At the 60th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held in Abuja, President Goodluck Jonathan catalogued excuses he claimed were militating against the deliverance of his campaign promises. He reeled out the distraction to be, among others, security challenges, posed by especially, the perilous Boko Haram. Unfortunately, the injurious acts of the sect have claimed hundreds of lives through bombings and suicide attacks on churches and public buildings in the North. Recently too, a mosque in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, was bombed by members of the sect.
The President, in the face of a debilitating economic downturn, also erroneously believes that insecurity has been impeding his administration’s realisation of the promise of job creation and stable power supply he made to Nigerians during the 2011 electioneering campaign. He bewailed: “Security is the most fundamental issue, particularly the threat by Boko Haram….Security agencies are working hard on the problem in Plateau and, God willing, the issue of Boko Haram will soon come down.”
President Jonathan was equally economical with the truth by his erroneous belief that his administration’s seeming tolerance of opposition’s constructive criticisms amounts to doing the nation a special favour when he observed: “The opposition parties want to drown the PDP. We believe that if we do not have a party as robust as the PDP, probably, the republic would have collapsed…But the PDP, even though, we control the Federal Government, we operate a system that even the opposition fly higher than us (sic). They abuse us more, but we allow it. It is the PDP’s handling of the affairs of the country that is stabilising democracy in the country.”
The President and his PDP must have forgotten that one of the most salient ingredients of democracy is the expression and distillation of divergent views. The best of democracies thrive more under an atmosphere where the opposition and other groups stand up to put the ruling government on its toes. After all, democracy is universally acknowledged to require eternal vigilance and this can be guaranteed in a democratic setting with a virile opposition. To us, the opposition in the country has not even done enough to put the current administration on the right track that it is presently going astray from.
While the opposition could be said to have tried, there are yet more grounds to be covered. We also think that it is right to point out that the current administration has become incorrigible or, better put, impervious to reasonable admonitions from the opposition. If any group or person should be praised, it is the opposition, at least for not toeing the path of revolt in the face of unwarranted provocation, especially in the unbelievable corruption that emanated from the last fuel subsidy removal and the probe by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee into its management.
The provocation continues with the insistence by the Presidency to remove full ‘subsidy’ on petroleum products. What an irritation too that the promised power sector reforms have thrown the nation into more epileptic power supply than Nigerians had witnessed in the past. The bourgeoning unemployment crisis in the land seems to have confounded the President and his party.
We consider as pertinently sad, the fact that, the Jos, Plateau State wanton killings, inherited by this administration (that even predates its predecessor) has been accorded cosmetic attention leading to the catastrophic attacks on the Berom ancestral villages, last week. Dr. Gyang Dantong, a senator, and Hon. Gyang Fulani, a member of Plateau State House of Assembly, were two of the nearly 200 persons that were killed in sporadic attacks carried out by suspected Fulani gunmen. The billions of naira budgeted and spent on the challenging security situation in the country have yielded no visible result while the spending spree continues in the face of provocative poverty.
We consider as sad a situation where the President, rather than face governance squarely, bemoans the sordid situation that his incompetence has inflicted on the nation. Everything that makes governance easy, including the constitution, budget, cabinet, security paraphernalia and state’s instruments of coercion, among others, are at President Jonathan’s beck and call. What then is responsible for his laughable lamentation? He is now blaming Boko Haram for his government’s incompetence. What were his antecedents even before Boko Haram came, either as governor, vice president, acting president before he finally won the first election in his life that made him president?
The excuses being given by the President are not only untenable but also un-presidential. He has stayed in power long enough to understand the workings of the system. Leadership is not about howling but about inspiring vision and bringing forth concrete results even where none existed. This is what needs to be done by President Jonathan and his failed party. Otherwise, he should feel free to throw in the towel