.
To be candid, I think this Government deserves in pass mark when it comes to infrastructure. Federal roads are getting better e.g Benin-Ore Road, Nigerian Railway is back and running, etc. I however feel the Government can do better. Many of our roads are still death traps.
For the first time in a long time, elections are no longer do or die affairs (Mr Obasanjo’s theorem). We have witnessed the ruling part losing elections without the President trying to interfere unduly eg Ondo, Ekiti. However, we have seen opposition Governors ‘upturning’ the peoples’ mandate during ordinary local Government elections (Lagos and Edo come to mind).
The Boko Haram impasse has really taken the shine off Mr President’s performance when it comes to security. His indecisiveness has led to colossal loss of lives. I am however satisfied with the State of Emergency he declared in 3 states and the results achieved so far.
I have noticed that Nigerians are always fast to heap all blames on the President. Do they know that we have 3 arms of Government? Do they know that it is the primary function of the State Government to provide water? Do they know that provision of primary health-care is the fuction of the state Governments? Do they even know that they are more beholden to their state Governors than the President?
I have always heard people criticize the President and when I listen to some criticism, I suffer emotional depression. Some people criticize him and I am tempted to look at their own antecedents. I heard Mr Femi Falana say “MR JONATHAN HAS NOT ACHIEVED ANYTHING” and I was disappointed in him. We should not criticize just because we want to make headlines and then have our picture appearing on the frontpage of Newspapers or to trend on twitter. We should criticize objectively.
Whoever is crying sees as well.
If Mr Jonathan’s critics believe that he is incompetent, then I dare say he has taken incompetence to a higher level and I wouldn’t mind being called incompetent as well. To also say that he has done and achieved NOTHING is a lie from the pit of hell. You can say that he has not done much, has not lived up to expectations and so on. But that he has achieved nothing? ABEGI!
Mr Jonathan has just spent half of his tenure. It is too early to call him a success or a failure. We should wait till May next year before we can conclude if he is a failure. YOU DO NOT DETERMINE A STUDENT’S PERFORMANCE BY HIS MID-TERM RESULTS. You wait till the end of the session to determine whether he should be promoted to the next class or should be dropped off the bandwagon.
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