As Jonathan Rebounds

by Peter Claver Oparah

Gradually, the dark and ominous cloud that befell Nigeria with the alleged arrival of ailing President Umaru Yar’Adua to the country after a three month medical sojourn in Saudi Arabia seems to be clearing. Gradually, Goodluck Jonathan is getting his lily livered feet firmly on the ground. He owes his ascendancy and his present confidence not to the tired and compromised ex-looters he took the first two weeks of his Acting Presidency cavorting with but to the critical masses who have shown they have far outgrown their jaded and obsolete leaders.

It is not yet uhuru for Jonathan and he must know that he must work hard to secure his forte instead of thinking that power would be secured, polished and landed on his voluptuous laps where he would invite a bevy of expired leaders to come and feast. He must put his hands on the till and start work immediately because he has little time to play with. He must cease seeing power as the prerogative of a conclave of thieving and self imposed leaders and he must know that power has far left the worn out club of predators we were seeing him freely cavorting with and that the selfsame power is now with the critical mass. He must see the credit for his present status on the insistence and doggedness of the critical mass and the civil society. Unlike the horde of past leaders he is presently cozying, the critical mass demand nothing personal from him than an improvement of the hell hole we are sunk in presently. They are not demanding appointments, oil blocs and other perks of office but a radical improvement of the polity they live in and Jonathan would be damned to treat this demand with levity while reveling with the recurrent buccaneers and predators that have ruined Nigeria and brought it to this sorry pass.

For the avoidance of doubts, we want to recapture the most demands the civil society and the critical mass are making of Jonathan. These three are urgent and realizable demands they feel Jonathan can reasonably resolve in the short period he will be staying before he leaves power. I want to capture them on three main planks;

i. Electoral Reforms that will herald a free and fair election in 2011.
ii. Fixing of the problematic power sector.
iii. Rapid Infrastructural facelift, including the resolution of the Niger Delta problem.

On these three issues, Nigerians demand an urgent and far reaching job and if Jonathan should deliver on these, he would have succeeded in etching his name in the subconscious of Nigerians, who have been largely abused through reckless and ultra corrupt leadership. If done, the Nigerian space would be rejuvenated to face the challenges ahead and they are very simple problems that should not really task a serious national government. They are problems that have been made to mutate into devious monsters in eleven years of dubious circular movements. However, to make this happen, Jonathan would have to sever himself from the professional jobbers that flood governments. The preponderance of this lecherous bunch in successive governments, especially since May 1999 has accounted for why the country is stranded in the woods, even with the monumental accruals that have come into the state treasury.
On the Electoral Reform issue, all Jonathan needs to do is to;

i. Free the country from the present highly discredited and malfunctioning INEC leadership.
ii. Adopt wholesale; the recommendations of the Justice Mohammed Uwais led Electoral Reforms Panel.
iii. Institute credible platforms for the actualization of the reports of the Mohammed Uwais ERP recommendations and critically follow them up with the needed legislations where necessary.
iv. Work towards inculcating any other ideas that may help the deliverance of a free and fair election in 2011.
On the fixing of the power sector, I would advise Jonathan to
i. Seek and purchase expert ideas from any part of the world and provide funding the quick activation of what remains of the power sector in Nigeria. this would mean outsourcing the sector to world class expertise since we seems to be running round and round in a duplicitous circle that had worked to shrink the capacities of Nigerians.
ii. Engage in ambitious expansion projects to beef up the power sector of the country.
iii. Dedicate future funding in the power sector to an account that is not pliable by corrupt and mischievous public officials.

On Infrastructural Renewal and the Niger Delta, I wand to advise Jonathan to;

i. Work frenetically to fix critical roads and arteries all over the country to engender greater economic activities.
ii. Build and equip at least one state of the art hospital or health state in all states of the federation, that will serve as referral centers for the best of what we have presently as hospitals in Nigeria.
iii. Carry out an expansive audit of the nation’s refineries and the entire oil sector to know the best way to intervene in the oil sector for the benefit of Nigerians. This will automatically include reviving the nation’s refineries.
iv. Ensure better funding for the educational sector as well as research to ensure it is placed on sound footing to drive the growth of the country.
v. Quickly attend to the infrastructural needs of the Niger Delta and the oil producing states, as well as those of other states and practically give teeth to the letters of the amnesty package.

These are minimal demands that are well realizable within the time left for Jonathan to work till he hands over to a new government. These are not rocket science but very easy checklist that could be easily employed to arrest the drift the country has been suffering since May 1999.

On all these scores, Jonathan has no experience to draw from the tired colony of looters whose loud presence and over-reach in the emerging Jonathan government accounted for the desperation exhibited in ferrying a sick Yar’Adua back to Nigeria last week. There is nothing a Shagari, a Shonekan, a Babangida or an Obasanjo or their cronies will impart to him that would not work towards widening the circle of dubiety the country has been wallowing in for a large part of its history. Between these lots, we have witnessed the swift laceration of our hopes for a great nation and the looting of our national patrimony while they have constituted stumbling blocks towards the realization of credible elections in Nigeria.

I believe that it was the obscene and obtrusive rebound of these men and their allies in the brief period Jonathan has been in power and the building of future permutations around them that raised the ante of many Nigerians that we are receding back to an awful past we thought we should put behind us. That also accounted for the audacity of last week’s plot by the Yar’Adua kitchen cabinet and Jonathan should realize that Nigerians are fed up and tired of the clique politics the Babangidas and the Obasanjos wants to smuggle into his presidency. His reign shouldn’t be misinterpreted as the triumph of the rusticated Obasanjo foot soldiers that plotted and executed the quagmire we are stewing in at present. He should do nothing to give flesh to the theory of a plot in 2007 to ensure the North does not get the full desert of its stay in power. Making the triumph of Jonathan look like the victory of that estranged wing of a desperate cabal commanded by Obasanjo and who were instrumental to the forcing of a terminally ill president on Nigeria in 2007 will sow bad blood in the polity and give credence to the muted suspicion in the North that what is happening now was pre-planned by Obasanjo and his goons who are throwing orgies over the emergence of Jonathan. Jonathan should cease playing on his chances and know that he has little time to show that he is indeed committed to Nigeria and Nigerians and nothing more. He has no time to trifle or attend to the imperial demands of a faded cabal that sees power as one way route to self aggrandizement. He has to work and seen to work for the people, shorn of primitive cleava

ges; ethnic, sectarian or partisan. He must meld the country into one workable whole.

Again, he has to sever himself from the umbilical cord that ties him to the PDP, whose rustiness in dealing with complex has been exposed in eleven years of rudderless and corrupt leadership and has been exacerbated in the helplessness and cluelessness they have shown since the present crisis started. He must be a statesman through and through and must be fair to all Nigerians within the time he would stay either as Acting President or President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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