Nigeria Matters

Nigeria 2015: Presidential Elections and Beyond

The need for a “new modern, united and prosperous Nigeria” of the 21st century demands leaders that are God fearing, passionate about people and processes. The country today requires visionary leaders that are patriotic, focused, accountable to people, transparent and committed to leaving eternal legacies of equitable social justice, wealth creation, youth and women empowerment.

Leaders that will provide care for the elderly, children and vulnerable people in the society. Leaders that are in tune with today’s modern political reality, embrace technology and see politics as an avenue to serve the people and develop the country .

Before 1999, The political order in Nigeria was that of unfulfilled promises of greatness, bad governance, misplaced opportunities, lack of people’s oriented policies and programmes, corruption, wastage of resources and bad policies and programmes . All these manifested in people’s psyche and Nigerian society was dysfunctional as corruption became endemic in all facet of Nigerian polity, leading to social discontent, apathy, distrust and hopelessness. Nigeria as a nation domestically, to Nigerians, foreign investors and international community were perceived to be a pariah nation. Today the ruling party, People’s democratic Party [ PDP] with its impactions, starting with Ex-president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in May, 1999 and today under president Goodluck Jonathan  have brought political stability, rule of Law and vibrant democracy that is evolving with active participation of opposition parties like APC, Accord , APGA and Labour to mention a few.

The 2015 elections in Nigeria is fast approaching and the world is watching keenly, considering the political- economic strategic position of Nigeria as a global partner in Africa and indeed, the global world. Nigerians as sophisticated people and Nigeria as a potentially great nation, needs to examine our country’s past in order to understand the present and thus avoid in future, pitfalls that have so far before now ,constituted a cog in the wheel of our nation’s underdevelopment.

For the patriotic, well meaning and optimists but pragmatic Nigerians both at home and abroad, it has not only become imperative and of national interest to holistically and patriotically address the issues of political-economic re- engineering of our country for a stable, developed and prosperous Nigeria.

Today as ever before, Nigerians have been asking these pertinent questions: [a] Is the discovering of oil in the early 50s in the Niger Delta region, a curse or blessing? [b] what are the roles of the multi-national companies in the economic development of African countries like Nigeria and [C] to what extent have their social corporate responsibilities cushion the effect of environmental pollution in their areas of operation like Nigeria?

Nigeria as a nation is blessed with abundant human and natural resources and it has been argued by economists and scholars that the Nigerian economy today, has a large and diversified untapped resources base. However, before now, the economy has been monolithic as 90 % of the country’s revenue depends on oil. Today, with the transformation agenda policies and programmes of the ruling, PDP party under president Goodluck Jonathan, the government has devised a short –medium and long time economic blueprint to steer the economy.

What should be the role of multi-national companies in the “21st century New Nigerian project”?

Most countries today either developed or developing consciously or unconsciously adopts capitalist or   liberal economies as communism or socialism is non-existence. Countries like Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore [Asian Tiger] and Dubai to mention a few, have now embrace Liberalism. Similarly, most developing countries like Nigeria are now operating a Liberal economy.

Advocate for free-market economy argued that the development of what are called multi-national corporations, accelerate the transfer of technology know-how to less developed countries like Nigeria and increase the rate of economic development in developing countries.

The giant oil corporation like Shell –BP in countries like Nigeria, are often quoted as the First successful multi-national corporations. For example, Professor Peter .F. Drucker in his article on “ New Capitalism “ in 1971 argued that multi-national corporations is by far the most effective economic instrument today, and probably ,the one organ of economic development that will eventually helps the developing economies to develop. It is one non-nationalist institution in a world shaken by nationalist delirium. It puts economic decisions beyond the effective reach of the political process, its decision makers and the national Governments.

Although this writer like many, believes in Liberal economy as it breaks down economic barriers, encourages trade among nations, competition, consumer choice and above all, value for money but of the view that the multi-national corporations have not done much to helping in accelerating the development of the Third world economies like Nigeria as the value chain of these multi-national corporations are not being positively felt by the people.

Against the background of “gross insensitivity” and unfair management methodology of these multi-national corporations against the indigenes, the need for president Goodluck Jonathan to critically look into the issue of indigenes participation in the oil industry becomes imperative. More importantly, the “Nigerian’s content“ policy programme of the government should be reformed and enhanced.

As Nigeria today, with its challenges is growing economically and looking forward to 2015 elections, it could be argued that democracy in Nigeria has come to stay. Today, under president Goodluck Jonathan [PDP] government ,Nigerian Banks are among the best in the World. The political landscape is becoming wider as more reputable and technocratic women are encouraged and supported to take political offices for example, The minister of Finance , Minister of petroleum Resources ,Minister of Water Resources , The Chief Judge of the Federation are all women .So also, under president Goodluck Jonathan administration , the country has more women in state and National Assemblies as women. This, to many Nigerians, is a right step in a right direction.

Today, The present government is implementing people oriented prudent macro-economic policies and through Central Bank under the erudite ,visionary new Governor , effectively regulates the activities of commercial banks and micro-Finance institutions to curb inflation. The central bank in partnership with the government is ensuring small and medium enterprises are helped with loans to expand their businesses with fewer encumbrances.

Today ,Nigerian economy is undergoing diversification as government is heavily investing on Agriculture and infrastructure. President Goodluck Jonathan’s effort through the office of the vibrant, youthful and performing Minister of Agriculture, one of the best Ministers in the country, encourages and assists farmers with subsidised essential inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides and environmental friendly good seeds to boost food production like rice [Grains] for domestic consumption and foreign earnings.

Today, under president Goodluck Jonathan government, Press freedom is respected and government record on human rights has not only been commended by Nigerians both at home and abroad but surpasses the previous governments that have ever emerged in the country.

To compare and contrast all the presidential candidate/Aspirants starting with the current Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan [PDP] South-South [Niger Delta Region] with the oil and presidential aspirants: Retired General Muhammed Buhari who was once a military head of state and now civilian, unsuccessfully contested three times to become the president and now contesting again : Ex-vice president Abubakar Atiku, once in the ruling party [ PDP] but decamped to the opposition [APC] party, and current Kano state Governor Kwankwaso , all aspirants from Northern Nigeria, contesting the 2015 presidential election under APC opposition party , most Nigerians both at home and abroad including this writer, without been sentimental and prejudiced, believe president Goodluck Jonathan with all the challenges for example, the security challenges, the Ebola epidemic in the country, which Nigeria has recently been cleared off.

President Goodluck Jonathan remains focused, delivering on his promises [social contract] with Nigerian people to put in place visible infrastructure in the areas of construction and rehabilitation of roads, resuscitates our comatose railway industry [transportation], investing in human capacity development, education, technology , revamping Nigerian economy and working in partnership with domestic stakeholders , developing and developed countries to curb the menace of internal and global insurgents .

Recently, it has been argued by the world Bank that Nigerian economy has recorded growth and perceived as one of the global growing economies by the International Monetary Fund [IMF]. However, it could be argued that the growth recorded, is yet to be felt by many Nigerians and much needed to be done by the government to address the issue of poverty ,create the enabling environment by investing more on infrastructure like energy, road construction/rehabilitation, diversifying the economy and encouraging public-private participation ,which to a large extent ,president Goodluck Jonathan has recorded an epoch achievement and Nigerians expect him to do more.

Today, The present economic down-turn affecting both the developed and developing countries makes it economic prudent for countries to curb waste and invest on capital projects that will improve infrastructure, create employment and enhanced economic development for both the developed and developing countries.

Countries today are now looking both inward by reviewing their economic policies by whatever means necessary. For example, today in England, because of the recession and for election purposes, the ruling conservative Government under David Cameron , despite recording growth in the economy compared to other European countries , is now hammering harder on the issue of welfare, NHS, immigration and economy to win votes. The issue of immigration has become a toxic issue for all the parties in England as some commentators   against, for example,  United Kingdom party [UKIP] party,   are of the view that immigrants from other countries from Africa and Europe are economic scroungers whose motive is to abuse the welfare system meant to help those desperately in need without contributing positively into the UK economy.

Another school of thought in favour have argued, that majority of immigrants are not economic scroungers as these immigrants do most of the very hard to find dirty jobs indigenous citizens refused to do , pay their taxes and contribute immensely to the UK/Europe /America economic growth. The argument for and against the role of “immigrant “ in the economic development of nations in Europe and America could be argued to be an issue politicians mostly used to curry for votes during elections and also, a national issues for example economic[ to reduce unemployment ] and National security [Terrorism] .

In-spite of the economic disparity , Developed and Developing countries are working collaboratively [commercially] to encourage trade relations and politically, to curb the menace of global insurgency . The Nigerian Boko Haram insurgents need to be tamed by the government as the issue of the kidnapped “Chibok girls” argued by some cross section of the country, to be financed by the opposition party, has been condemned by Nigerians and the international community.

While strategic measures are being adopted and facilitated by president Goodluck Jonathan ,PDP administration to ensure safe handing over of these innocent girls, interestingly, opposition party like APC has yet to come out and condemned out-rightly, the activities of this dreadful organisation whose mission is to create fear, maim and kill Nigerian people. It has also been argued, that some politicians from a section of the country has been using this organisation to prevent president Goodluck Jonathan   constitutionally rights from contesting the 2015 presidential elections.

The president, with massive support home and abroad has indicated his willingness to declare to contest and continue his transformation agenda policies and programmes which today, is transforming lives and country. As 2015 approaches, well-meaning, patriotic Nigerians home and abroad are urged to register and cast their vote wisely for a listening ,humble but rugged, focus , patriotic and visionary leader .

in-spite of the security challenges, unnecessary attacks from unpatriotic, myopic and war mongers opposition party leaders in APC , compounded with the recent Ebola epidemic in the country , holistically addressed by president Goodluck Jonathan administration with Nigeria today, been declared Ebola free country by the World Health Organisation. President Goodluck Jonathan remains calm, unruffled, focus and committed with his team, putting in place visible infrastructure applauded by well-meaning Nigerians both at home and abroad.

Nigerians have tried the unlucky and unsuccessful leaders with little or nothing to show for Nigeria’s development .Today, Nigerians are now enjoying dividends of democracy from a calm, pro-active , patriotic and visionary   President Goodluck Jonathan, who has brought luck in sport to Nigeria, recorded economic growth, empowering youth and women   and reforming our foreign policy by working in partnership with Nigerians in Diaspora to develop the country. Good luck to and For Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.

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