Some have questioned the legitimacy of the new Jonathan Administration and constantly remind us of the violence which greeted some of the disputed election results. We, however, deal with Nigeria as we find it, whilst noting the rights of others to pursue their grievances through constitutional means.
We of ‘The Nigerian Front’ intend to continue addressing the de facto situation that: Dr. Goodluck Jonathan currently holds the reins of power. We will continue to hold this as the basis of our regular engagement with power as we seek to move the nation forward, creating a narrative where the many and not just the elite can own and identify with.
This is because through out history nations have only grown and prospered when all of its citizens have shared in the opportunities created by their economies. That is why we believe Mr. President must create a bottom up growth that empowers hardworking masses of families to climb the ladder of success and raise their children in security, opportunity, and hope for a better future. It is these hopes we wish to begin to place at the centre of the Nigerian idea.
We believe that history helps us understand that the transformation of the Western economies from a feudal based to industrial, from local to national, through war and peace has experienced one constant: the advancement of individual opportunity. Not individual opportunity for corruption but one that ensures that through hard work we can obtain just rewards. That ensures that every Nigerian can have an equal shot at making a good living, raising a family, giving their children a good start in life, and enjoying a secure retirement.
We see it as part of our mission to articulate the enthronement of national values, the values described above which could be at the centre of the Nigerian idea, weaving together disparate groups and tribes to form a powerful whole. But we also are aware that for any value system to take root grow and survive in Nigeria, the government must have accountability and probity at the heart of governance.
The governance, we speak of will bring many challenges and will collide with the challenges already present as part of the fabric of our nation. We are convinced that to resolve these, the simple acts of throwing more money around cannot be the answer.
The answer rests in constructing a plan that allows the rethinking and reinventing of our government’s attitude to utilisation and management of our nation’s resources. We are aware that whatever plan(s) we suggest to the government needs an effective team to deliver, a team of all the best talents that our nation can offer.
The political reality we face in Nigeria today, however, suggests that there are two alternatives that President Goodluck Jonathan faces (1) he could sacrifice any lurking desire for a second term, ignore sycophants and select a can do cabinet or, (2) he could choose to do business as usual, recycling politicians of dubious pedigree, completely bereft of any vision.
If the President proceeds along the former path, then we are convinced it is one that will lend him the space to develop sustainable policies for Nigeria, establishing his position in history and cementing the building of a nation of values. We warn, however, that any decision to proceed along the alternative route is destined for one terminus, one of more sweat, sorrows, tears and blood.
We have already suggested that only ‘a government of all talents’ can deliver on a clear and bold agenda for Nigeria. Therefore Mr. President must continue a credible search, one that goes far and wide for people with the capacity to execute clear and measurable plans for our nation. This search should reveal a team of people with imaginative ideas, integrity with a track record of accomplishment.
We have identified key ministries such as Finance, Trade, Transport, Education, Health and Power as essential for empowerment so that a sustained difference can be delivered and this could be done by assigning the very best individuals to appropriate ministries. These ministries are those whose activities directly impact Nigerians in the human development indices recognised by the United Nations and enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals.
We urge Mr. President to note that at the dawn of his new government, this nation cannot afford to slip further, to avoid this we must commit higher percentages of our Gross Domestic Product to Health, Education, Power, and Transport, matching and reflecting what occurs in countries like Brazil, India, Indonesia and other fast emerging economies.
We realise that we require a national security apparatus that is professional in its operations for us to secure our aspirations. We must ensure it dispenses with its reputation and penchant for brutality and corruption. We are convinced that adequate security remains vital to ensure the right climate is created for economic development and growth.
We wish to indicate to Mr. President that in the developed market economies, where democratic principles are applied, there is a social contract between the government and its people. Therefore the contract that exists between the President, the ministers and personnel he appoints must recognise the contract between them and the people they serve.
Accountability must be the foundation upon which the key performance indicators used to assess their performances must rest. Public officers must be accountable to the system that they represent and one that appoints them. It is the duty of Mr. President to ensure that there is no disconnect between them and the people they are meant to serve, they must see themselves as the servants and not the masters.
In conclusion we raise the question about the reported one billion-naira budget for the Presidential inauguration. Whilst in the context of other developed economies this is hardly significant, we note our economy is not developed and has serious structural problems, which makes this an unnecessary luxury. We are aware that it might be too late to urge a reconsideration of such expenditure, however, we expect transparency and accountability in all future such expenditure but not at the expense of investments in the areas of provision of health, education, power, housing and better infrastructure, power, portable water and better shelter.
Our appeal to the Nigerian people remains the same and consistent, using the President’s Facebook accounts send him messages indicating men and women you consider worthy of serving this nation for it is your nation and you have no other but Nigeria.
Mr. Remi Jibowu and Dr. Olu Ojedokun write on behalf of The Nigerian Front.
Signed by the following Representatives of The Nigerian Front:
Mr. Remi Jibowu, Dr. Onochie Okoye, Alh Ismaila Zakari, Prince Asuquo Ibok, Mr. Bashar Dankaro, Mr. Derrick Kentebe and Dr. Olu Ojedokun