Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Why some northern political leaders fear Jonathan

For the very first time in many decades, northern political leaders were told the home truth. This was made by no smaller a personality than the Sultan of Sokoto himself, His Eminence, Alhaji Muhammad Sa├ád Abubakar. He was of the strong opinion that northern political leaders have failed the north; pointing out that the late premier of northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, “sacrificed his life for the North and Nigeria in the pursuit of the ideals which bind us together as a nation.” He was therefore forced to ask his northern brothers this direct question: “...what has happened to Sardauna’s cherished legacy of unity in diversity and being your own brother’s keeper?” In the Sultan's opinion, hatred has taken over the place of love, while violence has become very fashionable.

The same sentiments have been raised by youths from the northern part of the country. Under the leadership of Mallam Ibrahim Waiya, the Northern Youth Assembly blamed political leaders from the north for being responsible for the sad tale of underdevelopment and widespread poverty in the region. Sultan Abubakar stated this during a courtesy visit to Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State.

Since assuming the presidency about nine months ago, President Goodluck Jonathan has made concerted efforts to reform the nation's social, political, and economic sectors. Unfortunately, many individuals and organisations have hidden under different platforms to sabotage these noble efforts. The opposition of Jonathan's candidature even after the PDP primaries is one of the efforts aimed at salvaging the north from the claws of a few but powerful cliques that has for centuries thrived on the ignorance of the masses.

One can clearly see the influence of Robert Greene and Joost Elffers' "48 Laws of Power" in the way and manner most northern political leaders have related with the masses. In the book, law 11 states that, "To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you." The ongoing reforms will put an end to all of these and the apostles of "48 Laws of Power" in the north are not comfortable with this emerging trend. Fearing that their foundation would be unearthed, they resorted to hiding behind all sort of banners to derail the good intentions of the president.

Education is a foundational effort to fight ignorance and poverty. President Jonathan appreciates this fact and decided to liberate the Almijiris with a special educational programme aimed at improving literacy in the north. In order to reduce poverty in the region, the president also approved the release of about N30b to bail-out the textile industry based mostly in the north. A similar fiscal policy has been extended to the leather sector also in the north. The lower Niger is being dredged to stimulate massive economic activities in the north. President Jonathan has also directed that oil and gas exploration activities be intensified in the north. This is aimed at increasing the nation's foreign exchange earnings and also indirectly improve the federation account allocations to mineral-producing states in the north.

Furthermore, President Jonathan has sent an executive bill to the National Assembly seeking to establish a Hydro-Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) to cater for the needs of the host communities of Nigeria’s hydro power plants just like the NDDC is doing for the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region.

With all the above and other noble efforts of the president in mind, it will be safe for one to argue that Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is more Hausa/Fulani than the immediate past and present generation of northern political leaders. He has shown enough will to liberate the north from social, political, and economic bondage. It will be rewarding therefore for the north to support his presidential ambition.

Unknown to many, one of the strongest reason why a section of northern political leaders are against Jonathan's candidature is the latter’s choice of Architect Namadi Sambo as vice president. Right from the onset, Sambo has shown that he is not prepared to promote the "old order" in the north. Groups like the NPLF would have preferred a northern vice president that will be in Aso Rock to pursue the interests of a few northern elitist "old brigades." The average northerner is now wise enough to read the hand writing on the wall and has decided to jettison the “old order” that has confined them to the dustbins of their few selfish elites in the corridors of power. This is a new Nigeria. This is the reason why most northerners are singing, “I am Goodluck Jonathan. I was not born rich. If he can make it, I too can!”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NPLF, JONATHAN, NORTH, AND THE REST OF NIGERIA

It will be difficult to dispute the widely held opinion that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s emergence as Nigeria’s president is a divine interjection. In less than one year as president, the Bayelsa State born president has given hope to the mostly disillusioned Nigerian masses. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, fuel is being sold at a uniform price all over the federation. Electricity generation and distribution has improved significantly. By the time the sector is fully privatized, power outage will be a thing of the past.

With a population of about 150m, Nigeria is unarguably the most populous Black Country on earth. This massive population presents an attractive climate for commerce and foreign investments that would have driven away unemployment and poverty. Unfortunately, poor infrastructural development has greatly hampered the country’s socio-economic growth. This could be conveniently linked with the high level of corruption in government businesses and the deep culture of tribalism.

For most part of Nigeria’s fifty years as an independent nation, successive governments have been run like secret societies. The level of secrecy in government businesses has made it almost impossible to effectively fight corruption and other social maladies plaguing the country. In most cases, it is members of the ruling “cartel”-not the constitution that decide the fate of the nation.

Sensing that Goodluck Jonathan will not maintain the “old tradition”, this powerful “cartel” that has been running the country all these decades immediately went into battle against him. It started with a fierce attempt to prevent the then vice president Goodluck Jonathan from acting on behalf of his boss, even when it had become very inevitable.

When it became obvious that they have lost out to the Senate’s “Doctrine of Necessity”, the “cartel” quickly resorted to high level blackmail, intimidation, and slander. After all of their plots had failed, the “cartel” went on to instigate tribal and religious sentiments against President Goodluck Jonathan. It was at this sad point that the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) led by Mallam Adamu Chiroma came into the fray. The NPLF took the issue of zoning in PDP to the level that it gave rise to deep suspicions among many stakeholders in the north that prefer “One Nigeria” to the “Two Nigerias” literally being championed by the minority apostles of zoning. This was the strongest reason why the NPLF’s sole candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar failed woefully during the PDP presidential primaries.

Still refusing to accept the “One Nigeria” option, the NPLF went ahead to appeal to northerners to vote for only northern candidates even though Jonathan has the best of credentials among all the presidential aspirants. This is most regrettable. While not attempting to dismiss the zoning arrangement in PDP, the NPLF should not ignore the fertile fact that it is only God that gives power. The facts are clear enough for everyone to see that God has a hand in the emergence of Jonathan as president. It will therefore be proper that they accept what nature has arranged.

Perhaps, it will be necessary to note here that a greater percentage of northern political stakeholders do not even see the NPLF as a consensus body. They rather see it as an attempt to perpetuate the “old order”, where just a few privileged northerners walk the corridors of power and line their pockets and those of their cronies. This is responsible for why despite the clear fact that northerners have dominated Nigeria’s seat of power, the north is mostly underdeveloped. The vast majority of northerners are living in abject poverty and abandonment.

As part of efforts to address the problems of crass underdevelopment and poverty in the north, President Goodluck Jonathan has introduced a special educational programme to cater for the vast population of almajiris. As you read this piece, three new federal universities have been established in the north to address the educational challenges of the high number of youths seeking tertiary qualification. The federal government has also made available funds to resuscitate the moribund textile industries mostly located in the northern part of the country. Same thing applies to the leather industry. Dredging of the River Niger is also a top priority of the Jonathan led administration. The aim is to promote economic and commercial activities in the north through the citing of a port in Lokoja.

Furthermore, President Jonathan has sent an executive bill to the National Assembly seeking to establish a Hydro-Electric Power Producing Areas Development Commission (HYPADEC) to cater for the needs of the host communities of Nigeria’s hydro power plants just like the NDDC is doing for the oil producing communities in the Niger Delta region.

Clearly, President Jonathan has done for the north what nine northern heads of government refused to do for their people. Jonathan is a positive story of hope for the poor, ignored, and downtrodden. He represents the vision of our forefathers and that of future generations. President Goodluck Jonathan is a symbol of national unity.

Even though, Nigeria’s economy rest on oil and gas revenue from the Niger Delta region where he hails from, President Jonathan has never a day reminded Nigerians of this pregnant fact. This is because, he sees himself as a Nigerian- not an Ijaw man, not a Niger Deltan. This is the truth- so bitter that the Adamu Chiroma led NPLF has refused to accept.

Unknown to many, one of NPLF’s major grudge against Jonathan is the latter’s choice of Architect Namadi Sambo as vice president. Right from the onset, Sambo has shown that he is not a fan of “Two Nigerias.” The NPLF would have preferred a northern vice president that will be in Aso Rock to pursue the interests of a few northern elites. The average northerner is now wise enough to read the hand writing on the wall and has decided to jettison the “old order” that had confined them to the dustbins of their few selfish elites in the corridors of power. This is a new Nigeria.


Kali Gwegwe
2, Greenvilla-Customs Link Road
Biogbolo-Epie
Yenagoa
Bayelsa State.
08064074810
http://kali-gwegwe.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Jonathan Should Be Weary of the Likes of Abba-Aji

One major problem usually faced by political leaders desirous of towing the path of honour is the dearth of patriotic aides and friends. Right from his days as deputy governor in the oil-rich Bayelsa State; Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has exhibited the signature of a political leader that is ever ready to take side with the masses. More than that, Jonathan is a firm believer in the culture of openness, justice, and fair play.

Bearing in mind the unfortunate depth Nigeria's political culture has sunk, many feared for Jonathan when he was nominated as PDP's vice presidential candidate in the 2007 presidential election. They likened his political sojourn to one trying to push a drum of sand up a hill.

There is no gainsaying that many persons are in government entirely for their personal gains. This is one of the rivers that water corruption in government. Political governance is primarily a tool for promoting societal growth and harmony through open policy initiatives. The importance of this fact is hinged on the pivotal place the masses play in the sustenance of any government- military or democracy. One simple way to enlist the support of the masses is open policy initiatives.

Since his assumption of office as president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federal republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has demonstrated his preference for openness in government business. It was for this reason that issues bothering on electoral reforms took center stage in the early days of his administration. Not just that, he has personally campaigned strongly for the One-Man-One-Vote culture. This is the height of openness. Power will for the first time in Nigeria be returned to the people, who are truly the real owners of political power.

It therefore came as a rude shock when the Special Adviser to the president on National Assembly Matters, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji told the media that he will advise his principal not to assent to the FoI Bill that was recently passed by the House of Representatives. Not just that; he also suggested that the Ibos should forget about Nigeria's presidency in 2015.

While the intentions of Abba-Aji may not be clear to many; the truth is that he is quietly working against the political interests of his principal- Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. It will not be an overstatement if Abba-Aji is described by anyone as a "green snake in a green lawn." The best thing for Jonathan to do at least for now is to be very weary of the likes of Abba-Aji.

Abba-Aji's arguments that the comments he made concerning the FoI Bill and 2015 presidential election were his personal opinions are most regrettable. In modern societies, the honourable thing to do when the personal opinion of a government official conflicts with that of public interest is for the person in question to resign. Let Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji do same.