We shall be looking today at how the election of Jonathan represent national developmental hope after Nigeria missed it all since the forces that then were (especially British colonial power, and then Olusegun Obasanjo) disallowed Obafemi Awolowo from mounting the saddle of governance in Nigeria. That the nation has derailed long time ago we all agree. That the reason is traceable to those the British colonial power and subsequently Obasanjo chose to offer power majority agree. But we have yearned for long to get things right. April 16, 2011 was the day Nigerians went out with unshaken resolve and one solid position: to get things right. Jonathan was the outcome! So, the expectation of Nigerians must be necessarily high.
Jonathan’s mandate, like the electoral campaign that chiefly made that mandate possible, is like none in the history of Nigeria. It is also evident that no one has democratically gotten to the number one position of this country that has so endeared himself to the people of this country and that has earned reciprocal endearment from the country across board. More than these, there is no one that has mounted the saddle of governance in Nigeria that we can remember had a clear divine purpose. We all agree that divinity must be involved in this matter of Jonathan’s emergence as the elected president of Nigeria. And by extension or projection – which is actually the main issue – divinity must be very concerned about Nigeria and we can only hope that He (God) has something great in stock for us all. All of that adds up to putting a huge demand on the laps of Jonathan.
Therefore, Jonathan must roll out in governance as he did in his electioneering. He and his team must work themselves inside-out in such a way that performance corresponds with the hope and expectations of the people, which hope and expectation is captured in the sweeping mandate they gave him. But above all Jonathan must put together and must be ready to head a team that fears God for this is the only way not to frustrate the purpose of God for the country in this dispensation: after all, we have noted that God must have something to do with Nigeria. God does not do new things with old stuffs and or unready hands. Take that sacerdotal revelation! So, it must not be business as usual. This must be the first message for Jonathan. There is no better way to delivering wholesale.
To deliver wholesale implies two things: To deliver extensively and indiscriminately. This is the only way to appreciate a sweeping and indeed a wholesale mandate extensively and indiscriminately given. Governance must affect all sectors! He must set out to make good a rare mandate by going all out to change the face of governance for good – governance that will be enthrallingly remembered many years after now: That is how to please God, Nigerians and posterity.
So far, like Umaru Yar’ Adua, his former principal, we can see Jonathan is suaviter in modo, fortiter in re (gentle in manner, resolute in deed). Painful that health and death did not make us see the best of Yar’ Adua! A man’s mien may be simple and soft, but right inside he could be solid. It is soothing that Jonathan shares this quality. Even recently we read of how he gave instructions and, or deadlines to some operators in both private and public sectors to bring down prices. We want more of that but with results. However, let executive powers be employed without being autocratic just as he must lead and be guided by public interest – as he has promised – but without being led by the people. Something in-between makes a good leader.
In his electoral campaign one of Jonathan’s jingles kept telling us that power generation reached its highest level in ten or twelve years. What does that mean? To excel Olusegun Obasanjo is no news. Anybody can! Indeed, Jonathan must look beyond any Nigerian president, prime minister and military head of state, either dead or alive, for benchmark. They have all failed. Perhaps Murtala Mohammed may have hit average but his rule was too short-lived to be here properly assessed. The same goes for Buhari-Idiagbon’s regime. Gowon-Awolowo’s handling of the civil war gets a pass mark. Away from these, you could categorically say every other regime failed, and some woefully. If you care to know:
Balewa, 35 percent and that was because of a virile opposition in Awolowo’s Action Group; the rest of Gowon (aside the civil war years i.e. after the exit of Awolowo from his government), 30 percent; Obasanjo as military head of state (after the death of Murtala), 25 percent; Shehu Shagari’s first and second governments, 20 percent and 15 percent respectively and that was even because of the conscience of the nation that Awolowo’s Unity Party represented then; Babaginda, zero percent; Abacha, minus 10 percent; Abdulsalami and Shonekan five percent each; Obasanjo’s first and second terms as ‘democratic’ president; zero percent and minus 5 percent respectively. Like the seven lean cows (or years) that swallowed up the seven fat cows (or years) in Pharoahs dream and yet the seven lean cows or years remained as lean as ever, so the Anenihs, Borishades and Femi Fani-Kayodes and their ‘father of modern Nigeria’ swallowed up the efforts of the Okonjo-Iwealas, Ezekwesilis, Akinyulis and Ribadus.
To say it the umpteenth time: The expectation of Nigerians who massively voted for Jonathan across board is high. So, Jonathan really has no Nigeria number one citizen before him as benchmark. Therefore, he has no note at all to take in Ota, Sokoto, Minna and such other places. If he needs to take any note at all, it must be in Brazil, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Indonesia; our equals and, or near equals at our independence, but today every inch unthinkably way ahead of us. If he must take notes within Nigeria he must send some separate emissaries to LKJ (the baba kekere of the man that was ‘the main issue in Nigeria’) and the yeyeoba (the inestimable jewel of ‘the best president Nigeria never had’) to take advisory notes on how Awolowo would have done it.
Of course, to drive a huge national dream and expectation of good governance and complete turnaround of the economy, the nature and caliber of Jonathan’s team cannot be overemphasized. So, we must come back to it. He must come out with a solid cabinet to be able to deliver according to our high – very high – expectations. He should by now know those that can help him deliver, and so does not need any political group or godfather to be on his neck. He must identify men with love for country; men of integrity. And because this must be a national affair, the Nuhu Ribadus and Dora Akinyulis may well still be needed by Nigerians to be part of Jonathan’s new team. But he must put them where real action is needed and not some talk-talk organ of government. We want round pegs in round holes.