It should be the aim of every leader to leave the state of his followers better than he met it. A leader that has done this can be generally said to be successful.
If you’re in Nigeria today, you will realize that this is certainly not the case.
Yesterday, I went to buy fuel for my generator and the fuel retailer simply told me without hesitation, “N300 per litre.”
I was stunned and the first thing that came to my mind was, “How did things become this bad?”
When President Goodluck Jonathan or GEJ as he is popularly called became the President six years ago, the pump price of petrol in Nigeria was seventy-something Naira. President Jonathan as advice by Okonjo Iweala, Nigeria’s increasingly unpopular (unliked) Minister of Finance removed the subsidy on fuel and other petroleum products which shot up the price of fuel by about 200%, saying that though Nigerians might feel the pain now, we would be better of in the nearest future. The overnight sharp increase in fuel price didn’t go down too well with Nigerians and a sporadic wave of protests broke out. This brought about only a partial removal of fuel subsidy and the price of fuel became N97, although constantly increasing due to frequent scarcity.
Now, the nation has been hard hit by another round of fuel scarcity and Nigerians are groaning.
The question I have for every sincere Nigerian is, “Are we better of than we were before the introduction of the fuel subsidy removal? How has the ‘common man’ benefitted from the hundreds of billions of Naira stolen from us in the name of fuel subsidy removal? Where is the Subsidy Re-investment board and what tangible thing can they present to Nigerians as a benefit of the pain we have endured?”
Has JONATHAN NOT FAILED?
Again, the issue of the power sector. I can vividly remember when Jonathan promised Nigerians during his 2011 campaign that should we vote him, the problem of constant power outages will be a thing of the past.
Many Nigerians, including myself supported and voted for him on the basis of this which was part of his so-called ‘Transformation Agenda’
In fact, where is the so called Transformation Agenda? Why didn’t he repeat it during his 2015 campaign? He should have told us, “This and this were part of the transformation Agenda, they have been achieved and this is a good reason to re-elect me.”
Jonathan, at a point even made himself the Minister of Power, a clue he probably got from Former President Olusegun Obasanjo who once appointed himself as the Minister of Petroleum Resources. What was the positive result of this? We are still singing the same old song of erratic power supply. He changed the Minister of Power almost four times during his six year tenure, yet nothing! They all kept giving excuses about why the power generation kept dropping.
So, we are in a country with erratic power supply and high cost of petrol. How do business survive? How do small business owners thrive with no electricity and no fuel to power their generators. The cost of everything keeps increasing as is customary with increase in fuel price in Nigeria- Bus drivers, provision store owners- everyone is increasing the prices of their goods and services. As the ‘common man’ will say, “the country is hard.”
On Saturday, I went to photocopy a material and I ended up paying N530 for a job I should have gotten done for N250; more than double the price!
On the issue of the economy, where do I even start? Let me start from how Nigerians were very quick to react in anger and displeasure about the Honorary Doctorate awarded to Nigeria’s current Finance Minister Okonjo Iweala by Yale University for her ‘contribution to development of the country’s economy and bla bla bla…’
In fact, someone started an online petition calling for Yale to take back the Honorary degree. A petition which gathered 2,500 signatures in just a matter of hours.
Lesson of the story? Nigerians are very displeased.
Okonjo Iweala is a woman I respect and admire so much and I’m not in support of the withdrawal of the award but I am, like many Nigerians displeased about the management of the economy which is her job as the ‘Coordinating Minister of the Economy’, whatever that means.
Two strong indications that our economy is failing: the exchange rate of the naira to the dollar and our increasing debt profile.
Our debt has nearly tripled since Jonathan took over in 2011 and our foreign reserves are currently being depleted.
Others are the state of unemployment and inability of Government to pay salaries.
‘Nigeria is broke’ is a phrase I’m sure many Nigerians have been hearing recently, not that its actually true. Madam Okonjo insists that we are not broke but ‘cash trapped’.
I won’t like to go on and on about the economy, especially because I’m not an expert in that field but I would highlight the fact that two Professors of Economics, Charles Soludo, Former CBN Governor and Pat Utomi of the Lagos Business School and a former Presidential Aspirant seem to agree that Jonthan’s administration is the worst in terms of economic management. Their articles about this can easily be found on Nigeria’s foremost blog, LindaIkeji Blog.
Having said all these, “Why did Jonathan fail?” will therefore be a question of interest.
Jonathan surrounded himself with praise singing sycophants, as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie agrees. People like Labaran Maku, Doyin Okupe, Femi Fani Kayode, Reuben Abati…and many others who never told him the truth and who attacked anyone who dared criticize their ‘faultless President’.
Also, Jonathan’s Government was a safe Haven for corrupt people and the PDP umbrella really protected them from the rain of the law. Jonathan’s Government will hopefully be the last Nigerian Government with such high tolerance for corruption.
Imaging suspending and sacking Sanusi Lamido, former CBN Governor for raising an alarm about $20bn that the NNPC didn’t remit into the federation account. The result of the recent independent audit by an international Audit firm, Price Waters revealed that Sanusi was saying the truth. Imagine firing a man for speaking the truth!
To me, though Jonathan is a good man (that is, his personality). He is calm and civil and I must commend him for promotion of freedom of speech and conduction of credible elections but that doesn’t cover for the fact that he failed Nigerians and betrayed the trust we put in him. Nigerians echoed this when they voted him out of office. If he hadn’t failed, Nigerians including myself wouldn’t consider an old General as a replacement for a younger incumbent President.
It is very shameful to be handing a country so deep in crises to your successor.
The Vice President Elect, Professor Osinbanjo said that they will be inheriting the worst economy and I agree with him.
Much has been said about Jonathan and his numerous failures. Even the New York Times before the election said that if they were to pick in the election, they would choose a Retired General over a FAILED PRESIDENT! The nation is however closing that episode on Friday with the swearing in of President (note: no more General from May 29th) Muhammadu Buhari. Nigerians have once again have placed their hopes in another man. We hope and pray Buhari doesn’t fail and I have a feeling that he will not.
God Bless Nigeria. #PrayforNigeria