Presidential Score Card – How Has OBJ Fared?

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

It has been seven years and some since Nigeria returned to democracy. The primary responsibility of steering the ship of the nation for the past seven years have fallen on the old but tested shoulder of an ex-soldier, an Egba Chief that “won” two successive terms to lead our beloved nation. When leaders are elected, they are elected to serve. They serve both their supporters and their opponents. The people have an expectation; and the hope and desire of both the winning and losing political camp should be that the government in power will leave Nigeria better than they met it: at least.

Scoring Method

For the purpose of objectivity, we shall score the President and his administration on a sliding scale of A to F (grade points of 5 through 0). In addition to this for the purpose of simplicity, we shall consider his government took 7 courses with differential weight also on a sliding scale:the weight assigned from 9 to 3. While I might be off by one count or two (plus or negative one), on attaching priority to the subjects, I am sure I am very close. The performance of the government in each of these subjects is discussed below:

Analysis & Discussion

  1. Governance (ECO 101) – 9 Units Foundation Course on the Economy
    1. Social Welfare (3 Units): The current administration will perhaps be remembered for two things when it comes to social welfare- having a romantic pleasure for increasing the price of fuel –the mainstay of the subsistent economy, and asking more and more sacrifice from an impoverished populace while the rich keep getting richer. Unemployment rate was unyielding under this administration, while poverty (70% at last count) an all time high and life expectancy an all time low. Most Nigerians can hardly feel the positive impact of the much trumpeted reform program. However to its credit stand the National Contributory Pension Scheme and National Health Insurance Scheme; though both programs are yet to properly take off ground and still should be treated as policies not programs.The recent attempt at reforming the prisons is also commendable. Letter Grade: D – Below Expectation
    2. Infrastructure Turn Around (3 Units):Infrastructure can be broadly considered as transportation, electricity, health, education, water and communication systems. On the count of communication, this administration has excelled tremendously. The GSM revolution is just a tiny piece of the cake- not only is the National Communication Commission doings its job, but the NIPOST is now finally working. Post your letter in Nigeria today, and less than a week later it is on the other side of town. We now have postal code sef- this no be Nigeria?Nigeria is also on course to meet her Millennium Development Goals for provision of water, and this policy have been coordinated from the federal ministries down to the state level. Road network remain abysmal however, our roads are still a death trap, and railways are not working and if you like to die quickly fly a local airline. The education sector is still comatose but the repair of a number of Tertiary health institutions is commendable. Cabotage law, opening up the maritime industry to local operators. In addition, NAFDAC is also working overtime to stave off bad drugs from our medicine cupboards Letter Grade: C – Met Expectation (with reservation)
    3. Inclusion (3 Units): The progressiveness of any government is measured in the manner it includes various spectra of the society. Perhaps in the history of Nigeria, there is no more woman friendly administration as what we have in place today. Women occupy the top echelons of virtually all important ministries except Defense. In addition to this, Nigerians in Diaspora have been allowed to contribute their quota and this administration have bent backwards perhaps excessive to the consternation of detractors to accommodate NIDOs as well as women in every sphere of government. Disabled persons and HIV infected Nigerians also seem to have a friend in the President who at every fora have led by example in the non-discriminatory stance of his administration. Youths are also a commendable addition to the administration especially in the second term. Even while some ethnic groups continue to feel marginalized, this administration has been reasonably fair in the distribution of appointments (especially ministerial and military) and projects across the country however imperfect. Letter Grade: B – Above Expectation

  1. Rule of Law & Security (SEC 101) – 8 Units Foundation Course on Security

Theprimary role of government is to secure the lives and property of her citizens. Since 1999, over ten thousand Nigerians have died in one ethnic/religious crisis or the other. Political assassinations are also rife in the land- the nation’s number one law officer was slaughtered and the case remains unresolved till date. The government’s penchant for disobeying court orders also became legendary even earning a rebuke from the Chief Justice. During this administration certain people became sacred cows – godfathers and godsons- who could do and undo without losing sleep. Under the outgoing President’s watch, heinous crimes were committed; the murder of the former AG Bola Ige is still unresolved. The police are ill equipped, corrupt and inefficient. The corruption of the agencies – Police and NDLEA – reached legendary heights with their chief executives caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Extra judicial killings and abuse of human rights by the SSS, police and NDLEA was also the order of the day. Armed robbery and bank robbery is now a science and people sleep with one eye opened. Nigeria today is more insecure than 1999 and on this count this administration is an utter failure. Letter Grade: F – Fail

  1. Coup Prevention (SEC 102) – 7 Units Advance Course on Security

Implicit in the election of Ex-General now Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria was the belief that an ex-service man was required to keep the military in the barracks. The president have unfailingly delivered on this- with his first actions of sacking ex-political officers and firing a subverting Army Chief quickly and decisively -including isolating him; the president have proven to be a master at this game. The military today is reportedly more professional, less politically hungry and perhaps more loyal to civilian authority. Even though his past civilian predecessors havefailed in this course woefully, it looks like the president will not only hold the record of being the first to actualize a full second-term civilian administration but also a civilian-to-civilian full break transition thus concretizing the struggle to restore democracy to Nigeria. Letter Grade: A – Outstanding

  1. Anti-corruption(ECO 102) – 6 Units Advance Course on the Economy

The history of this administration can never be written without mentioning its legendary posture on anti-corruption. Like everything else it did, this is a mixed bag. Credit must be given to this administration bold move on taking on “certain entrenched interests”. However, it is a well known fact that the President went back on his word at that there “will be no sacred cows”. The due process office in the Presidency has fought a gallant war on contract inflation and the revenue allocation process is now more transparent. Official corruption has decreased dramatically under Obasanjo, while unofficial and implicit corruption has skyrocketed correspondingly. On TI index of corruption, Nigeria’s standing has also improved considerably since 1999. Letter Grade: D – Below Expectation

  1. Civil Liberties & Civics (GEN 101) – 5 Units General Course

What separates advanced societies from banana republics is the entrenchment of freedoms and democratic rights. These are best expressed in the following rights: the right to protest, the freedom of the press/speech, the freedom of association, independent judiciary, and the right to elect ones’ leaders. In the past eight years eight years Nigeria has made both significant step forward and backwards in this regard. Press intimidation is still very common, yet against all odds constitutional democracy has thrived in the country. The police still use the Public Order Act to torment the opposition with the tacit support of the president, yet protests of the general public helped destroy an undemocratic term elongation agenda. The courts have been strong and independent and to his credit- the President have not arrested judges or assassinated them like his predecessors. It is an open secret that the President is the rigger in chief of the federation- “managing” and abetting political thugs and godfathers across the land. Fake impeachments that circumvent due process were also his favorite pastime. Letter Grade: F – Fail

  1. Macroeconomics(ECO 103) – 4 Units Advance Course on the Economy

It will be hard to fault Obasanjo’s government based on macroeconomic indices. If Nigeria were a corporation, her balance sheet definitely looks better now than in 1999 when he resumed office. GDP is up, and growth is okay with a five percent projected growth annually; foreign reserve have considerably increased by more than twenty fold, cash management has improved with excess revenue now saved instead of spent; Debt is down to next to zero foreign debt level and manageable domestic debt profile with a plan to pay it off steadily; the exchange rate is steady and the stock market is one of the best performers in the globe. But as Chuba Okadigbo said, Statistics is like the bikini, what it shows is revealing, but what fails to show is the thing that is quite intriguing!”On the downside, poverty has increased, per capita GDP is on the downward slide, unemployment is still epileptically high and the economy is still grossly undiversified. Letter Grade: B – Above Expectation (with reservations)

  1. Diplomacy (DIP 101) – 3 Units Course on International Relations

If we lived in medieval England, when royals had an appellation after their names- Obasanjo will be called: “King Sege- the Globetrotter and Diplomat“. The President was his own Minister for Foreign Affairs. In fact, I am of strong opinion that the Accountant General of the federation should immediately take steps to seek a refund of all the salaries of the previous foreign ministers and use such to buy legitimate Transcorp shares for Mr. President. In this field, the President was undoubtedly a success. Stopping coups, pontificating in Davos, improving Nigeria’s image and standing, chairing AU, spearheading NEPAD, helping Dafur, Sao Tome, Madagascar, Togo in times of need are few of many of hisdiplomatic strides. The shuffle to Liberia, Charles Taylor eventual turnover will stand as the zenith of his international statesmanship. I doubt if in two decades Nigeria will ever produce a more internationally astute president as OBJ and if I am wrong- then the better. Letter Grade: A – Outstanding (resoundingly)

Course No

Course Title



Points Acquired

ECO 101





SEC 101

Rule of Law & Security




SEC 102

Coup Prevention




ECO 102





GEN 101

Civil Liberties & Civics




ECO 103





DIP 101





Grade Point Average



Comments: Aremu is a below average (D) student; a bad manager of time and poor manager of people with remarkably low human relationship skills. He has severe problems with prioritizing strategic goals and objectives. In a class of mediocre (his predecessors), he however comes out on top. Who says, a one eyed man cannot be king? In any case, the way posterity will judge Mr. President is still up in the air. Here is a man truly hated and detested by many, yet instrumental in many ways in bringing many firsts to his country- good and evil firsts to be precise.

He has proven beyond all things to be a leader that is ready to fight in the mud
for what he believes in: in fairness to him leadership has not been a popularity contest- even if it was, he would have lost resoundingly. His greatest legacy might be in the international sphere and bringing the intellectual sagacity of technocrats to bear on running the national business. But by far, his failure can be summed up in his inability to cultivate and build institutions that will outlast him. What is certain is the 1999-2007 will be looked upon as a beginning- either as a beginning to the disintegration of Nigeria or a beginning to putting Nigeria back on the path of national development

[1] A>75, 75<B>65, 65<C>55, 55<D>45, 45<E>35, F<35

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